The data layer is something really important in an application. If it’s incorrectly created it will behave like a virus and infect the entire business layer making it a lot harder to build and maintain the application. Unfortunately the symptoms will not appear until the project have been built for some time. In this article I’ll present my attempt to a cure.
If you have previously read this blog you’ll probably know that I do not use ORMs. Sure, they speed up the initial development considerably. But time saved in the beginning is lost many times when the application grows and have to be maintained. The reason is that once things start to get complex the ORM will fail on you. It will return obscure error messages, fail in the mappings or not translate the LINQ statements in a way that you expected.
The entire ORM movement was created since you, me and most other devs did not want to spend so much time doing repetitive tasks in the data layer (creating all those CRUD statements and build the mappings/conversions between the DB tables and the .NET classes). However, along that way came a lot more laziness. Now we wanted to do as little as possible in the data layer, at least stuff that had to do with the DB.
Along came HQL, LINQ and other ways of abstracting away (and simplifying) the data layer access. Suddenly we have a data layer that can be compared with ASP.NET WebForms. i.e. It tries to abstract away something and act like something it isn’t. And it does it by trying to create a simple API by doing a really complex implementation.
I got two large issues with that. The first thing is that ADO.NET is in itself really simple. Anyone can write a SQL query and fetch the result. The other reason is that when something fails you have to focus on debugging the ORM instead of just correcting a SQL query.
So when something fails you have to start debugging something complex instead of something really simple. Hands on your heart, wouldn’t you prefer correcting a SQL statement instead of a mapping or invalid LINQ query?
My alternative is a generator application. It doesn’t sound so sexy (and it isn’t). But the generated code is created using my 20 years of experience in the field as starting point.
The generated code contains everything from my data access articles and is either generated using ADO.NET only or my own data mapper library (still just plain SQL). Thus, there is not a complex library which will obfuscate things or take away the control from you. Thus it’s trivial to adapt the code and to correct problems in the future.
The generates can either create Queries (as in Command/Queries) or repositories. The repositories are either generated as asynchronous or synchronous repositories, while the queries are always asynchronous.
It’s considered beta until 2015-04-30 and is free during this period (100% discount). After that the personal license will remain free while companies have to pay.
More info at the homeopage. I’ll try to implement all feature/change requests that comes in this week.