All posts by Julie

Updated My EFCore / WebAPI / PostreSQL / XUnit Repo to 1.1

Today was dedicated to updating my long running repository sample that I started when EF Core was EF 7  to the newest version of EF Core: 1.1. Here is the updated repo:

Phase one of this update continues to use project.json.

In addition to updating the version #s of  the Nuget package references, I also made some changes to the code to reflect a few new features.

Pay attention to the tooling packages. In the tools section, the package name has changed – note DotNet at the end –  and the version is currently 1.0.0-preview3 even though IIS version is preview2.

 "tools": {

Also in the dependencies, the EFCore Design package is 1.1.0 like the rest of EFCore. That’s part of the EF APIs, not tooling.

Code changes ….

You’ll discover the DbSet.Find method and change tracker Load method in use in the repository class. These were both added in to EF Core 1.1.

I modified the WeatherEvent class to fully encapsulate its Reactions collection using the support for mapping to IEnumerable. That resulted in some changes to constructors and the addition of an AddReaction method and a local variable.

Unrelated to EF Core, I also modified the SeedData.cs class. It reads a hard coded seeddata.json file to read in seed data. That data used old dates. I wanted the data to show current dates to help me tell that I really and truly pushed new data into the database. Since the Date property of WeatherEvent is private, they way I went about this was to read the raw JSON and update the date value that way then save the raw JSON back to the original file. Then I deserialize the JSON with a current range of dates into a set of WeatherEvents. This also means that I added Delete/Create database back in so the database gets thrown away and recreated/reseeded every time you start up the application.

The tests are also update to use the latest packages. In addition to changing the versions, I had to add a reference to an older package (InternalServices) as its dependency has not yet been updated in xunit.

Here’s the full project.json for the test project since I had to do a bunch of googling to figure it out.

 "version": "3.0.0-*",
 "description": "Tests for simple app using aspnetcore, efcore and   
                  postgresql. developed and run on OSX.",
 "authors": [ "Julie Lerman" ],
 "testRunner": "xunit",
 "dependencies": {
   "Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.InMemory": "1.1.0",
   "src": "3.0.0",
   "xunit": "2.2.0-beta4-build3444",
   "dotnet-test-xunit": "2.2.0-preview2-build1029",
 "frameworks": {
 "netcoreapp1.0": {
   "dependencies": {
     "Microsoft.NETCore.App": {
     "type": "platform",
     "version": "1.1.0"
   "imports": [

I hope you find this repository useful to see EF Core 1.1 in action.

Oh and as per a tweet by Brad Wilson, I added SDK to my global.json file!

Now I have to go learn about why this is important. Clearly it is!


EF6 or EF Core? How Do I Choose?

In late October, I spoke at DevIntersection. One of my sessions was called EF6 or EF Core? How Do I Choose? As I’ve been an authority on EF since it’s earliest days, people have been asking me this question frequently, which inspired the talk.

The session was not recorded but I’m sharing my slides on SlideShare. I go into detail on the topic in my upcoming Pluralsight course, “EF Core: Getting Started” which I am currently building. Watch my Pluralsight author page (as well as and this blog!) for its release.

In the meantime, here is a link to the slides from the DevIntersection talk.ef6-or-ef-core

OSX, ASPNetCore, EFCore and CoreCLI, oh my!

After moving some RC1 test projects from windows over to my MacBook, it was time to start from scratch in OS X to see what that experience was like. Installing all the right pieces. I’d been using Visual Studio Code already on windows for nodes programming, but doing that for an ASP.NET 5 project is a little harder since the debugging for that isn’t implemented yet. At the same time I’m still getting used to navigating my way around a Mac … keystrokes, bash commands etc.

But I did get a small sample worked out and even used PostgreSQL to do the job.

That (remember, RC1) little test is on github here:

But RC2 is a different beast!

Addendum because so many have asked: I am using the nightly builds of RC2. It is not out yet!

DNX is transitioning to CoreCLI with new underlying APIs. And there was that name change. ASPNET 5 became ASP.NET Core and EF7 became EF Core. The package and namespaces have changed.

And in the meantime, EF7/EFCore is still going through changes with RC2. To me the most significant is the work the team has been doing to help with disconnected graphs. You can read the latest (and I think final) state of how EF will handle disconnected graphs here on github.

