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c# – Union type in DDD model and in the database-Exceptionshub


In the NBA basketball game I want to store play-by-play data. One Game has its StartTime, two Teams and the list of plays. Each Play has its occurrence in time and (depends on the play) different properties. There are 8 different play types, for example: “Rebound”, “FieldGoalAttempt”:


Field Goal Attempt:

  • team

  • shootingPlayer

  • assistingPlayer

  • blockingPlayer

  • shotType

  • distanceFeet

  • points

  • location

  • result

As you can see, these two are totally different plays – and there are 6 more types. Which brings me to my first problem.

Question 1: How do I implement it in C#?

My idea is to create a type Play, and then 8 classes representing play types, like Rebound, FieldGoalAttempt, JumpBall like this:

public class Play
    public int PlayId { get; set; }
    public int GameId { get; set; }
    public int PlayerId { get; set; }

    public Rebound Rebound { get; set; }
    public FieldGoalAttempt FieldGoalAttempt { get; set; }
    public Turnover Turnover { get; set; }
    public Foul Foul { get; set; }
    public JumpBall JumpBall { get; set; }

    public Game Game { get; set; }
    public Player Player { get; set; }

But I wasn’t sure if this is a “code smell”. I had a few more ideas: A list of objects? or a custom built C# class that acts like “Union”? So first question is How should I handle this situation in C#? Is my first idea good?

Question 2: After all, I want to store these plays in the database. In my architecture I use Models that represents tables in the database. For my logic I create Service, so models are “anemic” which some people call “anti-pattern”, but I don’t want to talk about it. I have Services for my logic and it works for me.

If I decide to create Union like class – How do I store these plays in the database?

How to&Answers:

You can use inheritance for this. Like:

public class BasePlay
    public DateTimeOffset StartTime { get; set; }
    public Team TeamA { get; set; }
    public Team TeamB { get; set; }

public class JumpBallPlay : BasePlay
    public string ExtraProperty1 { get; set; }

public class FieldGoalAttemptPlay : BasePlay
    public string ExtraProperty2 { get; set; }

Then, you can map this classes with EntityFramework using Table Inheritance:

protected override void OnModelCreating(ModelBuilder modelBuilder)

All your objects will be stored in the same table, but mapped to a different columns (with some common for all columns from BasePlay, see Shared columns section). Extra column PlayType will contain the type of a play.

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