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Part 2 - Entity Framework Model First Approach

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Part 1 - What is Entity Framework

In this video we will discuss using Model First Approach of Entity Framework. This is continuation to Part 1. Please watch Part 1 before proceeding.

Entity Framework supports the following three approaches
1. Schema First Approach - Discussed in Part 1
2. Model First Approach - In this video.
3. Code First Approach - Next Video

In the Model First Approach, we first create the Entity Model. That is we create
1. Entities
2. Relationships between entities
3. Inheritance hierarchies etc.

We do all this directly on the design surface of the EDMX file. We will be continuing with the same example that we started in Part 1 of Entity Framework Tutorial.

Step 1: First delete the "EmployeeModel.edmx" file from the existing solution

Step 2: Add a new "ADO.NET Entity Data Model" file with name = EmployeeModel. 

Step 3: On "Choose Model Contents" screen, select "Empty Model" and click "Finish"
model-first example in entity framework

Step 4: At this point, we have a blank EmployeeModel.edmx file added to the solution. Now, right click on the designer surface and then select : Add - Entity. Set, 
Entity Name = Department
Base Type = None
Entity Set = Departments
Create Key property = Select the check box
Property Name = Id
Property Type = Int32

Finally click OK.
Creating entity with model first approach

Step 5: Right click on "Department" entity and select "Add - Scalar Property". Change the property name to "Name". Right click on the "Name" property that we just added and select "properties" from the context menu. Notice that the "Type" of "Name" property is set to "String".

Step 6: Similarly add "Location" property for the "Department" entity. At this point, the "Department" entity should look as shown below.
Department entity

Step 7: Add "Employee" entity and the following scalar properties.
FirstName (Type = string)
LastName (Type = string)
Gender (Type = string)
Salary (Type = int)

Step 8: At this point, Department and Employee entities should look as shown below.
Department and employee entities

Step 9: We need to add "Employees" navigation property for the "Department" entity, and "Department" navigation property for the "Employee" entity. To do this, right click on the design surface and select "Add - Association". In the "Add Association" window, set values as shown in the image below and click "OK"
How to add navigation property to an entity

Step 10: At this point, we should have the following created.
a) Employees navigation property in the Department entity
b) Department navigation property in the Employee entity
c) DepartmentId scalar property
Department and employee entities with navigation properties

Step 11: Right click on the design surface, and select "Genedrate Database from Model..." option

Step 12: On "Choose Your Data Connection" screen, click "Next"

Step 13: At this point, we should have the required SQL generated to create 
a) Departments table
b) Employees table
c) Primary key constraints for Departments and Employees tables
d) Foreign key constraint
e) Indexes

Step 14: Click Finish. Now, we should have "EmployeeModel.edmx.sql" file generated with the required SQL. If you already have "Departments" and "Employees" tables in the database, delete them. Right click on the file and select "Execute SQL" option from the context menu.

Step 15: Populate the "Departments" and "Employees" tables with sample data using the script below.
Insert into Departments values ('IT', 'New York')
Insert into Departments values ('HR', 'London')
Insert into Departments values ('Payroll', 'Sydney')

Insert into Employees values ('Mark', 'Hastings', 'Male', 60000, 1)
Insert into Employees values ('Steve', 'Pound', 'Male', 45000, 3)
Insert into Employees values ('Ben', 'Hoskins', 'Male', 70000, 1)
Insert into Employees values ('Philip', 'Hastings', 'Male', 45000, 2)
Insert into Employees values ('Mary', 'Lambeth', 'Female', 30000, 2)
Insert into Employees values ('Valarie', 'Vikings', 'Female', 35000, 3)
Insert into Employees values ('John', 'Stanmore', 'Male', 80000, 1)

Step 16: Run the application by pressing CTRL + F5. We will get the following runtime error.
The specified default EntityContainer name 'EmployeeDBContext' could not be found in the mapping and metadata information.
Parameter name: defaultContainerName

Step 17: Open WebForm1.aspx in source mode, and set ConnectionString and DefaultContainerName properties of EntityDataSource control as shown below.
<asp:EntityDataSource ID="EntityDataSource1" runat="server"
    EntitySetName="Departments" Include="Employees">

At this point we should get the output we expect.

Entity Framework Tutorial


  1. I am facing this problem ....System.ArgumentException: Could not find the CLR type for 'EmployeeModel.Department'.

    any one help me out.....Thanks

    1. I got it.....I had changed code generation property of .edmx to DEFAULT...

      Lots of Thanks to venkat sir for such a great tutorials....


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