I'm looking for some guidance on how to architect an app with regards to modularity, separation of concerns and re-usability.
I'm working on an application (ASP.Net, C#) that has distinctly generic chunks of functionality, that I'd love to be able to lift out, all layers, into re-usable components. This means the module handles the database schema, data access, API, everything so that the next time I want to use it I can just register the module and hook into it.
Developing modules of re-usable functionality is a no-brainer, but what is really confusing me is what to do when it comes to handling a core re-usable database schema that serves the module's functionality.
In an ideal world, I would register a module and it would ensure that the associated database schema exists in the DB, by creating the schema if it didn't already. I would code my dependent functionality on the assumption that the tables exist calling the module's functionality through the DLL, agnostic of the database layer. Kind of like Enterprise Library's Caching/Logging Application Block, which can create a DB schema in the target DB to use as a data store.
My Questions is: What do you think is the best way to achieve this, firstly, in terms design architecture, and secondly solution structure. What patterns/frameworks do you know that exist & support this kind of thing?
My thoughts so far:
I mostly use Entity Framework and SQL Server DB Projects. I thought about a 'black box' approach to modules of functionality. I could use use a code-first approach in EF4, and use the ObjectContext to create a database when the module is initialized. However this means that all of the entities that my module encapsulates would be disconnected from the rest of the application because they belonged to an abstracted ObjectContext. Further - Creating appropriate indexes and references between domain entities and the module's entities would be impossible to do practically.
I've thought of adopting Enterprise Library and creating my own Application Blocks. I'm not sure how this would play nice with Entity Framework (if at all) though. I like the idea of building on proven patterns & practices to encapsulate established, reusable functionality.
I thought of abandoning Entity Framework for the Module, and just creating a separate DB schema for the module with its own set of stored procedures & ADO.Net. Then deploying the script at run-time if interrogation shows that it doesn't exist. But once again, for developing functionality outside of the module, I would want to use Entity Framework and I would have to use the module separately, disconnected from the domain ObjectContext.
Has anyone had experience developing these sorts of full-stack modules? What advice can you offer? Am I biting off more than I can chew?