How to map column names to class properties with Dapper

2020-02-18 #sql,#csharp

Last week, I used Dapper instead of NHibernate to perform a simple processing on a table in our Oracle database. Since this is an ancient table, the column names are “old-fashioned” and I don’t want to end up with overly convoluted property names, even if it’s only for a one-shot process.

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Let’s say my table has the following structure:

Contact_Clients
---------------
Contact_Cli_ID          Number
Clt_ID                  Number
Contact_Cli_Nom         Varchar2(40)
Contact_Cli_Prenom      Varchar2(40)
Contact_Tel_Fixe        Varchar2(24)
Contact_Cli_Fax         Varchar2(24)
Contact_Cli_Mail        Varchar2(127)
Contact_Portable        Varchar2(24)
...

I have to define the C# class below:

public class Contact
{
  public int Contact_Cli_ID { get; set; }
  public int Clt_ID { get; set; }
  public string Contact_Cli_Nom { get; set; }
  public string Contact_Cli_Prenom { get; set; }
  public string Contact_Tel_Fixe { get; set; }
  public string Contact_Cli_Fax { get; set; }
  public string Contact_Cli_Mail { get; set; }
  public string Contact_Portable { get; set; }
}

But I’d prefer to use pretty names for its properties:

public class Contact
{
  public int Contact_ID { get; set; }
  public int Client_ID { get; set; }
  public string Nom { get; set; }
  public string Prenom { get; set; }
  public string Telephone { get; set; }
  public string Telecopie { get; set; }
  public string Mail { get; set; }
  public string Portable { get; set; }
}

Usually I go with SQL aliases to work around this problem. So, instead of doing a regular SELECT * FROM Contact_Clients ..., I end up writing:

var sql = "SELECT Contact_Cli_ID AS Contact_ID,
                  Clt_ID AS Client_ID,
                  Contact_Cli_Nom AS Nom,
                  Contact_Cli_Prenom AS Prenom,
                  Contact_Tel_Fixe AS Telephone,
                  Contact_Cli_Fax AS Telecopie,
                  Contact_Cli_Mail AS Mail,
                  Contact_Portable AS Portable
           FROM   Contact_Clients
           ...";

Pro: I can limit my code to only useful columns, although in this case almost all columns are necessary.

Con: I’ve been using Dapper for a few years now, it’s time to search for some improvments to redefine the names of the columns.

It’s a bit of a sensitive subject and probably not really a priority. However, there is a discussion about the right way to do this, by configuration or with attributes: [Column] and [Table] Attributes .

In the meantime, a Stack Overflow question (Manually map column names with class properties) allowed me to find a quite simple solution to implement. Taken from the Dapper Tests code (and thus tested :), it uses the [Description] attribute from System.ComponentModel.

Thanks to this article, I can write the following code:

using System.ComponentModel;
...

class Program
{

  static void Main(string[] args)
  {
    var cnx_string = @"Data Source=XXXX;User ID=YYYY;Password=ZZZZ";
    var db = new OracleConnection(cnx_string);
    db.Open();

    var map = new CustomPropertyTypeMap(typeof(Contact), (type, columnName)
      => type.GetProperties().FirstOrDefault(prop => GetDescriptionFromAttribute(prop) == columnName.ToLower()));
    Dapper.SqlMapper.SetTypeMap(typeof(Contact), map);

    var sql = "SELECT * FROM Contact_Clients WHERE Contact_Cli_ID = 1234";
    var c = db.QueryFirst<Contact>(sql);
    Console.WriteLine(c.Nom + " " + c.Prenom);

    db.Close();
    Console.ReadLine();
  }

  static string GetDescriptionFromAttribute(MemberInfo member)
  {
    if (member == null) return null;

    var attrib = (DescriptionAttribute)Attribute.GetCustomAttribute(member, typeof(DescriptionAttribute), false);
    return (attrib?.Description ?? member.Name).ToLower();
  }

}

public class Contact
{
  [Description("Contact_Cli_ID")]
  public int Contact_ID { get; set; }
  [Description("Clt_ID")]
  public int Client_ID { get; set; }
  [Description("Contact_Cli_Nom")]
  public string Nom { get; set; }
  [Description("Contact_Cli_Prenom")]
  public string Prenom { get; set; }
  [Description("Contact_Tel_Fixe")]
  public string Telephone { get; set; }
  [Description("Contact_Portable")]
  public string Portable { get; set; }
  [Description("Contact_Cli_Mail")]
  public string Mail { get; set; }
}

Thinking about it, I’m not sure it’s more elegant than SQL aliases… But new!

Version en français : Comment mapper colonnes et propriétés avec Dapper.