Executing SP using EF

34th Friday Fun Session (Part 1) – 22nd Sep 2017

Many a times, we use Entity Framework (EF), Microsoft’s recommended data access technology for an application, to execute (MS SQL Server) Stored Procedure (SP), and retrieve the results emitted by them. Here we discuss different kinds of output that a SP can produce and how we can retrieve them using EF.

SP output

A SP typically provides the following kinds of results:

  1. Return code (single integer)
  2. Output parameters (one or more, any data type)
  3. Result set
    1. Single result set
    2. Multiple result set
      1. All having the same schema
      2. Having different schema

Return code

SP can return a single integer return code. Return statement without any value (null) would automatically return 0. It is mostly used to exit execution of a SP when certain condition is met.

CREATE Procedure SpReturnCode
AS
BEGIN
  RETURN 1;
END

Using T-SQL we can execute SP like below.

DECLARE @Success AS INT
EXEC @Success = [SpReturnCode];
PRINT @Success

Output parameter

SP can return one or more values, each having its own data type.

CREATE Procedure SpOutputParameter (@InputValue INT, @OutputValue INT OUTPUT)
AS
BEGIN
  SET @OutputValue = @InputValue + 1;
  RETURN 0;
END

Using T-SQL we can execute SP like below.

DECLARE @ReturnValue INT;
EXECUTE [SpOutputParameter] 2, @ReturnValue OUTPUT;
PRINT @ReturnValue

Single result set

Returns a result set having 0 or more rows of a certain schema. The following SP returns a result set with a single column named, Success.

CREATE Procedure SpSingleResultSet
AS
BEGIN
  SELECT 3 AS Success
  RETURN 0;
END

Multiple result set, same schema

The following SP returns the result set for Employee schema twice.

CREATE Procedure SpMultipleResultSetSameSchema
AS
BEGIN
  SELECT * FROM [Employee]
  SELECT * FROM [Employee] SELECT [EmployeeId] > 10

  RETURN 0;
END

The following SP returns a result set that is not associated with any database entity.

CREATE Procedure SpMultipleResultSetNonDbContextEntity
AS
BEGIN
  DECLARE @Loop AS INT
  SET @Loop = 0

  WHILE @Loop < 10
  BEGIN
    EXEC SpSingleResultSet
    SET @Loop = @Loop + 1
  END

  RETURN 0;
END

Multiple result set, multiple schema

The following SP returns two different result sets: one for Company and another for Employee.

CREATE Procedure SpMultipleResultSetMultipleSchema
AS
BEGIN
  SELECT * FROM [Company]
  SELECT * FROM [Employee]

  RETURN 0;
END

Executing SP using EF

We will use the following different ways in EF to read different kinds of SP output as described earlier:

  1. ExecuteSqlCommand
  2. SqlQuery
  3. CreateCommand/ExecuteReader

ExecuteSqlCommand

This executes a given DDL/DML command. This can be executed when no result set needs to be returned.

Return code

Return code does not require any explicit output parameter to be used in the SP. However, while calling from EF, it should be treated as an output parameter by specifying the direction for the parameter.

SqlParameter returnCode = new SqlParameter("@ReturnCode", SqlDbType.Int);
returnCode.Direction = ParameterDirection.Output;

Db.Database.ExecuteSqlCommand("exec @ReturnCode = [SpReturnCode] ", returnCode);
var returnCodeValue = (int)returnCode.Value;

Output Parameter

For each of the output parameters, we need to declare an output parameter in EF matching the appropriate data type.

SqlParameter inputParam = new SqlParameter("@InputValue", SqlDbType.Int);
inputParam.Direction = ParameterDirection.Input;

SqlParameter outputParam = new SqlParameter("@OutputValue ", SqlDbType.Int);
outputParam.Direction = ParameterDirection.Output;

Db.Database.ExecuteSqlCommand("[SpOutputParameter] @InputValue, @OutputValue OUT", inputParam, outputParam);
var returnValue = (int)outputParam.Value;

SqlQuery

SqlQuery is usually used when SP returns a single result set. However, it can return any data type including primitive types – not necessarily only entity type. If the SP returns multiple result sets, it will only get the first one. However, the complete execution of the entire SP does happen.

public class SuccessSet
{
  public int Success { get; set; }
}

var result = Db.Database.SqlQuery("[SpSingleResultSet]").ToList();

CreateCommand/ExecuteReader

When multiple result sets to be returned this method can be used. We need to use IObjectContextAdapter interface that makes use explicit interface implementation.

Db.Database.Initialize(force: false);
var cmd = Db.Database.Connection.CreateCommand();
cmd.CommandText = "[SpMultipleResultSetSameSchema]";

Db.Database.Connection.Open();

var reader = cmd.ExecuteReader();
var employees =
  ((System.Data.Entity.Infrastructure.IObjectContextAdapter)Db)
    .ObjectContext
    .Translate<Employee>(reader, "Employee", System.Data.Entity.Core.Objects.MergeOption.AppendOnly);

foreach (var employee in employees)
  Console.WriteLine(employee. Name);

While(!reader.NextResult())
{
  employees =
    ((System.Data.Entity.Infrastructure.IObjectContextAdapter)Db)
    .ObjectContext
    .Translate<Employee>(reader, "Employee", System.Data.Entity.Core.Objects.MergeOption.AppendOnly);

  foreach (var employee in employees)
    Console.WriteLine(employee. Name);
}

Db.GetDatabase().Connection.Close();

When result set is not in DbContext, slight modification is required.

var successSets =
  ((System.Data.Entity.Infrastructure.IObjectContextAdapter)Db)
  .ObjectContext
  .Translate<SuccessSet>(reader);

When different schema are used we can still use the same, we just need to use the right object while translating.

var companies =
  ((System.Data.Entity.Infrastructure.IObjectContextAdapter)Db)
  .ObjectContext
  .Translate<Company>(reader, "Company", System.Data.Entity.Core.Objects.MergeOption.AppendOnly);

reader.NextResult();

var employees =
  ((System.Data.Entity.Infrastructure.IObjectContextAdapter)Db)
  .ObjectContext
  .Translate<Employee>(reader, "Employee", System.Data.Entity.Core.Objects.MergeOption.AppendOnly);

Index

Author: Gopal Das

I am working as a Principal Consultant at JLT Interactive Pte Ltd, Singapore. I have a BS in Computer Science & Engineering from Khulna University and ME in Internet Science & Engineering from Indian Institute of Science (IISc). I have a few publications on Query Optimization in RDBMS in ACM SIGMOD, IEEE ICDE etc. I was a founding team member and VP Engineering of iTwin, a spinoff from A*STAR. I am working as a software engineer for 14 years. I am interested in Algorithms, Database, Security, Machine Learning, and Blockchain among others. I am a father of two children and live in Singapore. www.linkedin.com/in/dasgopal https://github.com/gopalcdas

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