DTO

#CASBAN6: Function base class (and an update to the DTO models)

#CASBAN6: Function base class (and an update to the DTO models)

After we have been setting up our Azure Function project last time, we are now able to create a base class for our Azure functions. The main goal is to achieve a common configuration for all functions to make our life easier later on.

CRUD defintion

Our API endpoints should provide us a CRUD (Create-Read-Update-Delete) interface. Our implementation will reflect this pattern as follows:

  • A creation endpoint
  • Two read endpoints – one for list results (like a list of posts) and one for receiving details of an entity
  • An update endpoint to change existing entities
  • A delete endpoint

As all of our entities are tied to a single blog’s Id, we will use this base class for all entities besides the Blog entity itself.

The base class

    public abstract class BlogFunctionBase
    {
        internal readonly BlogContext BlogContext;
        internal ILogger? Logger;
        internal JsonSerializerSettings? JsonSerializerSettings;

        protected BlogFunctionBase(BlogContext blogContext)
        {
            BlogContext = blogContext ?? throw new ArgumentNullException(nameof(blogContext));

            CreateNewtonSoftSerializerSettings();
        }

        private void CreateNewtonSoftSerializerSettings()
        {
            JsonSerializerSettings = NewtonsoftJsonObjectSerializer.CreateJsonSerializerSettings();

            JsonSerializerSettings.ContractResolver = new CamelCasePropertyNamesContractResolver();

            JsonSerializerSettings.NullValueHandling = NullValueHandling.Ignore;
            JsonSerializerSettings.Formatting = Formatting.Indented;
            JsonSerializerSettings.ReferenceLoopHandling = ReferenceLoopHandling.Ignore;
            JsonSerializerSettings.DateFormatHandling = DateFormatHandling.IsoDateFormat;
            JsonSerializerSettings.DateParseHandling = DateParseHandling.DateTimeOffset;
        }

        public virtual Task<HttpResponseData> Create([HttpTrigger(AuthorizationLevel.Anonymous, "post", Route = null)] HttpRequestData req,
            string blogId) =>
            throw new NotImplementedException();

        public virtual Task<HttpResponseData> GetList([HttpTriggerAttribute(AuthorizationLevel.Anonymous, "get", Route = null)] HttpRequestData req, string blogId) =>
            throw new NotImplementedException();

        public virtual Task<HttpResponseData> GetSingle([HttpTriggerAttribute(AuthorizationLevel.Anonymous, "get", Route = null)] HttpRequestData req, string blogId, string id) =>
            throw new NotImplementedException();

        public virtual Task<HttpResponseData> Update([HttpTriggerAttribute(AuthorizationLevel.Anonymous, "put", Route = null)] HttpRequestData req, string blogId, string id) =>
            throw new NotImplementedException();

        public virtual Task<HttpResponseData> Delete([HttpTriggerAttribute(AuthorizationLevel.Anonymous, "delete", Route = null)] HttpRequestData req, string blogId, string id) =>
            throw new NotImplementedException();

    }

Knowing the definition of our API endpoints, there shouldn’t be any surprises with that implementation. As a base class, the definition is of course abstract.

In the constructor, I am setting up how JSON objects will be handled. I am following common practices in formatting. The only thing that is different from using JSON.NET directly is the fact we need to explicitly use the NewtonsoftJsonObjectSerializer.CreateJsonSerializerSettings method to create an instance of the JsonSerializerSettings property.

We also have an internal ILogger? property, which will be used in the derived class to create a typed instance for logging purposes. Last but not least, I am enforcing passing in a BlogContext instance from our Entity Framework implementation.

If you look at the method declaration, you’ll see the authorization level is set to Anonymous. As I am using Azure Active Directory, I am handling the authorization on a separate layer (there will be a post on that topic as well). Besides that, there is nothing special. All methods need a blogId and those endpoints that interact with a resource need a resource id as well.

The blog entity has a similar structure, with some differences in the parameter definitions. To keep things simple, I decided to let it be different from the base class definition above. We will see this in the next post of this series.

Update to the DTO models

While the blog series is ongoing, it still lags a bit behind on what I am currently working on (you can follow the dev branch on GitHub for an up-to-date view). As I am currently working on the administration client for our blog, I started to implement an SDK that can be used by all clients (the blog’s website will also just be a client). See the original post on DTOs here.

To be able to create a generic implementation of the calls to the API endpoints, I needed to create also a base class for the DTO models. It is a very simple class, as you can see:

public abstract class DtoModelBase
{
    public virtual Guid? BlogId { get; set; }

    public virtual Guid? ResourceId { get; set; }
}

This base class allows me to specify a Type that derives from it in the SDK API calls – which was my main goal. Second, I have now a common ResourceId property instead of the Id being named after the class name of the DTO. Both properties are virtual to allow me to specify the Required attributes in the derived classes as needed. You can see these changes on GitHub.

The reason I am writing about the change already today is that it will have impact on how the functions are implemented, as both the API functions and the Client SDK use the same DTO classes.

Conclusion

In this post, we had a look at the base class for our Azure functions we will use as an API and on the updated DTO models. With this prerequisite post in place, we will have a look at the function implementations in the next post.

Until the next post, happy coding, everyone!

Posted by msicc in Azure, Dev Stories, MAUI, 0 comments
#CASBAN6: the DTOs and mappings

#CASBAN6: the DTOs and mappings

We already have created our database and our entities, so let’s have a look at how we bring the data to our API consuming applications.

