Skip to main content

Pre-Generating Views in Entity Framework .NET 4.0


UPDATED ON: 16/09/2010

If you’re using Entity Framework chances are you’ve come up against performance issues already, especially when instantiating your Object Context.

One very reliable way to increase performance is to pre-generate the Views. Depending on the size of your model and in my experience it can shave as much as 40% off the instantiation time.

There is a good overview on MSDN, however it only covers .NET 3.5.

Step 1

Go to your Model properties and select “Copy to Output Directory” for the Metadata Artifact Processing option.


The result of this is you will end up with the .ssdl, .csdl and .msl files in your output directory which in this case is bin/Debug.

Step 2

Next you need to setup the Pre-build event to use the EDMGen.exe tool.
NB: If you use the Command on the MSDN site you will come across this error.

“The required parameter ‘mode’ is missing”

The correct command to use is:

"%windir%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v4.0.30319\EdmGen.exe" /mode:ViewGeneration "/inssdl:$(TargetDir)MyModel.ssdl" "/incsdl:$(TargetDir)MyModel.csdl" "/inmsl:$(TargetDir)MyModel.msl" "/outviews:$(ProjectDir)MyModel.Views.cs" /nologo /language:CSharp


Step 3

The .ssdl, .csdl & .msl files will be generated on every build and output to the TargetDir, however it’s a good idea to include them in your Project.

In the Post-build event you can add a simple XCOPY like below to copy the files to the root of your project:

XCOPY "$(TargetDir)MyModel.csdl" "$(ProjectDir)" /R /Y
XCOPY "$(TargetDir)MyModel.ssdl" "$(ProjectDir)" /R /Y
XCOPY "$(TargetDir)MyModel.msl" "$(ProjectDir)" /R /Y


Step 4

Build the project which contains your Entity Model.

If it built successfully you should find the following files in the root of your Project folder

  • MyModel.Views.cs
  • MyModel.csdl
  • MyModel.ssdl
  • MyModel.msl

Go ahead and include all these files in your project, Show All Files > Right Click > Include In Project

Step 5

Now for MyModel.csl, MyModel.ssdl, MyModel.msl you want to include these as an embedded resource

For each of the above files select the “Embedded Resource” Build Action in the Properties window.

Step 6

Now it’s time to update your Entity Connection String to use the embedded resources.

Personally I prefer to use fully qualified names for the embedded resources.


You should end up with a Connection String looking like below. 
    <add name="MyModel_Entities" connectionString="metadata=res://*/MyNamespace.MyModel.MyModel.csdl|res://*/MyNamespace.MyModel.MyModel.ssdl|res://*/MyNamespace.MyModel.MyModel.msl;provider=System.Data.SqlClient;provider connection string=&quot;Data Source=local;Initial Catalog=MyModelDatabase;Integrated Security=True;MultipleActiveResultSets=True&quot;" providerName="System.Data.EntityClient" />

If the path to the embedded resource is wrong you can expect to get a System.Data.MetadataException

Unable to load the specified metadata resource.

To be sure what the Resource path is, you can always use the trusty Reflector.


Enjoy your new found Entity Framework performance.
If you have any problems, don’t hesitate to let me know.


  1. Very helpful. You helped answer something that I was stuck on and posted about on Stackoverflow:

  2. While Building project I got this error.
    Error 6 The path 'D:\TCMS PERFORMANCE\SourceCodeI3\TCMS.Server\bin\Debug\TCMSDataModel.ssdl' given for the argument 'inssdl' is not a valid file or directory. D:\TCMS PERFORMANCE\SourceCodeI3\TCMS.Server\EXEC TCMS.Server

    Could you please tell me Why did I get this one?

  3. Thanks, really clear and concise blogging!

  4. Greivin Britton7 March 2011 at 13:34

    Very clear, nice post.

