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Creating a new project using Visual Studio

  1. Create and add a new project named BackEnd and name the solution ConferencePlanner using File / New / ASP.NET Core Web API. Select the Web API template, No Auth, no Docker support. Uncheck the box that says "Use controllers (uncheck to use minimal APIs)".

    Creating a new solution in Visual Studio Adding a project to the solution Web API Project settings

Creating a new project from the command line

If not using Visual Studio, create the project using the dotnet cli at the command line as follows:

  1. Create folder ConferencePlanner and create a solution by running the following console command:

    dotnet new sln
  2. Create sub-folder BackEnd and create a project by running

    dotnet new webapi -minimal
  3. Add the project to the solution using the following command

    dotnet sln add BackEnd/BackEnd.csproj
  4. Open the solution in Visual Studio Code by running the following command:

    code .

Adding model classes

  1. Add a new Models folder to the root of the application.

  2. Add a new Speaker class using the following code:

    using System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations;
    namespace BackEnd.Models;
    public class Speaker
        public int Id { get; set; }
        public string? Name { get; set; }
        public string? Bio { get; set; }
        public virtual string? WebSite { get; set; }

Add NuGet packages and EF Core tools

Before you start, you need to add the required packages.

Adding packages using Visual Studio

  1. In Visual Studio, right click the project and select Manage NuGet Packages..., then select Browse... and search for Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Sqlite and click Install.

  2. Search for Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Tools and click Install.

Adding packages from the command line

  1. From the terminal, run the following command:

    dotnet add package Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Sqlite

    This command adds the NuGet package that contains the EF Core SQLite database provider and all its dependencies, including the common EF Core services.

Adding a database context

  1. Next we'll create a new Entity Framework DbContext. Create a new ApplicationDbContext class in the Models folder using the following code:

    using Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore;
    namespace BackEnd.Models
        public class ApplicationDbContext : DbContext
            public ApplicationDbContext(DbContextOptions<ApplicationDbContext> options)
                : base(options)
            public DbSet<Speaker> Speakers => Set<Speaker>();

    Note We're using the =>Set<Speaker>)() on that last line to deal with nullable warnings, since we know that EF Core will be initializing this DbSet.

  2. Add a connection string to the appsettings.json file for this database:

      "ConnectionStrings": {
        "DefaultConnection": "Data Source=ConferencePlanner.db"
      "Logging": {
        "LogLevel": {
          "Default": "Information",
          "Microsoft.AspNetCore": "Warning"
      "AllowedHosts": "*"

Register the DB Context Service

  1. Just below the top line of Program.cs, add the code read the connection string from the appsettings.json file and set up the Sqlite database, so that it reads as follows:

    var builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder(args);
    // Add services to the container.
    var connectionString = builder.Configuration.GetConnectionString("DefaultConnection") 
       ?? "Data Source=conferences.db";

    This code registers the ApplicationDbContext service so it can be injected into controllers. Additionally, it configures Entity Framework to use SQLite with the configured connection string.

Configuring EF Migrations

You will be using either a terminal window or the Visual Studio Developer PowerShell terminal for the following steps.

  1. If you are using Visual Studio, open the Developer PowerShell terminal by selecting View -> Terminal and enter cd BackEnd.

  2. If you are using a terminal window, navigate to the project directory (the directory containing the Program.cs file).

  3. Install the required NuGet package for migrations:

    dotnet add package Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore.Design
  4. Install the EntityFramework global tool dotnet-ef using the following command:

    dotnet tool install -g dotnet-ef
  5. If you receive a message that the tool is already installed, update to the newest version with the following command:

    dotnet tool update -g dotnet-ef
  6. Build the project using the following command:

    dotnet build
  7. Run the following commands in the command prompt:

    dotnet ef migrations add Initial
    dotnet ef database update

Commands Explained

Command Description
dotnet ef migrations add Initial Generates code to create the initial database schema based on the model specified in 'ApplicationDbContext.cs'. Initial is the name of the migration.
dotnet ef database update Creates the database and runs all newly created migrations (in this case, just the Initial migration).

For more information on these commands and scaffolding in general, see this tutorial.

