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Access SAP ByDesign Data with Entity Framework 6

This article shows how to access SAP ByDesign 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 SAP ByDesign 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 SAP ByDesign Entity Framework 6 assembly and the connection string.

    Set the following connection properties to connect to SAP ByDesign.

    • Url: Set this to the Url of your SAP ByDesign site. For example, https://test.sapbydesign.com
    • User: Set this to the username of your account.
    • Password: Set this to the password of your account.
    • CustomService or AnalyticsService: Only one of these must be specified. If you have a custom service you want to retrieve data from, specify CustomService. If you want to retrieve the reports of a analytical service, specify AnalyticsService.
      If neither is specified, 'cc_home_analytics.svc' will used as a default for the AnalyticsService property. If you are not sure what service to specify, you can always query the Services view to list available services.
    <configuration> ... <connectionStrings> <add name="SAPByDesignContext" connectionString="Offline=False;URL=https://my999999.sapbydesign.com;User=username;Password=password;CustomService=servicename;" providerName="System.Data.CData.SAPByDesign" /> </connectionStrings> <entityFramework> <providers> ... <provider invariantName="System.Data.CData.SAPByDesign" type="System.Data.CData.SAPByDesign.SAPByDesignProviderServices, System.Data.CData.SAPByDesign.Entities.EF6" /> </providers> <entityFramework> </configuration> </code>
  4. Add a reference to System.Data.CData.SAPByDesign.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 SAPByDesignContext. 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 SAPByDesignContext : DbContext { public SAPByDesignContext() { } protected override void OnModelCreating(DbModelBuilder modelBuilder) { // To remove the requests to the Migration History table Database.SetInitializer<SAPByDesignContext>(null); // To remove the plural names modelBuilder.Conventions.Remove<PluralizingTableNameConvention>(); } }
  7. Create another .cs file and name it after the SAP ByDesign entity you are retrieving, for example, [Inventory Balance]. 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("[Inventory Balance]")] public class [Inventory Balance] { [System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations.Key] public System.String ID { get; set; } public System.String ProductCategoryID { get; set; } }
  8. Now that you have created an entity, add the entity to your context class: public DbSet<[Inventory Balance]> [Inventory Balance] { set; get; }
  9. With the context and entity finished, you are now ready to query the data in a separate class. For example: SAPByDesignContext context = new SAPByDesignContext(); context.Configuration.UseDatabaseNullSemantics = true; var query = from line in context.[Inventory Balance] select line;