- 12 Jan 2023
- 2 Minutes to read
- Updated on 12 Jan 2023
- 2 Minutes to read
Performing an Entity Framework Migration
Entity Framework (EF) is Microsoft's ORM designed for .NET applications, allowing devlopers to effectively build database schemas in any platform (e.g., SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL) in C# or Visual Basic, as opposed to creating them by writing SQL directly. This process, known as a code first, can increase the development cycle in smaller organizations, but also introduce deployment challenges in larger organizations where specialized teams perform database deployments. For those organizations, scaffolding (i.e., generating the .NET objects after the database schema is created) may be the best solution.
BuildMaster is capable of deploying database changes resulting from changes to the ORM objects. These changes are known as migrations. Migrations can be performed directly from Visual Studio, the .NET Core CLI tool, or the standalone tool
ef6.exe CLI Tool
ef6.exe command line tool is found in the
tools/ subfolder of the EntityFramework NuGet package. Because it is a standalone tool and NuGet packages are .zip files, the executable can be extracted directly from the package in Windows by downloading the package, changing the extension from
.zip, and extracting it from the
.NET Core applications do not require this tool, as it is included with the
dotnet.exe CLI. Any commands that reference
ef6.exe can be replaced with
dotnet.exe ef, although the arguments are slightly different. Refer to the
dotnet ef CLI documentation for more information on the specific arguments.
Prior to EF v6.3.0, the tool
migrate.exe was used to perform migrations. Refer to the linked documentation for the arguments.
For ease of deployment, we recommend capturing the
ef6.exe tool into a database build artifact alongside the DLL that contains the migrations. This can be accomplished in a build plan like this:
Alternatively, you could store
ef6.exe on the build server in a directory referenced in the Windows PATH. This is likely the best solution if all the migrations are executed on the same server (regardless of the actual server the database is on or specified in the connection string).
Performing Migrations with
To migrate a database from a compiled DLL that contains code-first migrations, an example command would be:
ef6.exe database update --assembly MyProject.Data.dll --connection-string "Database=MyProject;Server=us-db-stg-01;Integrated Security=true"
This command will run all migrations in the
MyProject.Data.dll assembly against the
MyProject database. An optional
--target migration name may specified, which will only run migrations up to and including the specified one by name.
Performing Migrations with BuildMaster
To perform a migration in a BuildMaster deployment plan, simply use the
Exec operation against
ef6.exe. Assuming it was captured in an artifact, the deployment plan only requires the following operations:
Exec ef6.exe database update --assembly MyProject.Data.dll --connection-string "Database=MyProject;Server=us-db-stg-01;Integrated Security=true";
While this example specifies the connection string directly, the connection string can also be stored as a configuration variable, in a configuration file, or omitted if the artifact already contains a configuration file (or one was deployed with
Deploy-ConfigFile) with a valid connection string.