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What, Why and How of Adapter Pattern in C#

· 6 min read
Adnan Rafiq

What is an Adapter Pattern?

The Adapter Pattern connects two incompatible objects by exposing an interface compatible with the Client. The object refers to a class, web service, REST API, process, or physical device depending upon your context.

Consider a C# Web Application displaying Weather Updates on its landing by utilizing the third-party REST API.

In this application, there are three participating objects in the Adapter Pattern:

  1. A Weather REST API (Adaptee) has the functionality of weather updates. The Weather REST API only understands JSON.
  2. The C# MVC Web Application (Client) displays weather updates on its landing page using the Weather Web Service.
  3. The Adapter enables the Client to utilize the Adaptee functionality. It does that by doing two things:
    1. It converts the Client's input to the format acceptable to Adaptee i.e. JSON to C# Object(s).
    2. It converts the Adaptee's output to the format acceptable to the Client i.e. C# Object(s) to JSON.

A sequence diagram of an Adapter Pattern is below:

sequenceDiagram autonumber Client ->> Adapter: I need weather update for zip code 02133 Note over Adapter: Adapter builds request compatible with Adaptee and call Adaptee API Adapter ->> Adaptee: I need weather update for zip code 02133 Adaptee ->> Adapter: Weather update JSON response for zip code 02133 Note over Adapter: Adapter builds response compatible with Client Adapter ->> Client: Returns information to the Client

Any application that integrates with other services might already use an Adapter Pattern in the form of SDK. Some examples are below:

  • AWS S3 C# SDK is an Adapter that hides the REST API (Adaptee).
  • C# OAUTH 2.0 SDK for Authorization.
  • Virus Scanner, which utilizes unmanaged code.
  • Reading MS Office files.
  • CSV Reader.

In light of the above examples, any IO-based operations essentially implement an Adapter Pattern.

A Tip, but It depends upon your context.

Applying an Adapter Pattern to match the Adaptee with your application domain language is often beneficial. In the DDD context, an Anti-Corruption Layer implements an Adapter Pattern. For example, an internal or third-party service might use very different naming conventions than your application. An old JAVA SOAP Web Service often uses underscore in properties names such as first_name, last_name, user_role, etc.

Why use it?

You should use it when one of the following reason apply:

  • To make the Adaptee compatible with your use case.
    • To encapsulate the communication between the Client and Adaptee.
    • To encapsulate the input & output conversion also known as serialization and de-serialization.
  • To protect the domain model language from using unknown concepts.

Though replacing the Adaptee is not the primary intent of the pattern, C# implementation can help replace the Adaptee without changing the Client usage call-site. The new Adaptee must provide the same business operations for any replacement to succeed. An Adapter pattern can be helpful to migrate legacy applications to newer implementations slowly.


The Adapter Pattern is similar to the Wrapper Pattern, where a wrapper around the original implementation makes the API match the current application domain context.

How to implement it?

Structure of Adapter Pattern

A class diagram of the Adapter Pattern is below:

classDiagram direction TB class Client{ %% A web application display weath update on its dashboard +DisplayWeatherUpdate() -GetWeatherUpdate(string zipCode) WeatherStats } class Adapter{ %% WeatherServiceAdapter talk with WeatherService +Adapter(HttpClient httpClient) +GetWeathUpdate(string zipCode) returns WeatherStats } class Adaptee{ %% REST API WeatherService <<Service>> +Get(string getWeatherUpdateUri) HttpGetJsonResponse } class WeatherMood{ <<enumeration>> Hot, Cold, Freezing, Windy } class WeatherStats{ +WeatherMood Mood +ShouldWearCoat(WeatherMood mood) bool } Client ..> Adapter Adapter ..|> Adaptee WeatherStats *-- WeatherMood

Weather Service Adapter

A weather service adapter is a generic example when application integrates with other web services. Implementation is below:

An example implementation of an Adapter Pattern.
//MVC controller returning weather update view - controller is acting as Client
public class DashboardController : Controller
private readonly IWeatherServiceAdapter _weatherServiceAdapter;
public DashboardController(IWeatherServiceAdapter weatherServiceAdapter){
_weatherServiceAdapter = weatherServiceAdapter;
public IHttpAction DisplayWeatherUpdate(string zipCode){

return View("WeatherDashboard", GetWeatherUpdate());

WeatherStats GetWeatherUpdate(){
var weatherStats = _weatherServiceAdapter.GetWeatherUpdate(zipCode);
return weatherStats;
//Adapter interface
public interface IWeatherServiceAdapter{
Task<WeatherStats> GetWeatherUpdate(string zipCode);
//Adapter interface implementation
//It hides communication to REST API, and transformation of request and response
public class WeatherServiceAdapter : IWeatherServiceAdapter
private readonly HttpClient _httpClient;
private readonly string _remoteServiceBaseUrl;

public WeatherServiceAdapter(HttpClient httpClient)
_httpClient = httpClient;

public async Task<WeatherStats> GetWeatherUpdate(string zipCode)
var uri = string.Join(_remoteServiceBaseUrl, "/", zipCode);
//call the REST endpoint of weather service (Adaptee)
var responseString = await _httpClient.GetStringAsync(uri);
//Transforming the JSON response to C# object which is acceptable the Client (Controller)
var weatherStats = JsonConvert.DeserializeObject<WeatherStats>(responseString);
return weatherStats;
//DashboardController acting as Client, makes use of WeatherStats
//Note that REST API returns a JSON response
public class WeatherStats{
public WeatherMood Mood {get;set;}
public bool ShouldWearCoat(WeatherMood mood)=> mood == WeatherMood.Hot;
public enum WeatherMood

Incompatible Interface Adapter - C# Interoperability

When an application allows its users to upload files, you should scan the files for virus before saving it on persistent media. But virus scanner is written in unmanaged code, thus C# application and unmanaged interface do not match. An adapter can help us to bridge the gap. An example is below:

Scan files using Unmanaged Virus Scanner

public interface IVirusScannerAdapter{
ScanResult Scan(byte[] bytes);
// Virus Scanner calling unmanaged code to scan bytes.
// Implementing IDispose
public class VirusScannerAdapter : IVirusScannerAdapter, IDisposable {
private bool _disposedValue;
public ScanResult Scan(byte[] bytes){
var result = UnmanagedCode.Scan(Marshal.UnsafeAddrOfPinnedArrayElement<byte>(bytes, 0));
return ScanResult(result == 1 ? ScanResult.Passed : ScanResult.Failed)
public void Dispose()
protected virtual void Dispose(bool disposing)
if (!_disposedValue)
if (disposing)
//dispose managed resources

//free unamanged resources
_disposedValue = true;
//Interopability with unmanaged code

intneral static class UnmanagedCode{
[DllImport(dllName: "unmanaged.dll")]
internal static extern int Scan(IntPtr bytes);


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