Monthly Archives: October 2016

Using SQL Databases and REST together in Integration Automation with C# and NUnit

EDIT: One mindful reader noted that I should be using good practices to protect my code from SQL Injection. So there are some updates below, and the code is also updated! I used this as my guide:

One part of my talk and resources on Testing RESTful Web Services that I hinted at but didn’t quite get to was using SQL databases. A lot of us will be testing a REST service along with it’s backing SQL database, so it’s useful to know how to link them together in our C# automation!

I’ve added to my repository to include some checks against the AdventureWorks2012 SQL database, continuing to use C# and NUnit. Gitter’s database isn’t publicly available (nor should it be!) and I can’t find an AdventureWorks API that I could use for my checks – maybe that will be a later, more complete example. But for now, we’re doing some pretending!

If you’d like to follow along, grab the AdventureWorks2012 database backup from Microsoft by grabbing this zip AdventureWorks2012-Full Database Unzip and restore the database (google it if you need help :D).

Look through the tables, run some queries, and see what we’re working with. For the coding examples in the repo, I’m mainly looking at the Production.ProductInventory table, which depends on the Production.Product table for ProductIds. From the Product table, I’m going to pick a product to work with – I like #875: Racing Socks, L. Querying the ProductInventory table, I see there’s 288 (presumably pairs) of Large Racing Socks.

Let’s pretend that we have an inventory system that uses a REST service, which in turn grabs data from and updates our database. If we pull something off the shelf to send to a customer, we scan it into the system. The system identifies it, and sends a call like:

PUT http://ourwarehouse/api/products/875/inventory/-1

then the API goes into the database and essentially does:

UPDATE Production.ProductInventory 
SET Quantity = quantity - 1 where ProductID = 875

So with our checks, we would:

  1. Do a SELECT query on the database for the product and see what the quantity is
  2. Perform the PUT operation with the REST service
  3. Do the SELECT query again to see what the quantity is now
  4. Verify the new quantity is what we’re expecting

Utility Methods

First we can write some utility methods to execute our queries against the database. We start with a Utility class and add references to System.Data and System.Data.SqlClient.

Our first utility method is to execute a SQL query to get the quantity of a product. We’ll pass the product ID and connection string, and it will return a DataTable for us.

public static DataTable GetQuantityOfProduct(string productId, 
  string connectionString)
	string commandText = "SELECT Quantity FROM " +
                 "AdventureWorks2012.Production.ProductInventory WHERE " +
                 "ProductID = @ID;";
	using (SqlConnection connection = new SqlConnection(connectionString))
		SqlCommand command = new SqlCommand(commandText, connection);
		command.Parameters.Add("@ID", SqlDbType.NVarChar);
		command.Parameters["@ID"].Value = productId;
		using (var da = new SqlDataAdapter(command))
			var dt = new DataTable();
			return dt;

Another utility method we’ll want is to execute an Update SQL command, to update the quantity (since we don’t have an API).

Again this method takes in the product ID, as well as quantity and connection string, but this method returns a code, not a DataTable. If our command is successful, we’re expecting the return code to be the number of rows affected. If it’s -1, then something went wrong.

public static int UpdateQuantityOfProduct(string productId, int quantity,
 string connectionString)
	int code = 0;
	string commandText = 
            "UPDATE AdventureWorks2012.Production.ProductInventory " +
            "SET Quantity = @Quantity WHERE ProductID = @ID;";
	using (SqlConnection connection = new SqlConnection(connectionString))
	   using (SqlCommand command = new SqlCommand(commandText, connection))
		command.Parameters.Add("@Quantity", SqlDbType.Int);
		command.Parameters["@Quantity"].Value = quantity;
		command.Parameters.Add("@ID", SqlDbType.NVarChar);
		command.Parameters["@ID"].Value = productId;
		code = command.ExecuteNonQuery();
	return code;


Connection Strings

We’ll put our connection string for the database in our App.config file. We need to specify the server, which database, and the security we’re using. Mine is set up locally, with Integrated Security (Windows Authentication).

    <add key="dbConnectionString" value="Data Source=MSSQLSERVER12;
            Initial Catalog=AdventureWorks2012;Integrated Security=True"/> 

We’ll grab the connection string in the SetUp method in our test class:

private static string _connectionString;
public void SetUp()
     _connectionString = ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["dbConnectionString"];

The First Check

Let’s get started with our first check! Remember we’re going to:

  1. Do a SELECT query on the database for the product and see what the quantity is
  2. Perform the PUT operation with the REST service
  3. Do the SELECT query again to see what the quantity is now
  4. Verify the new quantity is what we’re expecting

0. Setup

First we need to specify a few things, including which product we’re going to use, how we’re going to modify the quantity, and create our query string.

int quantityModifier = -1;
string productId = "875";

So we’re going to take 1 away from our inventory, of product 875 or the amazing racing socks in large.


