Archive for the ‘SQL’ Category

Using PowerShell to Kick off SQL Server Agent Jobs

We’re in the process of a few upgrades around our office and one of those will require a full shutdown mid-business day. To expedite the shutdown, I wanted a quick way to run our backup jobs (hot backups), move them, and down the boxes.

Remember, I’m lazy–walking around our server room smacking rack switches takes effort. I want to sit and drink coffee while the world comes to a halt.

Here’s a bit of what I came up with. The script handles four things:

  • accepts a server name parameter (so I can iterate through a list of servers),
  • checks to see if the server is online (simple ping),
  • checks to see if it’s a SQL Server (looks for the MSSQLSERVER service),
  • iterates through the jobs and, if the -run switch is passed, kicks them off.

As with most, the couple of helper functions are more than the actual script itself.

param (
  [string]$server = $(Read-Host -prompt "Enter the server name"),
  [switch]$run = $false

# little helper function to ping the remove server.
function get-server-online ([string] $server) {
  $serverStatus = 
    (new-object System.Net.NetworkInformation.Ping).Send($server).Status -eq "Success"
  Write-Host "Server Online: $serverStatus"
  return $serverStatus

# little helper function to check to see if the remote 
# server has SQL Server running.
function is-sql-server([string] $server) {
   if (get-server-online($server)) {
    $sqlStatus = (gwmi Win32_service -computername $server | 
        ? { $ -like "MSSQLSERVER" }).Status -eq "OK"
    Write-Host "SQL Server Found: $sqlStatus"
    return $sqlStatus

# uhh, because someday I may need to add more to this?
function cannot-find-server([string] $server) {
  Write-Host "Cannot contact $server..."

if (is-sql-server($server)) {
    [System.Reflection.Assembly]::LoadWithPartialName('Microsoft.SqlServer.SMO') | Out-Null
    $srv = new-object ('Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Server') $server
    $jobs = $srv.JobServer.Jobs | ? {$_.IsEnabled -eq $true} 

    $jobs | 
        select Name, CurrentRunStatus, LastRunOutcome, LastRunDate, NextRunDate | 
        ft -a
    if ($run) {
      $jobs | % { $_.Start(); "Starting job: $_ ..." }
else {

Things left to do–someday…?

  • Allow picking and choosing what jobs get kicked off…

It’s not fancy, but it’ll save time backing up and shutting down a couple dozen SQL instances and ensuring they’re not missed in the chaos. ๐Ÿ™‚

Automating Extracts Using External .SQL Files and PowerShell

September 29, 2009 Comments off

Rather than rely on a system task, I wanted to be able to kick off an export of one of our SQL databases on the fly, have it generate a CSV, then email the CSV to one of our developers.

Sounds like a task for PowerShell!

Why PowerShell? Well, frankly, because moving jobs around and such on our mixed-mash of SQL versions and servers is a bit annoying and I wanted to see if it worked.

So, to start off, I have a file, call it export_data.sql that contains all of the logic of my SQL query and the format I require.

I’ll also be using the Microsoft SQL query script I discussed in this blog post.

The tricky part is reading in the .sql file as a single “entity”—not the array of rows that get-content usually provides.  Thankfully, there is an easy way to do it.

@(gc ‘export_data.sql’ -readcount 0)

According to the PowerShell documentation, the readcount parameter serves two purposes: one is to set the number of lines to read at a time, the second (when set to zero) is to pull in all of the lines at once.  Great, that’s exactly what we need.

From there, it’s simply feeding our query to the sql-query function I wrote and exporting to CSV.  Nice enough, CSV exports are built-in to PowerShell!

The final command looks something like this:

@(gc ‘export_data.sql’ -readcount 0) | 
   % { sql-query server db $_ } |
   export-csv dump.csv

I could then add another field to mail the csv using the built-in command Send-MailMessage.

โค PowerShell.

Querying SQL Server using PowerShell

August 31, 2009 2 comments

The great thing about PowerShell is direct access to objects.  For my apps, database connectivity is happily handled by NHibernate; however, that doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of good old System.Data.SqlClient for our PowerShell scripting.

