Dependency Inversion Principle

Dependency Inversion Principle is the last principle of SOLID principles. It helps in loose coupling.

DIP states that “High-level modules should not depend on low-level modules. Both should depend on abstraction”.

Now, the question is what are high-level and low-level modules and what is an abstraction?

A high-level module is a module (class) that uses other modules (classes) to perform a task. A low-level module contains a detailed implementation of some specific task that can be used by other modules. The high-level modules are generally the core business logic of an application whereas the low-level modules are input/output, database, file system, web API, or other external modules that interact with users, hardware, or other systems.

Abstraction is something that is not concrete. Abstraction should not depend on detail but details should depend on abstraction. For example, an abstract class or interface contains methods declarations that need to be implemented in concrete classes. Those concrete classes depend on the abstract class or interface but not vice-versa.

Now, how do we know a class depends on another class?

You can identify a class is depends on another class if it creates an object of another class. You may require to add the reference of the namespace to compile or run the code.

Consider the following example:

Example:
public class Student
    {
        public int StudentId { get; set; }
        public string FirstName { get; set; }
        public string LastName { get; set; }
        public DateTime DoB { get; set; }

	// tight coupling
        private StudentRepository _stdRepo = new StudentRepository();
       
 public Student()
        {

        }
        public void Save()
        {
            _stdRepo.AddStudent(this);
        }

    }

public class StudentRepository 
    {
        

        public void AddStudent(Student std)
        {
            //EF code removed for clarity
        }

        public void DeleteStudent(Student std)
        {
            //EF code removed for clarity
        }

        public void EditStudent(Student std)
        {
            //EF code removed for clarity
        }

        
        public IList GetAllStudents()
        {
            //EF code removed for clarity
        }

    }

The above Student class creates an object of the StudentRepository class for CRUD operation to a database. Thus, the Student class depends on the StudentRepository class for CRUD operations. The Student class is the high-level module and the StudentRepository class is the low-level module.

Here, the problem is that the Student class creates an object of concrete StudentRepository class using the new keyword and makes both tightly coupled. This leads to the following problems:

  • Creating objects using the new keyword at all places is repeated code. The object creation is not in one place. Violation of the Do Not Repeat Yourself (DRY) principle. If there is some change in the constructor of the StudentRepository class then we need to make the changes in all the places. If object creation is in one place then it would be easy to maintain the code.
  • Creating an object using new also make unit testing impossible. We cannot unit test the Student class separately.
  • The StudentRepository class is a concrete class, so any changes in the class will require changing the Student class too.

DIP says that high-level modules should not depend on the low-level module. Both should depend on abstraction. The following is the result of applying the DIP principle to the above example.

Example:

public class Student
    {
        public int StudentId { get; set; }
        public string FirstName { get; set; }
        public string LastName { get; set; }
        public DateTime DoB { get; set; }


        private IStudentRepository _stdRepo;

        public Student(IStudentRepository stdRepo)
        {
            _stdRepo = stdRepo;
        }
        public void Save()
        {
            _stdRepo.AddStudent(this);
        }

    }

public interface IStudentRepository
    {
        void AddStudent(Student std);
        void EditStudent(Student std);
        void DeleteStudent(Student std);

        
        IList GetAllStudents();
        

    }

public class StudentRepository : IStudentRepository
    {
        

        public void AddStudent(Student std)
        {
            //code removed for clarity
        }

        public void DeleteStudent(Student std)
        {
            //code removed for clarity
        }

        public void EditStudent(Student std)
        {
            //code removed for clarity
        }

        
        public IList GetAllStudents()
        {
            //code removed for clarity
        }

    }

The StudentRepository class above implements the IStudentRepository interface. Here, IStudentRepository is an abstraction of CRUD operations for student-related data. The StudentRepository class provides the implementation of that methods, so it depends on the methods of the IStudentRepository interface.

The Student class does not create an object of the StudentRepository class using the new keyword. The constructor requires a parameter of the IStudentRepository class which will be passed from the calling code. Thus, it also depends on the abstraction (interface) rather than the low-level concrete class (StudentRepository).

This will create loose coupling and also make each class unit testable. The caller of the Student class can pass an object of any class that implements the IStudentRepository interface and by so not tied to the specific concrete class.

Example:
internal class Program
    {

        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
	//for production
	Student std1 = new Student(new StudentRepository);


	//for unit test
	Student std2 = new Student(new TestStudentRepository);


}

}

Instead of creating manually, you can use the factory class to create it, so that all the object creation will be in one place.

Example:

public class RepositoryFactory
{
    public static IStudentRepository GetStudentRepository() 
    {
        return new StudentRepository();
    }

public static IStudentRepository GetTestStudentRepository() 
    {
        return new TestStudentRepository();
    }

}

internal class Program
    {

        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
	//for production
	Student std1 = new Student(RepositoryFactory.GetStudentRepository());


	//for unit test
	Student std2 = new Student(RepositoryFactory.TestGetStudentRepository());


}

}

You can use Dependency Injection https://www.tutorialsteacher.com/ioc/dependency-injection and IoC contains https://www.tutorialsteacher.com/ioc/ioc-container for creating and passing objects of low-level classes to high-level classes.