Tag Archives: EF

Entity Framework and MS Web Stack of Love – First Steps

Things they didn’t show you at MIX keynotes Winking smile

Okay, so you saw the MIX keynotes and were really really impressed with what MVC, EF 4.1 Code First and Scaffolding could do for you and excitedly sat down to try and get your old lumbering enterprise app transformed using the Web Stack of Love. Couple of steps in and you start stumbling around. Visual Studio throws errors, things stop working and you are scratching your head as to where you went wrong! Well happened to me and I got lucky in finding the solutions quickly with help from the community. Here are the details.

Model First or Database First with EF 4.1

As mentioned above the first thing I tried to do was get my old lumbering enterprise app moved to the new MVC platform. Now when you have an enterprise platform you can’t throw it away with the accumulated data of last 5 years. So the easiest way is to go Database first, reverse engineer the database to generate your data model. Below are the steps you would follow

  • Create an ASP.NET MVC Web Application using the new project template
  • Create a generic Class library project
  • Add ADO.NET Entity Data Model file (edmx) to the class library
  • Generate model from DB Connection by connecting to the database. So far so good, no issues.
  • Now you add reference to your database project to the web project, copy the connection string over from the class library’s app.config to web app’s web.config, and build it. Everything builds fine.
  • You right click on the Controller folder and select Add Controller and the MVC tooling wizard comes up. You select your root entity name and ask it to generate the controller, Visual Studio whirrs for a while and bam! Error!

    Microsoft Visual Studio
    Unable to retrieve metadata for ‘Your.Data.Entity’. The type ‘Your.Data.Entity’ was not mapped. Check that the type has not been explicitly excluded by using the Ignore method or NotMappedAttribute data annotation. Verify that the type was defined as a class, is not primitive, nested or generic, and does not inherit from EntityObject.

  • So what did you miss. Well EF is all code first so the old style generation of Entities (EF < v4) fail to work. If you read the last line of the error ‘… and does not inherit from EntityObject’ it gives you a hint.
  • What now? Manually edit everything? That would defeat the whole purpose of O-R mapping right? Well solution was provided by Julie Lerman (MS MVP) in her blog here. I’ll summarize here.
  • Go back to EDMX file and open the EDMX designer.
  • Right click and select ‘Add Code Generation Item’.
  • From the ‘Add New Wizard’ select ADO.NET DBContext Generator. You’ll see it gives a Model1.tt (t4 template) name. Change the name if you want to and select Add.


  • You will see under in the class library a node gets added with the t4 template. When you expand the node you have the C# (or VB) classes for your entities.
  • Now build and re-try scaffolding the Controller and things will go through smoothly.

Taming the SQL Compact 4.0 for Model First Development

Here is another workaround for people who want to do Model First Development. Since SQL Compact 4.0 was released out of band from Visual Studio and .NET 4.0 releases, somewhere in the tooling chain something broke. As a result, when you try to add a new Connection using Generate Database Wizard you don’t see SQL Compact 4.0. You see up to 3.5 only. So how do you get 4.0 goodness?

Refer to the selected answer from this stackoverflow.com thread

The answer is pretty to the point so I won’t repeat it here.

Trouble with Modernizer.js  (ver 1.7.x only on VMs)

If you run your dev environment on a VM (like VM Ware on Mac), IE9 disables hardware rendering and the modernizer.js that ships by default keeps throwing exception ‘Microsoft JScript runtime error: Unexpected call to method or property access’. This happens for every page and become very irritating quickly.
Solution is to go to www.modernizer.com and download their latest library (2.0.6 at the time of writing this). Remove the 1.7.x reference from your web application and add 2.0.x version. Voila!


That’s about it for now. I’ll put down more of my experiences as I go forward with my EF adventures. When I started this article we had only 4.1 now we have 4.2 CTP out Smile. Fast! Very Fast!

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How to: Use default ASP.NET Authentication and Authorization Provider Schema in your own Entity Model?


Microsoft has provided a default authentication provider that stores usernames and passwords in a SQL Server Database. The schema and the provider come out of the box and now-a-days if you use and Web application template, Visual studio will generate all code necessary to do forms authentication and registration.

The default database for storing Authentication and Authorization mechanism is called aspnetdb and contains all the tables and stored procedures required.

The Problem

You can choose to keep the default aspnetdb and build your application schema separately and use the provider as needed. This works fine when your own schema elements don’t need to access the roles, user or membership entities that are getting stored in aspnetdb. But we run into trouble if we are building our schema using the Entity Framework and want to use entities from the aspnetdb. Entity Designer can connect to only one database at a time. So how do we keep the out-of-the-box goodness intact, use the Entity Framework and also use the Role/membership entities in our custom entities?


Microsoft has provided a tool for generating the entire schema in any database you want. The details are available at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms229862.aspx

To Summarize

1. Open “Visual Studio Command Prompt” from “Visual Studio Tools” shortcut.

2. Type in the following commands

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\VC>aspnet_regsql –d [YourDataBaseSchemaName] –A all –E –S [SQLSERVER NAME]

The aspnet_regsql tool has a lot of options, details for which are well documented by MS in the above link. Above I’ve used three options

-d : Implies you are specifying a database schema where the scripts will be generated

[YourDataBaseSchemaName] : Replace this with the schema/database name with the one for your application

-A : This implies Add

all : This value implies you want all the tables in your schema. There are some options to get a subset, but I just went for the whole thing

-E : This implies you are asking it to Authenticate using current Windows Authentication for current user.

-S: SQL Server Name. It is usually the machine name or [machine name]\SQLSERVER unless you’ve named it differently yourself.

This script hardly takes a second to execute.

3. Now the authentication infrastructure is in place. Few more steps to go:

  • Change default connection string in your web.config for the provider. By default the connection string is called “ApplicationServices”. Change it such that it connects to your database.
  • Open the Entity Designer, right click on the design surface and select Update Model from Database.
  • Select all the tables (only) and add them to the Entity Design surface.
  • Rename the aspnet_* tables as per your naming conventions. Renaming the entities doesn’t change the table names in the DB so rest assured you are not breaking anything with the default provider.

That’s it. Now you have access to the entities from the providers in your schema, feel free to use them they way you want. The default provider is intact and you get all the Entity Framework goodies for reading from the provider free of custom data layer development cost.

Have Fun!

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