IoC Benchmark

So which is the fastest at different IoC Lifestyles.

In this benchmark we will be running, head to had, with Castle Windsor, Ninject, Spring.NET, Unity, Microsoft DI, AutoFac, and Structure Map.

Here is a working project, this uses NuGet to included the packages, so as time goes on you may find the packages go out of date, so you’ll need to refactor the code to work with the next packages.

I’m using a Parallel test as this represents a closer real life example of how the containers will be used.

ioc-benchmark

 

Factory Support Facility

Factory Support Facility allows using factories to create components. This is beneficial when you want to make available as services components that do not have accessible constructor, or that you don’t instantiate, like HttpContext.

Prefer UsingFactoryMethod over this facility: while the facility provides programmatic API it is deprecated and its usage is discouraged and won’t be discussed here. Recommended approach is to use UsingFactoryMethod method of fluent registration API to create components. This limits the usefulness of the facility to XML-driven and legacy scenarios.

UsingFactoryMethod does not require this facility anymore: In older versions of Windsor (up to and including version 2.1) UsingFactoryMethod method in the fluent API discussed above required this facility to be active in the container. That was later changed and there’s no such dependency anymore.

Using factories from configuration

In addition to code, the facility uses XML configuration. You can register the facility in the standard facilities section of Windsor’s config:

Just install the facility and add the proper configuration.

<configuration>
 <facilities>
   <facility
     id="factory.support"
     type="Castle.Facilities.FactorySupport.FactorySupportFacility, 
           Castle.Facilities.FactorySupport" />
  </facilities>
</configuration>

Configuration Schema

Broadly speaking facility exposes the following scheme, with two kinds of supported factories: accessors and methods

<components>
 <component id="mycomp1" instance-accessor="Static accessor name" />
 <component id="factory1" />
 <component id="mycomp2" factoryId="factory1" factoryCreate="Create" />
</components>

Accessor example

Given the following singleton class:

public class SingletonWithAccessor
{
 private static readonly SingletonWithAccessor instance = new SingletonWithAccessor();

private SingletonWithAccessor()
 {
 }

public static SingletonWithAccessor Instance
 {
 get { return instance; }
 }
}

You may expose its instance to the container through the following configuration:

<components>
 <component id="mycomp1"
 type="Company.Components.SingletonWithAccessor, Company.Components"
 instance-accessor="Instance" />
</components>

Using it:

var comp = container.Resolve<SingletonWithAccessor>("mycomp1");

Factory example

Given the following component and factory classes:

public class MyComp
{
 internal MyComp()
 {
 }

...
}

public class MyCompFactory
{
 public MyComp Create()
 {
 return new MyComp();
 }
}

You may expose its instance to the container through the following configuration:

<components>
 <component id="mycompfactory"
 type="Company.Components.MyCompFactory, Company.Components"/>
 <component id="mycomp"
 type="Company.Components.MyComp, Company.Components"
 factoryId="mycompfactory" factoryCreate="Create" />
</components>

Using it:

var comp = container.Resolve<MyComp>("mycomp");

Factory with parameters example

Given the following component and factory classes:

public class MyComp
{
 internal MyComp(String storeName, IDictionary props)
 {
 }

...
}

public class MyCompFactory
{
 public MyComp Create(String storeName, IDictionary props)
 {
 return new MyComp(storeName, props);
 }
}

You may expose its instance to the container through the following configuration:

<components>
 <component id="mycompfactory"
 type="Company.Components.MyCompFactory, Company.Components"/>
 <component id="mycomp"
 type="Company.Components.MyComp, Company.Components"
 factoryId="mycompfactory" factoryCreate="Create">
 <parameters>
 <storeName>MyStore</storeName>
 <props>
 <dictionary>
 <entry key="key1">item1</entry>
 <entry key="key2">item2</entry>
 </dictionary>
 </props>
 </parameters>
 </component>
</components>

Using it:

var comp = container.Resolve<MyComp>("mycomp");

