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Initializing a Project with an Existing Database

Eight-five percent of all application development is spent on existing systems, with existing databases. If you want to use Entity Framework's code-first development (where the database schema is an "implementation detail" generated from your object design) and migrations (which modifies your existing schema as your object model evolves), how do you do that with an existing database?

I'd suggest that you first step is to generate the object code that represents your existing tables (I use a tool for that). Once you've done that, and assuming you've used NuGet Manager to add Entity Framework to your project, you just need three commands to initialize your .NET Framework project for code-first migrations. Just enter these commands into Tools | NuGet Package Manager | Package Manager Console:

Enable-Migrations  -ContextTypeName  
Add-Migration  InitialCreate  -IgnoreChanges
Update-Database

If you're working in .NET Core, you can skip the first command (Enable-Migrations). In .NET Core, migrations are enabled by default.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 03/11/2019


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