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Dynamically loaded assemblies. Reflection & Dynamic Types

Posted on 2010-08-18
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Last Modified: 2013-11-12
In my silverlight project when i user drops a file on the page, based on the file name I load another assembly dynamically to handle data it contains.
In the dynamic assembly I have a class e.g. book and a method which returns a List<book>, if the user drops another file type i may dynamically download an assembly that deals with cars; it will have the class car and a method which returns List<car>.
The point is that i don't want my business model project to know anything about the contents of these dynamic assemblies other than the fact that they have a 'GetData' method which will return a List<> of whatever items they deal with i.e. books, cars....

The code in my business model project is below. I need a way (I presume using reflection) to convert the returnObject from a plain old object to a List<> so that I can make use of it effectively in my business model project.        


public object BuildDataObject(bool Merge, string FileType, object Data, Assembly DownloadedAssembly, string _Project)
        {
            object[] _params = new object[3];
            _params[0] = Data;
            _params[1] = Merge;
            _params[2] = false;
           
            Type _Object = _Assembly.GetType(_Project + ".Get");
            MethodInfo mi = _Object.GetMethod("GetData");
            ConstructorInfo ci = _Object.GetConstructor(Type.EmptyTypes);
            object response = ci.Invoke(null);
            object returnObject = mi.Invoke(response, _params);
            return returnObject;
        }

//returnObject is a List<myCustomItem>

so using reflection i can find out what the originating Type of the object was like...
           
            Type originalType = returnObject.GetType();

...but I'm really struggling with how to cast 'returnObject' back to List<myCustomItems> so that I can use Linq on it.

Silverlight 4, C#4
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Question by:Jobbietronic
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Expert Comment

by:kris_per
Comment Utility
One option is to use interface. If all the custom types (Car, Book, etc)implement an interface (say IBuildable), then you can cast your returnObject like:

IEnumerable<IBuildable> list = returnObject as IEnumerable<IBuildable>;

Now you can use this list in Linq and use the common properties/methods defined in the IBuildable interface in the linq query...
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Author Comment

by:Jobbietronic
Comment Utility
Kris,
thanks for the reply, I'm sure the above is an eminently sensible solution but my inexperience dictates that I'll have to spend some time looking into how to implement it!
I have an initial question:
Would that mean that both my business model project and the dynamic plugin projects would need to know about IBuildable at compile time?
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kris_per earned 500 total points
Comment Utility

Yes. Both the projects needs to know about the interface.

Another method using reflection is:

Even if you get the type of 'returnObject' and create an object for that type (or anything), it will be again an object and it can not be used like a declared variable like List<Car> as business project doesn't know the types;

So I instead of trying to cast the list to the List<...>, you can use reflection on the objects in that list to get values/call methods as shown in the code below (with a linq query). Here one thing the business project need to know is that the object in the list has a property named 'Name'....




IEnumerable<object> listE = returnObject as IEnumerable<object>;



var qry = from c in listE 

          where c.GetType().GetProperty("Name").GetValue(c,null).ToString() == "name1" 

          select c;

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Author Comment

by:Jobbietronic
Comment Utility
Thanks Kris, with a little rewrite of my query engine I think I can get there!
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Author Closing Comment

by:Jobbietronic
Comment Utility
Great help and quick too.
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