CODE: The full source of this is available here on

param (
    [string]$server = “.”,
    [string]$instance = $(throw “a database name is required”),

$connection = new-object `
    “Data Source=$server;Initial Catalog=$instance;Integrated Security=SSPI;”);
$adapter = new-object ($query, $connection)
$set = new-object


$table = new-object
$table = $set.Tables[0]

#return table

Not too long or challenging—it’s mostly working to instantiate a quick SQL connection and pass in your query.  I even considered plugging in a check on the $query parameter to ensure it began with SELECT to ensure I wouldn’t do accidental damage to a system. Maybe I’m just paranoid. ๐Ÿ˜‰

What this little snippet allows me to do is quickly add log4net checking into some of my server monitoring PowerShell scripts.

query sqlServer myDatabase “Select count(id), logger from logs group by logger” | format-table -autosize

Notice I didn’t include the format-table command in my main query script.  Why?  I wanted to keep the flexibility to select, group, and parse the information returned by my query.  Unfortunately, it seems that the format commands break that if they’re ran before a manipulation keyword.  Adding in “ft –a” isn’t difficult in a pinch.


Quick and easy…

Other uses:

  • Customer calls up with a question about data—save time and do a quick query rather than waiting for Management Studio to wind up.
  • Keep tabs on database statistics, jobs, etc.
  • and more…

AutoMappings in NHibernate – A Quick Runthrough

June 26, 2009 Comments off

For most of my projects, at least since I’ve moved to NHibernate/Fluent NHibernate, I’ve been trapped using the existing data structures of prior iterations.  Funky naming conventions (many due to cross-cultural, international column naming), missing data relationships, and general craziness.

Having used Fluent Mappings (creating a class that implements ClassMap<objectType>) in the past, they were a huge jump up from writing painful data objects, connecting them together, and recreating the wheel with “SELECT {column} from {table}” code.  Create a map, use the fluent methods to match column to property, and away you go.

In a recent project, I’ve had the opportunity to build a new system from the ground up.  With this, I decided to dive head first into using the AutoMappings functionality of Fluent NHibernate. 

This post is somewhat a rambling self-discussion of my explorations with AutoMappings.

What are AutoMappings?

The FluentNHibernate wiki provides a simple definition:

[…] which is a mechanism for automatically mapping all your entities based on a set of conventions.

Rather than hand-mapping each column to a property, we create conventions (rules) to map those.. automatically.  Hey look, auto…mappings.  ๐Ÿ˜‰


Using the same fluent language, configuring AutoMapping is an exercise in implementing conventions for the logical naming and handling of data.




                  .ConnectionString(cs => cs












    .ExposeConfiguration(raw =>


                                 // Testing/NHibernate Profiler stuffs.

                                 raw.SetProperty(“generate_statistics”, “true”);



    .Mappings(m =>



                                     .ConventionDiscovery.Setup(c =>







                                     .WithSetup(c => c.IsBaseType = type => type == typeof (Entity)))



As you can see above, the only difference from a fluent mappings configuration is in the actual Mappings area.  Good deal!  That helps ensure my existing work using fluent mappings could translate without too much headache.

I’ve specified four conventions.  Each of these conventions have interfaces that provide the necessary methods to ensure your rules are appied to the correct objects.


internal class EnumMappingConvention : IUserTypeConvention


    public bool Accept(IProperty target)


        return target.PropertyType.IsEnum;



    public void Apply(IProperty target)





    public bool Accept(Type type)


        return type.IsEnum;



The great thing about these methods is they’re fluent enough to translate to English.

Accept… targets where the property type is an enumeration.

Apply… to the target that the “Custom Type Is” the property type of the target.
  NOTE: This translates from a ClassMap into: Map(x => x.MyEnumFlag).CustomTypeIs(typeof(MyEnum));

Accept… a type that is an enumeration.


The Reference convention handles those reference relationships between our classes (and the foreign keys).

internal class ReferencesConvention : IReferenceConvention


    public bool Accept(IManyToOnePart target)


        return string.IsNullOrEmpty(target.GetColumnName());



    public void Apply(IManyToOnePart target)


        target.ColumnName(target.Property.Name + “Id”);



The most important part here is enforcing how your foreign keys are going to be named.  I prefer the simple {Object}Id format.

Car.Battery on the object side and [Car].[BatteryId] on the database side.


The HasManys are our lists, bags, and collections of objects.

internal class HasManyConvention : IHasManyConvention



    public bool Accept(IOneToManyPart target)


        return target.KeyColumnNames.List().Count == 0;



    public void Apply(IOneToManyPart target)


        target.KeyColumnNames.Add(target.EntityType.Name + “Id”);





We want to make sure that we haven’t added any other key columns (the Count == 0), and then apply both the naming convention as well as a few properties.

