How to use Specifications with a DbContext

You can use Specifications to define queries that are executed directly using an EF6 or EF Core DbContext. The following snippet defines a Customer entity and a sample DbContext which defines a DbSet of Customers.

public class Customer
    public int Id { get; set; }
    public string Name { get; set; }

public class SampleDbContext : DbContext
    public DbSet<Customer> Customers { get; set; }

    public SampleDbContext(DbContextOptions<SampleDbContext> options)
        : base(options)

    // additional overrides intentionally left out

A specification can be applied directly to this DbSet using the WithSpecification extension method defined in Ardalis.Specification.EntityFrameworkCore package. Assuming a Specification is defined similar to the ItemByIdSpec described in How to Create Specifications, the following code demonstrates putting these pieces together.

// handling of IDisposable DbContext intentionally left out

int id = 1;

var specification = new CustomerByIdSpec(id);

var customer = dbContext.Customers

Note that the WithSpecification extension method exposes an IQueryable<T> so additional extension methods maybe be applied after the specification. Some examples can be found below.

bool isFound = dbContext.Customers.WithSpecification(specification).Any();

int customerCount = dbContext.Customers.WithSpecification(specification).Count();

var customers = dbContext.Customers.WithSpecification(specification).ToList();