A simple use case with OData Web Api

Scenario :

Assume a case where we have an Employee object and we have an nullable  integer named Age (int? Age).  There are two cases we want to achieve,the first case is to not update the Age property and we could achieve this by passing null value to Age and ignoring the Age Property while saving and second case is to reset the Age i.e Accept whatever is passed by Age Property and save it in db.

Solution :

We want to only update properties of Employee object that is being passed to the controller and we call it as “partial update”(PATCH).  In this case we update only what is being passed and leave the system unchanged. Microsoft provides OData for partial update.

  1. Get Microsoft ASP.NET Web API OData package from Nuget.
  2. In your controller  HTTP verb Method,you could make use of Delta<T>  to map your Employee object and this will take care of partial update with Patch Method provided by ODATA .

public ApiResponse<Statuscode> Patch(Delta<Employee>; employee)


var employeebyId == dbcontext.FirstorDefault(x=>x.EmpId ==employee.EmpId);

if(employee !=null)


employee.Patch(employeebyId ); // Partial update by ODATA






Enabling Web Api Tracing

By default ,Tracing is disabled in web api , tracing incoming request might help to track issues in production environment.

Enabling Tracing :

Install the following package from Nuget :


and have the startup .cs configured as below


Trace/Log of incoming request to a controller


#Content Type vs Accept in Request Header

Accept : Tells the server  what the media type client needs as response.

“Accept”: text/html —Client expects the response as text/html.

Content-Type : Tells the server what media type the client sends when making a request.This is useful for server so that it can parse the request accordingly.

“Content-Type” :application/json –Client tells the server that it sending input as json.


#Content Negotiation in Web API?

A client might send a request with multiple media types in header

<pre class="prettyprint prettyprinted"><span class="pln">GET http</span><span class="pun">:</span><span class="com">//localhost.:21069/api/products/1 HTTP/1.1</span>
<span class="typ">Host</span><span class="pun">:</span><span class="pln"> localhost</span><span class="pun">.:</span><span class="lit">21069</span>
<span class="typ">Accept</span><span class="pun">:</span><span class="pln"> application</span><span class="pun">/</span><span class="pln">json</span><span class="pun">,</span><span class="pln"> text</span><span class="pun">/</span><span class="pln">javascript</span><span class="pun">,</span> <span class="pun">*</span><span class="com">/*; q=0.01</span></pre>

Accept : Tells the server whats the client want as response.

In the above case client tells,it is comfortable with josn,xml or any type.

The server response with

<pre class="prettyprint prettyprinted"><span class="pln">HTTP</span><span class="pun">/</span><span class="lit">1.1</span> <span class="lit">200</span><span class="pln"> OK
</span><span class="typ">Content</span><span class="pun">-</span><span class="typ">Type</span><span class="pun">:</span><span class="pln"> application</span><span class="pun">/</span><span class="pln">json</span><span class="pun">;</span><span class="pln"> charset</span><span class="pun">=</span><span class="pln">utf</span><span class="pun">-</span><span class="lit">8</span>
<span class="typ">Content</span><span class="pun">-</span><span class="typ">Length</span><span class="pun">:</span> <span class="lit">57</span>
<span class="typ">Connection</span><span class="pun">:</span> <span class="typ">Close</span>

<span class="pun">{</span><span class="str">"Id"</span><span class="pun">:</span><span class="lit">1</span><span class="pun">,</span><span class="str">"Name"</span><span class="pun">:</span><span class="str">"Gizmo"</span><span class="pun">,</span><span class="str">"Category"</span><span class="pun">:</span><span class="str">"Widgets"</span><span class="pun">,</span><span class="str">"Price"</span><span class="pun">:</span><span class="lit">1.99</span><span class="pun">}</span></pre>

The server makes a choice of its own of 3 types and returned the json in first place.

The process of deciding the content type between the server and client is called content -negotiation.



#Web API-Custom MediaTypeFormatters

1.You can create custom MediaTypeFormatter by inheriting abstract   BufferedMediaTypeFormatter. 

2.To add it to your web api,make changes in HttpConfiuration in Startup.cs

<pre class="prettyprint prettyprinted"><span class="pln"> config</span><span class="pun">.</span><span class="typ">Formatters</span><span class="pun">.</span><span class="typ">Add</span><span class="pun">(</span><span class="kwd">new</span> CustomFormat <span class="pun">());</span> 

3. BufferedMediaTypeWritters  has two methods WriteToStream(write in custom format(Serialize)) and ReadFromStream(read the custom format(deserialize)).

public class CustomFormat :BufferedMediaTypeFormatter
public CustomFormat()
SupportedMediaTypes.Add(new MediaTypeHeaderValue("text/csv"));
public override bool CanReadType(Type type)
throw new NotImplementedException();

public override bool CanWriteType(Type type)
throw new NotImplementedException();

# What is REST ?

Rest(Representational State Transfer)  is recommended style/suggested pattern  which is recommend for web applications.

A System which is Restful  is  expected to meet the five principles listed below :

1.System must be represented as resource.

2.Uniform Interface (Usage of GET,POST,PUT,DELETE ) is advised to be used across the system.

3. Identify Resource by a Unique Identifier.

4. Communication via Representation (represent data by JSON/XML etc..)

5. Stateless.