1. Do a SELECT query on the database to get initial quantity

First we execute the query, and get a DataTable in return. We could return just that individual field, but then our utility method wouldn’t be as useful or we’d have too many doing the same thing -sometimes we’ll want an entire row, sometimes we’ll want many rows. You can do it either way. Here, we’ll do the work in our test to get the field we want, which is the first row and first column.

DataTable initialInventoryDt = 
    Utilities.GetQuantityOfProduct(productId, _connectionString);
int initialQuantity = Int32.Parse(initialInventoryDt.Rows[0][0].ToString());

Now we can figure out what the expected quantity will be when we’re done with our check.

int expectedQuantity = initialQuantity + quantityModifier;

2. Peform PUT operation with the REST service

If we had this pretend REST service set up, our code now would look something like this:

string url = String.Format("http://ourwarehouse/api/products/{0}/inventory/{1}, 
    productId, quantityModifier");
HttpResponseMessage response = Utilities.SendHttpWebRequest(url, "PUT");
    "Response code to PUT was not successful");

However, we don’t. So we have to fake it by doing an UPDATE command to the database directly.


And we add this code:

int code = UpdateQuantityOfProduct(productId,expectedQuantity,_connectionString);
Assert.IsTrue(code == 1, "more than 1 row was affected, something went wrong");

REMEMBER this is ONLY because we don’t have that REST service and we’re faking what the service would do!

3. Do the SELECT query again to get the new quantity

Again we perform our select query, and grab the returned value

DataTable updatedInventoryDt = 
    Utilities.GetQuantityOfProduct(productId, _connectionString);
int updatedQuantity = Int32.Parse(updatedInventoryDt.Rows[0][0].ToString());

4. Verify the new quantity that we’re expecting

Now we just do our Assert!

Assert.AreEqual(expectedQuantity, updatedQuantity, 
    "Updated Quantity is not as expected; it is " + updatedQuantity + 
    " but should be " + expectedQuantity);

Other Checks

We could also do a check of the GET method, to make sure our service is pulling information from the right table. Our steps would be:

  1. Do a SELECT query on the database for the product to get the quantity
  2. Perform the GET operation with the REST service to get the quantity
  3. Verify the quantities returned from both match

This example is in the repo, so you can check it out there!

There are many other variations that we could perform, as well, but these are some basic building blocks.

Wrap Up

I hope that this walkthrough and the code help you to be able to automate checks against SQL databases as well as REST services! Let me know if you think something is missing, or if you need some clarity, or if you find a bug in my code!

Also apologies about the formatting here – I need to find a good code snippet plugin to use in WordPress! Let me know if you have any suggestions!


She used this one neat trick to model JSON as classes in C#, and her audience was stunned!

I recently presented my talk Testing RESTful Web Services for the first time at the QL Technology Conference in Detroit. In this talk, I cover why we should test web services, and how to test RESTful web services both with tools like Postman, and C# and NUnit.

I was not prepared for, mid-demo, resounding applause from the audience. I was demoing a cool trick I learned from a teammate, and apparently it was new magic to the audience. Awesome! So I decided to blog about it, to spread the word of this fancy magic and help everyone save time when testing RESTful web services within Visual Studio.

What was that magic? It’s the ability to take a JSON response and quickly turn it into a class – a super fast way to model JSON responses!



If you already know how to do it, awesome! Spread the word!

What you need:

  • a JSON response to copy/paste
  • Visual Studio, with a solution loaded (we’ll use C#, not sure how it works with other languages)

I’ll use the same examples from my talk – it uses the gitter API (

First, create a new class file in your project:

  • Right-click in Solution Explorer where you want the file to go
  • Select Add -> Class
  • Type a name and click Add

Then, paste the JSON as classes!

  • Copy the JSON you want to model as a class
  • Inside the class file in Visual Studio, put your cursor inside the namespace
  • Choose Edit -> Paste Special -> Paste JSON As Classes
  • Much rejoicing!

You’ll need to clean up the class a bit, but it will definitely save you time!ClassesAndJson.png

I hope you’re able to use this neat trick to help you in your testing of web services!

You will want to choose your JSON responses for modeling carefully – make sure it has all of the potential properties! Otherwise, down the road when you’re deserializing, you’ll hit a failure because the JSON will have an extra property that your class is missing.

Any other neat tricks you can share?