What is IoC Container or DI Container

09 Jan 2024
Beginner
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IoC Container or DI Container: An Overview

The terms Dependency Injection (DI) and inversion of Control (IoC) are generally used interchangeably to describe the same design pattern. Hence some people say IoC Container and some people say DI container but both terms indicate the same thing. So don't be confused by the terminology.

The IoC container that is also known as a DI Container is a framework for implementing automatic dependency injection very effectively. It manages the complete object creation and its lifetime, as well as it also injects the dependencies into the classes.

For more help about DI and IoC see Understanding Inversion of Control, Dependency Injection, and Service Locator, and Dependency Injection in ASP.NET MVC using Unity IoC Container.

What is DI Container

A DI Container is a framework to creates dependencies and injects them automatically when required. It automatically creates objects based on the request and injects them when required. DI Container helps us to manage dependencies within the application simply and easily.

The DI container creates an object of the defined class and also injects all the required dependencies as an object a constructor, a property, or a method that is triggered at runtime and disposes itself at the appropriate time. This process is completed so that we don't have to create and manage objects manually all the time.

We can also manage application dependencies without a DI Container, but it will be as POOR MAN’S DI and we have to do more work, to make it configured and manageable.

Lifecycle of the DI Containers

All the containers of DI should be passed through the different sets of statuses until the conclusion is made, which includes the below lifecycle stages.

  • Register: The container should be registered or initiated as soon as it gets the specific type and this is called the register stage
  • Resolve: While using the DI containers, we do not have to create manual objects. The container does it for us. This is called the resolution phase. The DI container must include some of the methods to resolve the specified type as soon as it is identified. The respective container creates an object of the specified type, along with injecting the required dependencies if any of them are required, and at last, it returns the object
  • Dispose: The DI containers must be able to manage the lifetime of the dependent objects accordingly. Most of the DI containers include different lifetime managers and their responsibility for managing an object's lifecycle and disposing of it

List of popular DI Container for .Net

Today, there are a lot of excellent DI Containers that are available for .NET. Here, I am sharing the list of the most useful DI containers for the .Net framework.

Castle Windsor

  1. Based on the Castle MicroKernel.

  2. Well documented and used by many.

  3. Understands Decorator

  4. Typed factories

  5. Commercial support available

StructureMap

  1. It has been around since June 2004

  2. It is actively developed and works in many cases

Spring.NET

  1. INTERCEPTION

  2. Comprehensive documentation

  3. Commercial support available

Autofac

  1. Easy to learn API

  2. second-generation DI Container

  3. Commercial support available

Unity

  1. INTERCEPTION

  2. Good documentation

  3. Consistent API

Ninject

  1. Easy to learn API

  2. Second-generation DI Container

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Summary:

DI is one of the robust design principles that require the introduction of different types of controls in object-oriented designs (OODs) to achieve a loosely coupled relationship between the application classes. When it comes to coupling, control refers to any additional responsibilities a class has, and other than that, its main responsibility is to control the application flow accordingly.

I hope you will use one of the IoC containers within your .NET application. I would like to have feedback from my blog readers. Your valuable feedback, questions, or comments about this article are always welcome.

FAQs

Q1. What is IoC and what is DI?

It means that the Inversion of Control is a fundamental principle used by frameworks to invert the responsibilities of flow control in an application, while Dependency Injection is the pattern used to provide dependencies to an application's class.

Q2. What is IoC used for?

A design pattern in which custom-written portions of a computer program receive the flow of control from a generic framework.

Q3. Why use IoC containers?

They enable you to write loosely coupled, modular, and testable code.
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About Author
Shailendra Chauhan (Microsoft MVP, Founder & CEO at Scholarhat by DotNetTricks)

Shailendra Chauhan is the Founder and CEO at ScholarHat by DotNetTricks which is a brand when it comes to e-Learning. He provides training and consultation over an array of technologies like Cloud, .NET, Angular, React, Node, Microservices, Containers and Mobile Apps development. He has been awarded Microsoft MVP 8th time in a row (2016-2023). He has changed many lives with his writings and unique training programs. He has a number of most sought-after books to his name which has helped job aspirants in cracking tough interviews with ease.
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