30 July 2009

Model first in Entity Framework v1.0

Every now and then people ask in forums etc how to do model first with Entity Framework version 1 (.net 3.5 SP1 / Visual Studio 2008 SP1). In other words, how to create a model using the Entity Framework designer in Visual Studio and then generate a database from that model. The simple answer is that it is not supported out of the box. However, since one of my tools has supported that for quite some time I figured it was about time to repost a tutorial on how to do model first with EFv1 (for those who don't want to wait until Visual Studio 2010 where it will be supported out-of-the-box).

So... here are the steps. Requires Visual Studio 2008 (not express edition, but any higher SKU will work), and Huagati DBML/EDMX Tools to be installed. (Huagati DBML/EDMX Tools is free to use for the first 45 days, if you want to continue using it after that please buy a license to support continued development).

Step 1: Create a new EDMX file (Entity Framework model file).

Step 2: Choose "empty model" if you start from scratch, or "generate from database" if you have an existing database that you want to use as a base.

Step 3: Add entities, entity members, associations etc. In other words, create a model.

Step 4: Review the model...

Step 5: Generate SSDL (Entity Framework's storage layer description) from the CSDL generated by the designer:

Step 6: After generating SSDL, the VS2008 output window shows a summary of the SSDL generation process (what was generated etc). Just as a FYI thing...

Step 7: Generate SQL-DDL for the database.

Step 8: Review the SQL-DDL that was generated, change data types as necessary, add precision/length where needed etc.

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