Entity Framework and Encapsulation
I would like to experimentally apply an aspect of encapsulation that I read about once, where an entity object includes domains for its attributes, e.g. for its CostCentre property, it contains the list of valid cost centres. This way, when I open an edit form for an Extension, I only need pass the form one Extension object, where I normally access a CostCentre object when initialising the form.
This also applies where I have a list of Extensions bound to a grid (telerik RadGrid), and I handle an edit command on the grid. I want to create an edit form and pass it an Extension object, where now I pass the edit form an ExtensionID and create my object in the form.
What I'm actually asking here is for pointers to guidance on doing this this way, or the 'proper' way of achieving something similar to what I have described here.
It would depend on your data source. If you are retrieving the list of Cost Centers from a database, that would be one approach. If it's a short list of predetermined values (like Yes/No/Maybe So) then property attributes might do the trick. If it needs to be more configurable per-environment, then IoC or the Provider pattern would be the best choice.
I think your problem is similar to a custom ad-hoc search page we did on a previous project. We decorated our entity classes and properties with attributes that contained some predetermined 'pointers' to the lookup value methods, and their relationships. Then we created a single custom UI control (like your edit page described in your post) which used these attributes to generate the drop down and auto-completion text box lists by dynamically generating a LINQ expression, then executing it at run-time based on whatever the user was doing.
This was accomplished with basically three moving parts: A) the attributes on the data access objects B) the 'attribute facade' methods at the middle-tier compiling and generation dynamic LINQ expressions and C) the custom UI control that called our middle-tier service methods.
Sometimes plans like these backfire, but in our case it worked great. Decorating our objects with attributes, then creating a single path of logic gave us just enough power to do what we needed to do while minimizing the amount of code required, and completely eliminated any boilerplate. However, this approach was not very configurable. By compiling these attributes into the code, we tightly coupled our application to the datasource. On this particular project it wasn't a big deal because it was a clients internal system and it fit the project timeline. However, on a "real product" implementing the logic with the Provider pattern or using something like the Castle Projects IoC would have allowed us the same power with a great deal more configurability. The downside of this is there is more to manage, and more that can go wrong with deployments, etc.