EF Core Global Filter: Unleashing Advanced Features for Developers

Entity Framework Core: Global QUERY Filters and other Advanced Features


Entity Framework Core remains a beacon in .NET application development by introducing an advanced Object-Relational Mapping framework capable of easily managing database operations. As developers become more familiar with EF Core, they are most likely to gain a deeper understanding of its features and discover the mechanisms necessary to achieve optimal performance and safety. This essay will explain various EF Core’s features, such as global query filters, interceptors, and shadow properties, and attempt to make them accessible to beginners. Thus, this essay will discuss the technical side of these features and demonstrate with practical examples how they can change data management in your application.

Global Query Filters in EF Core

EF Core global query filters are a strong means to apply a global condition to queries for a particular entity type. This capability is useful in situations where we need those filtering criteria to be maintained throughout the application, such as soft delete patterns in which the deleted entities are not permanently deleted but are rather marked as deleted. Global query filters also work well in multi-tenant applications, allowing users to access only data belonging to their tenant.

Implementation Guidelines

To add the global query filter in EF Core, you also need to change the model configuration in your application’s DbContext. To add a simple filter that will automatically remove logically deleted records, you can follow this guide:

  1. Define a Soft Delete Property: To begin, make sure your entity includes a property to define soft deletion, which is frequently a boolean flag named IsDeleted.
public class YourEntity
    public int Id { get; set; }
    public bool IsDeleted { get; set; }
    // Other properties
  1. Configure the Global Filter: Override the OnModelCreating method within your DbContext and apply the global filter to the entity.
protected override void OnModelCreating(ModelBuilder model)
         .HasQueryFilter(e => !e.IsDeleted);

The above code snippet makes every query against YourEntity automatically ignore every record where IsDeleted is true.

Example: Multi-Company Application Filter

Ensuring that users only access their own data is crucial in a multi-company application. One way you can achieve company isolation is by applying a global query filter.

  1. Add a CompanyId Property: Make certain that every entity has a CompanyId property.
public class YourEntity
    public int Id { get; set; }
    public int CompanyId { get; set; }
    // Other properties
  1. Configure the Filter: To configure the filter, employ the OnModelCreating method. Apply a company-specific filter on the relevant tables.
protected override void OnModelCreating(ModelBuilder model)
    // Implement this method based on your application's logic
    int companyId = this.GetCompanyIdFromSomeWhere();
         .HasQueryFilter(e => e.CompanyId == companyId);

This configuration is a foundation and ensures that queries on YourEntity will only return records that have the current company’s ID. It is necessary with respect to maintaining data isolation and security in multi-company systems.

Best Practices

  • Dynamic Filters: Implement a mechanism to change the filter when the filter needs to be changed from the code at run-time.
  • Performance: While global query filters themselves are highly performing, they can become a bottleneck in more complex scenarios. Be sure to measure their impact on your typical query batches and address when necessary.
  • Testing: Test your global query filters to avoid any accidental data leaks from the database.

Integrating global filter in EF Core into your applications ensures in-depth security and accuracy of data manipulation and enables you to reduce the time to update data access rules since you only need to keep it in one place.


The interceptors in Entity Framework Core are powerful tools that allow for intercepting, observing, and even modifying database operations as they happen. They are particularly useful for tasks like logging and auditing, measuring performance, and changing the behavior of database operations, such as queries and commands, before they are handed to the database engine.

Types of Interceptors

EF Core features distinct classes of interceptors, each tailor-made to manage database activities efficiently:

  • Command Interceptors: These enable the inspection and modification of SQL commands before they are dispatched to the database.
  • Connection Interceptors: Function as facilitators for detecting and managing database connections.
  • Transaction Interceptors: Set up hooks into the database transaction process.

The Interceptor Implementation

To set up a basic command interceptor aimed at logging SQL queries, proceed with the following steps:

  1. Create the Interceptor Class: Implement a new class that applies the IDbCommandInterceptor interface.
using Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Diagnostics;
using System.Data.Common;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

public class CommandInterceptor : DbCommandInterceptor
    public override InterceptionResult<DbDataReader> ReaderExecuting(
        DbCommand command,
        CommandEventData data,
        InterceptionResult<DbDataReader> result)
        System.Diagnostics.Debug.WriteLine($"Executing command: {command.CommandText}");
        return base.ReaderExecuting(command, data, result);
    // Implement other methods as needed
  1. The Interceptor Registration: Include the interceptor in your DbContext configuration.
protected override void OnConfiguring(DbContextOptionsBuilder options)
    options.AddInterceptors(new CommandInterceptor());

Now, every time a query is executed, this interceptor will log the SQL command text to the debug output.