  5. You may also get the “The required parameter ‘mode’ is missing” error if you copy and pasted the command because there shouldn't be any hard return placing the /mode on the next line.  In other words, if you get this error, look at the pre-build command line in the project properties, and the command should be all on one line.  If it is on multiple lines then you have copy/pasted hard returns with it and you need to delete the return at the end of the line and make sure the command is on one line.

  6. Use T4.

  7. Interesting approach. But I prefer this to happen transparently at compile time.

  8. After executing step 2, i am getting an error in cmd prompt "error 7001: failed to find or load the registered .Net Framework Data Provider". I am using ".NET Framework Data Provider for SQL Anywhere11".
    Can anybody tel me what can be the reason of this error?

  9. You rock man...  My simple query cut down to less than 1 sec that prevously takes about 1-1.5 sec... It's a significant benefit when it comes to application-wide...

  10. Nice post. Question: what tells the EF that there are pregenerated views?the file name? The conn string change just tells that the csdl and other files are embedded.

  11. great article. Thank you.

  12. Hi Will, I got below error while bulid the project : The path 'D:\Prod Code\AzureEntityMigrate\flexpathazureproductioncode\FlexPath.Entity\bin\Debug\MyModel.ssdl' given for the argument 'inssdl' is not a valid file or directory. D:\Prod Code\AzureEntityMigrate\flexpathazureproductioncode\FlexPath.Entity\EXEC FlexPath.Entity


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Freeing Disk Space on C:\ Windows Server 2008

I just spent the last little while trying to clear space on our servers in order to install .NET 4.5. Decided to post so my future self can find the information when I next have to do this. I performed all the usual tasks: Deleting any files/folders from C:\windows\temp and C:\Users\%UserName%\AppData\Local\TempDelete all EventViewer logs Save to another Disk if you want to keep themRemove any unused programs, e.g. FirefoxRemove anything in C:\inetpub\logsRemove any file/folders C:\Windows\System32\LogFilesRemove any file/folders from C:\Users\%UserName%\DownloadsRemove any file/folders able to be removed from C:\Users\%UserName%\DesktopRemove any file/folders able to be removed from C:\Users\%UserName%\My DocumentsStop Windows Update service and remove all files/folders from C:\Windows\SoftwareDistributionDeleting an Event Logs Run COMPCLN.exe Move the Virtual Memory file to another disk However this wasn’t enough & I found the most space was cleared by using the Disk Cleanup to…

CPF Contribution Rates for new Singapore Permanent Residents (SPR’s)

Recently my wife and I applied and got approved for Singapore Permanent Residency. After completing the formalities the most significant immediate change is the contribution to CPF which is Singapore’s mandatory social security savings scheme requiring contributions from employers and employees. CPF contributions start from the date you obtain SPR status, which is the date of the entry permit.   Being a relentless budgeter I needed to know exactly how much I and my employer would have to contribute so that I could adjust my budget accordingly as the employee contributions get deducted from the monthly salary. After doing some research I discovered that there is a “graduated” approach to CPF contributions for new SPR’s where the contributions gradually increase in the first and second year and then upon reaching the third year are at the full amount. Note: There is an option for employers to contribute the full amount for year 1 and year 2 and the employee can use the graduated rate, b…

Implementing Custom Castle Windsor Facilities

If you’ve been following my posts you would know that I love Castle Windsor. One of the many useful features I have found is the Facility and I’m going to try and give a good example how you can make use of this. In a recent post I showed how you can add Cross-Cutting concerns to your application by using Interceptors.Now when configuring the Container you can explicitly configure each Interceptor per Service but when you have lot’s of components it can get pretty hard to maintain after a while and can also introduce subtle issues if someone forgets to configure it correctly.Below is how you would configure your Container without using a Facility. On the last line we are specifying the Interceptor explicitly. public void Configure() { container = new WindsorContainer(); container.Register( Component.For<CacheInterceptor>(), Component.For<ICacheProvider>() .ImplementedBy<WebCache…