Factory using auto-wire example

If your factory request as parameter some other component instance, this facility will be able to resolve it without your aid:

public class MyComp
{
 internal MyComp(IMyService serv)
 {
 }

...
}

public class MyCompFactory
{
 public MyComp Create(IMyService service)
 {
 return new MyComp(service);
 }
}

You may expose its instance to the container through the following configuration:

<facilities>
 <facility
 id="factorysupport"
 type="Castle.Facilities.FactorySupport.FactorySupportFacility, Castle.Facilities.FactorySupport"/>
</facilities>

<components>
 <component id="myservice"
 service="SomethingElse.IMyService"
 type="Company.Components.MyServiceImpl, Company.Components" />
 <component id="mycompfactory"
 type="Company.Components.MyCompFactory, Company.Components" />
 <component id="mycomp"
 type="Company.Components.MyComp, Company.Components"
 factoryId="mycompfactory" factoryCreate="Create" />
</components>

Using it:

var comp = container.Resolve<MyComp>("mycomp");

 

Registering components for IoC

Inversion of Control (IoC) is quite a big step for some developers, but the benefits once implemented are huge.  With the applications performance, maintainability, unit testing and more importantly separation of concerns, just to name a few.

Due to the nature and the new concept of IoC to many of the developers, I would strongly recommend that you take some time to go over these two PluralSight course that go into IoC in a lot more detail that we can cover here.   There are other courses that also cover IoC available on PluralSights, but these are the two I would recommend.
Inversion of Control – by John Sonmez
A comprehensive look at inversion of control and how to use common IoC containers
Practical IoC With ASP.NET MVC 4 – by John Sonmez
In this course, we’ll learn how to use an IoC container, like Unity in an ASP.NET MVC 4 application and some of the basics of the practical application of IoC containers.

Basic Registration

The starting point for registering anything in the container is the container’s Register method, with has one or more IRegistration objects as parameter. The simplest way to create those objects is using the static Castle.MicroKernel.Registration.Component class. Its For method returns a ComponentRegistration that you can use to further configure the registration.

Isolate your registration code: It is a recommended practice to keep your registration code in a dedicated class(es) implementing IWindsorInstaller.

Install infrastructure components first: Some components may require a facility or other extension to the core container to be registered properly. As such it is recommended that you always register your facilities, custom subsystems, Component model creation contributors etc before you start registering your components.

To register a type in the container

container.Register(
	Component.For(MyServiceImpl) );

This will register type MyServiceImpl as service MyServiceImpl with default lifestyle (Singleton).

To register a type as non-default service

container.Register(
    Component.For(IMyService).ImplementedBy(MyServiceImpl));

Note that For and ImplementedBy also have non-generic overloads.

// Same result as example above.
container.Register(Component.For(typeof(IMyService))
    .ImplementedBy(typeof(MyServiceImpl))
);

Services and Components: You can find more information about services and components here.

To register a generic type

Suppose you have a IRepository<TEntity> interface, with NHRepository<TEntity> as the implementation.

You could register a repository for each entity class, but this is not needed.

// Registering a repository for each entity is not needed.
container.Register(
    Component.For<IRepository<Customer>>()
        .ImplementedBy<NHRepository<Customer>>(),
    Component.For<IRepository<Order>>()
        .ImplementedBy<NHRepository<Order>>(),
//    and so on...
);


One IRepository<> (so called open generic type) registration, without specifying the entity, is enough.

// Does not work (compiler won't allow it):
 container.Register(
     Component.For<IRepository<>>()
         .ImplementedBy<NHRepository<>>()
 );

Doing it like this however is not legal, and the above code would not compile. Instead you have to use typeof()

// Use typeof() and do not specify the entity:
container.Register(
     Component.For(typeof(IRepository<>))
         .ImplementedBy(typeof(NHRepository<>))
);

Configuring component’s lifestyle

container.Register(
 Component.For<IMyService>()
 .ImplementedBy<MyServiceImpl>()
 .LifeStyle.Transient
);

When the lifestyle is not set explicitly, the default Singleton lifestyle will be used.