Cascade.AllDeleteOrphan() and Inverse() allows our parent objects (Car) to add new child objects (Car.Battery (Battery), Car.Accessories (IList<Accessory>)) without separating them out.


Finally, the important Class mapping.  This convention ensures that our tables are named property with pluralization.

public class ClassMappingConvention : IClassConvention


    public bool Accept(IClassMap target)


        return true; // everything



    public void Apply(IClassMap target)





I’m using a pluralization method from one of my base libraries that I borrowed from Hudson Akridge.  This helper method works really well and I don’t need to add additional references and libraries into my application just to handle the table names.

public static string PluralOf(string text)


      var pluralString = text;

      var lastCharacter = pluralString.Substring(pluralString.Length – 1).ToLower();


      // y’s become ies (such as Category to Categories)

      if (string.Equals(lastCharacter, “y”, StringComparison.InvariantCultureIgnoreCase))


          pluralString = pluralString.Remove(pluralString.Length – 1);

          pluralString += “ie”;



      // ch’s become ches (such as Pirch to Pirches)

      if (string.Equals(pluralString.Substring(pluralString.Length – 2), “ch”,



          pluralString += “e”;


      switch (lastCharacter)


          case “s”:

              return pluralString + “es”;


              return pluralString + “s”;



Save and build.  The ExportSchema method will generate the SQL and/or regen the database based on the specifications you’ve provided to it. and you’re ready to hit the ground running!


Benchmarks : Comparing LINQ to NHibernate Transforms/Grouping

Yesterday, I wrote about setting up NHibernate to query up, group, count, and transform results and return them into a control.  Why did I go to such effort?  Well, the original LINQ query I had that refined the results didn’t perform up to par.  As some may note, premature optimization is never a good practice so I needed some stats to back up the claims.

Overnight, I wrote up a quick test to query up both ways and benchmark the results.  Here’s what I found.

The “test”:

public void TEMP_quick_compare_of_linq_to_nhibernate()


    var schoolId = 120;


    var benchmark = new Benchmark();

    using (var repository = new IncidentRepository())



        var resultsFromLinq =


        foreach (var item in resultsFromLinq)





        Console.WriteLine(“Linq: {0}”.AsFormatFor(benchmark.ElapsedTime));



        var resultsFromNhibernate =


        foreach (var item in resultsFromNhibernate)





        Console.WriteLine(“NHibernate: {0}”.AsFormatFor(benchmark.ElapsedTime));



Setting up the benchmark (and the NHibernate Init) are outside of the benchmark—they’re necessary overhead.  I’m also iterating through each of the results as part of the benchmark to ensure that everything is evaluated. Past that, pretty basic.  On the database side, I’ve disabled statement caching to not sway the results as much.

With 24 records (the test data in the system), the results were pretty clear. The average of running the benchmark 100 times resulted in…

Linq: 00:00:00.7050000
NHibernate: 00:00:00.0190000

With 24 records, NHibernate was about 37x faster. 

That’s nice, but what happens in a few weeks when there are a few thousand records?  I populated a few hundred of each incident type into the system, giving me almost 4000 records (the anticipated monthly load of the system by the customer).  How’d that change our averages?

Linq: 00:00:00.8869746
NHibernate: 00:00:00.1381518

Now we’re only 6x faster with NHibernate vs. LINQ.  The duration from 24 to 4000 records for LINQ  jumped ~.18 seconds for a 25% gain where as NHibernate jumped ~.11 seconds for a 626% gain.

So, with that, my original gut feeling and assumptions were wrong.  More and more records don’t really slow down the LINQ filtering.. at least not by much.  The performance gain is still appparent between the two methods (.88 sec vs. .13 sec); however, how much of that time is eaten up by rendering, server latency, etc and not by the actual processing?

Grouping and Transforming Using NHibernate

June 11, 2009 Comments off

Okay, I’ve got to be doing this wrong.

Call it premature optimization, but I forsee an old LINQ method being a performance bottleneck when we hit a few hundred thousands records—especially for the ASP.NET charting control to render in any useful time period.

So, what do I do?  I figure pushing that computation back down to the database would be a good first step.

Unfortunately, grouping, sorting, and such are a serious pain in the ass.  Unless, as I said, I’m doing it wrong.

