Code-First Approach In MVC 5

Here, we are going to learn about the Code First approach in MVC. Basically, I am used to the Database-First approach. It is obvious that both the Code-First approach and DB First approach are useful in their own context but I would like to summarize the basic usage of these as per my working experience.

When to use DB-First Approach?
  • When you have to work in a project where DB is already created.
  • You don’t have to alter DB columns, stored procedures, and views.
  • When your project is small and doesn’t have to be very modular.
  • When you don’t want to get a headache writing simple classes because DB-First approach in Entity will write all the code for class.

When to use Code- First?

  • When you have to make your application from scratch.
  • When you don’t have a readymade database.
  • You have to play with database frequently, like creating and deleting tables, views, and stored procedure.
  • When you have too many tables, views, and stored procedures in database.

What we will learn?

  1. Creating a blank database.
  2. Creating a MVC Project (UI)
  3. Creating a Class Library Project (DAL)
  4. Code First Approach implementation.
  5. Migration in MVC
  6. Creating CRUD Operation.

Creating Blank Database

Step 1 

Open SQL Server.

Step 2  

Connect to Database Server.

Step 3 

Right click on Database to "Create New Database".

You will be able to see your newly created database on Server.

Creating a MVC Project

Step 1  

Open Visual Studio.

Step 2  

Go to File => New Project.

  1. Select Visual C# => Web => ASP.NET Web Application.
  2. Name your Solution (eg. EasyCRM) and Project (EasyCRM.UI) and then click OK.
  3. Select MVC.
  4. Change Authentication to "Individual User Accounts".

Now, you will see the following screen.


Creating a class Library Project (DAL)

Step 1  

Right click on Solution Explorer to add new project.

Step 2  

Select Visual C# => Windows => Class Library.

Adding Entity Framework to DAL Project.

Step 1  

Right click on DAL Project and select "Manage NuGet Packages".

Step 2 

Browse Entity Framework and Install.

Code First Approach

Now, add 3 folders to EasyCRM.DAL Project named as

  1. DataConnection
  2. Entity
  3. Identity

Creating Entity for Customer

  • Add a new folder inside Entity, named as Customer.
  • Add New Class called Customer_PersonalDetail.cs.
  • Add the following code inside the class.
    1. public string CP { get; set;}  

    2. [Required(ErrorMessage = "City required")]  
    3. public string City {get;set;}  

    4. [Required(ErrorMessage = "Contact person required")]  
    5. [DisplayName("Contact person")]  
    6. public string ContactPerson {get;set;}  

    7. [Required(ErrorMessage = "Telephone required")]  
    8. [DisplayName("Telephone")]  
    9. [Phone]  
    10. public string Phone {get;set;}  

    11. [Required(ErrorMessage = "Email required")]  
    12. [RegularExpression(@ "\w+([-+.']\w+)*@\w+([-.]\w+)*\.\w+([-.]\w+)*", ErrorMessage = "Wrong email format")]  
    13. [EmailAddress]  
    14. public string Email {get;set;}  

    15. public string Notes {get;set;}  
  • Add new class called "Users" under Entity folder.
  • The new class file should look like it -
    1. using System;  
    2. using System.Collections.Generic;  
    3. using System.Linq;  
    4. using System.Text;  
    5. using System.Threading.Tasks;  
    6. using Microsoft.AspNet.Identity.EntityFramework;  
    7. using System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations;  
    8. namespaceEasyCRM.DAL.Entity {  
    9.     publicclassUsers IdentityUser {  
    10.         [Required]  
    11.         public string Name {get;set;
    13.         [Required]  
    14.         public string Address get;set;}
    16.         [Required]  
    17.         public string Gender {get; set; }  
    18.     }  
    19. }  

Step 3
Add new class in DataConnection folder, named DataContext.cs. Don’t forget to make this class public

Add Following References

  1. using EasyCRM.DAL.Entity;  
  2. using EasyCRM.DAL.Entity.Customer;  
  3. using EasyCRM.DAL.DataConnection;  
  4. using Microsoft.AspNet.Identity.EntityFramework;  
  5. using System.Data.Entity;  

Now, write the codes in a similar way.

  1. using System;  
  2. using System.Collections.Generic;  
  3. using System.Linq;  
  4. using System.Text;  
  5. using System.Threading.Tasks;  
  6. using System.Data;  
  7. using EasyCRM.DAL.Entity;  
  8. using EasyCRM.DAL.Entity.Customer;  
  9. using EasyCRM.DAL.DataConnection;  
  10. using Microsoft.AspNet.Identity.EntityFramework;  
  11. using System.Data.Entity;  

  12. namespaceEasyCRM.DAL.DataConnection {  
  13.     publicclassDataContext IdentityDbContext <Users> {  
  14.         publicDataContext() base("DefaultConnection") {}  

  15.         publicDbSet <Customer_PersonalDetail> Customer_PersonalDetail { get;set;}  
  16.     }  
  17. }  

Referencing DAL Project to UI Project.

Step 1  Right click on References of UI Project to add references.

Enabling Migrations

Step 1  

Go to Tools => Package Manager =>Manage NuGet Packages for Solution.

Step 2 Now run these commands using Console.Dont forget  to select the DAL Project. (Migrations will be created in DAL Project as in figure)

  1. Enable-Migrations  
  2. add-migration InitialCreate  
  3. update-database  

Once the migration is finished, you will see a Migrations folder with two files, as below.

Now, go to Database to browse tables. You will be able to see the following tables.

So far, we have created tables using Code First approach. Now, we will apply CRUD operation for Customer_PersonalDetail.

Adding Controller

Step 1  

Right click on Controller of UI Project to add new Controller.


Step 2 

Select "MVC 5 Controller with views, using Entity Framework".

Step 3 

Now, select Model class, Data context class, and layout page.

Now, you will see a Controller named "Customer" added in Controllers folder and views created on Views => Customer folder as in the figure.

Managing Layout Page

As I have been using AdminLTE Theme for my Admin Panel, I will use the same theme here. Please review "Adding AdminLTE Theme" on MVC 5 to learn working with Themes in MVC. Now, I will add two links - one, to Add New Customer; and next, to List Customer.

Step 1  

Open _LayoutAdminPanel.cshtml as in figure

Managing Server Connection String

Now, we need to modify Server Connection String in web.config of UI Project.

Step 1  

Go to View => Server Explorer.

Step 2  

Now, connect to database as below.

Step 3 

Right click on connected server and select Properties to retrieve Connection String, as in figure.

Step 4 

Open web.config as in figure and replace the old Connection String with new Connection String, as in figure below.

Execute Application

Now, rebuild the solution (Ctrl+Shift+B) and run your application. You will be able to see the following screen.

Now, click "Add New Customer" to add new customer. Please note that we are adding new customer with Code First approach here.

Once you navigate to "Add New Customer" link, you will see the following form. Add details to the form and save.

You will be able to see the data saved in Database.


So, in this way, we can implement Code-First approach in MVC 5 application. 

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