Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Multiple-Constructor Injection using Unity IOC

Unity, and the dependency injection design pattern itself, really becomes useful is when the container generates instances of objects that have dependencies. It can automatically resolve the dependent object types required by the objects it creates, generate the appropriate concrete types, and then inject these concrete instances into the object it is creating.

The following shows a schematic view of the dependency injection process that Unity can accomplish.


The following are the types of injection together with descriptions of how they are applied using Unity:

  • Constructor injection. This type of injection occurs automatically. When you create an instance of an object using the Unity container, it will automatically detect the constructor with the largest number of parameters and execute this, generating instances of each object defined in the constructor parameters. It resolves each parameter type through the container, applying any registrations or mappings for that type. If you want to specify a particular constructor for Unity to use, you can add the InjectionConstructor attribute to that constructor in the target class.
  • Property (setter) injection. This type of injection is optional. You can add the Dependency attribute to any property declarations that you want Unity to resolve through the container. Unity will resolve that property type and set the value of the property to an instance of the resolved type.
  • Method call injection. This type of injection is also optional. You can add the InjectionMethod attribute to any method declarations where you want Unity to resolve the method parameters through the container. Unity will resolve each parameter type and set the value of that parameter to an instance of the resolved type, and then it will execute the method. Method call injection is useful if you need to execute some type of initialization method within the target object.


Multiple-Constructor Injection Using an Attribute

When a target class contains more than one constructor with the same number of parameters, you must apply the InjectionConstructor attribute to the constructor that the Unity container will use to indicate which constructor the container should use. As with automatic constructor injection, you can specify the constructor parameters as a concrete type, or you can specify an interface or base class for which the Unity container contains a registered mapping.


public class MyObject {

public MyObject(SomeOtherClass myObjA)   { …  }

public MyObject(MyDependentClass myObjB)  {  … }

In your run-time code, use the Resolve method of the container to create an instance of the target class. The Unity container will instantiate the dependent concrete class defined in the attributed constructor and inject it into the target class. For example, the following code shows how you can instantiate the example target class named MyObject containing an attributed constructor that has a dependency on a class named MyDependentClass.


IUnityContainer uContainer = new UnityContainer();
MyObject myInstance = uContainer.Resolve<MyObject>();

How Unity Resolves Target Constructors and Parameters

When a target class contains more than one constructor, Unity will use the one that has the InjectionConstructor attribute applied. If there is more than one constructor, and none carries the InjectionConstructor attribute, Unity will use the constructor with the most parameters. If there is more than one such constructor (more than one of the “longest” with the same number of parameters), Unity will raise an exception.

Constructor Injection with Existing Objects

If you use the RegisterInstance method to register an existing object, constructor injection does not take place on that object because it has already been created outside of the influence of the Unity container. Even if you call the BuildUp method of the container and pass it the existing object, constructor injection will never take place because the constructor will not execute. Instead, mark the constructor parameter containing the object you want to inject with the Dependency attribute to force property injection to take place on that object, and then call the BuildUp method. This is a similar process to property (setter) injection. It ensures that the dependent object can generate any dependent objects it requires. For more details, see Annotating Objects for Property (Setter) Injection.


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