Original Code – Grouping and Counting ala LINQ

private IList GetIncidentsGroupedByIncidentCode()


    using (var repository = new IncidentRepository())


        var allIncidents =



        var incidentsByCode = from i in allIncidents

                              group i by i.IncidentCodeId

                              into grouping

                                  orderby grouping.Count()

                                  select new


                                                 IncidentCodeId = grouping.Key,

                                                 Count = grouping.Count(),

                                                 Description =



        return incidentsByCode.ToList();



Grab all incidents (using NHibernate repository) and use LINQ to transform them into a new handy anonymous type that consisted of the IncidentCodeId, a Count (by IncidentCodeId), and the Description which uses the IncidentCodeId to grab the description (the incident code description is coming from an entirely different system/database, hence the method to go fetch it).

I can simply return an IList rather than specifying the type (since it’s anonymous) and get away with loading up my Chart Control—not a problem.

Newish Code – Grouping and Counting ala NHibernate

public IList GetCountByIncidentCode(int schoolId)


    using (var tx = Session.BeginTransaction())


        var criteria = Session.CreateCriteria(typeof (Incident));


        // Only get those matching the requested SchoolId

        criteria.Add(RestrictionsHelper<Incident>.Eq(x => x.SchoolId, schoolId));


        // Setup our projections.

        // IncidentCodeId is what we’re using as an Identifier.

        // Id is what we’re counting, so the results of the “GroupedResult” go into Result

        // and we’re grouping by IncidentCodeId


                                   .Add(Projections.Property(“IncidentCodeId”), “Identifier”)

                                   .Add(Projections.Count(“Id”), “Result”)


        // Order THAT mess by Result



        // Now, since we can’t use anonymous objects (??), we have to use a funky Java

        // method to transform it into a typed result.

        criteria.SetResultTransformer(Transformers.AliasToBean(typeof (GroupedResult)));


        // Convert this all to a list.

        var result = criteria.List<GroupedResult>() as List<GroupedResult>;


        // Commit… or get committed.


        if (result != null)


            // We can’t do this inline (??), so go back into the list and iterate through… grabbing

            // descriptions.

            result.ForEach(x =>


                                    var description =


                                    x.Description = description;




        // Holy crap, we’re done!

        return result;



What… the… heck?

Amazingly enough, that works (changing the chart’s column names, of course).  And it’s relatively quick… But woah, what a mess. 

It also adds annoying little ‘result’ objects into the mix. 

public class GroupedResult


    public int Identifier { get; set; }

    public string Description { get; set; }

    public int Result { get; set; }


Strongly typed is stellar and I’m pretty sure I could have some generic objects. [Identifier/Description/Result] could work for counts, averages, most anything that is grouped up, but that just twitches me out a bit to have random classes sitting around for data transformations.

So, good readers—how is this REALLY supposed to work?  All that to generate the guts of:

SELECT COUNT(IncidentCodeId) as Result, IncidentCodeId
FROM Incidents
WHERE SchoolId = :schoolId
GROUP BY IncidentCodeId

Categories: .net 3.5, c#, NHibernate, SQL

Performing SELECT.. WHERE IN using a Repository

June 8, 2009 Comments off

As I’ve discussed in the past, a few of my repository pattern practices are borrowed and built on the nice S#arp Architecture project.  Here’s another situation where I needed a bit more functionality.

Disclaimer:  If there’s a better way to do this—I’m all ears and emails. ๐Ÿ™‚

By default, the FindAll method builds up the NHibernate criteria by iterating through a key/value pair.  Easy enough.

‘Id, 12345’ generates ‘WHERE Id = 12345’.

But what happens when I want to do something with an array?

‘Id, int[] {12345, 67890}’ should generate ‘WHERE Id IN (12345, 67890)’

Thankfully, the Restrictions class has an In method, but how can I add that flexibility to the FindAll method?

Here’s what the FindAll method looks like to start off:

public T Find(IDictionary<string, object> propertyValuePairs)


    Check.Require(propertyValuePairs != null,

                  “propertyValuePairs was null or empty”);

    Check.Require(propertyValuePairs.Count > 0,

                  “propertyValuePairs must contain at least one pair”);


    var criteria = Session.CreateCriteria(typeof (T));


        .ForEach(x =>

                 criteria.Add(Restrictions.Eq(x.Key, x.Value)));


    return criteria.List<T>() as List<T>;


That’s nice.  Iterate through each, but assuming an Eq (Equals) relationship between the key and the value.

