/ EF Core

Handling EF Core migrations in a team

Entity Framework Core has a good migration story for the Database, however it's not perfect, especially in a large team where DB schema changes are frequent. All migrations are increamental based on the last *DbContextModelSnapshot.cs snapshot. When multiple migrations are happening in different branches, a lot of issues arise and we even asked EF team on Twitter on how to solve this problem. Click here for the tweet

To better understand the problem, let's build up a scenario in team project.

Let's see an example of problematic migration:

    / \
   B1  C
   |   |
   B2  |
    \ /
 (git merge)

The migration B1 and B2 are out-of-sync of migration C and when we merge B1, B2 and C back into main branch the D migration will likely not work from correct DbContext model snapshot.

Traditionally, we would revert C migration, merge branch with B1 and B2 migrations and re-apply C migration with correct DbContext model snapshot. Git doesn't help us resolving the problem because there are no conflicts from the code perspective.

I found that the best way to solve this problem is to treat *DbContextModelSnapshot.cs as binary file, forcing the developers to resolve the problem before they break migration in master branch.

By including .gitattributes in Migrations folder with content:

PageDbContextModelSnapshot.cs binary

This will prevent any non-incremental changes to *DbContextModelSnapshot.cs and prevents breaking migrations after merging into master branch.

You can check my friends blog post on how to improve your team communication and resolve conflicts, once they happen at his blog Overcoming EF Core Migration Conflicts.