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Database migrations

Applying migrations

We use a migrate.ps1 PowerShell script to apply migrations to the local development database. This script handles the different database providers that we support.

For instructions on how to use migrate.ps1, see the Getting Started section for MSSQL and Entity Framework

Creating migrations for new changes

Any database change must be scripted as a migration for both our primary DBMS - MSSQL - as well as for Entity Framework. Follow the instructions below for each provider.

MSSQL migrations


We recommend reading Evolutionary Database Design and T-SQL Code Style first, since they have a major impact in how we write migrations.

In accordance with the tenets of Evolutionary Database Design, each change needs to be considered to be split into two parts:

  1. A backwards-compatible transition migration
  2. A non-backwards-compatible final migration

It is possible that a change may not require a non-backwards-compatible end phase (i.e. all changes may be backwards-compatible in their final form). In that case, only one phase of changes is required.

Backwards compatible migration

  1. Modify the source .sql files in src/Sql/dbo.
  2. Write a migration script, and place it in util/Migrator/DbScripts. Each script must be prefixed with the current date.

Non-backwards compatible migration

  1. Copy the relevant .sql files from src/Sql/dbo to src/Sql/dbo_finalization.
  2. Remove the backwards compatibility that is no longer needed.
  3. Write a new Migration and place it in src/Migrator/DbScripts_finalization. Name it YYYY-0M-FinalizationMigration.sql.
    • Typically migrations are designed to be run in sequence. However since the migrations in DbScripts_finalization can be run out of order, care must be taken to ensure they remain compatible with the changes to DbScripts. In order to achieve this we only keep a single migration, which executes all backwards incompatible schema changes.

EF migrations

If you alter the database schema, you must create an EF migration script to ensure that EF databases keep pace with these changes. Developers must do this and include the migrations with their PR.

To create these scripts, you must first update your data model in Core/Entities as desired. This will be used to generate the migrations for each of our EF targets.

Once the model is updated, navigate to the dev directory in the server repo and execute the ef_migrate.ps1 PowerShell command. You should provide a name for the migration as the only parameter:

pwsh ef_migrate.ps1 [NAME_OF_MIGRATION]

This will generate the migrations, which should then be included in your PR.

[Not Yet Implemented] Manual MSSQL migrations

There may be a need for a migration to be run outside of our normal update process. These types of migrations should be saved for very exceptional purposes. One such reason could be an Index rebuild.

  1. Write a new Migration with a prefixed current date and place it in src/Migrator/DbScripts_manual
  2. After it has been run against our Cloud environments and we are satisfied with the outcome, create a PR to move it to DbScripts. This will enable it to be run by our Migrator processes in self-host and clean installs of both cloud and self-host environments