I tried a few paths to starting a new project to try out RC2. Here’s some twitter evidence:

I had watched the video of David Fowler & Damien Edward’s talk about Core CLI from NDC London and David did the demos on a mac.

But it took a tweet from Tony Sneed to remind me that I could get David’s demos from github:

Indeed, that was the best starting point. I cloned that repository onto my MacBook and made sure I could run all three projects.

Now I’m working on building out the HelloMVC project by adding in the model, dbcontext, controllers and other relevant bits from my RC1.

At the moment (as of Feb 1 2016), the dotnet ef migrations commands aren’t working but Brice Lambson is working hard on it and says that should be pushed up this week. (Watch this github issue.)

And it might be a while before the Postgres provider gets updated to work with the new namespaces and package dependencies  but we do have the Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Sqlite provider that will work on OS X although there seem to be a lot of problems at the moment with that on Linux. But I’ll be trying that out anyway.

Getting Started with EF6 Course on Pluralsight


You may think you read that title wrong. Does she mean EF7? No, I actually invested some time into creating a new Getting Started with EF6 course even though EF6 was released about 18 months ago. When EF6 was released, most of what changed since EF5 was the advanced features and usage. I did a course called “EF6 Ninja Edition: What’s New in Entity Framework 6” specifically to cover those additions/improvements. But for the “toes in the water” first look at EF, not much had changed between EF5 and EF6 so the Getting Started with EF5 course remained pretty relevant.

Watch Getting Started with Entity Framework 6

So why Getting Started with EF6 now, when EF7 seems to be around the corner? Well, EF7 is still going to be a while. Even though a “Beta 6” was announced recently, the team has said in a significant way that EF7 Beta 6 is still “very much a preview” of EF7. A pre-release of EF7 is expected in early 2016 along with the release of ASPNET5. But the RTM of EF7 is still further off than that date. And even then, not everyone will be using EF7 right away.

So EF6 will be around for a long time and I decided that it was useful to have a course that addressed Getting Started with EF6 directly including using the latest version of Visual Studio – VS2015.

The first module is an overview which is designed for not just developers but even your managers who may want to have a better understanding of what EF is and how it fits into your overall plans.

I am also committed to creating two more EF6 courses for Pluralsight — also for the sake of being long-term resources. These will consolidate information in the various courses I’ve created about EF3.5 – 6 over the years. One will be an EF6 Fundamentals and the other will be Advanced EF6.

In the meantime, I’ll be updating the “Looking Ahead to EF7” course to reflect the Beta 6 since things have evolved since Beta 3 when I did that course.

Installing EF Power Tools into VS2015

Oct 2016 note: There have been over 60,000 hits to this blog post so far. My host is reaping the benefits ($$$). In July, I submitted a pull request to update the VSIX. The PR was finally merged. Now just waiting for the change to show up in the VS Gallery.

TLDR: If you don’t want to do the tasks (even though they are so easy) you can download the updated VSIX I created from here.

The Entity Framework Power Tools extension for Visual Studio has been around for quite some time and is still called a Beta. I cannot live without it’s “View Entity Data Model (Read-Only)” feature which I used to validate my code first models.

But if you try to install the extension into Visual Studio 2015, you won’t find it.

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Checking the extension in Visual Studio Gallery, you’ll see that it hasn’t been updated to install into VS2015.7-25-2015 9-47-49 AM

The fix is nothing more than making it know about VS2015. There are no other compatibility problems that I have experienced. Modifying an extensions installation package (which is just a zip file!) to be aware of another version of Visual Studio is pretty easy. Here are the steps to get the EF Power Tools into VS2015.

Download the extension from the Visual Studio Gallery page.

Find the file

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and change it’s extension to zip.

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Extract the files from the zip file.

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Open the extension.vsixmanifest file in a text editor and find the Supported Products section.

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And copy paste one of the Visual studio elements, changing the version to 14.0. I have the Enterprise version but didn’t bother changing it from Pro here and it didn’t seem to be a problem.

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Now you have to reverse your steps in order to recreate the VSIX file.

Select the files in the extracted folder and zip them. Don’t zip the folder. The files have to be at the root. (Guess how I learned that! Smile ) I named my zip file








Rename the file to have the vsix extension.