After a bit of dinking, checking to see if the object is a typeof(ICollection) seems to be the most reliable considering Restrictions.In(key,value) accepts Collections for the value parameter. 

This allows you to pass arrays, lists, and dictionaries.

public List<T> FindAll(IDictionary<string, object> propertyValuePairs)


    Check.Require(propertyValuePairs != null,

                  “propertyValuePairs was null or empty”);


    Check.Require(propertyValuePairs.Count > 0,

                  “propertyValuePairs must contain at least one pair”);


    ICriteria criteria = Session.CreateCriteria(typeof (T));



        .ForEach(x =>


                         if (x.Value.IsA<ICollection>())


                             // add WHERE key IN (value)

                             criteria.Add(Restrictions.In(x.Key, (ICollection) x.Value));




                             // add WHERE key = value

                             criteria.Add(Restrictions.Eq(x.Key, x.Value));



    return criteria.List<T>() as List<T>;


Here’s my (now) passing test that I used to test this logic as I built it:


public void can_find_students_by_array_of_student_ids()


    var studentsToFind = new int[] { 622100, 567944, 601466 };


    var criteria = new Dictionary<string, object>();

    criteria.Add(“Id”, studentsToFind);

    criteria.Add(“Grade”, “09”);


    var sut = new StudentRepository();

    var students = sut.FindAll(criteria);



    students.ShouldContainMatching(x => x.Id == 567944);

    students.ForEach(x =>

        Console.WriteLine(“{0}, {1}”.AsFormatFor(x.FullName, x.Id)));


Test Passed.  Woot.  The generated SQL is also nice and clean (really loving NHProf… though I trimmed out the excess columns for brevity).

SELECT this_.Id            as Id7_0_, [..]

       this_.Grade         as Grade7_0_, [..]

FROM   custom.student_lkup this_

WHERE  this_.Id in (622100 /* :p0 */,567944 /* :p1 */,601466 /* :p2 */)

       and this_.Grade = 09 /* :p3 */

Categories: .net 3.5, c#, Microsoft, NHibernate, SQL

Configuring Oracle SQL Developer for Windows 7

I’m fully Vista-free now and loving it; however, Oracle SQL Developer has (once again) decided to simply be annoying to configure.

<rant>Yes, I realize Oracle hates Microsoft.  Girls, you’re both pretty—please grow up.</rant>

Anyway, after a bit of hunting, I think I’ve found a good mix for those of us who love SQL Developer for coding and testing, but don’t “use” a lot of the Oracle proprietary junk features that comes with it.

Originally, I was going to include a couple of the configuration files; however, they’re spread out EVERYWHERE and, frankly, I can’t find them all. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ  I also can’t figure out a way to import settings (without blowing my settings away first).

File Paths

As I mentioned before, some of the configuration files are spread out—everywhere.  Here’s where the most common files are located.

sqldeveloper.conf – <sqldeveloper folder>\sqldeveloper\bin\

ide.conf – <sqldeveloper folder>\ide\bin\

User-Configured Settings – %appdata%\SQL Developer\

I prefer to make my modifications in sqldeveloper.conf; however, a lot of the resources that pop up on Google make them in ide.conf.  Why?  I’m not sure.  sqldeveloper.conf simply CALLS ide.conf.  Meh.

Fixing Memory Consumption on Minimize

I found a reference to JDeveloper (another Java utility) that discussed how JDeveloper (and similarly, SQL Developer) pages everything when you minimize the window.

To fix this, open up sqldeveloper.conf and add the following line:

AddVMOption -Dsun.awt.keepWorkingSetOnMinimize=true

Fixing Aero Basic Theme

Tired of your IDE swapping back to Aero Basic whenever you launch SQL Developer?  Me too.  For now, Oracle reports that SQL Developer doesn’t support the full Aero Theme… or does it?

To enable Aero support (or at least keep it from bouncing back to Aero Basic), open up sqldeveloper.conf and add the following line:

AddVMOption -Dsun.java2d.noddraw=true

The Oracle forums also recommend trying the following line:

AddVMOption -Dsun.java2d.ddoffscreen=false

That option; however, never resolved the issue for me.  Your mileage may vary.

Cleaning Up The UI

The default UI leaves a lot to be desired for Oracle SQL Developer.  Here’s a few UI tips to try out.  These settings are found under Tools > Preferences.

Change the Theme – Environment > Theme. 

