Getting Started with EF Core on .NET Core Console App with a New database

In this tutorial, you create a .NET Core console app that performs data access against a SQLite database using Entity Framework Core. You use migrations to create the database from the model. See ASP.NET Core - New database for a Visual Studio version using ASP.NET Core MVC.

View this article's sample on GitHub.


Create a new project

  • Create a new console project:

    dotnet new console -o ConsoleApp.SQLite

Change the current directory

In subsequent steps, we need to issue dotnet commands against the application.

  • We change the current directory to the application's directory like this:

    cd ConsoleApp.SQLite/

Install Entity Framework Core

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

  • Install Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Sqlite and Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Design

    dotnet add package Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Sqlite
    dotnet add package Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Design
  • Run dotnet restore to install the new packages.

Create the model

Define a context and entity classes that make up your model.

  • Create a new Model.cs file with the following contents.

    using Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore;
    using System.Collections.Generic;
    namespace ConsoleApp.SQLite
        public class BloggingContext : DbContext
            public DbSet<Blog> Blogs { get; set; }
            public DbSet<Post> Posts { get; set; }
            protected override void OnConfiguring(DbContextOptionsBuilder optionsBuilder)
                optionsBuilder.UseSqlite("Data Source=blogging.db");
        public class Blog
            public int BlogId { get; set; }
            public string Url { get; set; }
            public ICollection<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; }

Tip: In a real application, you put each class in a separate file and put the connection string in a configuration file or environment variable. To keep the tutorial simple, everything is contained in one file.

Create the database

Once you have a model, you use migrations to create a database.

  • Run dotnet ef migrations add InitialCreate to scaffold a migration and create the initial set of tables for the model.
  • Run dotnet ef database update to apply the new migration to the database. This command creates the database before applying migrations.

The blogging.db SQLite DB is in the project directory.

Use the model

  • Open Program.cs and replace the contents with the following code:

    using System;
    namespace ConsoleApp.SQLite
        public class Program
            public static void Main()
                using (var db = new BloggingContext())
                    db.Blogs.Add(new Blog { Url = "" });
                    var count = db.SaveChanges();
                    Console.WriteLine("{0} records saved to database", count);
                    Console.WriteLine("All blogs in database:");
                    foreach (var blog in db.Blogs)
                        Console.WriteLine(" - {0}", blog.Url);
  • Test the app from the console. See the Visual Studio note to run the app from Visual Studio.

    dotnet run

    One blog is saved to the database and the details of all blogs are displayed in the console.

    ConsoleApp.SQLite>dotnet run
    1 records saved to database
    All blogs in database:

Changing the model:

  • If you make changes to the model, you can use the dotnet ef migrations add command to scaffold a new migration. Once you have checked the scaffolded code (and made any required changes), you can use the dotnet ef database update command to apply the schema changes to the database.
  • EF Core uses a __EFMigrationsHistory table in the database to keep track of which migrations have already been applied to the database.
  • The SQLite database engine doesn't support certain schema changes that are supported by most other relational databases. For example, the DropColumn operation is not supported. EF Core Migrations will generate code for these operations. But if you try to apply them to a database or generate a script, EF Core throws exceptions. See SQLite Limitations. For new development, consider dropping the database and creating a new one rather than using migrations when the model changes.

Run from Visual Studio

To run this sample from Visual Studio, you must set the working directory manually to be the root of the project. If you don't set the working directory, the following Microsoft.Data.Sqlite.SqliteException is thrown: SQLite Error 1: 'no such table: Blogs'.

To set the working directory:

  • In Solution Explorer, right click the project and then select Properties.
  • Select the Debug tab in the left pane.
  • Set Working directory to the project directory.
  • Save the changes.

Additional Resources