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Run the file right from here.

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If Visual Studio was open, you’ll have to restart to get this to kick in.

Also you’ll see Entity Framework Power Tools listed in the installed extensions when you look at the About section of Visual Studio 2015.

I accidentally mistook this for something it was NOT and (embarrassingly) tweeted it. I had forgotten that I had done this for the VS2015 preview. Then I installed VS2015 RTM on top of the preview and that picked up all of the installed extensions. When I saw the power tools listed in About, I thought they had a) finally gotten rid of the “Beta” tag and b) installed automatically with VS2015. When I realized the extension was installed, I uninstalled that and indeed the tool went away. So for anyone who saw that tweet…. sorry! Guilty as charged …

EF7 Beta 4 & LINQ Queries: Be sure you have the right LINQ package

For EF7 Beta 4 (via nuget) the package you want is Remotion.Linq 2.0.0-alpha-002.

I recently updated some demos from using the EF7 stable (stable comes from, not the nightly build package source) version beta3 to beta4. It involved updating a lot of other packages and I know enough to be dangerous so this took me a while.

But I got it worked out and everything compiled and everything ran correctly …or so I thought.

There was a test I missed running which performed some LINQ queries.

I tried to demo that at in a conference session earlier this week at Techorama and it threw an exception. Rather than struggling with it, I assured the attendees that I knew this worked and was probably a versioning issue. I finally got a chance to dig into that today and have solved the problem.

It was indeed a version issue. I found a GitHub issue that indicated this problem was caused by having the wrong version of Remotion.Linq installed. But the conversation was based on an earlier build of EF7 and wasn’t sure which version of Remotion.Linq.

But in fixing the problem, I targeted the wrong version for an update, thinking the “stable” build might be what I wanted since the EF7 betas in nuget are considered “stable” betas. Unfortunately trying to install that stable version (1.15.15) caused nuget to hang for so long I had to just crash visual studio. I tried this repeatedly from different angles so I wasted over an hour being a dummy.

When I finally decided to try the 2.0.0-alpha-002 installed, it updated quickly and easily and my LINQ queries executed successfully.

Some EF7 Beta3 to Beta4 API Syntax Changes

I am updating some demos I created earlier in the year and using the Beta4 version of EF7 that is the latest stable beta and available on Nuget as opposed to the super-bleeding edge APIs you can get via the nightly builds source.

There were some API changes to features I was using and I had to do a bit of exploring to sort them out so wanted to share in case you are doing the same.

Keep in mind that there are a LOT of things that have evolved between these two versions. I’m just focusing on the things I had to change so that my little demos continued to work properly. Smile


DbContext.ChangeTracker.AttachGraph is now DbContext.ChangeTracker.TrackGraph.

Here’s an example of it in use with a graph of all new objects and the root of the graph is newSamurai.


e => e.State=EntityState.Added);


DbContextOptions is now DbContextOptionsBuilder.

You’ve most likely seen this used as a parameter in the OnConfiguring override for DbContext.

Here is the original signature:

protected override void OnConfiguring(DbContextOptions options) {}

Here is the new signature:

protected override void OnConfiguring(DbContextOptionsBuilder optionsBuilder) { }

DbContext/DbSet.Add Overload for Ranges

EF6 has DbSet.AddRange. Originally EF7 switched the functionality to be an overload of Add which was cool but not backwards compatible so we’re back to DbContext.AddRange and DbSet.AddRange.

DbContext.Entry.SetState( )

The DbContext ChangeTracker API since EF4.1 let us set state with

DbContext.Entry.State= EntityState (where EntityState is an enum)

EF7 started out with a nicer API for this which was


But for the sake of backwards compatibility, it’s now back to



That’s what I’ve encountered so far. Hope it helps

Looking Ahead to Entity Framework 7 on Pluralsight

Pluralsight has published my latest course, a 2.5 hour course about Entity Framework 7 (EF7).

“Looking Ahead to Entity Framework 7”

EF7 is not released yet. It will get released as a “pre-release” along with ASP.NET 5 so that there is a data stack available for projects that target the CoreCLR. Then the team will do a lot more work on EF7 for a full release possibly (wild guess) at the end of 2015. There are a lot of changes since EF7 is begin rewritten from the ground up. Many new features – from things like Batch Updates that we’ve been asking for since v1 to totally new concepts like being able to query and update against non-relational data stores. But there will also be things that do not get carried forward – most notably for some is the EDMX, the designer based entity model.

