Contents tagged with Linq

  • WCF Data Services and the IExpandProvider

    Yesterday, a customer ran into a weird issue with our OData/WCF Data Services support in LLBLGen Pro: when an $expand directive was given which was more than one level deep, the service would only return the first level. $expand is OData's directive to eager load additional data into the data requested. So if I for example want to read the data of customer 'ALFKI' from the Northwind database and also that customer's orders, I'd issue this OData query:


  • Introducing LLBLGen Pro QuerySpec: a new fluent query API

    In the past two months I've been busy creating a new query specification API for LLBLGen Pro. Our native query API is modeled after SQL statement fragments (like a 'predicate', a 'relationship', a 'field'), but specifying a query with it can be a little verbose, and above all: the code doesn't look like a query. Especially with complex queries and projections it can sometimes be tedious to grasp what the SQL will look like and what the query is doing. With LLBLGen Pro QuerySpec this changes: a fluent, compact, highly expressive API which allows you to write queries in the structure of the SQL it will produce and with the expressiveness of Linq.


  • This is why algorithms rule

    For the people who know me a little it's no surprise, but in case you didn't know: I love algorithms. I think they're the cornerstone of good software and they should be your first source of wisdom for every piece of software you're creating. This post will show an example of what I mean by that and how easy it is if you have a set of algorithms at your disposal which are solid, proven and correct.


  • Linq: Beware of the 'Access to modified closure' demon

    If you're using Linq and Resharper, you've probably seen the warning Resharper shows when you use a foreach loop in which you use the loop variable in a Linq extension method (be it on IQueryable<T> or IEnumerable<T>). In case you don't know what it is or what damage it can do if you ignore the issue, I'll give you a database oriented query (so on IQueryable<T>, using LLBLGen Pro's Linq provider) which creates a dynamic Where clause based on input, the typical scenario you should be careful with when it comes to this particular problem.


  • Linq to LLBLGen Pro: feature highlights, part 2

    In the first part of this series I talked about the fact that Linq to LLBLGen Pro is a full implementation of Linq and why it's so important to use a full linq provider instead of a half-baked one. Today, I'll discuss a couple of native LLBLGen Pro features we've added to our Linq provider via extension methods: hierarchical fetches and exclusion of entity fields in a query. Furthermore some other features will be in the spotlight as well. What I also want to highlight is that using an O/R mapper is more than just filling dumb classes with dumb data: it's entity management, and the O/R mapper framework should offer you tools so you will be able to manage and do whatever you want with the entity graph in memory with as less problems and friction as possible. After all, the task you have isn't writing infrastructure code, entity classes nor code to make these interact with eachother, your task is to write code which consumes these classes, and works with these classes. This thus means that you should be able to work on that code from the get-go, as that's what your client expects from you .


  • Linq to LLBLGen Pro: feature highlights, part 1

    Some people asked me what the highlights are of Linq to LLBLGen Pro, which was released this week, as it seems that Linq support is apparently growing on trees these days. In this and some future posts I'll try to sum up some of the characteristic features of Linq to LLBLGen Pro, so you don't have to wade through the 15 articles I wrote about writing Linq to LLBLGen Pro . I'll write several of these articles, this is the first one. I hope to write more of them in the coming weeks.


  • LLBLGen Pro v2.6 has been released!

    After almost 11 months of design, development, beta testing and adding final polish, it's here: LLBLGen Pro v2.6! This version, which is a free upgrade for all our v2.x customers, has a couple of major new features, the biggest of course being the full implementation of Linq support in our O/R mapper framework. The work on our Linq provider, which we've dubbed 'Linq to LLBLGen Pro', lasted almost 9 months and was discussed on this blog in a series of articles, which I'll linq () to below.

    In the beginning of writing the Linq provider, I was pretty optimistic that it would be easy and quick, but after a while I got very pessimistic and wanted to skip it entirely as it would simply cost too much effort, and therefore time and money. The main reason was the lack of serious documentation and background on various essential details like which expression trees were formed from which linq queries, and how to understand them in full so a meaningful query could be produced from them to run on the database. Anyone who has written some form of Linq provider or is currently busy doing so will run into this problem. Doing trial-error development/research for a couple of months in a row isn't a picknick, but it's also part of being a Software Engineer so it always left me with a mixed bag of what to think of it: it's exciting and interesting, but also frustrating.

    A good example of the lack of serious documentation on expression trees is the way the VB.NET compiler compiles a group-by query into an expression tree vs. how the C# compiler does that: the C# compiler always adds a separate .Select() method call, the VB.NET compiler doesn't. In theory, the VB.NET compiler is right: the group-by clause has to be in the same query scope as the projection, but as C# has to be supported as well, you have to build some form of 'look-ahead' inside the tree to see when / if / how the projection is present after the group-by expression is seen. This isn't documented anywhere. Another one is the way how anonymous types are detected. There's no boolean on the Type object which tells you 'This is an anonymous type'. So you check the name. The C# compiler generates names which start with <>, the VB.NET compiler generates names which start with $VB$. And probably yet another language which runs on the CLR and which adds Linq support might choose another prefix. Nowhere is this documented but it is sometimes required to know that the type you're dealing with is an anonymous type.