Register more components for the same service

You can do this simply by having more registrations for the same service.

container.Register(
    Component.For<IMyService>().ImplementedBy<MyServiceImpl>(),
    Component.For<IMyService>().ImplementedBy<OtherServiceImpl>()
);

When a component has a dependency on IMyService, it will by default get the IMyService that was registered first (in this case MyServiceImpl).

In Windsor first one wins: In Castle, the default implementation for a service is the first registered implementation.

You can force the later-registered component to become the default instance via the method IsDefault.

container.Register(
    Component.For<IMyService>().ImplementedBy<MyServiceImpl>(),
    Component.For<IMyService>().Named("OtherServiceImpl")
        .ImplementedBy<OtherServiceImpl>().IsDefault()
);

In the above example, any component that has a dependency on IMyService, will by default get an instance of OtherServiceImpl, even though it was registered later.

Of course, you can override which implementation is used by a component that needs it. This is done with service overrides.

When you explicitly call container.Resolve<IMyService>() (without specifying the name), the container will also return the first registered component for IMyService (MyServiceImpl in the above example).

Provide unique names for duplicated components: If you want to register the same implementation more than once, be sure to provide different names for the registered components.

Using a delegate as component factory

You can use a delegate as a lightweight factory for a component:

container.Register(
    Component.For<IMyService>()
        .UsingFactoryMethod(
            () => MyLegacyServiceFactory.CreateMyService())
);

UsingFactoryMethod method has two more overloads, which can provide you with access to kernel, and creation context if needed.

Example of UsingFactoryMethod with kernel overload (Converter)

container.Register(
    Component.For<IMyFactory>().ImplementedBy<MyFactory>(),
        Component.For<IMyService>()
            .UsingFactoryMethod(kernel => kernel.Resolve<IMyFactory>().Create())
);

In addition to UsingFactoryMethod method, there’s a UsingFactory method. (without the “method” suffix 🙂 ). It can be regarded as a special version of UsingFactoryMethod method, which resolves an existing factory from the container, and lets you use it to create instance of your service.

container.Register(
    Component.For<User>().Instance(user),
         Component.For<AbstractCarProviderFactory>(),
         Component.For<ICarProvider>()
             .UsingFactory((AbstractCarProviderFactory f) =>
                f.Create(container.Resolve<User>()))
);

Avoid UsingFactory: It is advised to use UsingFactoryMethod, and to avoid UsingFactory when creating your services via factories. UsingFactory will be obsoleted/removed in future releases.

OnCreate

It is sometimes needed to either inspect or modify created instance, before it is used. You can use OnCreate method to do this

container.Register(
   Component.For<IService>()
       .ImplementedBy<MyService>()
       .OnCreate((kernel, instance) => instance.Name += "a")
);

The method has two overloads. One that works with a delegate to which an IKernel and newly created instance are passed. Another only takes the newly created instance.

OnCreate works only for components created by the container: This method is not called for components where instance is provided externally (like when using Instance method). It is called only for components created by the container. This also includes components created via certain facilities (Remoting Facility, Factory Support Facility)

A good source of reference is the Castle Windsor documentation, which can be found here:

https://github.com/castleproject/Windsor/tree/master/docs

Here is a sample project with examples and a MVC application showing how it all works

castle windsor

Introduction to IoC with Windsor

I do love dependency injection, but many developers still seem to miss the point and the reason for having it. If you’re only using it on a small scale, you don’t really need any tools to use the technique. But once you’re used to this design technique, you’ll quickly start using it in many places of your code. If you do, it quickly becomes cumbersome to deal with the real instances of your runtime dependencies manually. This is where tools like Inversion Of Control (IoC) containers come in to play. There are a few solid containers available for the .NET world, and even Microsoft has released their own container. Basically, what the IoC container does for you, is take care of providing dependencies to components in a flexible and customizable way. It allows clients to remain completely oblivious to the dependencies of components they use. This makes it easy to change components without having to modify client code. Not to mention the fact that your components are a lot easier to test, since you can simply inject fake dependencies during your tests.

