# asp.net – Advantage of creating a generic repository vs. specific repository for each object?

## The Question :

132 people think this question is useful

We are developing an ASP.NET MVC application, and are now building the repository/service classes. I’m wondering if there are any major advantages to creating a generic IRepository interface that all repositories implement, vs. each Repository having its own unique interface and set of methods.

For example: a generic IRepository interface might look like (taken from this answer):

public interface IRepository : IDisposable
{
T[] GetAll<T>();
T[] GetAll<T>(Expression<Func<T, bool>> filter);
T GetSingle<T>(Expression<Func<T, bool>> filter);
T GetSingle<T>(Expression<Func<T, bool>> filter, List<Expression<Func<T, object>>> subSelectors);
void Delete<T>(T entity);
int SaveChanges();
DbTransaction BeginTransaction();
}



Each Repository would implement this interface, for example:

• CustomerRepository:IRepository
• ProductRepository:IRepository
• etc.

The alternate that we’ve followed in prior projects would be:

public interface IInvoiceRepository : IDisposable
{
EntityCollection<InvoiceEntity> GetAllInvoices(int accountId);
EntityCollection<InvoiceEntity> GetAllInvoices(DateTime theDate);
InvoiceEntity GetSingleInvoice(int id, bool doFetchRelated);
InvoiceEntity GetSingleInvoice(DateTime invoiceDate, int accountId); //unique
InvoiceEntity CreateInvoice();
InvoiceLineEntity CreateInvoiceLine();
void SaveChanges(InvoiceEntity); //handles inserts or updates
void DeleteInvoice(InvoiceEntity);
void DeleteInvoiceLine(InvoiceLineEntity);
}



In the second case, the expressions (LINQ or otherwise) would be entirely contained in the Repository implementation, whoever is implementing the service just needs to know which repository function to call.

I guess I don’t see the advantage of writing all the expression syntax in the service class and passing to the repository. Wouldn’t this mean easy-to-messup LINQ code is being duplicated in many cases?

For example, in our old invoicing system, we call

InvoiceRepository.GetSingleInvoice(DateTime invoiceDate, int accountId)



from a few different services (Customer, Invoice, Account, etc). That seems much cleaner than writing the following in multiple places:

rep.GetSingle(x => x.AccountId = someId &amp;&amp; x.InvoiceDate = someDate.Date);



The only disadvantage I see to using the specific approach is that we could end up with many permutations of Get* functions, but this still seems preferable to pushing the expression logic up into the Service classes.

What am I missing?

• Using generic repositories with full ORMs looks useless. I have discussed this in details here.

171 people think this answer is useful

This is an issue as old as the Repository pattern itself. The recent introduction of LINQ’s IQueryable, a uniform representation of a query, has caused a lot of discussion about this very topic.

I prefer specific repositories myself, after having worked very hard to build a generic repository framework. No matter what clever mechanism I tried, I always ended up at the same problem: a repository is a part of the domain being modeled, and that domain is not generic. Not every entity can be deleted, not every entity can be added, not every entity has a repository. Queries vary wildly; the repository API becomes as unique as the entity itself.

A pattern I often use is to have specific repository interfaces, but a base class for the implementations. For example, using LINQ to SQL, you could do:

public abstract class Repository<TEntity>
{
private DataContext _dataContext;

protected Repository(DataContext dataContext)
{
_dataContext = dataContext;
}

protected IQueryable<TEntity> Query
{
get { return _dataContext.GetTable<TEntity>(); }
}

protected void InsertOnCommit(TEntity entity)
{
_dataContext.GetTable<TEntity>().InsertOnCommit(entity);
}

protected void DeleteOnCommit(TEntity entity)
{
_dataContext.GetTable<TEntity>().DeleteOnCommit(entity);
}
}



Replace DataContext with your unit-of-work of choice. An example implementation might be:

public interface IUserRepository
{
User GetById(int id);

IQueryable<User> GetLockedOutUsers();

void Insert(User user);
}

public class UserRepository : Repository<User>, IUserRepository
{
public UserRepository(DataContext dataContext) : base(dataContext)
{}

public User GetById(int id)
{
return Query.Where(user => user.Id == id).SingleOrDefault();
}

public IQueryable<User> GetLockedOutUsers()
{
return Query.Where(user => user.IsLockedOut);
}

public void Insert(User user)
{
InsertOnCommit(user);
}
}



Notice the public API of the repository does not allow users to be deleted. Also, exposing IQueryable is a whole other can of worms – there are as many opinions as belly buttons on that topic.

27 people think this answer is useful

I actually disagree slightly with Bryan’s post. I think he’s right, that ultimately everything is very unique and so on. But at the same time, most of that comes out as you design, and I find that getting a generic repository up and using it while developing my model, I can get an app up very quickly, then refactor to greater specificity as I find the need to do so.

So, in cases like that, I have often created a generic IRepository that has the full CRUD stack, and that lets me get quickly to playing with the API and letting folks play w/ the UI and do integration & user acceptance testing in parallel. Then, as I find I need specific queries on the repo, etc, I start replacing that dependency w/ the specific one if needed and going from there. One underlying impl. is easy to create and use (and possibly hook to an in-memory db or static objects or mocked objects or whatever).

That said, what I have started doing lately is breaking up the behavior. So, if you do interfaces for IDataFetcher, IDataUpdater, IDataInserter, and IDataDeleter (for example) you can mix-and-match to define your requirements through the interface and then have implementations that take care of some or all of them, and I can still inject the does-it-all implementation to use while I’m building the app out.

paul

13 people think this answer is useful

I prefer specific repositories which derives from generic repository (or list of generic repositories to specify exact behavior) with overridable method signatures.