SQLite EF Core Database Provider Limitations

The SQLite provider has a number of migrations limitations. Most of these limitations are a result of limitations in the underlying SQLite database engine and are not specific to EF.

Modeling limitations

The common relational library (shared by Entity Framework relational database providers) defines APIs for modelling concepts that are common to most relational database engines. A couple of these concepts are not supported by the SQLite provider.

  • Schemas
  • Sequences

Query limitations

SQLite doesn't natively support the following data types. EF Core can read and write values of these types, and querying for equality (where e.Property == value) is also supported. Other operations, however, like comparison and ordering will require evaluation on the client.

  • DateTimeOffset
  • Decimal
  • TimeSpan
  • UInt64

Instead of DateTimeOffset, we recommend using DateTime values. When handling multiple time zones, we recommend converting the values to UTC before saving and then converting back to the appropriate time zone.

The Decimal type provides a high level of precision. If you don't need that level of precision, however, we recommend using double instead. You can use a value converter to continue using decimal in your classes.

modelBuilder.Entity<MyEntity>()
    .Property(e => e.DecimalProperty)
    .HasConversion<double>();

Migrations limitations

The SQLite database engine does not support a number of schema operations that are supported by the majority of other relational databases. If you attempt to apply one of the unsupported operations to a SQLite database then a NotSupportedException will be thrown.

A rebuild will be attempted in order to perform certain operations. Rebuilds are only possible for database artifacts that are part of your EF Core model. If a database artifact isn't part of the model--for example, if it was created manually inside a migration--then a NotSupportedException is still thrown.

Operation Supported? Requires version
AddCheckConstraint ✔ (rebuild) 5.0
AddColumn
AddForeignKey ✔ (rebuild) 5.0
AddPrimaryKey ✔ (rebuild) 5.0
AddUniqueConstraint ✔ (rebuild) 5.0
AlterColumn ✔ (rebuild) 5.0
CreateIndex
CreateTable
DropCheckConstraint ✔ (rebuild) 5.0
DropColumn ✔ (rebuild) 5.0
DropForeignKey ✔ (rebuild) 5.0
DropIndex
DropPrimaryKey ✔ (rebuild) 5.0
DropTable
DropUniqueConstraint ✔ (rebuild) 5.0
RenameColumn 2.2
RenameIndex ✔ (rebuild)
RenameTable
EnsureSchema ✔ (no-op)
DropSchema ✔ (no-op)
Insert
Update
Delete

Migrations limitations workaround

You can workaround some of these limitations by manually writing code in your migrations to perform a rebuild. Table rebuilds involve creating a new table, copying data to the new table, dropping the old table, renaming the new table. You will need to use the Sql(string) method to perform some of these steps.

See Making Other Kinds Of Table Schema Changes in the SQLite documentation for more details.

Idempotent script limitations

Unlike other databases, SQLite doesn't include a procedural language. Because of this, there is no way to generate the if-then logic required by the idempotent migration scripts.

If you know the last migration applied to a database, you can generate a script from that migration to the latest migration.

dotnet ef migrations script CurrentMigration

Otherwise, we recommend using dotnet ef database update to apply migrations. Starting in EF Core 5.0, you can specify the database file when running the command.

dotnet ef database update --connection "Data Source=My.db"

See also