Lets get do to looking at a sample. Suppose we have a class called OrderRepository which exposes methods such as GetById, GetAll, FindOne, FindMany and Store. Obviously, the OrderRepository has a dependency on a class that can actually communicate with some kind of physical datastore, either a database or an xml file or whatever. Either way, it needs another object to access the Order data. Suppose we have an OrderAccessor class which implements an IOrderAccessor interface. The interface declares all the methods we need to retrieve or store our Orders. So our OrderRepository would need to communicate with an object that implements the IOrderAccessor interface. Instead of letting the OrderRepository instantiate that object itself, it will receive it as a parameter in it’s constructor:

        private readonly IOrderDataAccessor _accessor;

        public OrderRepository(IOrderDataAccessor accessor)

        {

            _accessor = accessor;

        }

This makes it easy to test the OrderRepository class, and it’s also easy to make it use different implementations of IOrderDataAccessor later on, should we need to. Now obviously, you really don’t want to do this when you need to instantiate the OrderRepository in your production code:

OrderRepository repo = new OrderRepository(new OrderDataAccessor());

As a consumer of the OrderRepository, you shouldn’t need to know what its dependencies are and you most certainly shouldn’t need to pass the right dependencies into the constructor. Instead, you just want a valid instance of OrderRepository. You really don’t care how it was constructed, which dependencies it has and how they’re provided. You just need to be able to use it. That’s all. This is where the IoC container comes in to help you. Suppose we wrap the IoC container in a Container class that has a few static methods to help you with instantiating instances of types. We could then do this:

OrderRepository repository = Container.Resolve<OrderRepository>();

That would leave you with a valid OrderRepository instance… one that has a usable IOrderDataAccessor but you don’t even know about it, nor do you care how it got there. In other words, you can use the OrderRepository without knowing anything about its underlying implementation.

Let’s take a look at the implementation of the Container class:

    public static class Container

    {

        private static readonly IWindsorContainer _container;

        static Container()

        {

            _container = new WindsorContainer();

            _container.Register(Component.For<IOrderDataAccessor>).ImplementedBy<OrderDataAccessor>());

_container.Register(Component.For<OrderRepository>).ImplementedBy<OrderRepository>());

        }

        public static T Resolve<T>()

        {

            return _container.Resolve<T>();

        }

    }

It just uses a static instance of Windor’s Container and it registers the types we need… let’s examine the following line:

_container.Register(Component.For<IOrderDataAccessor>).ImplementedBy<OrderDataAccessor>());

this basically sets up the container to return a new instance of OrderDataAccessor whenever an instance of IOrderDataAcessor is requested.

We still have to make sure the Windsor container knows about the OrderRepository class by adding it as a known component like this:

_container.Register(Component.For<OrderRepository>).ImplementedBy<OrderRepository>());

By doing this, the Windsor container will inspect the type (in this case, OrderRepository) and it will see that its constructor requires an IOrderDataAccessor instance. We ‘registered’ the IOrderDataAccessor type with the container to return an instance of the OrderDataAccessor type. So basically, whenever someone asks the container to return an instance of an OrderRepository class, the container knows to instantiate an OrderDataAccessor instance to pass along as the required IOrderDataAccessor object to the OrderRepository constructor.

At this point, you may be wondering: “Why go through all this trouble to register the concrete implementation of IOrderDataAccessor to be used in code? We could just as well instantiate the type ourselves!”. That’s certainly true. The code would be slightly uglier, but you’d get the same behavior. Of course, the Windsor container supports XML configuration (either in the app.config or web.config or in a custom configuration file) as well as explicit configuration through code. So you can configure the container through code explicitly, but if there is a config file present, the container will use that configuration instead of the one provided through code. So you could define the defaults in code, and should you need to change it later on, you can just provide a config file.

