Years ago I initially met ORMs with glee at the time they would save. However, after a while I found I hated them. They create at least as many problems as they solve when you try to go beyond the simple stuff. And nowadays the main reason I ever had to use one -- loading and saving entities with multiple levels of child objects -- is solved in most cases by storing things as JSON. Which gives a much simpler load and save story than ORMs could possibly accomplish.
I will use a simple mapper like Dapper which literally just translates rows to objects. It operates similar to the way that reflection-based JSON serializers work. So there is no db configuration to keep up to date like with most ORMs. I've previously written about how I do queries in this post.
The key (for us) to keeping SQL access simple is that every business decision generates an event (a simple read-only data object), which later gets translated into SQL statements. As we move our legacy systems to this style, the resulting SQL data is still the source of truth, and the events serve as a log.
Aside: Generating an event instead of directly saving an object also makes business logic very easy to test. Since there is no database access to mock. In general we move all IO-based dependencies out of the business logic. aka Dependency Rejection.
In our later systems, the events themselves are saved and become the source of truth -- aka Event Sourcing. Although we may consult the relational models to check for things like uniqueness or relational constraints. So basically, the SQL data is just used for queries and we can rebuild them at any time from events. In fact, changing the SQL models are quite easy. We literally drop the affected tables and create the new versions and replay all the events to repopulate them.
I don't profess to have as much experience with the Repository pattern, but I have tried it here and there and found that I didn't care for it. Although it seems like the least objectionable alternative when storing domain objects into a relational model.
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