I like Experience Blue.  It’s clean, simple, and goes well with Windows 7’s look and feel.

Change Fonts – Code Editor > …

There are quite a few fonts that can be configured.  Here’s what I changed:

Code Insight – Segoe UI, 12
Display – check ‘Enable Text Anti-Aliasing’
Fonts – Consolas, 11
Printing – Consolas, 10

Disable Unnecessary Extensions – Extensions > …

Honestly, I don’t use ANY of the extentions, so I disabled everything as well as unchecking ‘Automatically Check for Updates’.  I’ve noticed that load time for the UI is insanely fast now (well, insanely fast for a Java app on Windows).

Window Locations

The only thing that I can’t figure out how to fix is the window location and placement.  Example: When you open a new worksheet, the results area is not visible (you have to drag that frame up each time).  That annoys me to no end and I can’t find a place to ‘save current window layout’ or similar.  Ideas?

That’s it!

With that, SQL Developer loads up quickly, connects, and displays just fine in Windows 7.

Using Multiple NHibernate Session Factories

March 6, 2009 1 comment

A few months ago, I rewrote a few of my base repositories to follow some of the archtecture practices of the S#arp Architecture project.  I liked how easy it was to setup NHibernate*, mark domain objects, and setup mappings and highly recommend checking out their project.  Unfortunately, the whole project was a bit too bulky for what I needed and much of the functionality already existed in existing framework libraries we use at the office.

* When I mention NHibernate, I’m using Fluent NHibernate, currently at build 366 with a bit of modification to allow Oracle data access.  I’ve also enhanced the S#arp Architecture project to take advantage of the latest feature changes in Fluent NHibernate.

One pitfall, however, that I recently ran into was needing to access NHibernate multiple session factories at the same time—such as to access PeopleSoft and our internal student system to pull in demographic information.  The S#arp web session storage, by default, uses a single key opening a separate session overwrites the prior.

I found an open Issue on the S#arp tracker (#12) for such a functionality and a bit of code from Russell Thatcher to allow multiple sessions; however, I could never get it fully working—so I set off to create my own.

Updating the WebSessionStorage

To address the issue of storing multiple sessions in the HttpContext’s session state, the keys must be uniquely named when created.  To do this, I replaced the previous constructor of WebSessionStorage(HttpApplication) and added an additional parameter to create WebSessionStorage(HttpApplication, string).

This appends a name to the session key used to store the NHibernate ISession.

private readonly string CurrentSessionKey = “nhibernate.”;


public WebSessionStorage(HttpApplication application, string factoryKey)


       application.EndRequest += Application_EndRequest;

       CurrentSessionKey += factoryKey;


Everything else in WebSessionStorage remains the same.

NOTE: This ensures that we can find the ISession within the ASP.NET context using WebSessionStorage and isn’t required if you’re managing the the ISession yourself or using another mechanism for storage.

Updating the NHibernateSession

Since we’re looking to support multiple, keyed sessions, the NHibernateSession’s private fields of SessionFactory and SessionStorage should be changed into keyed Dictionaries.

private static readonly Dictionary<string, ISessionFactory> SessionFactories =

       new Dictionary<string, ISessionFactory>();


private static readonly Dictionary<string, ISessionStorage> SessionStorages =

       new Dictionary<string, ISessionStorage>();

To use these new dictionaries, we replace the change the logic in the Init method to add the factory and storage to the dictionary, rather than assign to a single variable.

public static FluentConfiguration Init(

       this FluentConfiguration configuration,

       ISessionStorage storage,

       string factoryKey)


       Check.Require(storage != null,

              “The session storage was null, but must be provided.”);


               “A unique key for the session factory was null, but must be provided.”);




              if (!SessionFactories.ContainsKey(factoryKey))










                     return configuration;



       catch (HibernateException ex)


              throw new


                           “Cannot create session factory.”, ex);



       return configuration;


Our Init statement, when called, then looks like, passing along the factory key with the ISessionStorage.

configuration.Init(storage, “FactoryKeyNameGoesHere”);

The Current static public property also needs to address the new Dictionary; however, cannot as a property as it needs the parameter of the factory key.  I converted this into a method that accepts the factory key and returns an ISession based on what it finds.  If it cannot find an open sesson (is null) in the dictionary, it opens a new one, sets it in the dictionary, and returns it to the caller.

public static ISession Current(string factoryKey)


       var session =

              SessionStorages[factoryKey].Session ??



