Web API Queryable – how to apply AutoMapper?

I’ve got a simple WebApi method like this decorated with the OData queryable attribute.

    public virtual IQueryable<PersonDto> Get()
        return uow.Person().GetAll()); // Currently returns Person instead of PersonD

What I want to do is transform the result of the query from type Person to type PersonDto using AutoMapper before WebAPI converts the result to JSON.

Does anybody know how I can do this? I am aware, I could apply Mapper.Map after the GetAll() call and then convert back to IQueryable, however this would result in the entire table being returned and mapped before the OData filter is applied (not good!).

It would appear that this question ASP.NET Web API return queryable DTOs? covers the same issue (see second response for a better answer), where the suggestion is to use AutoMapper at the end of the chain using a custom MediaTypeFormatter, however I have no idea how to do that based on the example I have seen.

Any help will be gratefully received!

— Further Info

I’ve looked at the source code for IQueryable, but unfortunately there I can’t see any way of utilising the code for this purpose. I have managed to write an additional filter which appears to work, however it isn’t certainly isn’t elegant.

public class PersonToPersonDtoConvertAttribute : ActionFilterAttribute
    public override void OnActionExecuted(System.Web.Http.Filters.HttpActionExecutedContext actionExecutedContext)
        HttpResponseMessage response = actionExecutedContext.Response;

        if (response != null)
            ObjectContent responseContent = response.Content as ObjectContent;
            var query = (responseContent.Value as IQueryable<Student>).ToList();
            response.Content = new ObjectContent<IEnumerable<StudentResource>>(query.ToList().Select(Mapper.Map<Person, PersonDto>), responseContent.Formatter);

Then I have decorated the action like
    public IQueryable<Person> Get()
        return uow.GetRepo<IRepository<Person>>().GetAll();


Thank you for visiting the Q&A section on Magenaut. Please note that all the answers may not help you solve the issue immediately. So please treat them as advisements. If you found the post helpful (or not), leave a comment & I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Method 1

Use the AutoMapper’s Queryable Extensions.

First, define the mapping.

// Old AutoMapper API
// Mapper.CreateMap<Person, PersonDto>();

// Current AutoMapper API
Mapper.Initialize(cfg => 
   cfg.CreateMap<Person, PersonDto>()

Then you can use something like this:
public IQueryable<PersonDto> Get() {
    // Old AutoMapper API
    // return this.dbContext.Persons.Project().To<PersonDto>();

    // New AutoMapper API
    return this.dbContext.Persons.ProjectTo<PersonDto>();

Edit 04/2019: Updated to reflect current AutoMapper API.

Method 2

There is a better solution. Try this:

public virtual IQueryable<PersonDto> Get(ODataQueryOptions<Person> query)
    var people = query.ApplyTo(uow.Person().GetAll());
    return ConvertToDtos(people);

This will make sure the query runs on Person instead of PersonDTO. If you want the conversion to happen through an attribute instead of in code, you’ll still want to implement an action filter similar to what you put up.

Method 3

IMHO the accepted solution is not correct. Generally speaking, if your service is using DTOs, you don’t want to expose the underlying Entities (Person) to the service. Why would you query against the Person model and return PersonDTO objects?

Since you’re already using it, Automapper has Queryable Extensions which allows you to expose only your DTOs and have the filtering applied to the underlying type at the data source. For example:

public IQueryable<PersonDto> Get(ODataQueryOptions<PersonDto> options) {
    Mapper.CreateMap<Person, PersonDto>();
    var persons = _personRepository.GetPersonsAsQueryable();
    var personsDTOs = persons.Project().To<PersonDto>();  // magic happens here...

    return options.ApplyTo(personsDTOs);

Regarding eagerly loading navigation properties…

@philreed: I couldn’t put a decent response in the comment so I added it here. There was a post on how to do this here but I’m getting 403s today. Hopefully that’s temporary.

Basically, you examine the Select and Expand clauses for your navigation property. If it is present, then you tell EF to eagerly load via IQueryable<T> Include extension method.


public IQueryable<MyDto> GetMyDtos(ODataQueryOptions<MyDto> options)
  var eagerlyLoad = options.IsNavigationPropertyExpected(t => t.MyNavProperty);
  var queryable = _myDtoService.GetMyDtos(eagerlyLoad);

  // _myDtoService will eagerly load to prevent select N+1 problems
  // return (eagerlyLoad) ? efResults.Include(t => t.MyNavProperty) : efResults;

  return queryable;

Extension method
public static class ODataQueryOptionsExtensions
  public static bool IsNavigationPropertyExpected<TSource, TKey>(this ODataQueryOptions<TSource> source, Expression<Func<TSource, TKey>> keySelector)
    if (source == null) { throw new ArgumentNullException("source"); }
    if (keySelector == null) { throw new ArgumentNullException("keySelector"); }

    var returnValue = false;
    var propertyName = (keySelector.Body as MemberExpression ?? ((UnaryExpression)keySelector.Body).Operand as MemberExpression).Member.Name;
    var expandProperties = source.SelectExpand == null || string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(source.SelectExpand.RawExpand) ? new List<string>().ToArray() : source.SelectExpand.RawExpand.Split(',');
    var selectProperties = source.SelectExpand == null || string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(source.SelectExpand.RawSelect) ? new List<string>().ToArray() : source.SelectExpand.RawSelect.Split(',');

    returnValue = returnValue ^ expandProperties.Contains<string>(propertyName);
    returnValue = returnValue ^ selectProperties.Contains<string>(propertyName);

    return returnValue;

All methods was sourced from stackoverflow.com or stackexchange.com, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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