ObjectBuilder Dependency Injection Framework – Poor Undocumented Little Soul :)

I had it in my mind a couple days ago that I was going to learn more about ObjectBuilder since it plays a pretty important role in a number of the frameworks and factories coming out of Microsoft Patterns and Practices.

The new version just released, 1.0.51206.0, is in the latest offerings to name a few:

  • Enterprise Library, Jan 2007
  • Web Client Software Factory, Jan 2007
  • Web Service Software Factory, Jan 2007

Sadly I downloaded ObjectBuilder and there is absolutely no documentation and no quickstarts. This is pretty shocking since I find the documentation for the frameworks and factories above to be incredibly good. There is a powerpoint presentation with a bit of code that can be downloaded from the CodePlex site, but I was hoping for something with a bit more bite. I expected it to be more formally done since it is a big part of all these factories, etc.

ObjectBuilder is not a DI Container

One of the things you constantly here about ObjectBuilder is that it is not a DI Container, but a dependency injection framework from which you could build a container.

Okay, I can accept that, but since ObjectBuilder is a part of all these factories and a requirement in the applications these factories create, why in the heck doesn't it come with a DI Container? Doesn't it seem a little redundant to have ObjectBuilder and a separate DI Tool in the same application if one is needed? Sure… I could build a DI Container for ObjectBuilder, and John Boy could build one, and Mary Ellen could build one, etc., but it seems like it should just come with one.

ObjectBuilder Example

I did find a webcast on ObjectBuilder that helped me understand it a bit more and after a few hours I put a few lines of code together that did do a bit of dependency injection and building of objects. I think it is in the vicinity of how ObjectBuilder works. Warning: the code is rough as I was just playing…


BuilderStrategyChain chain = new BuilderStrategyChain();

// Create Strategies - Chain of Responsibility Design Pattern
chain.Add(new SingletonStrategy());
chain.Add(new TypeMappingStrategy());
chain.Add(new CreationStrategy());

// Policies
PolicyList policies = new PolicyList();

// Default Policy
policies.SetDefault<ICreationPolicy>(new DefaultCreationPolicy());

// Policy for creating SqlDataService - Singleton
policies.Set<ISingletonPolicy>(new SingletonPolicy(true), typeof(SqlDataService), null);

// Policy for creating IDataService - Use OracleDataService
TypeMappingPolicy policy = new TypeMappingPolicy(typeof(OracleDataService), "OracleDataService");
policies.Set<ITypeMappingPolicy>(policy, typeof(IDataService), null);

// Policy for MySqlDataService - Inject Required Connection String
string mySqlConnectionString = "My Connection String";
ConstructorPolicy cp = new ConstructorPolicy(new ValueParameter<string>(mySqlConnectionString));
policies.Set<ICreationPolicy>(cp, typeof(MySqlDataService), null);

// Locator - Place to put Singleton Objects
Locator locator = new Locator();
locator.Add(typeof(ILifetimeContainer), new LifetimeContainer());

// Create the context
BuilderContext context = new BuilderContext(chain, locator, policies);

// Start creating stuff... Yeah, we need a container :)
SqlDataService dataService = (SqlDataService)context.HeadOfChain.BuildUp(context, typeof(SqlDataService), null, null);
IDataService dataService2 = (IDataService)context.HeadOfChain.BuildUp(context, typeof(IDataService), null, null);
MySqlDataService dataService3 = (MySqlDataService)context.HeadOfChain.BuildUp(context, typeof(MySqlDataService), null, null);
SqlDataService dataService4 = (SqlDataService)context.HeadOfChain.BuildUp(context, typeof(SqlDataService), null, null);
IDataService dataService5 = (IDataService)context.HeadOfChain.BuildUp(context, typeof(IDataService), null, null);
MySqlDataService dataService6 = (MySqlDataService)context.HeadOfChain.BuildUp(context, typeof(MySqlDataService), null, null);


Here are the support classes for the code above:


public interface IDataService { }

public class SqlDataService : IDataService { }

public class OracleDataService : IDataService { }

public class MySqlDataService : IDataService
    private string _connectionString;

    public MySqlDataService(string connectionString)
        _connectionString = connectionString;


You can see we are just working with a raw API here to create the list of strategies and policies for creating objects and a container would really be useful. For more information on the use of strategies and policies I recommend the webcast for an introduction.



I think we will see some documentation and quickstarts in ObjectBuilder 2.0 whenever it is released, but I hope they come out with a DI container. Again, it just seems silly to have ObjectBuilder and a separate DI Tool in the same application if one is using the factories and application blocks put out by Microsoft.

by David Hayden

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4 Responses to ObjectBuilder Dependency Injection Framework – Poor Undocumented Little Soul :)

  1. Poor liitle thing. So powerful, so undocumented. A tear rolls down my cheek, as we toil to catch up on the docs; and more interestingly, as we work on creating new strategies that I hope many folks will like. :) Defnitively stay tuned during the next weeks.

  2. Thanks Dave. Regarding the lack of documentation, we agree it’s shocking, and we’re taking steps to address this. When the docs are ready, we’ll be posting to the OB site at http://codeplex.com/objectbuilder.

  3. Eric Quist says:

    I have a serie of 8 posts about ObjectBuilder at my blog, which covers the basics I hope. I blogged about while learning the hard way, but I must say that ObjectBuilder helped me really well. I have created a Dependency Injection tag for the post and you find them all here: http://blog.irm.se/blogs/eric/archive/tags/Dependency+Injection/default.aspx

  4. This seems to indicate to me that OB is not something that you are supposed to consumed externally except from those services
    I have some experience working with OB, and it is very hard to work with compared to other DI tools such as Windsor or StructureMAp

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