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DaprClient usage

Essential tips and advice for using DaprClient

Lifetime management

A DaprClient holds access to networking resources in the form of TCP sockets used to communicate with the Dapr sidecar. DaprClient implements IDisposable to support eager cleanup of resources.

For best performance, create a single long-lived instance of DaprClient and provide access to that shared instance throughout your application. DaprClient instances are thread-safe and intended to be shared.

Avoid creating a DaprClient per-operation and disposing it when the operation is complete.

Configuring DaprClient

A DaprClient can be configured by invoking methods on DaprClientBuilder class before calling .Build() to create the client. The settings for each DaprClient object are separate and cannot be changed after calling .Build().

var daprClient = new DaprClientBuilder()
    .UseJsonSerializerSettings( ... ) // Configure JSON serializer

The DaprClientBuilder contains settings for:

  • The HTTP endpoint of the Dapr sidecar
  • The gRPC endpoint of the Dapr sidecar
  • The JsonSerializerOptions object used to configure JSON serialization
  • The GrpcChannelOptions object used to configure gRPC
  • The API Token used to authenticate requests to the sidecar

The SDK will read the following environment variables to configure the default values:

  • DAPR_HTTP_PORT: used to find the HTTP endpoint of the Dapr sidecar
  • DAPR_GRPC_PORT: used to find the gRPC endpoint of the Dapr sidecar
  • DAPR_API_TOKEN: used to set the API Token

Configuring gRPC channel options

Dapr’s use of CancellationToken for cancellation relies on the configuration of the gRPC channel options. If you need to configure these options yourself, make sure to enable the ThrowOperationCanceledOnCancellation setting.

var daprClient = new DaprClientBuilder()
    .UseGrpcChannelOptions(new GrpcChannelOptions { ... ThrowOperationCanceledOnCancellation = true })

Using cancellation with DaprClient

The APIs on DaprClient that perform asynchronous operations accept an optional CancellationToken parameter. This follows a standard .NET idiom for cancellable operations. Note that when cancellation occurs, there is no guarantee that the remote endpoint stops processing the request, only that the client has stopped waiting for completion.

When an operation is cancelled, it will throw an OperationCancelledException.

Understanding DaprClient JSON serialization

Many methods on DaprClient perform JSON serialization using the System.Text.Json serializer. Methods that accept an application data type as an argument will JSON serialize it, unless the documentation clearly states otherwise.

It is worth reading the System.Text.Json documentation if you have advanced requirements. The Dapr .NET SDK provides no unique serialization behavior or customizations - it relies on the underlying serializer to convert data to and from the application’s .NET types.

DaprClient is configured to use a serializer options object configured from JsonSerializerDefaults.Web. This means that DaprClient will use camelCase for property names, allow reading quoted numbers ("10.99"), and will bind properties case-insensitively. These are the same settings used with ASP.NET Core and the System.Text.Json.Http APIs, and are designed to follow interoperable web conventions.

System.Text.Json as of .NET 5.0 does not have good support for all of F# language features built-in. If you are using F# you may want to use one of the converter packages that add support for F#’s features such as FSharp.SystemTextJson.

Simple guidance for JSON serialization

Your experience using JSON serialization and DaprClient will be smooth if you use a feature set that maps to JSON’s type system. These are general guidelines that will simplify your code where they can be applied.

  • Avoid inheritance and polymorphism
  • Do not attempt to serialize data with cyclic references
  • Do not put complex or expensive logic in constructors or property accessors
  • Use .NET types that map cleanly to JSON types (numeric types, strings, DateTime)
  • Create your own classes for top-level messages, events, or state values so you can add properties in the future
  • Design types with get/set properties OR use the supported pattern for immutable types with JSON

Polymorphism and serialization

The System.Text.Json serializer used by DaprClient uses the declared type of values when performing serialization.

This section will use DaprClient.SaveStateAsync<TValue>(...) in examples, but the advice is applicable to any Dapr building block exposed by the SDK.

public class Widget
    public string Color { get; set; }

// Storing a Widget value as JSON in the state store
widget widget = new Widget() { Color = "Green", };
await client.SaveStateAsync("mystatestore", "mykey", widget);

In the example above, the type parameter TValue has its type argument inferred from the type of the widget variable. This is important because the System.Text.Json serializer will perform serialization based on the declared type of the value. The result is that the JSON value { "color": "Green" } will be stored.

Consider what happens when you try to use derived type of Widget:

public class Widget
    public string Color { get; set; }

public class SuperWidget : Widget
    public bool HasSelfCleaningFeature { get; set; }

// Storing a SuperWidget value as JSON in the state store
Widget widget = new SuperWidget() { Color = "Green", HasSelfCleaningFeature = true, };
await client.SaveStateAsync("mystatestore", "mykey", widget);

In this example we’re using a SuperWidget but the variable’s declared type is Widget. Since the JSON serializer’s behavior is determined by the declared type, it only sees a simple Widget and will save the value { "color": "Green" } instead of { "color": "Green", "hasSelfCleaningFeature": true }.

If you want the properties of SuperWidget to be serialized, then the best option is to override the type argument with object. This will cause the serializer to include all data as it knows nothing about the type.

Widget widget = new SuperWidget() { Color = "Green", HasSelfCleaningFeature = true, };
await client.SaveStateAsync<object>("mystatestore", "mykey", widget);

Error handling

Methods on DaprClient will throw DaprException or a subclass when a failure is encountered.

    var widget = new Widget() { Color = "Green", };
    await client.SaveStateAsync("mystatestore", "mykey", widget);
catch (DaprException ex)
    // handle the exception, log, retry, etc.

The most common cases of failure will be related to:

  • Incorrect configuration of Dapr component
  • Transient failures such as a networking problem
  • Invalid data, such as a failure to deserialize JSON

In any of these cases you can examine more exception details through the .InnerException property.