What way is better: make own wrapper for DbContext or use DbContext in Controller

asp.net-core asp.net-core-mvc c# entity-framework-core


In my project, I use entity framework 7 and asp.net mvc 6 \ asp.net 5. I want to create CRUD for own models

How can I do better:

  1. Use dbcontext from the controller. In the following link author explain that this way is better, but whether it is right for the controllers?
  2. Make own wrapper. The some Best practices write about what is best to do own repository.

I'm not going to change the ef at something else, so do not mind, even if there is a strong connectivity to access data from a particular implementation and I know that in ef7 dbcontext immediately implemented Unit Of Work and Repository patterns.

4/13/2017 12:40:33 PM

Accepted Answer

The answer to your question is primarily opinion-based. No one can definitively say "one way is better than the other" until a lot of other questions are answered. What is the size / scope / budget of your project? How many developers will be working on it? Will it only have (view-based) MVC controllers, or will it have (data-based) API controllers as well? If the latter, how much overlap will there be between the MVC and API action methods, if any? Will it have any non-web clients, like WPF? How do you plan to test the application?

Entity Framework is a Data Access Layer (DAL) tool. Controllers are HTTP client request & response handling tools. Unless your application is pure CRUD (which is doubtful), there will probably be some kind of Business Logic processing that you will need to do between when you receive a web request over HTTP and when you save that request's data to a database using EF (field X is required, if you provide data for field Y you must also provide data for field Z, etc). So if you use EF code directly in your controllers, this means your business processing logic will almost surely be present in the controllers along with it.

Those of us who have a decent amount of experience developing non-trivial applications with .NET tend to develop opinions that neither business nor data access logic should be present in controllers because of certain difficulties that emerge when such a design is implemented. For example when you put web/http request & response logic, along with business logic and data access logic into a controller, you end up having to test all of those application aspects from the controller actions themselves (which is a glaring violation of the Single Responsibility Principle, if you care about SOLID design). Also let's say you develop a traditional MVC application with controllers that return views, then decide you want to extend the app to other clients like iOS / android / WPF / or some other client that doesn't understand your MVC views. If you decide to implement a secondary set of WebAPI data-based controller actions, you will be duplicating business and data access logic in at least 2 places.

Still, this does not make a decision to keep all business & data-access logic in controllers intrinsically "worse" than an alternate design. Any decision you make when designing the architecture of a web application is going to have advantages and disadvantages. There will always be trade-offs no matter which route you choose. Advantages of keeping all of your application code in controllers can include lower cost, complexity, and thus, time to market. It doesn't make sense to over-engineer complex architectures for very simple applications. However unfortunate, I have personally never had the pleasure of developing a simple application, so I am in the "general opinion" boat that keeping business and data access code in controllers is "probably not" a good long-term design decision.

If you're really interested in alternatives, I would recommend reading these two articles. They are a good primer on how one might implement a command & query (CQRS) pattern that controllers can consume. EF does implement both the repository and unit of work patterns out of the box, but that does not necessarily mean you need to "wrap" it in order to move the data access code outside of your controllers. Best of luck making these kinds of decisions for your project.

public async Task<ActionResult> Index() {
    var user = await query.Execute(new UserById(1));
    return View(user);
1/7/2016 2:54:13 PM

Popular Answer

Usually I prefer using Repository pattern along with UnitOfWork pattern (http://www.asp.net/mvc/overview/older-versions/getting-started-with-ef-5-using-mvc-4/implementing-the-repository-and-unit-of-work-patterns-in-an-asp-net-mvc-application) - I instantiate DbContext in an UnitOfWork instance object and I inject that DbContext in the repositories. After that I instantiate UnitOfWork in the controller and the controller does not know anything about the DbContext:

public ActionResult Index()
    var user = unitOfWork.UsersRepository.GetById(1); // unitOfWork is dependency injected using Unity or Ninject or some other framework
    return View(user);

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