Entity Framework, AutoMapper, handling entity updates

asp.net-mvc automapper c# entity-framework

Question

I just started using the Entity Framework 1.0 recently and believe I am beginning to feel the pains everyone is talking about. I'm trying to use best practices so I have a set of DTO that get mapped to and from my Entities via AutoMapper.

The real catch is when I'm trying to update an object. The first gotcha was that I could not find a way to create a new entity, transfer the data from my DTO, and still have the entity ObjectContext realize that it has been changed. I used the following code:

public VideoDTO UpdateVideo(VideoDTO pVideo)
        {
            Video video = new Video();
            Mapper.Map(pVideo, video);
            context.Attach(video); //Successfully attaches
            context.ApplyPropertyChanges("Videos", video);  // no changes made as far as entity knows b/c it was attached in it's updated state
            context.SaveChanges(); //doesn't save the entity                
            return pVideo;
        }

I then figured, perhaps I need to just grab the entity from the database first, attach to the context, call the Map method on Mapper, then call SaveChanges. Here what I did:

    public VideoDTO UpdateVideo(VideoDTO pVideo)
    {
        Video video = context.Videos.Where(v => v.VideoId == pVideo.VideoId).FirstOrDefault();
        Mapper.Map(pVideo, video); //Error here: Can't change VideoId value on Video entity
        //context.Attach(video);
        //context.ApplyPropertyChanges("Videos", video);
        context.SaveChanges();

        return pVideo;
    }

Now we get to the lovely EF issue of not being allowed to change the property, VideoId, because it's used by the EntityKey property on the Video entity. Lovely. I had setup the mappings so that when I mapped from my DTO to an EF Entity, the EntityKey property would get a value. Now I need a way to make an exception to that mapping rule, but have no clue where to begin. I suppose I could create a brand new Mapping rule right in this method and set the EntityKey & VideoId properties to be ignored, but that seems pretty sloppy. Furthermore, I'm not sure a mapping created at this point would stick. If it overrode the initial setup that allowed the DTO to map a value to the EntityKey on the entity, that would backfire in a whole different way.

Anyone have a better idea?

1
4
1/29/2010 9:25:59 PM

Accepted Answer

AutoMapper

Your first problem is that as far as I know AutoMapper is not designed to go from DTO->Entity only Entity->DTO. This could have changed recently so I'm not really sure. See this link for more information about what automapper is designed to do: The case for two way mapping

PK Mapping

You say: "Mapping rule right in this method and set the EntityKey & VideoId properties to be ignored, but that seems pretty sloppy"

I don't think thats sloppy at all. You really shouldn't touch a EntityKey/PK after its been persisted and probably should codify its staticness in some way.

Entity Framework

"Now we get to the lovely EF issue of not being allowed to change the property, VideoId, because it's used by the EntityKey property on the Video entity. Lovely."

Lovely? EF is not forcing you to not update your PK. Inside the generated models there is a property change check inside the setter for your keys. The solution would be to change the generated code. Depending on your model volatility this may not be practical but it is an option.

6
2/1/2010 8:31:40 PM

Popular Answer

Try mapping to an existing object:

entity = Mapper.Map<MyDTO, NyEntity>(dto, entity); 

And keep the Ignore()'s in place.

http://groups.google.com/group/automapper-users/browse_thread/thread/24a90f22323a27bc?fwc=1&pli=1



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