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Monitor and receive notifications on record table changes

License Release Updated NuGet Badge SQL Server .NET

SqlTableDependency is a high-level C# component used to audit, monitor and receive notifications on SQL Server's record table changes.

For any record table change, as insert, update or delete operation, a notification containing values for the record changed is received from SqlTableDependency. This notification contains the update values from the database table.

This tracking change system has the advantage to avoid a database select to retrieve updated table record, because the updated table values record is delivered to you by notification.

Track record table changes

If we want get alert about record table changes without paying attention to the underlying SQL Server infrastructure then SqlTableDependency's record table change notifications will do that for us. Using notifications, an application can detect table record changes saving us from having to continuously re-query the database to get new values: for any record change, SqlTableDependency's event handler will get a notification containing modified table record values as well as the INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE operation type executed on our table.

Assuming we are interested to receive record changes for the following database table:

Install SqlTableDependency using:

Install-Package SqlTableDependency

We define a C# model object mapping table columns we are interested to be populated with the values from any INSERT, DELETE or UPDATE operation. We do not need to define all table columns but just the ones we are interested in:

public class Customer
    public int Id { get; set; }
    public string Name { get; set; }
    public string Surname { get; set; }

Properties can have a different name from table column. We'll see later how to establish a mapping.

Create the SqlTableDependency object passing the connection string and table name (only necessary if the C# model name is different from the table name). Then create an event handler for SqlTableDependency's Changed event:

using TableDependency;
using TableDependency.SqlClient;
using TableDependency.EventArgs;

public class Program
   private static string _con= "data source=.; initial catalog=MyDB; integrated security=True";
   public static void Main()
       // The mapper object is used to map model properties that do not have a corresponding table column name.
       // In case all properties of your model have same name of table columns, you can avoid to use the mapper.
       var mapper = new ModelToTableMapper<Customer>();
       mapper.AddMapping(c => c.Surname, "Second Name");
       mapper.AddMapping(c => c.Name, "First Name");

       // Here - as second parameter - we pass table name: this is necessary only if the model name is 
       // different from table name (in our case we have Customer vs Customers). You can also specifiy schema name.
       using (var dep = new SqlTableDependency<Customer>(_con, tableName: "Customers", mapper: mapper))
           dep.OnChanged += Changed;

           Console.WriteLine("Press a key to exit");


   public static void Changed(object sender, RecordChangedEventArgs<Customer> e)
      var changedEntity = e.Entity;
      Console.WriteLine("DML operation: " + e.ChangeType);
      Console.WriteLine("ID: " + changedEntity.Id);
      Console.WriteLine("Name: " + changedEntity.Name);
      Console.WriteLine("Surame: " + changedEntity.Surname);

Done! Now you are ready to receive notifications:

Receive SQL server notifications GIF video

Monitor table changes use cases and examples

To see SqlTableDependency in action, check the following online long running test.

Also, here are some examples of applications getting notification on record table change. After downloading the example, please remember to update SqlTableDependency nuget package:

  • Monitor table change with WPF and WCF: This example shows how to continuously update a DataGrid of stock data. The grid will be updated whenever a record change occurs. The notification event contains new values for the modified table record.
  • Monitor table change with MVC, SignalR and jQuery: This example shows how to continuously update a table containing stock data. The table will be updated whenever a record change occurs. The notification event contains new values for the modified table record.
  • Monitor table change with MVC, SignalR and Knockout JS: This example shows how to refresh client web browsers used to book flight tickets. Those terminals have to be update as soon as the availability change and the Web application must take the initiative of sending this information to clients instead of waiting for the client to request it.

This section reports some use case examples:


The Start(int timeOut = 120, int watchDogTimeOut = 180) method starts the listener to receive record change notifications. The watchDogTimeOut parameter specifies the amount of time in seconds for the watch dog system.

After calling the Stop() method, notifications are not longer delivered. Database objects created by SqlTableDependency will be deleted.

It is a good practice - when possible - wrap SqlTableDependency within a using statement or alternatively in a try catch block: when the application will stop, this is enough to remove the SqlTableDependency infrastructure (Trigger, Service Broker service, the queue, Contract, Messages type and Stored Procedure) automatically.