       SessionStorages[factoryKey].Session = session;


       return session;


That’s it in the NHibernateSession.

Updating the Repository & Decorating Inheriting Repositories

The Repository base class provides functionality to the CRUD methods through a protected Session property.  This property needs to be updated to call the new Current(string) method.  However, since the Repository doesn’t know, we need to find a way to communicate the “key” that a repository uses to ensure the correct session is accessed (so, for example, that our PeopleSoft queries don’t try to hit our SAP session—that confuses it. *grin*)

Randall had a great solution for this—an attribute applied to repositories that simply provides a place to store the “name” of the session.


public class SessionFactoryAttribute : Attribute


       public readonly string FactoryKey;


       public SessionFactoryAttribute(string factoryKey)


              FactoryKey = factoryKey;



       public static string GetKeyFrom(object myClass)


              var key = string.Empty;


              //Get member info via reflection

              var info = myClass.GetType();


              //Retrieve custom attributes

              var attributes =


                           typeof (SessionFactoryAttribute),



              //Check for attribute

              if (attributes.Length > 0)


                     var att =

                           (SessionFactoryAttribute) attributes[0];

                     key = att.FactoryKey;



              return key;



Now we simply decorate the inheriting repositories with SessionFactory.  Notice how the key matches what we used in the Init statement earlier.


public class CourseRepository :
       NHibernateRepository<Course>, ICourseRepository, IDisposable { }

For a bit better design, you can also create a constant called, perhaps, FactoryKey or {data}FactoryKey and use that for the attributes and Init statement.  Then, if it needs changed—change it in one place.

Inside our Configuration class (PSConfiguration, for example), we have:

public const string FactoryKey = “PSProd”;


configuration.Init(storage, PSConfiguration.FactoryKey);

and then decorating our Repository classes:


Now, to take advantage of our new SessionFactory attribute, we modify the Session property on our Repository base class.

protected virtual ISession Session




              var factoryKey = SessionFactoryAttribute.GetKeyFrom(this);

              return NHibernateSession.Current(factoryKey);



Now the interface implementations (Get, Find, etc) are fetching the correct Session.

In summary, I’ve enabled accessing multiple NHibernate Session Factories from the S#arp Architecture framework (or my small implementation of it) by…

  • Updating the WebSessionStorage to accept a factory key when the session is created.
  • Updating the NHibernateSession to store multiple Factories and Storages in dictionaries and then access these dictionaries when the “current” session is requested.
  • Adding an attribute to Repositories to “name” which factory a certain repository should be selecting out of and then providing that session when called.

So far, things are working like a champ—tweaking and refactoring from here. ๐Ÿ™‚

Adventures with Fluent NHibernate

December 23, 2008 Comments off

Fluent NHibernate LogoOver the past few weeks, I’ve taken our existing framework library and reevaluated how we connect to our student information system (SIS) to pull information.  Almost all of our applications read from SIS for some bit of information or another; however, nothing writes to it.  Changes are only handled through the application itself as the business logic is blackboxed by the vendor.

In the old library, connectivity was a bit piecemeal.  When someone needed something, we wrote a test, wrote the implementation PL/SQL, and slugged in some objects.  It worked, was fairly quick, and provided a standardized mechanism for querying the system (avoiding EVERYONE recreating what constituted a ‘student’).

Unfortunately, maintaining the object relationships to the magic strings of PL/SQL code became tedious (at best) and a change was needed.  I’d been evaluating NHibernate for a couple of projects (to replace LINQ-to-SQL) as Entity Framework still doesn’t have sufficient Oracle ODP support out of the box (without paying for another provider).  NHibernate seemed ideal, but XML configuration files made me cringe.

After a bit of syntax searching, I stumbled upon Fluent NHibernate (FNH)—an API that generates both the configuration and XML mappings and allows a MUCH better refactoring experience.  I’m all for ReSharper friendly!

As you may have read, I managed to work out an Oracle9 persistance configuration for FNH that has worked out quite well.  With that in hand, here’s a summary of how things hooked up.  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated as most of my learning has been, in my opinion, the best kind—trial and error. ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, I’m using various bits from the S#arp Architecture project; however, not everything—remember, I just need readonly access and the amount of noise for all of the libraries was far more than I needed.  I’ve also made several modifications to things such as the PersistentObject and NHibernateSession to include more specific casing required by our organization.