You know what bothers me about our current implementation? We’re still communicating with an OrderRepository instance. If we wanna be really flexible, it would be better if we were communicating with an object that implemented an IOrderRepository interface. So let’s just define the following interface:

    public interface IOrderRepository

    {

        Order GetById(Guid id);

        IEnumerable<Order> GetAll();

        Order FindOne(Criteria criteria);

        IEnumerable<Order> FindMany(Criteria criteria);

        void Store(Order order);

    }

After all, that’s all we care about as consumers of a IOrderRepository type. We shouldn’t really care about the concrete implementation. We just need an interface to program to. So let’s change the OrderRepository definition to this:

    public class OrderRepository : IOrderRepository

And then when we configure our IoC container we do it like this:

        static Container()

        {

            _container = new WindsorContainer();

            _container.Register(Component.For<IOrderDataAccessor>).ImplementedBy<OrderDataAccessor>());

_container.Register(Component.For<IOrderRepository>).ImplementedBy<OrderRepository>());

        }

Now we can no longer ask the contianer for an OrderRepository interface. But we can ask for an instance that implements the IOrderRepository interface like this:

IOrderRepository repository = Container.Resolve<IOrderRepository>();

So now our client is completely decoupled from the implementation of IOrderRepository, as well as the dependencies it may or may not have.

Ok, lets suppose that this implementation makes it to the production environment. Everything’s working but for some reason, someone makes a decision to retrieve the orders from a specially prepared XML file instead of the database. Unfortunately, your OrderDataAccessor class communicates with a SQL server database. Luckily, the OrderRepository implementation doesn’t know which specific implementation of IOrderDataAccessor it’s using. We just need to make sure that every time someone needs an IOrderRepository instance, it uses the new xml-based IOrderDataAccessor implementation instead of the one we originally intended.

Because we’re using Dependency Injection and an IoC container, this only requires changing one line of code:

_container.Register(Component.For<IOrderDataAccessor>().ImplementedBy<XmlOrderDataAccessor>());

Actually, if we’d put the mapping between the IOrderDataAccessor type and the XmlOrderDataAccessor implementation in an xml file, we wouldn’t even have to change any code! Well, except for the XmlOrderDataAccessor implementation obviously.

We can even take this one step further… After the change to the xml-based OrderDataAccessor went successfully, they (the ‘business’) all of a sudden want to log who retrieves or saves each order for auditing purposes.

We create an implementation of IOrderRepository which keeps extensive auditing logs so they can be retrieved later on. We could just inherit from the default OrderRepository implementation and add auditing logic before each method is executed. Then we’d only have to configure our IoC container to return a different instance of the IOrderRepository type whenever someone requests it:

        static Container()

        {

            _container = new WindsorContainer();

            _container.Register(Component.For<IOrderDataAccessor>().ImplementedBy<XmlOrderDataAccessor>());

            _container.Register(Component.For<IOrderRepository>().ImplementedBy<OrderRepositoryWithAuditing>());

        }

Again, our client code does not need to be modified in any way, yet we did modify the runtime behavior of the application. Instead of retrieving the Orders from a SQL database, it’s now retrieving them from an XML file, and the repository is performing auditing as well, without having to change any client code.

And if we were using the xml-configuration features of Windsor, we could get all of this working without even having to recompile the client-assemblies.

This was just an introduction to using an IoC contianer (Castle’s Windsor specifically) and we briefly touched on benefits that you can achieve with this way of working. The Windsor container can do much more, but you’ll either have to figure that stuff out yourself, or wait for future posts about its other features/possibilities

Updated with new methods and calls for Castle Windsor

Lifestyles of the Castle Windsor IoC Containers

It’s worth knowing how the Castle Windsor IoC work, by default it uses Singletons, where this will work for the most of the time, there are a lot more options available to you depending on your needs.  These lifestyles that are available in Castle Windsor are:

  • Singleton: components are instantiated once, and shared between all clients
  • Transient: components are created on demand
  • PerWebRequest: components are created once per Http Request
  • Thread: components have a unique instance per thread
  • Pooled: Optimization of transient components that keeps instance in a pool instead of always creating them
  • Custom: allows you to specify a custom lifestyle… you’d have to specify a type that implements the ILifeStyleManager interface

For further information on this take a look at Castle Windsors Lifestyles or  Windsor and component instance lifetimes