Factory for object creation and dependency injection. Works with normal C# apps or under Unity3d
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README.md

Factory Build Status

Easy to use C# factory/IOC-container for object creation and dependency injection.

Used by Real Serious Games in serious games built with Unity3D.

Recent Updates

  • 10 March 2015: Added Unity3D instructions and Unity example project.
  • 3 March 2015: v1.1.0.0
    • Breaking changes:
      • Namespace has been changed from RSG.Factory to RSG, to avoid C#'s problems with classes having the same name as the namespace.
  • 27 Feb 2015: v1.0.0.7
    • Singleton setup is now simplified and easier to use. See this docs or included examples for details.
    • IStartable Start has been renamed to Startup to avoid conflicts with the MonoBehaviour Start function for Unity scripts.

Contents

Table of Contents generated with DocToc

Getting Started

Getting the DLL

The DLL can be installed via nuget. Use the Package Manager UI or console in Visual Studio or use nuget from the command line.

The package to search for is RSG.Factory.

Getting the Code

You can get the code by cloning the github repository. You can do this in a UI like SourceTree or you can do it from the command line as follows:

git clone https://github.com/Real-Serious-Games/Factory.git

Alternately, to contribute please fork the project in github.

Factory Setup

Reference the DLL and import the namespace:

using RSG; 

Instantiate the factory as follows:

Factory factory = new Factory("MyApp", new MyLogger());

The first parameter specifies a name of the factory instance and is for debugging only. Naming factorys helps when using multiple factories.

The second parameter is an instance of an object that implements ILogger. This class must be implemented by you, for an example of the simplest possible implementation see the included example projects.

Creating Objects

Factory Creation by Name

The simplest use of the factory is to create objects by name.

Start by defining a type to create:

public class MyType
{
}

Then register the type with the factory:

factory.Type("MyType", typeof(MyType));

Now you can create instance of the type by specifying the type name:

MyType myFactoryCreatedObject = factory.Create<MyType>("MyType");

This technique is useful in data-driven programming.

Factory Creation by Interface

Objects can also be created by specifying their interface.

This time, the type has an interface:

public interface IMyType
{
}

public class MyType : IMyType
{
}

Now register the type with the factory:

factory.Type<IMyType>(typeof(MyType));

And create instances by specifying the interface:

IMyType myFactoryCreatedObject = factory.CreateInterface<IMyType>();

This technique is useful in test-driven development for mocking the interface of the object being created.

Constructor Arguments

Any number of constructor arguments can be specified when creating objects, provided there actually is a constructor that takes the arguments.

By name:

MyType myFactoryCreatedObject = factory.Create<MyType>("MyType", 1, 2, "3");

Or by interface:

IMyType myFactoryCreatedObject = factory.CreateInterface<IMyType>(1, 2, "3");

This assumes that MyType has a public constructor with appropriate parameters, such as:

public MyType(int a1, int a2, string a3)
{
	...
}

If no such constructor exists an exception will be thrown at run-time when attempting to create the object.

This highlights the downside of using the factory, you don't get have compile-time checking of constructor arguments the way you would if you were just newing objects directly, however I believe that being able to use TDD outweights this issue. If you ever come up with a good solution to this problem please let us know!

Automatic Setup for Factory Creation

Registering types manually is boring work. Here's how to do it automatically.

Use the FactoryCreatable attribute to mark your types.

By name:

[FactoryCreatable]
public class MyType
{
}

Custom name:

[FactoryCreatable("MyCustomName")]
public class MyType
{
}

Or by interface:

[FactoryCreatable(typeof(IMyType))]
public class MyType : IMyType
{
}

Then ask the factory to scan loaded DLLs for marked types:

factory.AutoRegisterTypes();

Be careful, this can be expensive! Ideally you will only do this only once at startup.

You can now create the automatically registered objects by name or interface as necessary.

Dependency Injection

Dependency Injection via Properties

Dependencies can be injected (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dependency_injection) for properties as follows:

[FactoryCreatable]
public class MyType
{
	[Dependency]
	public IMyDependency MyDependency { get; set; }
}

The Dependency attribute marks properties to be resolved. After the object has been factory-created the dependencies will be satisfied.

Properties must have a public getter and setter.

