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Access BigCommerce Data with Entity Framework 6

This article shows how to access BigCommerce data using an Entity Framework code-first approach. Entity Framework 6 is available in .NET 4.5 and above.

Entity Framework is an object-relational mapping framework that can be used to work with data as objects. While you can run the ADO.NET Entity Data Model wizard in Visual Studio to handle generating the Entity Model, this approach, the model-first approach, can put you at a disadvantage if there are changes in your data source or if you want more control over how the entities operate. In this article you will complete the code-first approach to accessing BigCommerce data using the CData ADO.NET Provider.

  1. Open Visual Studio and create a new Windows Form Application. This article uses a C# project with .NET 4.5.
  2. Run the command 'Install-Package EntityFramework' in the Package Manger Console in Visual Studio to install the latest release of Entity Framework.
  3. Modify the App.config file in the project to add a reference to the BigCommerce Entity Framework 6 assembly and the connection string.

    BigCommerce authentication is based on the standard OAuth flow. To authenticate, you must initially create an app via the Big Commerce developer platform where you can obtain an OAuthClientId, OAuthClientSecret, and CallbackURL. These three parameters will be set as connection properties to your driver.

    Additionally, in order to connect to your BigCommerce Store, you will need your StoreId. To find your Store Id please follow these steps:

    1. Log in to your BigCommerce account.
    2. From the Home Page, select Advanced Settings > API Accounts.
    3. Click Create API Account.
    4. A text box named API Path will appear on your screen.
    5. Inside you can see a URL of the following structure: https://api.bigcommerce.com/stores/{Store Id}/v3.
    6. As demonstrated above, your Store Id will be between the 'stores/' and '/v3' path paramters.
    7. Once you have retrieved your Store Id you can either click Cancel or proceed in creating an API Account in case you do not have one already.
    <configuration> ... <connectionStrings> <add name="BigCommerceContext" connectionString="Offline=False;OAuthClientId=YourClientId; OAuthClientSecret=YourClientSecret; StoreId='YourStoreID'; CallbackURL='http://localhost:33333'InitiateOAuth=GETANDREFRESH" providerName="System.Data.CData.BigCommerce" /> </connectionStrings> <entityFramework> <providers> ... <provider invariantName="System.Data.CData.BigCommerce" type="System.Data.CData.BigCommerce.BigCommerceProviderServices, System.Data.CData.BigCommerce.Entities.EF6" /> </providers> <entityFramework> </configuration> </code>
  4. Add a reference to System.Data.CData.BigCommerce.Entities.EF6.dll, located in the lib -> 4.0 subfolder in the installation directory.
  5. Build the project at this point to ensure everything is working correctly. Once that's done, you can start coding using Entity Framework.
  6. Add a new .cs file to the project and add a class to it. This will be your database context, and it will extend the DbContext class. In the example, this class is named BigCommerceContext. The following code example overrides the OnModelCreating method to make the following changes:
    • Remove PluralizingTableNameConvention from the ModelBuilder Conventions.
    • Remove requests to the MigrationHistory table.
    using System.Data.Entity; using System.Data.Entity.Infrastructure; using System.Data.Entity.ModelConfiguration.Conventions; class BigCommerceContext : DbContext { public BigCommerceContext() { } protected override void OnModelCreating(DbModelBuilder modelBuilder) { // To remove the requests to the Migration History table Database.SetInitializer<BigCommerceContext>(null); // To remove the plural names modelBuilder.Conventions.Remove<PluralizingTableNameConvention>(); } }
  7. Create another .cs file and name it after the BigCommerce entity you are retrieving, for example, Customers. In this file, define both the Entity and the Entity Configuration, which will resemble the example below: using System.Data.Entity.ModelConfiguration; using System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations.Schema; [System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations.Schema.Table("Customers")] public class Customers { [System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations.Key] public System.String FirstName { get; set; } public System.String LastName { get; set; } }
  8. Now that you have created an entity, add the entity to your context class: public DbSet<Customers> Customers { set; get; }
  9. With the context and entity finished, you are now ready to query the data in a separate class. For example: BigCommerceContext context = new BigCommerceContext(); context.Configuration.UseDatabaseNullSemantics = true; var query = from line in context.Customers select line;