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First you install the appropriate Migr8 package - if you're using SQL Server, you will probably

Install-Package Migr8 -ProjectName YourApp

and if you're using PostgreSQL, you be all

Install-Package Migr8.Npgsql -ProjectName YourApp

and then you will be good to go :)

Let's migrate

Execute the migrations - either in a dedicated command line app, or - my favorite - whenever your app starts up, just before it connects to the database:

var connectionString = GetConnectionStringFromSomewhere();

Database.Migrate(connectionString, Migrations.FromThisAssembly());

and then, elsewhere in the calling assembly, you define these bad boys (which happen to be valid T-SQL):

[Migration(1, "Create table for the Timeout Manager to use")]
class CreateRebusTimeoutsTable : ISqlMigration
    public string Sql => @"
		CREATE TABLE [dbo].[RebusTimeouts](
			[id] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
			[due_time] [datetimeoffset](3) NOT NULL,
			[headers] [nvarchar](MAX) NOT NULL,
			[body] [varbinary](MAX) NOT NULL,
				[id] ASC

[Migration(2, "Create a table for Rebus publishers to use")]
class CreateRebusSubscriptionsTable : ISqlMigration
    public string Sql => @"
		CREATE TABLE [dbo].[RebusSubscriptions] (
			[topic] [nvarchar](200) NOT NULL,
			[address] [nvarchar](200) NOT NULL,
				[topic] ASC,
				[address] ASC

In the example above, I've created two migrations which will be executed in they order indicated by their sequence number.

Branch specifications

Since you will most likely not be the only one developing things in your application, you might have adopted a git flow-inspired branching model, where each developer will create a branch to work in.

For example, two developers working in the feature/first-cool-thing and feature/next-cool-thing branches might need to create the next migration. In the old days, one of them would be the unfortunate one to last integrate migration 3 back into master, it would be necessary to change the migration to be number 4 and probably execute the other developer's migration manually.

Luckily, they chose to use Migr8 to evolve their database, so they just go ahead and create

[Migration(3, "Table for the first cool thing", branchSpecification: "first-cool-thing")]
class CreateTableForTheFirstCoolThing : ISqlMigration
    public string Sql => @"
        CREATE TABLE [dbo].[firstCoolTable] ([id] int)


[Migration(3, "Table for the next cool thing", branchSpecification: "next-cool-thing")]
class CreateTableForTheNextCoolThing : ISqlMigration
    public string Sql => @"
        CREATE TABLE [dbo].[nextCoolTable] ([id] int)

which will NOT BE A PROBLEM AT ALL, because they remembered to set the branchSpecification to the names of their branches.

Migr8 will use the branch specifications to keep track of which migrations it has executed in the database, and it will then ensure that all migrations are applied eventually.

Just remember that the sequence number positions a migration in a global sequence, which then effectively functions as a way to specify on which version of the already-existing schema each migration depends.

More information

By default, the table [__Migr8] is used to track extensive information on applied migrations - including the full SQL that was executed + more.

Each migration is executed in a SERIALIZABLE transaction - execution stops if one fails.

If you go in your SQL script, the preceding block will be executed - just like you're used to when working in SQL Server Management Studio.

The migrator competes perfectly for getting to apply the next migration, which guarantees no surprises even if you run the migrator at startup in your multi-instance Azure Website, or on a web farm.

What to do?

First: Use Migr8 if you need to treat your database with some evolutionary friction-free schema and data migrations.

Second: lean back, chill.....

What else can you do?

You can also

var dir = Path.Combine(AppDomain.CurrentDomain.BaseDirectory, "migrations");

Database.Migrate("db", Migrations.FromFilesIn(dir));

in order to pick up migrations from files named on the form "<sequence-number>-<branch-specification>.sql", e.g. organized like this:




allowing you to keep track of a huge number of migrations, probably only needing to move a few of them around whenever you integrate a feature branch with master. Comments added at the beginning of the .sql file will be treated as the migration's description.

An SQL file-based migration could look like this:

-- Create some tables
-- This initial comment will be included as the Description in the migration log

-- This comment is NOT part of the block above and will simply be part of the logged SQL
CREATE TABLE [Table1] ([Id] INT)
-- Same thing with this comment
CREATE TABLE [Table2] ([Id] INT)

Is there more?

One last thing - if you prefer to log things using a logging library, e.g. like the excellent Serilog, you can make Migr8 output its text to Serilog like this:

var connectionString = GetConnectionStringFromSomewhere();
var options = new Options(logAction: text => Log.Information(text));
Database.Migrate(connectionString, Migrations.FromAssemblyOf<FirstMigration>(), options);

which is probably what you want to do in all of your applications to be sure that Migr8 was properly invoked. Moreover, if you like, you can change the table that Migr8 uses to store its migration log like this:

var connectionString = GetConnectionStringFromSomewhere();
var options = new Options(migrationTableName: "__MilliVanilli");
Database.Migrate(connectionString, Migrations.FromAssemblyOf<FirstMigration>(), options);

so it doesn't collide with all your other tables named [__Migr8].

Transactions, locking and such

Migr8 gains exclusive access to the database whenever it wants to execute a migration by starting a transaction with isolation level SERIALIZABLE, and then it tries to perform an INSERT into the table that it uses to track migrations.

The inserted row has a migration ID on the form <number>-<branch-specification>, which means that being able to carry out the insert without any conflicts effectively works as taking a named lock.

After that, the same transaction will be used to execute the migration. If the migration contains the special GO statement (which is an SQL Server Management Studio construction), then each migration will be executed in its own SQL command, but inside the same transaction.

If you DO NOT want to execute a migration inside a transaction, e.g. if you want to change the database's recovery mode, you can have the migration executed on its own separate SQL connection without a trasaction by specifying the no-transaction flag.

If you're using migration classes, you can do it like this by using the [Hint(...)] attribute combined with the predefined hint Hints.NoTransaction:

[Migration(1, "Prepare for big migration")]
public class SetRecoveryModeSimple : ISqlTransaction
	public string Sql => "alter database current set recovery simple";

If you're using SQL files, you can pass hints to the execution engine by having the text hints: as part of the initial comment of the file, e.g. like this:

-- Prepare for big migration
-- hints: no-transaction

alter database current set recovery simple