Property dependencies are very convenient (although it's a trade-off against the bad design of using public setters), but the properties can't be used in constructors. This is because property dependencies, by necessity, are resolved after the object is constructed, therefore after the constructor has executed. To use use injected dependencies in a constructor, they must be injected as constructor arguments.

Dependency Injection via Constructor Arguments

Constructor argument injection is cleaner than property injection (as it eliminates public setters), but it is less convenient, but you must do it this way to use dependencies in the constructor.

An example:

[FactoryCreatable]
public class MyType
{
	public MyType(IMyDependency myDependency)
	{
		...
	}
}

Dependency injected constructor arguments can be used with normal constuctor arguments, provided the normal arguments come first:

[FactoryCreatable]
public class MyType
{
	public MyType(int a, string b, IMyDependency myDependency)
	{
		...
	}
}

Any number of injected arguments can come after any number of normal arguments.

Remember that when you factory-create an object that takes injected constructor arguments that you shouldn't manually provide those arguments. You could do that if you wanted to, and maybe that's warranted in some scenarios, but generally don't do it because it defeats the point of having automatic injection.

Dependency Injection Setup

Manual Setup for Dependency Injection

Dependencies must be registered with the factory before they can be injected.

This can be done manually as follows:

factory.Dep<IMyDependency>(new MyDependency());

This registers an instance of MyDependency and associates it with the interface IMyDependency. Whenever IMyDependency is requested as a dependency it will resolve to the specified MyDependency object.

Automatic Setup for Dependency Injection

Again... manual setup is boring and time consuming. Enjoy some automatic setup...

Any class that has been marked with FactoryCreatable (the interface version) will also be dependency-injectable:

[FactoryCreatable(typeof(IMyDependency))]
public class MyDependency : IMyDependency
{
	...
}

Whenever IMyDependency is requested as a dependency it will automatically resolve to an instance MyDependency. A new instance is created each time. See the next section if you need to dependency inject singletons, that is objects that are only created once and shared each time the dependency is needed.

Singletons

Singleton Instantiation

Classes marked with the Singleton attribute are automatically detected, instantiated and made ready for dependency injection. As these objects are singletons there is only a single instance that is shared to all objects that requested the dependency.

This is how you define a singleton:

[Singleton(typeof(IMySingleton))]
public class MySingleton : IMySingleton
{
	...
}

The parameter to the Singleton attribute specifies the type that is injected. The singleton is injected into other objects by requesting the singleton's interface as a constructor parameter or a property dependency (as documented earlier).

The factory is instructed to find and instantiate singletons as follows:

factory.AutoInstantiateSingletons();

At this point any class marked with Singleton will have been instantiated and is ready for dependency injection.

In some circumstances you will want to delay instantiation of singletons until the time when the object is requested for dependency injection for the first time. We call these lazy singletons and you can mark them using the LazySingleton attribute:

[LazySingleton(typeof(IMyLazySingleton))]
public class MyLazySingleton : IMyLazySingleton
{
	...
}

Singletons can depend on other singletons!

Singletons can have other singletons injected as dependencies (in addition to regular dependencies):

[Singleton(typeof(IMySingleton1))]
public class MySingleton1 : IMySingleton1
{
	...
}

[Singleton(typeof(IMySingleton2))]
public class MySingleton2 : IMySingleton2
{
	[Dependency]
	public IMySingleton1 MySingleton1 { get; set; }

	...
}

The system automatically sorts singleton definitions by dependency prior to instantiation. This ensures that for any give singleton being instantiated, other singletons it depends on will already have been instantiated.

Tweaking the startup order of objects in your application can be a painful experience, but automatic ordering of dependencies makes it so much easier!

Circular references between singletons are illegal for obvious reasons, a nasty exception will be thrown at you if you try to do that.

Singleton Startup/Shutdown

Singletons that implement IStartable can have their Startup and Shutdown methods called.