If we recap, our entity models contain all the relations and identifiers. This could lead to some issues like circular references during serialization and unnecessary data repetition. Luckily for us, there is already a solution for this—it’s called data transfer object (DTO). The main purposes of a DTO is to serve data while being serializable (see also Wikipedia).

The DTO project

If you have been following along, you might already have guessed that I have created a separate project for the DTO model classes. The overall structure is similar to what you have already seen in my last post, where I showed you the entity model.

Implementation

Let’s have an exemplary look at the Medium entity class:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;

namespace MSiccDev.ServerlessBlog.EntityModel
{
    public class Medium
    {
        public Guid MediumId { get; set; }

        public Uri MediumUrl { get; set; }

        public string AlternativeText { get; set; }

        public string Description { get; set; }

        public Guid MediumTypeId { get; set; }
        public MediumType MediumType { get; set; }

        public Guid BlogId { get; set; }
        public Blog Blog { get; set; }

        public ICollection<Post> Posts { get; set; }
        public ICollection<Author> Authors { get; set; }

        public List<PostMediumMapping> PostMediumMappings { get; set; }

    }
}

The entity contains all relationships on the database. Our API will constrain a lot of them already down (we will see in a later post how), for example by requiring the BlogId for every call as primary identifier. There are a lot of other connection points, but we also want to be able to use the Medium endpoint just for managing media.

Here is the Medium DTO:

using System;
namespace MSiccDev.ServerlessBlog.DtoModel
{
    public class Medium
    {
        public Guid MediumId { get; set; }

        public Uri MediumUrl { get; set; }

        public string AlternativeText { get; set; }

        public string Description { get; set; }

        public MediumType MediumType { get; set; }

        public bool? IsPostImage { get; set; } = null;
    }
}


The class contains all the information we need. With this DTO, we will be able to manage media files alone but also in its usage context (which is mostly within posts of a blog).

Mapping helpers

To convert entity objects to data transfer objects and vice versa, we are using mappings. Mappings are converters that bring the data into the desired shape. On the contrary to our model classes, mappings are allowed to modify data during the conversion.

No library this time

If you are wondering why I am not using one of the established libraries for mappings, there are several reasons. When I came to the point of DTO implementation in the developing process, I evaluated the options for the mappings.

All of them had quite a learning curve, in the end, I was faster writing my own mappings. On bigger systems like shops or similar projects, I would probably have chosen the other path. There is also a small chance I change my mind one day, which would result in a refactoring session then.

Both mapping helper classes are, once again, in their own project.

Converting entities to DTOs

As you can see in the EntityToDtoMapExtensions class, I created extension methods for all entity objects. To remain on the Medium class, here are the particular implementations (there should be no surprise):

public static DtoModel.Medium ToDto(this EntityModel.Medium entity)
{
    return new DtoModel.Medium()
    {
        MediumId = entity.MediumId,
        MediumType = entity.MediumType.ToDto(),
        MediumUrl = entity.MediumUrl,
        AlternativeText = entity.AlternativeText,
        Description = entity.Description
    };
}

public static DtoModel.MediumType ToDto(this EntityModel.MediumType entity)
{
    return new DtoModel.MediumType()
    {
        MediumTypeId = entity.MediumTypeId,
        MimeType = entity.MimeType,
        Name = entity.Name,
        Encoding = entity.Encoding
    };
}

You may have noticed that I am not setting the IsPostImage property from within the extension. The information is only important in the context of a post, which is why the ToDto method for the post is setting it to true or false. Otherwise, it will be null and can be omitted in the API response.

Converting DTOs to entities

There are two scenarios where we need to convert DTOs to entities: one is the creation of new entities, the other is updating existing entities. Being very creative with the names, I implemented a CreateFrom and an UpdateWith method for each DTO type.

You can have a look at all implementations on Github, like above, here we are focusing on the Medium DTO extensions:

public static EntityModel.Medium CreateFrom(this DtoModel.Medium dto, Guid blogId)
{
    return new EntityModel.Medium()
    {
        BlogId = blogId,
        MediumId = dto.MediumId,
        MediumTypeId = dto.MediumType?.MediumTypeId ?? default,
        MediumUrl = dto.MediumUrl,
        AlternativeText = dto.AlternativeText,
        Description = dto.Description,
    };
}

public static EntityModel.Medium UpdateWith(this EntityModel.Medium existingMedium, DtoModel.Medium updatedMedium)
{
    if (existingMedium.MediumId != updatedMedium.MediumId)
        throw new ArgumentException("MediumId must be equal in UPDATE operation.");

    if (existingMedium.AlternativeText != updatedMedium.AlternativeText)
        existingMedium.AlternativeText = updatedMedium.AlternativeText;

    if (existingMedium.Description != updatedMedium.Description)
        existingMedium.Description = updatedMedium.Description;

    if (existingMedium.MediumTypeId != updatedMedium.MediumType.MediumTypeId)
        existingMedium.MediumTypeId = updatedMedium.MediumType.MediumTypeId;

    if (existingMedium.MediumUrl != updatedMedium.MediumUrl)
        existingMedium.MediumUrl = updatedMedium.MediumUrl;

    return existingMedium;
}

Once again, there should be no surprise in the implementation. If you have a look at the other methods, you will find them implemented similarly.

Conclusion

In this post, I explained why we need DTOs and showed you how I implemented them. We also had a look at the mapping extensions to convert the entities to data transfer objects and vice versa. Now that we have them in place, we are able to start implementing our Azure Functions, which is where we are heading to next in the #CASBAN6 blog series.

Until the next post, happy coding, everyone!

Posted by msicc in Azure, Database, Dev Stories, 2 comments