UWP using Unity and EF Core and Sqlite

August 10, 2019

If you intent to use IoC with a UWP application, there are a lot of options. Most of them come with MVVM packages, like MVVM Cross. These are excellent packages - I’ve used MVVM Cross and MVVM Light myself and can highly recommend them.

However, if you didn’t want all that baggage, how would you implement a very simple IoC system in UWP?

In this example, I’m using Unity, however, I believe this will work for any IoC container. I’m also using the IoC container to resolve a View Model - but you don’t need to use View Models (although IMHO, it makes your life so much easier.)

Secondly, I’ll be showing how to use Ef Core with your UWP app. This sounds very trivial, but there’s a bit of fiddling about to get it to work.

Entity Framework Core Set-up

In my project, I’ve separated the data access layer, but you don’t need to do that. Start by creating a data context:

public class MyDbContext : DbContext
    public DbSet<Data> MyData { get; set; }
    protected override void OnConfiguring(DbContextOptionsBuilder optionsBuilder)
        optionsBuilder.UseSqlite("Data Source=mydata.db");

You’ll need the following packages:

Install-Package Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore
Install-Package Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Design
Install-Package Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Tools
Install-Package Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Sqlite

You’ll also need to create a console application - why? Because you can’t use any of the EF tools with UWP! If you set your UWP app as the start-up and create your migration, you’ll get this error:

Startup project ‘SendMessage.UWP’ is a Universal Windows Platform app. This version of the Entity Framework Core Package Manager Console Tools doesn’t support this type of project.

Set the console app as startup and add the migration:

Add-Migration "InitialDbCreate"

Don’t worry about updating the DB, we’ll get the app to do that (it just can’t use the tools, but it can perform a migration.)


From a new, blank, UWP app; in app.xaml.cs:

sealed partial class App : Application
    public static IUnityContainer Container { get; set; } = new UnityContainer();
    /// <summary>
    /// Initializes the singleton application object.  This is the first line of authored code
    /// executed, and as such is the logical equivalent of main() or WinMain().
    /// </summary>
    public App()
        this.Suspending += OnSuspending;
        using (var db = new MyDbContext())

We’re creating a static UnityContainer in App.Xaml.cs. Register the type (in this case a MainViewModel, but it could as easily be an interface).

The next step is resolving the interface. Unfortunately, because of the way that the UWP navigate works, Unity won’t perform constructor injection for us. A little trick around this is to create a parameterless constructor and have that call the injected constructor. It’s not quite constructor injection, but semantically it’s the same thing. Here’s the code from my MainPage.xaml.cs:

public sealed partial class MainPage : Page
    public MainPage() : this(App.Container.Resolve<MainViewModel>()) { }
    public MainPage(MainViewModel mainViewModel)
        this.DataContext = mainViewModel;

That’s pretty much it; you can run this, and it’ll migrate the data, and resolve the dependency.



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