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Matt Ward

Code First Migrations with Entity Framework

SharpDevelop 4.3 now has support for Code First Migrations using Entity Framework 5.0.

Microsoft added Code First Migrations to Entity Framework in version 4.3 in February 2012. Code first migrations allows database changes to be implemented with code. The official Entity Framework NuGet package includes three PowerShell cmdlets that extend the NuGet Package Manager Console allowing you to quickly create and use these code first migrations:

  1. Enable-Migrations: Adds support for migrations to your project.
  2. Add-Migration: Generates code for a database migration based on changes to your database model.
  3. Update-Database: Applies migrations to the database.

The PowerShell cmdlets in the official EntityFramework NuGet packages are Visual Studio specific, but there is now a SharpDevelop specific NuGet package (EntityFramework.SharpDevelop) that allows you to use these PowerShell cmdlets in SharpDevelop. This has been made possible by Entity Framework being open sourced.

The EntityFramework.SharpDevelop NuGet package includes the original EntityFramework.dll along with custom versions of the assemblies containing the PowerShell cmdlets - EntityFramework.PowerShell.dll and EntityFramework.PowerShell.Utility.dll.

Now let us take a look at how to use the EntityFramework.SharpDevelop NuGet package.


Before you begin you should have SQL Express installed. You will also need SharpDevelop version or above.

We will look at using Entity Framework with a simple C# console application. This application will add a blog post to a SQL Express database and then read all the existing blog posts in the database.

In SharpDevelop first create a new C# Console Application. Now open the NuGet Manage Packages dialog by right clicking the project and selecting Manage Packages. Search for the EntityFramework.SharpDevelop package in the main NuGet feed and click the Add button to add it to your project. A reference to the EntityFramework assembly will be added to your project and your app.config will be modified.

Now we are ready to use Entity Framework to update and read from our database.

Using Entity Framework

First add a new Post class to your project.

public class Post
    public int Id { get; set; }
    public string Title { get; set; }
    public string Text { get; set; }

Now add a new database context class.

public class BloggingContext : DbContext
    public DbSet<Post> Posts { get; set; }

You will also need to add a using statement to the BloggingContext class so the EntityFramework's DbContext class can be found.

    using System.Data.Entity;

Now open your Program.cs and add a using statement for System.Linq.

    using System.Linq;

Then in Program.cs update the Main method as shown below:

class Program
    public static void Main(string[] args)
        Console.Write("Enter a post title: ");
        string title = Console.ReadLine();

        Console.Write("Enter the post text: ");
        string text = Console.ReadLine();

        using (var db = new BloggingContext()) {

            var newPost = new Post {
                Title = title,
                Text = text


            Console.WriteLine("All posts in the database:");

            IQueryable<Post> query = db.Posts
                .OrderBy(p => p.Title)
                .Select(p => p);

            foreach (Post post in query) {
                Console.WriteLine("Post.Title: " + post.Title);

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

This code reads the blog post title and text entered on the command line, adds a new post to the database and then reads all the posts in the database. Compile and run this application and you should see output similar to the following.

    Enter a post title: First Post
    Enter the post text: Some text here...
    All posts in the database:
    Post.Title: First Post
    Press a key to exit.

After running this application Entity Framework will have created a new database with the same name as the db context class you created. In the screenshot below you can see the database open in SQL Server Express Management Studio.

Code first database created by Entity Framework

You can see that Entity Framework has created a Posts table as well as a __MigrationHistory table. Now we will take a look at enabling database migrations.

Enabling Migrations

Open the Package Management Console and enter the command.


This adds a Migrations folder to your project along with a Configuration.cs file and an initial migration.

Project items after migrations are enabled

The Configuration.cs file can be edited to add seed data and alter other settings used when migrating the database. The initial migration files contain code to generate the Posts table in the database.

Now let us take a look at adding a new migration.

Adding a Migration

We want to add a Published Date to our Post class. Add the new PublishedDate property to the Post class as shown below.

public class Post
    public int Id { get; set; }
    public string Title { get; set; }
    public string Text { get; set; }
    public DateTime PublishedDate { get; set; }

You can generate a code first migration by entering the following command into the Package Management Console.

    Add-Migration AddPublishedDate

This creates a new migration and gives it the name AddPublishedDate. A new file will be added to your migrations folder which contains the code to update the Posts table with the new PublishedDate column.

namespace EFCodeFirst.Migrations
    using System;
    using System.Data.Entity.Migrations;

    public partial class AddPublishedDate : DbMigration
        public override void Up()
            AddColumn("dbo.Posts", "PublishedDate", c => c.DateTime(nullable: false));

        public override void Down()
            DropColumn("dbo.Posts", "PublishedDate");

Now you can update your database.

Updating the Database

To update the database we run the following command in the Package Management Console window.


The new PublishedDate column will then be added to the Posts database table as shown in the screenshot below

Posts table after code first migration applied

That concludes the introduction to using Code First Migrations with SharpDevelop. More information on EntityFramework can be found on the Microsoft MSDN site.

Changes Made to Original Entity Framework NuGet Packages

  1. Renamed NuGet package to EntityFramework.SharpDevelop and included files and assemblies from official EF NuGet package.
  2. Recompiled the EntityFramework.PowerShell and EntityFramework.PowerShell.Utility projects against SharpDevelop's EnvDTE implementation.
  3. Small modifications to the project to compile against .NET 4.0 and the EntityFramework.dll. Microsoft's released source code on Codeplex is for EntityFramework 6 and not for EF 5.
  4. EntityFramework.PowerShell and EntityFramework.PowerShell.Utility assemblies are no longer signed.
  5. Added workaround to fix AppDomain.CreateInstance failing to find constructors taking a EnvDTE.Project parameter.
  6. Add SharpDevelop.EnvDTE.dll to NuGet packages.

All the code for the modified NuGet packages are available on GitHub.

Published Nov 11 2012, 05:00 PM by MattWard
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Blue Ninja said:

This is great news - lack of support for this had been one of the few reasons I had to occasionally load a project in Visual Studio. Now there's even fewer cases where I have to work outside of SharpDevelop.


November 12, 2012 6:58 PM
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