Accessing expression bodied members to build expression trees

c# entity-framework-6 expression-trees linq


Trying to build an order by expression using expression trees. But I am unable to access an expression bodied property of the query result's class. This is the class structure:

public class AssetFileRecord : IAuditable, IEntity, INavigateToCustomValues
    public AssetFileRecord()
        this.UpdatedTimeStamp = DateTime.UtcNow;

    public AssetFileRecord GetRecord()
        return this;

    public Guid Id { get; set; }
    public int DisplayId { get; set; }
    public string AssetTagNumber { get; set; }
    public virtual Account Account { get; set; }
    public string AccountNumber => Account?.AccountNumber;
    public string AuditTrail { get; set; }
    public string OldTagNumber { get; set; }
    public ActivityCode ActivityCode { get; set; }

    public virtual ICollection<AssetFileRecordDepreciation> AssetFileRecordDepreciations { get; set; }
    // Depreciation Records
    public double? AccumulatedDepreciation => Depreciation()?.AccumulatedDepreciation;
    public DateTime? DepreciationAsOfDate => Depreciation()?.DepreciationAsOfDate;
    public double? LifeMonths => Depreciation()?.LifeMonths;
    public double? DepreciationBasis => Depreciation()?.DepreciationBasis;
    public double? PeriodDepreciation => Depreciation()?.PeriodDepreciation;

    private AssetFileRecordDepreciation Depreciation()
        return AssetFileRecordDepreciations?.AsQueryable()?.OrderBy(d => d.AssetFileDepreciationBook.BookNo)?.FirstOrDefault();

I am unable to get to the property AccountNumber which is a property of a virtual property of AssetFileRecord.

Below is the current code that works fine for any other non-expression bodied properties.

var type = typeof(T);
var property = type.GetProperty(sortProperty, BindingFlags.IgnoreCase | BindingFlags.Public | BindingFlags.Instance);
var parameter = Expression.Parameter(type, "p");
var propertyAccess = Expression.MakeMemberAccess(parameter, property);
var orderByExp = Expression.Lambda(propertyAccess, parameter);
var typeArguments = new[] { type, property.PropertyType };
var methodBase = isFirstOrderTerm ? "OrderBy" : "ThenBy";
var methodName = sortOrder == ListSortDirection.Ascending ? methodBase : $"{methodBase}Descending";
var resultExp = Expression.Call(typeof(Queryable), methodName, typeArguments, source.Expression, Expression.Quote(orderByExp));

return source.Provider.CreateQuery<T>(resultExp);

Expression.Call does not evaluate to a valid SQL query and rather throws an exception.

((System.Data.Entity.Infrastructure.DbQuery<AssetFileRecord>)records).Sql = '((System.Data.Entity.Infrastructure.DbQuery<AssetFileRecord>)records).Sql' threw an exception of type 'System.NotSupportedException'

Intended result: It should append an order by expression to the expression tree generated in the end; while it's failing to do so, when tried to order by an expression bodied property member.

Can someone please help me get this working.

2/27/2019 8:39:27 PM

Accepted Answer

You have two problems with your approach. First is that you can't use a null propagating operator in Linq Expressions. Test this code:

var account = new Account();
// will cause "error CS8072: An expression tree lambda may not contain a null propagating operator"    
Expression<Func<string>> accountNumber = () => account?.AccountNumber;

Second and main problem is that your AccountNumber will be compiled into get_AccountNumber method and you can't invoke arbitrary methods with Linq to SQL. You may test this code:

public class AssetFileRecord
  public string AccountNumber => Account != null ? Account.AccountNumber : null;

while this can be compiled, it produce same runtime exception.

One possible way to workaround this problem is to create a map with expressions for complex properties:

var map = new Dictionary<string, Expression>
        "AssetFileRecord.AccountNumber", // type and property
        (Expression<Func<AssetFileRecord, string>>) (
            afr => afr.Account != null ? afr.Account.AccountNumber : null

Now you can rewrite your method that builds dynamic OrderBy with respect to this map:

private static IQueryable<T> DynamicOrderBy<T>(
    IQueryable<T> source,
    string sortProperty,
    Dictionary<string, Expression> map)
    var type = typeof(T);
    var parameter = Expression.Parameter(type, "p");
    var property = type.GetProperty(sortProperty, BindingFlags.IgnoreCase | BindingFlags.Public | BindingFlags.Instance);

    Expression whereLambda;
    if (!map.TryGetValue($"{type.Name}.{sortProperty}", out whereLambda))
        var propertyAccess = Expression.MakeMemberAccess(parameter, property);
        whereLambda = Expression.Lambda(propertyAccess, parameter);
    // else we just using a lambda from map

    // call OrderBy
    var query = Expression.Call(
        new[] {type, property.PropertyType},

    return source.Provider.CreateQuery<T>(query);
2/11/2019 12:26:55 PM

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