Entity Framework - Eager Loading


Eager loading is the process whereby a query for one type of entity also loads related entities as part of the query. Eager loading is achieved by the use of the Include method.

It means that requesting related data be returned along with query results from the database. There is only one connection made to the data source, a larger amount of data is returned in the initial query.

For example, when querying students, eager-load their enrollments. The students and their enrollments will be retrieved in a single query.

Let’s take a look at the following example in which all the students with their respective enrollments are retrieved from the database by using eager loading.

class Program {

   static void Main(string[] args) {

      using (var context = new UniContextEntities()) {
         // Load all students and related enrollments
         var students = context.Students
            .Include(s ⇒ s.Enrollments).ToList();
         foreach (var student in students) {
            string name = student.FirstMidName + " " + student.LastName;
            Console.WriteLine("ID: {0}, Name: {1}", student.ID, name);
            foreach (var enrollment in student.Enrollments) {
               Console.WriteLine("Enrollment ID: {0}, Course ID: {1}", 
                  enrollment.EnrollmentID, enrollment.CourseID);


When the above code is compiled and executed you will receive the following output.

ID: 1, Name: Ali Alexander
       Enrollment ID: 1, Course ID: 1050
       Enrollment ID: 2, Course ID: 4022
       Enrollment ID: 3, Course ID: 4041
ID: 2, Name: Meredith Alonso
       Enrollment ID: 4, Course ID: 1045
       Enrollment ID: 5, Course ID: 3141
       Enrollment ID: 6, Course ID: 2021
ID: 3, Name: Arturo Anand
       Enrollment ID: 7, Course ID: 1050
ID: 4, Name: Gytis Barzdukas
       Enrollment ID: 8, Course ID: 1050
       Enrollment ID: 9, Course ID: 4022

Below are some of the other forms of eager loading queries which can be used.

// Load one Student and its related enrollments

var student1 = context.Students
   .Where(s ⇒ s.FirstMidName == "Ali")
   .Include(s ⇒ s.Enrollments).FirstOrDefault();

// Load all Students and related enrollments
// using a string to specify the relationship

var studentList = context.Students

// Load one Student and its related enrollments
// using a string to specify the relationship

var student = context.Students
   .Where(s ⇒ s.FirstMidName == "Salman")

Multiple Levels

It is also possible to eagerly load multiple levels of related entities. The following queries show examples of Student, Enrollments and Course.

// Load all Students, all related enrollments, and all related courses

var studentList = context.Students
   .Include(s ⇒ s.Enrollments.Select(c ⇒ c.Course)).ToList();

// Load all Students, all related enrollments, and all related courses
// using a string to specify the relationships

var students = context.Students

We recommend that you execute the above example in a step-by-step manner for better understanding.

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