Booting Sharp Lite and autogenerating Db with nHibernate

When facing a new project, there are many things to consider, but there is no doubt that the words most mentioned and given more buzz are how to accomplish a scalable and maintainable solution without builing the next Amazon for our first version. However, trying to make a solution that is able to grow over time and adapt to new requirements is not an easy task, it’s indeed very tricky business. That’s why there are frameworks, mainly because there are a bunch of guys willing to help those who can’t (or won’t) get into building their own foundation to make a project.

And here is where S#arpArchitecture enters. S#arpArchitecture is project started by Billy McCafferty, a developer/architect well versed on the matter how made a super duper framework to deploy ASP .NET applications. The framework was consistent with several best practices he wrote on a CodeProject article on how to accomplish a nice setup of a project using nHibernate. The thing with S#arpArchitecture is that it was somehow a bit coupled into nHibernate, altough this didn’t seemed to matter at that point because nHibernate was (and IMHO is, but won’t get into that) the best way to accomplish ORM with a .NET project. However, time has changed and EntityFramework is a strong project, not to mention that is handled by the man, we also have now the NoSql fever and there are other stuff that may be yet to come and S#arpArchitecture had to evolve to remove the direct dependencies from nHibernate but as any old project moving away from the original idea has been a difficult business and the most important thing is that to be able t setup a S#arpArchitecture install using other thing than nHibernate, you’ll have to be very versed on topics such as IoC, design patterns, nHibernate itself, so you know what to remove and what not to remove and many other dark stuff.

Because of all these nasty reasons, Billy McCafferty decided to start yet another framework called S#arp Lite. The intention here was to be able to make a decent framework available for a broader audience of developers who didn’t had to be very versed on deep matters of architecture.

So, if you want to make an ASP .NET MVC 3 app and looking for a nice development framework, you should make a run for S#arp Lite and try it out. The first thing you’ll need is to read the blog post where Billy explains why he had to make S#arp Lite despite the fact that we already had a S#arpArchitecture, once you’ve read that, you should also get the basics on S#arp Lite also explained by Billy in this post. If, however, you don’t want to read any of those and just want to jumpstart into S#arp Lite, then the idea would be to:

Before anything, the sample app is found inside the S#arp Lite file downloaded from Github, on the folder called Example, the project is named MyStore. Now, to set up your database for the sample app, you can make two things, one I like it, the other not so much. Before getting to that, make sure that you have a SQL Server database to play with and get your connection string. Mostly if your DB is the integrated SQL Server Express DB that comes with Visual Studio, your connection string will look like this one:

Data Source=localhostsqlexpress;Initial Catalog=SampleDb;Integrated Security=True
 

The only thing that may change is the Initial Catalog, which is basically up to your choosing. Now that we know the connection string, we need to tell S#arp Lite what is it, so open the web.config file found on MyStore.Web and look for the line where says:

<connectionStrings>
   <add name="MyStoreConnectionString" connectionString="YOUR_CONNECTION_STRING" />
</connectionStrings>
 

And yes, you guessed it, change where it says YOUR_CONNECTION_STRING for the actual connection string.

Now we just need to setup our DB, for which you have two ways. The first way is the simplest one, which is to use a SQL server administration tool, the Management Studio Express included with the Express version of SQL Server express 2008 is just fine, and run the sql file you can find inside the example project on the folder called “MyStore.DB” et voilà! The project can now be run.

As a side note, the last time I downloaded S#arp Lite (v0.42), when setting up the sample project and compiling, you’d get 11 errors regarding tests and test classes that cannot be found, don’t despair! Just go into MyStore.Tests and remove the reference to nunit.framework and add it again, the assembly should be in your lib folder outside of the project. Now you can run the demo without issues!

Now the other way, which I like a lot more is to use nHibernate to generate your database, which is so cool! And since nHibernate is also very cool, this is a very simple process. Just go into your project called “MyStore.NHibernateProvider” and look for the class called NHibernateInitializer. Just like the name indicates this fellow handles the initialization of nHibernate and we will also generate the DB with it. Go into the class and add the method that will handle DB initialization:

public static void CheckAndBuilDb(Configuration cfg)
{
 var schemaValidator = new SchemaValidator(cfg);

 try {
  schemaValidator.Validate();
 }
 catch (Exception) {
  var schemaBuilder = new SchemaExport(cfg);
  //drop in case of old one
  schemaBuilder.Drop(false, true);
  schemaBuilder.Create(false, true);
 }
}
 

Without entering into unnecessary gory details, the idea is to check if the existent DB is up to date and if is not, drop it and regenerate a new one. This does bring a bad side effect, which is the issue of migrating from one version into another. That problem can be fixed doing some nHibernate-fu, but we won’t get into that for now. Build and run and your database will be automatically generating against the mapped entities! Cool uh?

This is pretty much just about it, I’ll make a follow up post with some more stuff on how to get going with S#arp Lite and Fluent nHibernate.

One thought on “Booting Sharp Lite and autogenerating Db with nHibernate”

  1. Hi David, I'm new on S#arplite I have a little doubt. I was browsing around the MyStore sample but I'cant see a Order manager (tasks,view,controller) like customer or products. I missed something?

    Thanks!

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