Building LINQ Queries at Runtime

Tomas Petricek has a nice article on how his recent work with the F# team at Microsoft Research has inspired techniques to do dynamic query construction for LINQ-to-SQL from C#.

Since the first beta versions of LINQ we could hear comments that it is perfect for queries known at compile-time, however it is not possible to use it for building queries dynamically at runtime. In this article I show that this can be actually done very well for most of the common cases. The solution offered by Microsoft (mentioned in [1]) is to build query from a string, however this has many limitations and it in fact goes completely against what LINQ tries to achieve, which is writing queries in a type-safe way with full compile-time checking. In this article I will first show a few support functions to make the life a bit easier and then we will use them for building two sample applications that allows user to build a query dynamically. The solution is largely motivated by my previous use of F#, where working with “expressions” is possible at more advanced level, however I’ll write about F# later and now let’s get back to C# 3.0.


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