LINQ is known as Language Integrated Query and it is introduced in .NET 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008. The beauty of LINQ is it provides the ability to .NET languages(like C#, VB.NET, etc.) to generate queries to retrieve data from the data source. For example, a program may get information from the student records or accessing employee records, etc. In, past years, such type of data is stored in a separate database from the application, and you need to learn different types of query language to access such type of data like SQL, XML, etc. And also you cannot create a query using C# language or any other .NET language.
To overcome such type of problems Microsoft developed LINQ. It attaches one, more power to the C# or .NET languages to generate a query for any LINQ compatible data source. And the best part is the syntax used to create a query is the same no matter which type of data source is used means the syntax of creating a query data in a relational database is same as that used to create query data stored in an array there is no need to use SQL or any other non-.NET language mechanism. You can also use LINQ with SQL, with XML files, with ADO.NET, with web services, and with any other database.
In C#, LINQ is present in System.Linq namespace. It provides different type of classes and methods which supports LINQ queries. In this namespace:
- Enumerable class holds standard query operators that operate on object which executes IEnumerable<T>.
- Queryable class holds standard query operators that operate on object which executes IQueryable<T>.
Architecture of LINQ
The architecture of LINQ is 3-layered architecture. In which the topmost layer contains language extension and the bottom layer contains data sources that generally object implementing IEnumerable <T> or IQueryable <T> generic interfaces. The architecture of the LINQ is as shown in the below image:
Why we use LINQ?
Now we learn why LINQ is created, or why we use LINQ. The following points explain why we use LINQ.
- The main purpose behind creating LINQ is, before C# 3.0 we use for loop, foreach loop, or delegates traverse a collection to find a specific object, but the disadvantage of using these methods for finding an object is you need to write a large sum of code to find an object which is more time-consuming and make your program less readable. So to overcome these problems LINQ introduced. Which perform the same operation in a few numbers of lines and make your code more readable and also you can use the same code in other programs.
- It also provides full type checking at compile time, it helps us to detect the error at the runtime, so that we can easily remove them.
- LINQ is it is simple, well-ordered, and high-level language than SQL
- You can also use LINQ with C# array and collections. It gives you a new direction to solve the old problems in an effective manner.
- With the help of LINQ you can easily work with any type of data source like XML, SQL, Entities, objects, etc. A single query can work with any type of database no need to learn different types of languages.
- LINQ supports query expression, Implicitly typed variables, Object and collection initializers, Anonymous types, Extension methods, and Lambda expressions.
Advantages of LINQ
- User does not need to learn new query languages for a different type of data source or data format.
- It increase the readability of the code.
- Query can be reused.
- It gives type checking of the object at compile time.
- It provides IntelliSense for generic collections.
- It can be used with array or collections.
- LINQ supports filtering, sorting, ordering, grouping.
- It makes easy debugging because it is integrated with C# language.
- It provides easy transformation means you can easily convert one data type into another data type like transforming SQL data into XML data.