Entity Framework - Code First Approach

The Entity Framework provides three approaches to create an entity model and each one has their own pros and cons.

  • Code First
  • Database First
  • Model First

In this chapter, we will briefly describe the code first approach. Some developers prefer to work with the Designer in Code while others would rather just work with their code. For those developers, Entity Framework has a modeling workflow referred to as Code First.

  • Code First modeling workflow targets a database that doesn’t exist and Code First will create it.

  • It can also be used if you have an empty database and then Code First will add new tables too.

  • Code First allows you to define your model using C# or VB.Net classes.

  • Additional configuration can optionally be performed using attributes on your classes and properties or by using a fluent API.

Code First Approach

Why Code First?

  • Code First is really made up of a set of puzzle pieces. First are your domain classes.

  • The domain classes have nothing to do with Entity Framework. They're just the items of your business domain.

  • Entity Framework, then, has a context that manages the interaction between those classes and your database.

  • The context is not specific to Code First. It's an Entity Framework feature.

  • Code First adds a model builder that inspects your classes that the context is managing, and then uses a set of rules or conventions to determine how those classes and the relationships describe a model, and how that model should map to your database.

  • All of this happens at runtime. You'll never see this model, it's just in memory.

  • Code First has the ability to use that model to create a database if required.

  • It can also update the database if the model changes, using a feature called Code First Migrations.