Why is an ICollection required for lazy loading in the entity framework?

domain-driven-design entity-framework lazy-loading

Question

I want to write a rich domain class such as

public class Product    
{    
   public IEnumerable<Photo> Photos {get; private set;}    
   public void AddPhoto(){...}    
   public void RemovePhoto(){...}
 }

But the entity framework (V4 code first approach) requires an ICollection type for lazy loading! The above code no longer works as designed since clients can bypass the AddPhoto / RemovePhoto method and directly call the add method on ICollection. This is not good.

public class Product    
{    
   public ICollection<Photo> Photos {get; private set;} //Bad    
   public void AddPhoto(){...}    
   public void RemovePhoto(){...}    
 }

It's getting really frustrating trying to implement DDD with the EF4. Why did they choose the ICollection for lazy loading?

How can i overcome this? Does NHibernate offer me a better DDD experience?

1
26
5/19/2010 3:21:55 PM

Popular Answer

I think i found the solution...See here for more details: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/adodotnetentityframework/thread/47296641-0426-49c2-b048-bf890c6d6af2/

Essentially you want to make the ICollection type protected and use this as the backing collection for the public IEnumerable

public class Product
{

   // This is a mapped property
   protected virtual ICollection<Photo> _photos { get; set; }

   // This is an un-mapped property that just wraps _photos
   public IEnumerable<Photo> Photos
   {
      get  { return _photos; }
   }

   public void AddPhoto(){...}
   public void RemovePhoto(){...}

} 

For lazy loading to work the type must implement ICollection and the access must be public or protected.

21
5/20/2010 1:49:40 AM


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