ASP.NET Core - New Database


This documentation is for EF Core. For EF6.x, see Entity Framework 6.


The .NET Core SDK 1.0.0 no longer supports project.json or Visual Studio 2015. Everyone doing .NET Core development is encouraged to migrate from project.json to csproj and Visual Studio 2017.

In this walkthrough, you will build an ASP.NET Core MVC application that performs basic data access using Entity Framework. You will use migrations to create the database from your model.


You can view this article's sample on GitHub.


The following prerequisites are needed to complete this walkthrough:

Create a new project

  • Open Visual Studio 2017
  • File -> New -> Project...
  • From the left menu select Installed -> Templates -> Visual C# -> Web
  • Select the ASP.NET Core Web Application (.NET Core) project template
  • Enter EFGetStarted.AspNetCore.NewDb as the name and click OK
  • Wait for the New ASP.NET Core Web Application dialog to appear
  • Under ASP.NET Core Templates 1.1 select the Web Application
  • Ensure that Authentication is set to No Authentication
  • Click OK

If you use Individual User Accounts instead of None for Authentication then an Entity Framework model will be added to your project in Models\IdentityModel.cs. Using the techniques you will learn in this walkthrough, you can choose to add a second model, or extend this existing model to contain your entity classes.

Install Entity Framework

To use EF Core, install the package for the database provider(s) you want to target. This walkthrough uses SQL Server. For a list of available providers see Database Providers.

  • Tools -> NuGet Package Manager -> Package Manager Console
  • Run Install-Package Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.SqlServer

We will be using some Entity Framework Tools to maintain the database. So we will install the tools package as well.

  • Run Install-Package Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Tools

Create your model

Now it's time to define a context and entity classes that make up your model.

  • Right-click on the project in Solution Explorer and select Add -> New Folder
  • Enter Models as the name of the folder
  • Right-click on the Models folder and select Add -> Class...
  • Enter Model.cs as the name and click OK
  • Replace the contents of the file with the following code
using Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore;
using System.Collections.Generic;

namespace EFGetStarted.AspNetCore.NewDb.Models
    public class BloggingContext : DbContext
        public BloggingContext(DbContextOptions<BloggingContext> options)
            : base(options)
        { }

        public DbSet<Blog> Blogs { get; set; }
        public DbSet<Post> Posts { get; set; }

    public class Blog
        public int BlogId { get; set; }
        public string Url { get; set; }

        public List<Post> Posts { get; set; }

    public class Post
        public int PostId { get; set; }
        public string Title { get; set; }
        public string Content { get; set; }

        public int BlogId { get; set; }
        public Blog Blog { get; set; }

In a real application you would typically put each class from your model in a separate file. For the sake of simplicity, we are putting all the classes in one file for this tutorial.

Register your context with dependency injection

The concept of dependency injection is central to ASP.NET Core. Services (such as BloggingContext) are registered with dependency injection during application startup. Components that require these services (such as your MVC controllers) are then provided these services via constructor parameters or properties. For more information on dependency injection see the Dependency Injection article on the ASP.NET site.

In order for our MVC controllers to make use of BloggingContext we are going to register it as a service.

  • Open Startup.cs
  • Add the following using statements at the start of the file
using EFGetStarted.AspNetCore.NewDb.Models;
using Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore;

Now we can use the AddDbContext(...) method to register it as a service.

  • Locate the ConfigureServices(...) method
  • Add the following code to register the context as a service
// This method gets called by the runtime. Use this method to add services to the container.
public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
    // Add framework services.

    var connection = @"Server=(localdb)\mssqllocaldb;Database=EFGetStarted.AspNetCore.NewDb;Trusted_Connection=True;";
    services.AddDbContext<BloggingContext>(options => options.UseSqlServer(connection));

In a real application you would typically put the connection string in a configuration file. For the sake of simplicity, we are defining it in code. For more information, see Connection Strings.

Create your database

Now that you have a model, you can use migrations to create a database for you.

  • Tools –> NuGet Package Manager –> Package Manager Console
  • Run Add-Migration MyFirstMigration to scaffold a migration to create the initial set of tables for your model. If you receive an error stating The term 'add-migration' is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, then close and reopen Visual Studio
  • Run Update-Database to apply the new migration to the database. Because your database doesn't exist yet, it will be created for you before the migration is applied.

If you make future changes to your model, you can use the Add-Migration command to scaffold a new migration to make the corresponding schema changes to the database. Once you have checked the scaffolded code (and made any required changes), you can use the Update-Database command to apply the changes to the database.

EF uses a __EFMigrationsHistory table in the database to keep track of which migrations have already been applied to the database.

Create a controller

Next, we'll enable scaffolding in our project.

  • Right-click on the Controllers folder in Solution Explorer and select Add -> Controller...
  • Select Full Dependencies and click Add
  • You can ignore the instructions in the ScaffoldingReadMe.txt file that opens

Now that scaffolding is enabled, we can scaffold a controller for the Blog entity.

  • Right-click on the Controllers folder in Solution Explorer and select Add -> Controller...
  • Select MVC Controller with views, using Entity Framework and click Ok
  • Set Model class to Blog and Data context class to BloggingContext
  • Click Add

Run the application

You can now run the application to see it in action.

  • Debug -> Start Without Debugging
  • The application will build and open in a web browser
  • Navigate to /Blogs
  • Click Create New
  • Enter a Url for the new blog and click Create