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What is Entity Framework Code First


Entity Framework Code First is an approach in the Microsoft Entity Framework that allows developers to create and define their database models using C# or Visual Basic .NET code. This article will delve into what Entity Framework Code First entails, its benefits, and how it is used in software development.

Understanding the Basics

Entity Framework is an Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) framework, which is a way to bridge the gap between object-oriented programming and relational databases. It enables developers to work with database objects as if they were regular, off-the-shelf software components.

With Entity Framework Code First, developers can define their database models using code first, before the actual database is created. Traditionally, developers would design and create the database schema first, and then generate the code based on that schema. However, in Code First, the database schema is generated based on the code-defined models.

Benefits of Entity Framework Code First

  1. Rapid Development: Entity Framework Code First promotes faster development cycles by eliminating the need to design and create databases upfront. Developers can focus on writing code and defining their models, and the database schema will be generated automatically.
  2. Simplified Database Maintenance: Code First enables easier and more efficient database maintenance. Changes to the code-defined models can be detected and applied to the database using migrations. This eliminates the need for manual script generation and execution during database changes.
  3. Agility and Flexibility: With Code First, developers have the flexibility to modify their database schema easily. They can add, remove or modify properties in their models and apply these changes to the database in a controlled manner.
  4. Seamless Team Collaboration: Code First simplifies collaboration between developers by providing a single source of truth for the database schema. Developers can work on the same codebase and the database schema will be synchronized across their development environments.

How to Use Entity Framework Code First

Using Entity Framework Code First involves a series of steps:

  1. Define Your Models: Start by creating your domain models using C# or Visual Basic .NET. These models will represent the entities in your application and the relationships between them.
  2. Configure the Models: Configure the models using the Fluent API or data annotations. This step allows you to define the relationships between entities, specify data validation rules, and customize the database schema generation.
  3. Create a Database Context: Create a class that derives from the DbContext base class provided by the Entity Framework. This class acts as the entry point for interacting with the database and managing the data access operations.
  4. Enable Migrations: Enable migrations in your project, which allows the Entity Framework to track and apply database schema changes. Migrations generate scripts that can be executed to update the database schema based on the changes made to the models.
  5. Apply Migrations: Apply the generated migrations to the database to update the schema accordingly.
  6. Interact with the Database: Use the database context to query and manipulate data within your application. The Entity Framework will handle the translation of your code-based operations to SQL queries and database transactions.


Entity Framework Code First offers developers a flexible and efficient way to work with databases by allowing them to define their models in code first. It provides numerous benefits, including rapid development, simplified database maintenance, agility, and seamless team collaboration.

By following the steps outlined above, developers can leverage the power of Code First in their software development projects.

Posted by - James Turner at 02/10/2023 - 08:51 AM.


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