LINQ dynamic queries

“Dynamic filters” does this sound familiar to you, I’m pretty sure it does. In my case I had an application which was using EF5 and which had to be able to filter entities based on user selected filters. Filters were provided to the server as a list of pairs (Entity’s PropertyName, FilterValue) and additionally to this was provided a flag which indicated if filters should be joined by using a conjunction or a disjunction. Basically I had to generate dynamically a predicate which would be used in the where part of a Linq query. With a little inspiration from the How to: Use Expression Trees to Build Dynamic Queries I’ve created a helper class which solved my problem. Below you can find the helper class code:

public class DynamicLinqHelper<T>
        //All expressions, from the same predicate, which have to use entity parameter
        //should share the same(same instance) ParamExpression for avoiding bound Exceptions
        private ParameterExpression _paramExpression;

        /// <summary>
        /// Creates an expression which corresponds to the
        /// given filter.
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="propertyName">Name of the property used in filter</param>
        /// <param name="propertyFilterValue">Value to be compared with the value from the entity property</param>
        /// <returns></returns>
        private Expression CreateEqualityExpression(string propertyName, string propertyFilterValue)
            //Get property by name from the filtered entity type
            var propInfo = typeof(T).GetProperty(propertyName);

            //convert filter value to the type of the property to be compared to
            var convertedFilterValue = Convert.ChangeType(propertyFilterValue, propInfo.PropertyType);

            //Expression which corresponds to the accessing property value
            var fieldExpression = Expression.Property(_paramExpression, propInfo);

            //Expression which corresponds to the filter value
            var constantExpression = Expression.Constant(convertedFilterValue, propInfo.PropertyType);

            //for string filters we want the equivalent of the t-sql " LIKE '%value%' " which is String.Contains method
            if (propInfo.PropertyType.Name.Equals("String"))
                //Expression which corresponds to the call of the Contains method on the string property
                var callExpression = Expression.Call(fieldExpression, typeof(string).GetMethod("Contains"), constantExpression);

                return callExpression;

            return Expression.Equal(fieldExpression, constantExpression);

        /// <summary>
        /// Creates an Expression for each filter and merges them by using
        /// a conjunction or disjunction logic.
        /// </summary>
        /// <param name="propertyWithFilterValues">List of filters (PropertyName,FilterValue)</param>
        /// <param name="useConjunction">Indicates how will be filters merged</param>
        /// <returns></returns>
        public Expression<Func<T, bool>> CreateFilterPredicate(List<KeyValuePair<string, string>> propertyWithFilterValues, bool useConjunction = true)
            Expression whereCondition = null;
            _paramExpression = Expression.Parameter(typeof(T), "entity");

            foreach (var propertyFilterPair in propertyWithFilterValues)
                //creating an expression for the current filter
                var eqExpr = CreateEqualityExpression(propertyFilterPair.Key, propertyFilterPair.Value);

                //merging current expression with the rest of the filter expressions
                whereCondition =
                    whereCondition == null
                        ? eqExpr
                        : (useConjunction
                               ? Expression.And(whereCondition, eqExpr)
                               : Expression.Or(whereCondition, eqExpr));

            return Expression.Lambda<Func<T, bool>>(whereCondition, new[] { _paramExpression });

And an example of usage you can find below:

 using (var context = new Context())
                var filters = new List<KeyValuePair<string, string>> 
                                      new KeyValuePair<string, string>("Id","1"),
                                      new KeyValuePair<string, string>("Name","x")

                var wherePredicate = new DynamicLinqHelper<User>().CreateFilterPredicate(filters,false);

                foreach (var user in context.Users.Where(wherePredicate))
                    Console.WriteLine("id:{0}  name:{1}", user.Id, user.Name);

I hope that the code from above is self-explanatory and as usual all the necessary exception handling and validations will be added by you.

c# .net
Posted by: Ion Sapoval
Last revised: 29 Nov, 2013 02:06 PM