EF Core Audit Database Setup

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Create Data Model

Model is a collection of classes to interact with the database.

  • A model stores data retrieved according to the commands from the Controller and displayed in the View.
  • It can also be used to manipulate the data to implement the business logic.

To create a data model for our application, we will start with the following two entities.

  • Book
  • Author

There's a one-to-many relationship between Author and Book entities. In other words, an author can write any number of books, and a book can be written by only one author.

Create Author Entity

We will create a class called Author and add the following code.

public class Author
    public int AuthorId { get; set; }
    public string Name { get; set; }
    public virtual ICollection<Book> Books { get; set; }

The AuthorId property will become the primary key column of the database table that corresponds to this class. By default, Entity Framework interprets a property that's named Id or <classname>Id as the primary key.

  • The Books property is a navigation property. Navigation properties hold other entities related to this entity.
  • In this case, the Books property of an Author entity will hold all of the Book entities related to that Author entity.
  • In other words, if a given Author row in the database has two related Book rows, that Author entity's Books navigation property will contain those two Book entities.

Create Book Entity

Now let's add another entity class Book, and replace the following code.

public class Book
    public int Id { get; set; }
    public string Title { get; set; }
    public int NoOfPages { get; set; }
    public int AuthorId { get; set; }
    public Author Author { get; set; }
  • The Id property will be the primary key; this entity uses the Id pattern instead of <classname>Id by itself, as you saw in the Author entity.
  • Usually, you would choose one pattern and use it throughout your data model.
  • Here, the variation illustrates that you can use either pattern.

Create Database Context

The database context class provides the main functionality to coordinate Entity Framework with a given data model.

  • You can create this class by deriving from the Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.DbContext class.
  • In your code, you can specify which entities are included in the data model.
  • You can also customize certain Entity Framework behavior.

So let's create a folder in your project by right-clicking your project in Solution Explorer and clicking Add > New Folder. Name the folder DAL (Data Access Layer). In that folder, create a new class file named BookStore.cs, and replace the following code.

public class BookStore : DbContext
    protected override void OnConfiguring(DbContextOptionsBuilder optionsBuilder)
        optionsBuilder.UseSqlServer(@"Data Source=(localdb)\ProjectsV13;Initial Catalog=BookStoreDb;");

    public DbSet<Author> Authors { get; set; }
    public DbSet<Book> Books { get; set; }

This code creates a DbSet property for each entity set. In Entity Framework terminology, an entity set typically corresponds to a database table, and an entity corresponds to a row in the table.

Initialize Database

The Entity Framework will create an empty database for you. So we need to write a method called after the database is created to populate it with test data.

public static void Initialize()
    using (BookStore context = new BookStore())

        // Look for any authors.
        if (context.Authors.Any())
            return;   // DB has been seeded

        var authors = new List<Author>
            new Author { Name="Carson Alexander" },
            new Author { Name="Meredith Alonso" },
            new Author { Name="Arturo Anand" },
            new Author { Name="Gytis Barzdukas"},
            new Author { Name="Yan Li" },

        authors.ForEach(a => context.Authors.Add(a));

        var books = new List<Book>
            new Book { Title = "Introduction to Machine Learning", NoOfPages = 530, AuthorId = 1 },
            new Book { Title = "Advanced Topics in Machine Learning", NoOfPages = 380, AuthorId = 1 },
            new Book { Title = "Introduction to Computing", NoOfPages = 1171, AuthorId = 1 },
            new Book { Title = "Introduction to Microeconomics", NoOfPages = 437, AuthorId = 2 },
            new Book { Title = "Calculus I", NoOfPages = 1477, AuthorId = 3 },
            new Book { Title = "Calculus II", NoOfPages = 1571, AuthorId = 3 },
            new Book { Title = "Trigonometry Basics", NoOfPages = 540, AuthorId = 4 },
            new Book { Title = "Special Topics in Trigonometry", NoOfPages = 490, AuthorId = 4 },
            new Book { Title = "Advanced Topics in Mathematics", NoOfPages = 895, AuthorId = 4 },
            new Book { Title = "Introduction to AI", NoOfPages = 530, AuthorId = 4 },

        books.ForEach(b => context.Books.Add(b));
  • The above code creates a database when needed and loads test data into the new database.
  • It also checks if there are any authors in the database, and if not, it assumes the database is new and needs to be seeded with test data.

In the Main method, replace the following code.

static void Main(string[] args)
    using (BookStore context = new BookStore())
        int authors = context.Authors.Count();
        int books = context.Books.Count();

        Console.WriteLine("Total Authors: {0}", authors);
        Console.WriteLine("Total Books: {0}", books);

Now when you run your application for the first time, the database will be created and seeded with test data, and you will see the following output.

Total Authors: 5
Total Books: 10

Got any EF Core Audit Question?