Note: I’m not using the AutoMap features of Fluent NHibernate.  Why?  At this time, our data structure is VERY wonky (vendor controlled data structure, no real rhyme or reason to it, readonly access), so I have a TON of “TheColumnNameIs” and such to map the properties to the oddball data field names.  I am going to hit up the AutoMap features on my next project to better understand them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Part #1 – [Code Here]

public void Fetch_A_Report_By_Id()
       IReportRepository stubRepository =

       Report stubReport =



       stubReport.Id = 140;



              .Expect(x => x.Get(140))



       var report = stubRepository.Get(140);




A quick, simple test that looks for a repository and grabs a single entity based on Id. 

At this point, I need an IReportRepository that has a Get method and returns a Report entity.

public interface IReportRepository : INHibernateRepository<Report>



I could simply call NHibernateRepository<Report>() (or INHibernateRepository<T> in this case) directly; however, I prefer to create entity-based repositories.  I suppose if I had an entity that would NEVER have it’s own specific methods, then I’d reconsider, but I don’t like to mix access methodologies around.

Next, our Repository needs a Report object.  Remember, just the basics.

public class Report : PersistentObject



Since our Id field comes from the PersistentObject base class, adding it again is unnecessary.

With our Test, IReportRepository, and Report entity objects—we’re now flying green.  At this point, everything is mocked using Rhino Mocks (v3.5).

Passing Test!

Now, let’s try an integration test and hit the database using a bit of test data.

Part #2 – [Code Here]


public void Fetch_A_Report_By_Id_From_Database()


       var repository = new ReportRepository();

       var report = repository.Get(140);



For this test, we need an implementation of our IReportRepository, ReportRepository:

public class ReportRepository : NHibernateRepository<Report>



The plumbing of the data connection also needs to be hashed out.  Fluent NHibernate makes configuring NHibernate very easy.

Setting up the Entity Map

Generating the mapping files is as simple as using a couple of virtual methods.  Id, Map, References, etc. will grow to be your friends.

public class ReportMap : ClassMap<Report>


       public ReportMap()





       private void CreateMap()



              Id(x => x.Id);



In a few short lines of code, this has told the Fluent NHibernate API to create a mapping file for the Report entity, to use the Reports table, and to assign the data from the Id column to the Id property of the entity.  Good stuff.

Setting up the Configuration to the Database

Replacing the challenging XML syntax is a VERY useful, fluent configuration API.  I’m using a modified version of Init that reslugs in a default configuration since we’re packaging these configurations for internal use.

public static class ExampleConfiguration


       public static Configuration Default


              get { return Production; }



       public static Configuration Production




                     var config = new Configuration();










              return config;




       public static void Init(ISessionStorage storage)


              Init(Default, storage);



       public static void Init(Configuration configuration,

                               ISessionStorage storage)


              // Any of the maps will do for the assembly mapping.


                     typeof(ReportMap).Assembly, configuration, storage);



Default – Set which of the configuration is the default; called by the overloaded Init method.

Production – Set to the production; you could have Test, AnotherTest, or whatever else your environment needs.  The actual Configuration is using Fluent NHibernate’s PersistanceConfiguration to generate the configuration.

Init(ISessionStorage) – An overloaded Init that calls the default configuration and passes the parameter session storage to NHibernate; this calls …

Init(Configuration, ISessionStorage) – Calls the base NHibernateSession.Init.  This takes an Assembly, the configuration we’re passing it, and the ISessionStorage.

Is there a better way?  If there’s a better way to get the Assembly passed along, I’d LOVE to know.  I’m using this methodology since I keep all of my maps in the same library, but if one found its way into another library, this would break.

Initializing the Configuration

With that configured, I put the Init into the constructor for our test (using xUnit, constructors > [SetUp] :P).

public RepositoryBuildUpExample_2()


       ExampleConfiguration.Init(new SimpleSessionStorage());


SimpleSessionStorage is a S#arp Architecture snippet for mocking NHibernate; works fantastic.

In a production application, such as an ASP.NET Web site, you would initialize the session in Session_Start or Application_Start and pass along a storage mechanism to save it in .NET session state (or another means).

That’s it—everything’s in place, let’s rerun our test!

Fluent NHibernate Example #2


At this point, further requirements flush out:

  • additional “Get” methods which are added to the ReportRepository,
  • additional properties (columns) for the entity,
  • and, of course, the tests that determine what code is needed.

For the “finished” example, you can download the [code here].