Using Tuples with Dapper



Using tuples with Dapper for simple query results can avoid the need to create classes or records that might otherwise bloat your code-base.

Here's a sample repo:


When you have an existing database or management practices that don't involve Entity Framework (Core or otherwise), Dapper can be a great way to perform data access without the lower-level details of ADO.NET, and it can map your query results directly to strongly-typed C# objects like classes and records as long as the column names of your query results match up with the property names of those classes and records.

Here's a sample SQL statement for the "happy case" - which could be used in a string variable called sqlForCustomers:

2      Name, 
3      FavoriteColor, 
4      CreateDate
5FROM Customer

Then you might define (or already have) a C# class (or record) like the following:

1public class CustomerInCode
3  public int Id { get; set; }
4  public string Name { get; set; }
5  public string FavoriteColor { get; set; }
6  public DateTime CreateDate { get; set; }

Then you could invoke Dapper's Query<> method like this:

1var customers = dbConnection.Query<CustomerInCode>(sqlForCustomers);

And then customers would be an IEnumerable<CustomerInCode> and each item would have all of its properties set with the results of the query. Awesome!

Classes for Everything?

The above code shows the CustomerInCode class as the generic argument for the Query<T> method of Dapper.

There are some situations where this might be troublesome:

  • The column names of the table / query don't match up with good C# property names
  • The class you would create is ONLY meant to represent the results of this single query and would have no other re-usability
  • Changing the query (or adding another one) to use column aliases is not desirable (for whatever reason)

You might be creating class for no other reason than to receive the results of a given query. You might wonder where to put this class, and it might add "bloat" to your codebase.

An Alternative: Use Tuples!

For simple result sets (say 2-6 columns, tops) an alternative to creating a class/record only for the results of the query is to use a tuple.

Here's what that code would look like (with different column names on the customer table):

1var customers = dbConnection.Query<(int Id, string Name, string FavoriteColor)>
2        (@"SELECT id, 
3              customer_name, 
4              fav_color, 
5              create_date
6           FROM customer");
7var firstCust = customers.First();
8var n = firstCust.Name;  // works

In this example, customers is a tuple of the form (int Id, string Name, string FavoriteColor).

There are a couple of noteworthy items here:

  • The columnn names of the results do not need to match the tuple property names
  • The order of the items of the tuple absolutely matters -- you need to define tuple properties for each column from the beginning to the last one you need
    • Notice that I don't have a column for create_date in the tuple
    • If I ommitted the string Name property, the customer_name value would go into the string FavoriteColor property
    • If I made it (int Id, DateTime CreateDate) then it would actually fail because it would not be able to convert the customer_name column value into a DateTime

Here's a simple repo that uses SQLite that you can run and experiment with if you want:

In Closing

Using tuples with Dapper is definitely not a one-size fits all solution that should be used everywhere, but selective usage in situations where a simple and small class would be created only for the results of the query may be a great opportunity for keeping your code simpler than it otherwise might have been.

Happy coding!