However, when the application exits abruptly – that is by not calling the Stop() and/or Dispose() method - we need a way to cleaning up the SqlTableDependency infrastructure. The Start() method takes an optional parameter watchDogTimeOut. If there are no listeners waiting for notifications, the SqlTableDependency infrastructure will be removed after this period of time. The default value of watchDogTimeOut is 180 seconds.

Notice: There is a common scenario that could trigger the watchdog: debugging. During development, you often spend several minutes inside the debugger before you move on to the next step. Please make sure to increase watchDogTimeOut when you debug an application, otherwise you will experience an unexpected destruction of database objects in the middle of your debugging activity.

Under The Hood

SqlTableDependency's record change audit, provides the low-level implementation to receive database notifications creating SQL Server triggers, queues and service broker that immediately notifies your application when a record table change happens.

Assuming we want to monitor the [dbo.Customer] table content, we create a SqlTableDependency object specifying the Customer table and the following database objects will be generated:

  • Message types
  • Contract
  • Queue
  • Service Broker
  • Trigger on table to be monitored
  • Stored procedure to clean up the created objects in case the application exits abruptly (that is, when the application terminate without disposing the SqlTableDependency object)


alt text Requirements

  • SQL Server 2008 R2 or latest versions (please see note about Compatibility Level and Database Version).
  • .NET Framewrok 4.5.1 or latest versions.
  • Windows service using SqlTableDependency must not goes to SLEEP mode or IDLE state. Sleep mode blocks SqlTableDependency code and this result in running the database watch dog that drops all SqlTableDependency's db objects (please see https://stackoverflow.com/questions/6302185/how-to-prevent-windows-from-entering-idle-state).
  • Database Backup and Restore: restoring SqlTableDependency's db objects, it does not work.

When you use notifications, you must be sure to enable Service Broker for the database. To do so, please run the following command:


In case the user specified in the connection string is not database Administrator, db owner or neither has db_owner role, please make sure to GRANT the following permissions to your login user:


It is possible skip permissions test done by SqlTableDependency setting executeUserPermissionCheck constructor parameter to false. Nevertheless a SQL server exception will be thrown if user does not have sufficient permissions.

alt text Note about Compatibility Level and Database Version

From time to time, I receive bugs reporting issue like "I not detect/receive any record change notification". Assuming that you are using a logic with enough grants, one of the possible cause of this missing record change notification, is due to Database compatibility version. Even if your SQL Server instance is SQL Server 2008 R2 or latest versions, can be that your Databasehas been created using an old SQL Server version, for example SQL Server 2005. To reproduce this issue infact, you can download Northwind.mdf file and then attach it to your SQL Server 2008 R2 (or greater) instance. Running SqlTableDependency against it, no exception is raised as well as no notification on record change is detected.

In order to discover your database compatibility version, you can use the following SQL script (see details on http://jongurgul.com/blog/database-created-version-internal-database-version-dbi_createversion/).

USE <your db>

DECLARE @DBINFO TABLE ([ParentObject] VARCHAR(60),[Object] VARCHAR(60),[Field] VARCHAR(30),[VALUE] VARCHAR(4000))
SELECT [Field]
WHEN [VALUE] = 539 THEN 'SQL 2000'
WHEN [VALUE] IN (611,612) THEN 'SQL 2005'
WHEN [VALUE] = 655 THEN 'SQL 2008'
WHEN [VALUE] = 661 THEN 'SQL 2008R2'
WHEN [VALUE] = 706 THEN 'SQL 2012'
WHEN [VALUE] = 782 THEN 'SQL 2014'
WHEN [VALUE] = 852 THEN 'SQL 2016'
ELSE '?'
END [SQLVersion]
WHERE [Field] IN ('dbi_createversion','dbi_version')

Executing this script on Northwind database you get:

Executing this script on DB created by SQL Server 2008 R2 instance (database name TableDependencyDB), the result is:

So, even if your SQL Server instance is 2008 R2 or greater, DB compatibility level (VALUE column) is fundamental to receive record change notifications!

Not supported SQL Server types

Following SQL Server columns types are not supported by SqlTableDepdency:

  • XML

Useful link


Please, feel free to help and contribute with this project adding your comments, issues or bugs found as well as proposing fix and enhancements. See contributors.