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Auto Mapping

Using ServiceStack’s Built-in Auto-mapping

Although we encourage keeping separate DTO models, you don’t need to maintain your own manual mapping as you can use ServiceStack’s built-in Auto Mapping support. It’s quite comprehensive and resilient and does a good job in being able to co-erce one type into another, e.g. you can convert between different Enum types with the same name, between Enums and any value type and Strings, between properties and fields, POCOs and strings and many things in between - some of which can be seen in these Auto Mapping tests.

Here are some typical common use-cases you’re likely to hit in your web service development travels:

Create a new DTO instance, populated with matching properties on viewModel:

var dto = viewModel.ConvertTo<MyDto>();

var dto = new { Anon = "Object" }.ConvertTo<MyDto>();

Initialize DTO and populate it with matching properties on a view model:

var dto = new MyDto { A = 1, B = 2 }.PopulateWith(viewModel);

Initialize DTO and populate it with non-default matching properties on a view model:

var dto = new MyDto { A = 1, B = 2 }.PopulateWithNonDefaultValues(viewModel);

Initialize DTO and populate it with matching properties that are annotated with the Attr Attribute on a view model:

var dto = new MyDto { A=1 }
    .PopulateFromPropertiesWithAttribute(viewModel, typeof(CopyAttribute));

There is also the inverse for mapping all properties that don’t include a specific attribute:

var safeUpdate = db.SingleById<MyTable>(id)
    .PopulateFromPropertiesWithoutAttribute(dto, typeof(ReadOnlyAttribute));

Advanced mapping using Converters

You can register a custom Converter mapping using the AutoMapping.RegisterConverter() APIs, e.g:

// Data.User -> DTO User
AutoMapping.RegisterConverter((Data.User from) => {
    var to = from.ConvertTo<User>(skipConverters:true); // avoid infinite recursion
    to.FirstName = from.GivenName;
    to.LastName = from.Surname;
    return to;

// Car -> String
AutoMapping.RegisterConverter((Car from) => $"{from.Model} ({from.Year})");

// WrappedDate -> DateTime
AutoMapping.RegisterConverter((WrappedDate from) => from.ToDateTime());
// DateTime    -> WrappedDate
AutoMapping.RegisterConverter((DateTime from) => new WrappedDate(from));

Where it will be called whenever a conversion between Data.User -> User or Car -> String is needed, inc. nested types and collections.

Converters can also be used when you want to “take over” and override the default conversion behavior.

Advanced mapping using custom extension methods

When mapping logic becomes more complicated we like to use extension methods to keep code DRY and maintain the mapping in one place that’s easily consumable from within your application, e.g:

public static class ConvertExtensions
    public static MyDto ToDto(this MyViewModel from)
        var to = from.ConvertTo<MyDto>();
        to.Items = from.Items.ConvertAll(x => x.ToDto());
        to.CalculatedProperty = Calculate(from.Seed);
        return to;

Which is now easily consumable with just:

var dto = viewModel.ToDto();

Using C# methods ensures conversion is explicit, discoverable, debuggable, fast and flexible with access to the full C# language at your disposal whose conversion logic can be further DRY’ed behind reusable extension methods.

If you find you need to call this extension method manually in many places you may want to consider registering a Custom Converter instead.

Ignore Mapping

Use the AutoMapping.IgnoreMapping() API to specify mappings you want to skip entirely, e.g:

// Ignore Data.User -> User
AutoMapping.IgnoreMapping<Data.User, User>();
// Ignore List<Data.User> -> List<User>
AutoMapping.IgnoreMapping<List<Data.User>, List<User>>();

Support for Implicit / Explicit Type Casts

The built-in Auto Mapping also supports using any implicit or explicit Value Type Casts when they exists, e.g:

struct A
    public int Id { get; }
    public A(int id) => Id = id;
    public static implicit operator B(A from) => new B(from.Id);

struct B
    public int Id { get; }
    public B(int id) => Id = id;
    public static implicit operator A(B from) => new A(from.Id);

var b = new A(1).ConvertTo<B>();

Powerful and Capable

Due to its heavy reliance in #Script and other parts in ServiceStack, the built-in Auto Mapping is a sophisticated implementation that covers a large number of use-cases and corner cases when they can be intuitively mapped.

To see a glimpse of its available capabilities check out some of the examples in the docs where it’s able to call any method or construct any type dynamically using different Types.

Or how it’s able to convert any Reference Type into and out of an Object Dictionary, providing a simple approach to dynamically manipulating Types.

Populating Types from an Object Dictionary

The ToObjectDictionary and FromObjectDictionary extension methods are also useful in trying to convert loosely-typed data structures into a Typed POCO’s, e.g:

var dto = new User
    FirstName = "First",
    LastName = "Last",
    Car = new Car { Age = 10, Name = "ZCar" },

Dictionary<string,object> map = dtoUser.ToObjectDictionary();

map["LastName"] = "Updated";

User user = (User)map.FromObjectDictionary(typeof(User));