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Commands are the basic value objects, or models, that represent the write operations that you can perform in your domain. As described in more detail below a command is the "thing" to be done. A command handler does the "thing".

As an example, one might implement this command for updating user passwords.

.. literalinclude:: ../Source/EventFlow.Documentation/Topics/Commands/UserUpdatePasswordCommand.cs
  :dedent: 4
  :language: c#
  :lines: 28-42

Note that the Password class is merely a value object created to hold the password and do basic validation. Read the article regarding :ref:`value objects <value-objects>` for more information. Also, you don't have to use the default EventFlow Command<,> implementation, you can create your own, it merely has to implement the ICommand<,> interface.

A command by itself doesn't do anything and will throw an exception if published. To make a command work, you need to implement one (and only one) command handler which is responsible for invoking the aggregate.

.. literalinclude:: ../Source/EventFlow.Documentation/Topics/Commands/UserUpdatePasswordCommandHandler.cs
  :dedent: 4
  :language: c#
  :lines: 31-45

Execution results

If the aggregate detects a domain error and wants to abort execution and return an error back, then execution results are used. EventFlow ships with a basic implementation that allows returning success or failed and optionally an error message as shown here.

ExecutionResult.Failed("With some error");

However, you can create your own custom execution results to allow aggregates to e.g. provide detailed validation results. Merely implement the IExecutionResult interface and use the type as generic arguments on the command and command handler.


While possible, do not use the execution results as a method of reading values from the aggregate, that's what the IQueryProcessor and read models are for.

Ensure idempotency

Detecting duplicate operations can be hard, especially if you have a distributed application, or simply a web application. Consider the following simplified scenario.

  1. The user wants to change his password
  2. The user fills in the "change password form"
  3. The user submits the form twice, either accidentally or impatiently
  4. The first web request completes and the password is changed. However, as the browser is waiting on the second web request, this result is ignored
  5. The second web request throws a domain error as the "old password" doesn't match as the current password has already been changed
  6. The user is presented with a error on the web page

Handling this is simple, merely ensure that the aggregate is idempotent in regards to password changes. But instead of implementing this yourself, EventFlow has support for it that is simple to utilize and is done per command.

To use the functionality, merely ensure that commands that represent the same operation have the same ISourceId which implements IIdentity like the example below.

Note the use on line 11 of the protected constructor of Command<,> that takes a ISourceId in addition to the aggregate root identity.

If a duplicate command is detected, a DuplicateOperationException is thrown. The application could then ignore the exception or report the problem to the end user.

The default ISourceId history size of the aggregate root, is ten. But it can be configured using the SetSourceIdHistory(...) method in the aggregate root constructor.

Easier ISourceId calculation

Ensuring the correct calculation of the command ISourceId can be somewhat cumbersome, which is why EventFlow provides another base command you can use, the DistinctCommand<,>. By using the DistinctCommand<,> you merely have to implement the GetSourceIdComponents() and providing the IEnumerable<byte[]> that makes the command unique. The bytes are used to create a deterministic GUID to be used as an ISourceId.

public class UserUpdatePasswordCommand :
  DistinctCommand<UserAggregate, UserId>
  public Password NewPassword { get; }
  public Password OldPassword { get; }

  public UserUpdatePasswordCommand(
    UserId id,
    Password newPassword,
    Password oldPassword)
    : base(id)
    NewPassword = newPassword;
    OldPassword = oldPassword;

  protected override IEnumerable<byte[]> GetSourceIdComponents()
    yield return NewPassword.GetBytes();
    yield return OldPassword.GetBytes();

The GetBytes() merely returns the Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(...) of the password.


Don't use the GetHashCode(), as the implementation can be different on 32 bit and 64 bit .NET (e.g. string).