Dependency Injection in ASP.​NET Core - a quick overview

With ASP.NET Core Dependency Injection is now a first class citizen in ASP.NET. All parts of the ASP.NET Stack are using the same DI container. In this post I'm going to show you, how to configure the DI container and how to use it.

Let's first create a new and pretty simple service to use in the examples. As always in my examples it is a CountryService which provides a list of countries. We also need an interface for this service, let's create it too:

public class CountryService : ICountryService 
{ 
    public IEnumerable<Country> All() 
    { 
        return new List<Country> 
        { 
            new Country {Code = "DE", Name = "Germany" }, 
            new Country {Code = "FR", Name = "France" }, 
            new Country {Code = "CH", Name = "Switzerland" }, 
            new Country {Code = "IT", Name = "Italy" }, 
            new Country {Code = "DK", Name = "Danmark" } , 
            new Country {Code = "US", Name = "United States" }
        }; 
    } 
} 

public interface ICountryService 
{ 
    IEnumerable<Country> All(); 
} 

public class Country 
{ 
    public string Code { get; internal set; } 
    public string Name { get; internal set; } 
}

Register the services

We now need to add this ContryService to the DI container. This needs to be done in the Startup.cs in the method ConfigureServices:

services.AddTransient<ICountryService, CountryService>();

This mapping between the interface and the concrete type defines, that everytime you request a type of IContryService, you'll get a new instance of the CountryService. This is what transient means in this case. You are also able to add singleton mappings (using AddSingleton) and scoped mappings (using AddScoped). Scoped in this case means scoped to a HTTP request, which also means it is a singleton while the current request is running. You can also add an existing instance to the DI container using the method AddInstance.

These are the almost complete ways to register to the IServiceCollection:

services.AddTransient<ICountryService, CountryService>();            
services.AddTransient(typeof (ICountryService), typeof (CountryService));
services.Add(new ServiceDescriptor(typeof(ICountryService), typeof(CountryService), ServiceLifetime.Transient));
services.Add(new ServiceDescriptor(typeof(ICountryService), p => new CountryService(), ServiceLifetime.Transient));

services.AddSingleton<ICountryService, CountryService>();
services.AddSingleton(typeof(ICountryService), typeof(CountryService));
services.Add(new ServiceDescriptor(typeof(ICountryService), typeof(CountryService), ServiceLifetime.Singleton));
services.Add(new ServiceDescriptor(typeof(ICountryService), p => new CountryService(), ServiceLifetime.Singleton));

services.AddScoped<ICountryService, CountryService>();
services.AddScoped(typeof(ICountryService), typeof(CountryService));
services.Add(new ServiceDescriptor(typeof(ICountryService), typeof(CountryService), ServiceLifetime.Scoped));
services.Add(new ServiceDescriptor(typeof(ICountryService), p => new CountryService(), ServiceLifetime.Scoped));

services.AddInstance<ICountryService>(new CountryService());
services.AddInstance(typeof(ICountryService), new CountryService());
services.Add(new ServiceDescriptor(typeof(ICountryService), new CountryService()));

If you have a lot of services to register, you should create a extension method to the IServiceCollection to keep the Startup.cs clean. The same way is used by default for MVC and many other tools you want to use in your project:

services.AddMvc();

This extension method add all the services to the IServiceCollection which are needed by the MVC MiddleWare.

public static class ServiceCollectionExtensions
{
    public static IServiceCollection RegisterServices(
        this IServiceCollection services)
    {
        services.AddTransient<ICountryService, CountryService>();
        // and a lot more Services

        return services;
    }
}

The method RegisterServices looks now much more cleaner:

public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
{
    // Add framework services.
    services.AddMvc();

    services.RegisterServices();
}

Usage

Now we can request an instance of an CountryService almost everywhere in our ASP.NET Core application. For example in a MVC controller:

public class HomeController : Controller 
{ 
    private readonly ICountryService _countryService; 

    public HomeController(ICountryService countryService) 
    { 
        _countryService = countryService; 
    } 
    // … 
}

New in ASP.NET Core MVC is, that we can also inject this service into a MVC view. The following line defines the injection in a Razor view:

@inject DiViews.Services.ICountryService CountryService;

The first part after the @inject directive defines the interface. The second part is the name of the variable which holds our instance.

To inject a service globally into all Views, add this line to the _ViewImports.cshtml. In a complete new ASP.NET Core project, there is already a global injection defined for ApplicationInsights:

@inject Microsoft.ApplicationInsights.Extensibility.TelemetryConfiguration TelemetryConfiguration

We are now able to use the instance in our view:

@if (countryService.All().Any()) 
{ 
    <ul> 
        @foreach (var country in CountryService.All().OrderBy(x => x.Name)) 
        { 
            <p>@country.Name (@country.Code)</p> 
        } 
    </ul> 
}

We can also use this service to fill select fields with the list of countries:

@Html.DropDownList("Coutries", CountryService.All() 
    .OrderBy(x => x.Name) 
    .Select(x => new SelectListItem 
    { 
        Text = x.Name, 
        Value = x.Code 
    }))

DI is also working in MiddleWares, TagHelpers and ViewComponents. You could use DI in TagHelpers to create reusable CountryList or whatever you want:

public class CountryListTagHelper : TagHelper
{
    private readonly ICountryService _countryService;

    public CountryListTagHelper(ICountryService countryService)
    {
        _countryService = countryService;
    }

    public string SelectedValue { get; set; }


    public override void Process(TagHelperContext context, TagHelperOutput output)
    {
        output.TagName = "select";
        output.Content.Clear();
        foreach (var country in _countryService.All())
        {
            var seleted = "";
            if (SelectedValue != null && SelectedValue.Equals(country.Code, StringComparison.CurrentCultureIgnoreCase))
            {
                seleted = " selected=\"selected\"";
            }
            var listItem = $"<option value=\"{country.Code}\"{seleted}>{country.Name}</option>";
            output.Content.AppendHtml(listItem);
        }
    }
}

This TagHelper could be used like this:

<country-list selected-value="@Model.Country"></country-list>

Conclusion

You are able to use DI almost everywhere in your application (Except in HtmlHelpers, because this are extension methods.) and you can use every servce which is registered in the IServiceCollection, even the services which are registerd by ASP.NET Core. This also means all the contexts, all the environment and even the logger. This helps a lot to keep a ASP.NET Core application clean, leightweight, maintainable and testable.

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Jürgen Gutsch Jürgen Gutsch
@sharpcms
.NET junkie, addicted to web and software development, clean coder, MVP for Visual Studio and Development Technologies