MVC design - handle file upload before saving the record

We've an MVC web app which has a Claim management wizard (similar to a typical Order entry stuff). Claim can have multiple Items and each Item can have multiple files related to it.

Claim --> Items --> Files

While adding a new Claim - we want to allow the user to add one or more items to it and also allow file upload for those items. But we want to keep everything in memory until the Claim is actually saved - so that if the user doesn't complete the Claim entry or discards it, no database interaction is done.

We're able to handle data level in-memory management via session. We serialize the Claim object (which also includes a Claim.Items property) in session. But how to manage files?

We store files in < ClaimID >\< ItemID > folder but while creating a new claim in memory we don't have any IDs until the record is being saved in the database (both are auto-increment int).

For now, we've to restrict the user from uploading files until a Claim is saved.


Why not interact with the database? It sounds like you're intending to persist data between multiple requests to the application, and databases are good for that.

You don't have to persist it in the same tables or even in the same database instance as the more long-term persisted data. Maybe create tables or a database for "transient" data, or data that isn't intended to persist long-term until it reaches a certain state. Or perhaps store it in the same tables as the long-term data but otherwise track state to mark it as "incomplete" or in some other way transient.

You could have an off-line process which cleans up the old data from time to time. If deletes are costly on the long-term data tables then that would be a good reason to move the transient data to their own tables, optimized for lots of writes/deletes vs. lots of reads over time.

Alternatively, you could use a temporary ID for the in-memory objects to associate them with the files on the disk prior to be persisted to the database. Perhaps even separate the file-associating ID from the record's primary ID. (I'm assuming that you're using an auto-incrementing integer for the primary key and that's the ID you need to get from the database.)

For example, you could have another identifier on the record which is a Guid (uniqueidentifier in SQL) for the purpose of linking the record to a file on the disk. That way you can create the identifier in-memory and persist it to the database without needing to initially interact with the database to generate the ID. This also has the added benefit of being able to re-associate with different files or otherwise change that identifier as needed without messing with keys.

A Guid shouldn't be used as a primary key in many cases, so you probably don't want to go that route. But having a separate ID could do the trick.

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