This course will show you what’s coming, what’s going, demonstrate a lot of the new features (as they are currently …aka the Alpha or earlier versions) and provide guidance about deciding if and when to move to EF7.

Here is an list of the modules:

You can see the more detailed Table of Contents here.

I’ve already gotten some great feedback on the course. My favorite tweet so far was:

“Great info and insight. I don’t know if I’m happier with what’s being added or being removed.”

Check it out and let me know what you think of EF7!

Some Observations While Playing With EF7 Alpha Bits: Current vs On-Hold APIs

You may or may not have caught this important blog post from the EF team about plans for the first RTM of EF7:  EF7 – Priorities, Focus, and Initial Release. In it, EF Program Manager, Rowan Miller explains that for its initial release, EF7 will target ASP.NET 5, ensuring that ASP.NET 5 has a solid data platform to release with. It also means setting aside some of the proof of concept work that the team has been working on for it’s “new platforms, new data stores” initiative. Namely, Windows Store &  Windows Phone and the non-relational providers that the team has been experimenting with are on hold until after the initial RTM of EF7. This does *not* mean that they are being dropped, just delayed so that the team can focus on shipping something usable sooner. Rowan is also clear about the fact that EF7 will not be considered the “go-to” EF version until much later when they’ve brought these other features in as well as forged ahead with more parity with EF6. I recommend that you read that post.

So what does that mean with respect to the source code for EF7 on Github and the current preview Nuget packages of EF?

Note that I have a package source that is pointed to the ASPNET vNext packages which is also where EF7 lives on myget:

Also that I have selected PRERELEASE packages:


And using the console, that means always adding the “-pre” parameter after the install-package command (e.g. install-package entityframework –pre).

First, here’s a look at what DLLs were on Nuget prior to the shift


The shift occurred when the nuget packages went from being tagged as alpha to being tagged as RC. Note that these nuget tags do not reflect the state of EF7, but a package naming decision.


Notice that the AzureTableStorage, Redis and SQLite packages are still there but they are from Dec 1, 2014.

Notice the addition of EntityFramework.Core. That’s where all of the core bits are now.  But the entityframework package is still there. You still start by installing entityframework.

The entityframework package has a dependency on entityframework commands and will pull that in and then that forces nuget to also pull in entityframework.core, relational and migrations. You’ll need to explicitly install entityframework.SqlServer or InMemory if you want them. You’ll need at least one of those.

When you install EF7 from the ASPNetVNext package source, when the installation is finished the following HTML page will pop up in Visual Studio:


I have not tried to use the older providers. They are not going to be kept in sync with the moving forward packages. They will get caught up after EF7 has its initial release.

Also, you do have the ability to get at the source code as it was prior to this big shift. Check the “futures” branch on github:

I believe this is a snapshot that was taken prior to the shift.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to keep all previous versions of packages on MyGet the way it is on Nuget.  You can get a snapshot of the beta2.11514 packages that Rowan Miller set aside for his Connect demos.  That’s not the latest version of EF7 prior to the shift but close.

Just remember, it is all still early early, evolving and changing rapidly.

Some Observations While Playing With EF7 Alpha Bits: EF7-Able Projects

You can’t install EF7 into just any project. Especially now that they are making the shift to focusing on ASP.NET 5 for it’s initial release.

Here are combinations that will work:

(Have not tried VS2012 ..)

Visual Studio 2013

.NET 4.5.1 projects only

Class Library, Client Projects (WPF, Console, Windows Forms), ASP.NET Projects, WCF

Later in 2015, EF7 will return to working with Windows Phone/Store, but for now, none of the relevant projects will host EF7 (e.g. universal apps, PCLs, etc)

Visual Studio 2015

.NET 4.5.1+ projects only

Class Library, Client Projects (WPF, Console, Windows Forms), ASP.NET Projects, WCF

ASP.NET 5 vNext Console & Class Library projects (and yes, the first sounds like an oxymoron)


ASP.NET apps (and if you’re looking for vNext, those are in the templates)