Signum Documentation

The documentation comes from the Markdown files in the source code, so is always up-to-date but available only in English. Enjoy!

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Database is the main facade of Signum Engine for normal operations with entities, like saving, retrieving or deleting particular entities, or write complex queries to retrieving, update, delete or insert many entities at the same time.

Three things that make Database class different to many other ORM:

  1. Database class is static: No need to instantiate it, neither to pass it as a parameter or store it in some global variable. Client code (your code) is simpler and easier to re-use, while preserving flexibility to change the DB connection and the schema using Connector.Override method.
  2. No Property for each table: On Database class you will find general purpose methods to deal with Entity objects, also you will find strongly-typed generic overloading. But what you are not going to find there are properties to deal specifically with some concrete entity. This way the business logic in your modules only depend on the common Database class, not a particular class representing your particular database, so they can be used in other projects.
  3. No need to synchronize DB and Code while developing: Since Signum Framework is entirely based on entities, and they are written in C# code, you don't need to synchronize the database schema before doing the next step. You can write big parts of the application from scratch without even connecting to SQL Server and then, at the very end, generate or re-synchronize the schema using Administrator, and test all your queries and code.


Let's start with an example.

Suppose you have a very simplistic UserEntity entity like this one:

[Serializable, EntityKind(EntityKind.Main, EntityData.Transactional)]
public class UserEntity : Entity
    string userName;
    public string UserName
        get { return userName; }
        set { Set(ref userName, value); }

    string passwordHash;
    public string PasswordHash
        get { return passwordHash; }
        set { Set(ref passwordHash, value); }

Note: *In case you don't know why the field is named passwordHash instead of password click here.

And you need to be able to change user's password, it would be implemented like this:

private static void ChangePassword(string userName, string oldPasswordHash, string newPasswordHash)
    using (Transaction tr = new Transaction())
        UserEntity user = Database.Query<UserEntity>().Single(a => a.UserName == userName);
        if (user.PasswordHash != oldPasswordHash)
           throw new ApplicationException("Incorrect password");
        user.PasswordHash = newPasswordHash;


Looks easy, doesn't it?

This is what is actually happening:

  • Transaction: We create a Transaction. Every atomic operation exposed by Database class is implicitily transactional, but by explicitly surrounding it with a Transaction object we are just making the transaction bigger.
  • Query: We retrieve the only user with the provided username in one query.
  • Testing the old password (nothing to do with the framework really)
  • Setting the new password, internally the Set method of the entity is called, so the entity becomes self modified.
  • Save: Using Database.Save extension method to save the entity. You could write Database.Save(user) instead if you find it more clear. Also, in this example we're saving a simple entity but it could have a whole graph of related entities if necessary.