generate EF orderby Expression by string

c# entity-framework expression-trees linq

Question

I want to generate expression by string parameter,some code like:

 private Expression<Func<Task, T>> Generate(string orderby)
    {
        switch (orderby)
        {
            case "Time":  
                return t => t.Time;
            case "Money":
                return t => t.RewardMoney;
            default:
                return t => t.Id;
        }
    }

then call it:

_context.Items.OrderBy(Generate("Money"));

But It can't compile! I change T to object.

private Expression<Func<Task, object>> Generate(string orderby)

Then It can compile, but It doesn't work.

System.NotSupportedException: Unable to cast the type 'System.Int32' to type 'System.Object'. LINQ to Entities only supports casting EDM primitive or enumeration types.

Accepted Answer

Using and you can provide the parameters and then call OrderBy function, Instead of returning Expression<Func<Task, T>> and then calling OrderBy.

Note that OrderBy is an extension method and has implemented in both System.Linq.Enumarable and System.Linq.Queryable classes. The first one is for and the latter is for . needs the expression tree of the query in order to translate it to SQL commands. So we use the Queryable implementation.

It can be done by an extension method(explanations added as comments):

public static IOrderedQueryable<TSource> OrderBy<TSource>(
       this IQueryable<TSource> query, string propertyName)
{
    var entityType = typeof(TSource);

    //Create x=>x.PropName
    var propertyInfo = entityType.GetProperty(propertyName);
    ParameterExpression arg = Expression.Parameter(entityType, "x");
    MemberExpression property = Expression.Property(arg, propertyName);
    var selector = Expression.Lambda(property, new ParameterExpression[] { arg });

    //Get System.Linq.Queryable.OrderBy() method.
    var enumarableType = typeof(System.Linq.Queryable);
    var method = enumarableType.GetMethods()
         .Where(m => m.Name == "OrderBy" && m.IsGenericMethodDefinition)
         .Where(m =>
         {
            var parameters = m.GetParameters().ToList();
            //Put more restriction here to ensure selecting the right overload                
            return parameters.Count == 2;//overload that has 2 parameters
         }).Single();
    //The linq's OrderBy<TSource, TKey> has two generic types, which provided here
    MethodInfo genericMethod = method
         .MakeGenericMethod(entityType, propertyInfo.PropertyType);

    /*Call query.OrderBy(selector), with query and selector: x=> x.PropName
      Note that we pass the selector as Expression to the method and we don't compile it.
      By doing so EF can extract "order by" columns and generate SQL for it.*/
    var newQuery = (IOrderedQueryable<TSource>)genericMethod
         .Invoke(genericMethod, new object[] { query, selector });
    return newQuery;
}

Now you can call this overload of OrderBy like any other overload of it.
For example:

var cheapestItems = _context.Items.OrderBy("Money").Take(10).ToList();

Which translates to:

SELECT TOP (10)  {coulmn names} FROM  [dbo].[Items] AS [Extent1] 
       ORDER BY [Extent1].[Money] ASC

This approach can be used to define all overloads of OrderBy and OrderByDescending methods to have string property selector.


Popular Answer

You could try converting the Generate method in a generic method:

private Expression<Func<Task, TResult>> Generate<TResult>(string orderby)
{
     switch (orderby)
     {
        case "Time":  
          return t => t.Time;
        case "Money":
          return t => t.RewardMoney;
        default:
         return t => t.Id;
     }
}

So, if you call this method, you need to specify the type of the property that you want to order by:

_context.Items.OrderBy(Generate<decimal>("Money"));

Now remember that TResult can only be a primitive type or enumeration type.



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Licensed under: CC-BY-SA with attribution
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Is this KB legal? Yes, learn why