Example: Auditing Interceptor

An auditing interceptor, for instance, can intercept information about entity changes and log it before they are persisted in the database. Here’s how to implement it:

  1. Define the Auditing Interceptor: Implement `ISaveChangesInterceptor` to intercept save changes operations.
public class AuditingInterceptor : SaveChangesInterceptor
    public override InterceptionResult<int> SavingChanges(
        DbContextEventData data,
        InterceptionResult<int> result)
        // Logic to audit changes, e.g., logging changed entities
        return base.SavingChanges(data, result);
  1. Registration: Similar to the command interceptor, register it in your DbContext configuration.

Best Practices and Limitations

  • Selective Interception: Care should be taken while applying interceptors to avoid adding unnecessary performance overhead to all command executions. Not all operations need to be intercepted.
  • Testing and Performance: It’s crucial to thoroughly test your interceptors. If they alter command text or behavior in any way, they could produce unexpected results.
  • Prefer Async: When there’s a choice between synchronous and asynchronous versions of an interceptor, the asynchronous option is always preferable to avoid potential blocking when connected to remote database services.

Interceptors provide a powerful method to enhance and customize the database communication layer of your applications, covering a broad and detailed spectrum of functionalities.

Shadow Properties

Shadow properties are fields that exist within the EF Core context but are not directly included in your entity class model. They are particularly useful for tracking data that does not need to be a part of your application’s domain model but is still relevant, such as audit information.

How to Define Shadow Properties

To define shadow properties, in your DbContext class, you use the model builder. The following example shows how to add a shadow property in OnModelCreating to track when an entity was last modified:

protected override void OnModelCreating(ModelBuilder model)

Example: Using Shadow Properties for Audit

As an illustrative example, let’s assume you would like to automatically populate a LastModified date whenever an entity is updated. Here is a simplified procedure:

  1. Configuring the Shadow Property: Start by setting up the shadow property.
protected override void OnModelCreating(ModelBuilder model)
  1. Setting the Shadow Property Value: Before saving changes in the DbContext, you can automatically update the shadow property value.
public override int SaveChanges(bool acceptAllChangesOnSuccess)

    var entries = ChangeTracker.Entries().Where(e => e.State == EntityState.Modified);
    foreach (var entry in entries)
        entry.Property("LastModified").CurrentValue = DateTime.UtcNow;

    return base.SaveChanges(acceptAllChangesOnSuccess);

Using Shadow Properties in Queries

You can also use shadow properties in LINQ queries by addressing them with the EF.Property static method:

var entities = context.YourEntities
    .Where(e => EF.Property<DateTime>(e, "LastModified") > someDate)

Best Practices

Shadow properties are a powerful tool in EF Core for extending data models and tracking that enhance without cluttering your entity classes with extra fields that are meaningless to domain logic.

  1. Use sparingly: Use shadow properties only for data that should not be exposed through your entity classes.
  2. Consistency: Be consistent. How you use and query shadow properties across your application will prevent confusion.

Call to Action

The examples provided showcase the potential of utilizing advanced features of Entity Framework Core, such as EF Core global filter, interceptors, and shadow properties. You can now begin incorporating them into your projects to enhance the functionality, efficiency, and security of your .NET applications. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Implement Global Query Filters: Start by applying global query filters in your application, whether for soft delete functionality or data isolation in multi-tenant systems. This will deepen your understanding of managing data visibility throughout your application.
  2. Use Interceptors in Sophisticated Situations: Identify areas in your application where interceptors can add value, such as logging SQL queries for performance analysis or adding custom business logic before an operation executes.
  3. Apply Shadow Properties to Track Invisible Entity Data: Utilize shadow properties for auditing logs or tracking changes in entities without adding unnecessary fields to your model. This keeps your classes lean while still tracking pertinent changes.
  4. Continue Your Exploration: These are just a few examples of the powerful tools EF Core offers. Dive deeper into official documentation, tutorials, or .NET forums to uncover more advanced features and best practices.
  5. Share Your Expertise: Document your experiences, share your discoveries, and explain how you solved issues. This will aid new developers in learning more about EF Core, allowing others to benefit from your insights.

Implementing these EF Core features will not only improve your applications today but also boost your confidence when tackling more complex data handling challenges in the future. Whether you’re a newcomer eager to broaden your EF Core skills or an experienced developer seeking optimization techniques, there’s always new knowledge to gain and apply in Entity Framework Core.


To sum up, navigating through the advanced features of Entity Framework Core, including global query filters, interceptors, and shadow properties, guides you on the path to developing complex, high-performing, and secure .NET applications. Despite their complexity, these features are accessible to developers of all levels, offering powerful tools to enhance data processing and manipulation.

The key to mastering EF Core lies in understanding its fundamental principles, experimenting with its features in practical scenarios, and continuously learning from other experts and evolving best practices. As a dynamic and growing framework, staying informed about EF Core’s latest features and improvements is crucial to ensuring your applications stay at the forefront of technology.

I hope this discussion has provided valuable insights into EF Core’s advanced features and inspired you to further explore these capabilities in your projects. Happy coding!

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