Entity Framework Core 1.0 Connection Strings

asp.net-core c# entity-framework-core


We are working on a vary large ASP.NET Core MVC 1.0 application. We have 4-tiers to each of our applications as follows:

  1. DTO
  2. Repository (Entity Framework - Code First)
  3. Service (Business Logic)
  4. MVC (UI-MVC)

Currently, in our repositories, which handle all database operations we have hard coded the database connection strings in the DbContext as follows:

protected override void OnConfiguring(DbContextOptionsBuilder optionsBuilder) {

    optionsBuilder.UseSqlServer("Data Source=somedatabase.database.windows.net;Initial Catalog=database;Integrated Security=False;User ID=username;Password=password;Connect Timeout=60;Encrypt=True;TrustServerCertificate=False;ApplicationIntent=ReadWrite;MultiSubnetFailover=False;MultipleActiveResultSets=true");


This project is outside the MVC project as a standalone ASP.NET Core 1.0 project. It also has a empty Program.cs file in it which seems to be required to execute the code-to-database command lines (dotnet ef migrations add and dotnet ef database update).

The reason we have a hard coded connection string in the DbConext is because when we use the following code, we get an object reference not set to an instance to an object exception, when executing the dotnet ef commands.

  protected override void OnConfiguring(DbContextOptionsBuilder optionsBuilder) {



However, since we have a Program.cs, if we add a Debug.WriteLine for the connection string and run the project, it does return the correct connections string and if we set the connection string in the appsettings.json file in the UI, the UI will successfully connect as well.

THE ISSUE: The above mentioned stack is what we use for several "Micro Apps", which means we have several projects that connect to several databases. We also want to take advantage of Development, Staging and Production connection strings.

If we use Configuration Manager Connection String, everything is good for daily operations; however, when ever we want to utilize Entity Frameworks code to database command lines, we need to go in to each repository we want to update and change the DbContext to a hard coded connection string, execute the commands, then change them back to when done, which becomes quite troublesome.

THE QUESTION: Are we just doing this wrong, is there a preferred practice for setting up an Entity Framework Core 1.0 stack which allows us not to manually have to change the DbContext but take advantage of configuration files across the board?

Any direction would be appreciated!

8/16/2016 7:09:16 PM

Popular Answer

EF Core is intended to be configured via dependency injection. Dependency injection keeps your DbContext clean, and independent of implementation details of the environment.

Your initial solution of hard-coding connection strings tightly coupled the DbContext to the knowledge of where the database is located. That's obviously a problem. But your proposed solution tightly couples the DbContext to the knowledge of a particular configuration file. That, too, is a problem.

To keep the DbContext independent of environmental details, create a constructor that takes a DbContextOptions parameter and calls the base class constructor.

public class MyContext : DbContext
    public MyContext(DbContextOptions options) :

Do this instead of overriding OnConfiguring. Then initialize it in the Startup.cs of your host application. That's where the knowledge of the configuration file belongs.

public class Startup
    private IConfigurationRoot _configuration;

    public Startup(IHostingEnvironment env)
        _configuration = new ConfigurationBuilder()

    public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)

        services.AddDbContext<MyContext>(options => options

Now you can use your DbContext from anywhere.

2/8/2017 6:00:00 PM

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