[Singleton(typeof(IMySingleton))]
public class MySingleton : IMySingleton, IStartable
{
	public void Startup()
	{
		// ... initalization logic
	}

	public void Shutdown()
	{
		// ... shutdown logic
	}
}

Calling AutoInstantiateSingletons returns an ISingletonManager that can be used to interact with your singletons, for example when starting the application:

var singletonManager = factory.AutoInstantiateSingletons();
singletonManager.Startup();

And when shutting down your application:

singletonManager.Shutdown();

You can interact generally with singleton objects via the Singletons property. For example, on shutdown you might want to query all singletons to ask them if its ok to shutdown given the current state of the application, let's say we are using an interface you have defined called IQueryShutdown:

var toQuery = singletonManager.Singletons
	.Where(singleton => singleton is IQueryShutdown)
    .Cast<IQueryShutdown>();

foreach (var singleton in toQuery)
{
	if (!singleton.CanShutdown())
	{
		// The singleton wants to prevent shutdown for some reason!
		...
	}
}

Custom Singleton Instantiation

You can customize singleton instantiation by creating your own attribute that derives from SingletonAttribute and implements CreateInstance.

Here is a basic example:

public class MySpecialSingletonAttribute : SingletonAttribute
{
	... constructors ...

	public override object CreateInstance(IFactory factory, Type type)
	{
		... instantiate your special singleton and return it ...
	}
}

At Real Serious Games we have a special attribute for creating our Unity singletons... because they need special instantiation logic. So if you want to see a real example please see our UnitySingletonAttribute in the RSG.Unity project.

Unity3D Setup and Usage

Basic Setup

Copy RSG.Factory.dll and RSG.Toolkit.dll into your Unity project under the Assets directory. You can get the dll from nuget otherwise you must clone and build the code (see Getting the Code).

Include the RSG namespace in your C# code and you are ready to start using all the features of the factory as explained above.

Debugging the Factory Code

To debug the Factory code (maybe you'd like to solve a problem or contribute?) you must build from code.

Once built, copy RSG.Factory.dll, its associated pdb (the debug information) and RSG.Toolkit.dll into your Unity project.

Now you will be able to debug the factory code using UnityVS.

If you want to use MonoDevelop to debug (I don't recommend it) you will need to generate an mdb file for the factory dll. This is the MonoDevelop equivalent of a pdb file. Unity comes with a tool pdb2mdb.exe to generate mdb files. You should really just use UnityVS, it's free now and is much less hassle.

MonoBehavior's as Singletons

Use a custom singleton attribute to provide DIY instantiation logic for your Unity singletons. UnitySingletonAttribute is the attribute we use at Real Serious Games you can find a version of it in our Example Unity Project or in our Unity application toolkit.

Bootstrapping the Factory

To tie in with the Unity scene you are going to need a globally accessible instance of the factory. We like to have a singleton App class that survives for the duration of the application regardless of which Unity scene is loaded. Each scene has an Application GameObject which has an AppInit MonoBehaviour attached. The Awake function initialises the App singleton which in turn initalises the global factory. You can see an example of this in the associated Unity example project or for a more complex/substantial example see our Unity application toolkit.

Dependency Injecting an Existing MonoBehavior

Unity programmers reach a whole new level when they realize that not every object needs to be an instance of a MonoBehaviour. But even so you are always going to need some MonoBehaviours to plug logic into your Unity scene.

From the Start function of your MonoBehaviour call ResolveDependencies to fullfil dependencies for your already instantiated MonoBehavior:

public class MyMonoBehaviour : MyMonoBehaviour
{
	[Dependency]
	public ISomeDependency SomeDependency { get; set; }

	void Start()
	{
		App.Instance.Factory.ResolveDependencies(this);
	}
}

Note if you use the Application/AppInit soution from the previous section to book your App singleton then you need to do dependency resolution in the Start function rather than Awake. However this isn't an issue if you directly boot the App singleton first. for example:

public class MyMonoBehaviour : MyMonoBehaviour
{
	[Dependency]
	public ISomeDependency SomeDependency { get; set; }

	void Awake()
	{
		// Ensure app has been started before using it.
		// Note that our app 
		App.Startup(); 

		App.Instance.Factory.ResolveDependencies(this);
	}
}

For this to work the call to App.Startup() needs to be callable multiple times, only having an effect (booting the App/factory) the first time it is called.

Examples

Example C# Projects

This project comes with numerous example projects. I recommend cloning to browse locally or just browsing via the github web interface.

Example Unity Project

At Real Serious Games we use the Factory with Unity3D, so we have prepared an example Unity project that demonstrates how to use the factory.

As Unity projects are largish... we have put this example in its own repository, available here: https://github.com/Real-Serious-Games/Unity3D-Factory-Example