If your database ever gets in a bad state and you'd like to reset things, you can use dotnet ef database drop followed by dotnet ef database update to remove your database and run all migrations again.

A quick look at the Weather Forecast API

Scroll down to the bottom of Program.cs and you'll see some sample code for the Weather Forecast API:

var summaries = new[]
    "Freezing", "Bracing", "Chilly", "Cool", "Mild", "Warm", "Balmy", "Hot", "Sweltering", "Scorching"

app.MapGet("/weatherforecast", () =>
    var forecast = Enumerable.Range(1, 5).Select(index =>
        new WeatherForecast
            Random.Shared.Next(-20, 55),
    return forecast;


internal record WeatherForecast(DateTime Date, int TemperatureC, string? Summary)
    public int TemperatureF => 32 + (int)(TemperatureC / 0.5556);

You'll see a simple API that returns weather forecasts and is mapped to the HTTP GET verb. You'll see the output of this API in a bit, but first we'll build our own API for the Speakers model class.

Scaffolding the Speaker API

Using Visual Studio

  1. Create a new Endpoints directory in the BackEnd project.
  2. Right-click the Project and select Add > New Scaffolded Item.... Select API with read/write endpoints, using Entity Framework and click Add.
  3. In the dialog, select the Speaker model for the Model Class.
  4. Click the + button to add a new endpoint named SpeakerEndpoints.
  5. Select ApplicationDbContext for the "Data Context Class" and click the Add button.
  6. Check the Enable Open API checkbox and click the Add button. Scaffold SpeakersController in Visual Studio

Using the cmd line

  1. Install the aspnet-codegenerator global tool by running the following command:

    dotnet tool install -g dotnet-aspnet-codegenerator
  2. If you receive a message that the tool is already installed, update to the newest version with the following command:

    dotnet tool update -g dotnet-aspnet-codegenerator

Note** You may need to close and reopen the console window to be able to use this tool.

  1. Run the following command to view the help for the minimalapi scaffolding command:

    dotnet aspnet-codegenerator minimalapi --help
  2. Run the following in the project folder at the cmd line:

    dotnet aspnet-codegenerator minimalapi -e SpeakerEndpoints -dc ApplicationDbContext -o -m BackEnd.Models.Speaker

This scaffolder does two things:

  1. It generates an endpoints class named SpeakersEndpoints with API endpoints that map to database operations using the ApplicationDbContext class and the Speaker model.

  2. It adds the follwing code to the Program.cs file to register the endpoints class:


We'll make a quick improvement to add tags to the SpeakerEndpoints class so it works a little better with Open API.

  1. Open the SpeakersEndpoints.cs file in the project folder.

  2. Open the Quick Replace menu using Edit / Find and Replace / Quick Replace.

  3. In the Find textbox, enter .WithName(

  4. In the Replace textbox, enter .WithTags("Speaker").WithName(

  5. Select Replace All (Alt-A)

Testing the API using Swagger UI

In this section, we'll be interacting with the API using the Swagger UI web interface. Swagger is a machine readable representation of a RESTful API that enables support for interactive documentation, client SDK generation and discoverability.

  1. Run the application (F5 in Visual Studio or dotnet run from console).

  2. If the browser does not automatically open, browse to the Swagger UI at http://localhost:<random_port>/swagger. Swagger web page showing the

  3. First, click on the GET button in WeatherForecast section. You'll see the values that were listed in the WeatherForecastController earlier.

  4. In the Speakers section, click on the GET button. You'll see there are no speakers returned. Let's add one!

  5. In the Speakers section, click on the POST button. Referencing the example on the right, fill in a speaker request. Leave the ID blank, that will be filled in by the database.

    Swagger UI page showing the results of creating a new speaker.

      "name": "Dr. Steven Strange",
      "bio": "Formerly a renowned surgeon, Doctor Stephen Strange now serves as the Sorcerer Supreme.",
      "webSite": ""
  6. When you click the Execute button, you should see a success response from the server. Now, trying out the GET endpoint above should show your newly added speaker.

    Swagger UI page showing the results of updated speaker GET results.

Next: Session #2 - Back-end