Sqlite Support in Serene

Serene had support for SqlServer, MySql, Postgres and Oracle for some time. Now it is time to welcome Sqlite.

SqliteDialect has long been in Serenity and i know some users who used Sqlite internally, but we had no official support in Serene.

As Asp.Net Core version of Serene is about to launch soon, SQL LocalDB we used so far by default was no feasible option in MAC/Linux.

What i needed was some database that could work in Window/MAC/Linux and require no installation if possible.

Sqlite looked like a natural choice, so i decided to give it a go.

I tried this on Windows/.NET45 so it won't work as is in .NET Core yet.

Registering Sqlite Provider

MySQL has a .NET provider named System.Data.Sqlite. You need to first install it in MyProject.Web:

Install-Package System.Data.SQLite.Core

If you didn't install this provider in GAC/machine.config before, or don't want to install it there, you need to register it in web.config file:

  // ...
        <remove invariant="System.Data.SQLite"/>
        <add name="SQLite Data Provider"
          description=".Net Framework Data Provider for SQLite"
          type="System.Data.SQLite.SQLiteFactory, System.Data.SQLite"/>
  // ...

Setting Connection Strings

Next step is to replace connection strings for databases you want to use with MySql:

    <add name="Default" connectionString=
         "Data Source=|DataDirectory|Serene_Default_v1.sqlite;" 
      providerName="System.Data.Sqlite" />
    <add name="Northwind" connectionString=
        "Data Source=|DataDirectory|Serene_Northwind_v1.sqlite;" 
      providerName="System.Data.Sqlite" />

Replace Serene with your solution name, e.g. MyApplication.

If you are using Serene 2.8.1+, this is all you will have to do (not released as of writing).

You won't have to do following changes if you use a newer template.

Changes in SiteInitialization.Migrations.cs

As we didn't have any official support in Serene, i had to do some changes in SiteInitialization.Migrations.cs file.

This one is to create a new Sqlite database file under ~/App_Data/ directory if none exists:

private static void EnsureDatabase(string databaseKey)
    var cs = SqlConnections.GetConnectionString(databaseKey);

    var serverType = cs.Dialect.ServerType;
    bool isSql = serverType.StartsWith("SqlServer",
    bool isPostgres = !isSql & serverType.StartsWith("Postgres", 
    bool isMySql = !isSql && !isPostgres && serverType.StartsWith("MySql", 
    bool isSqlite = !isSql && !isPostgres && !isMySql && 
        serverType.StartsWith("Sqlite", StringComparison.OrdinalIgnoreCase);
    if (!isSql && !isPostgres && !isMySql && !isSqlite)

    var cb = cs.ProviderFactory.CreateConnectionStringBuilder();
    cb.ConnectionString = cs.ConnectionString;
    string catalogKey = "?";

    if (isSqlite)
        catalogKey = "Data Source";
        if (!cb.ContainsKey(catalogKey))

        var dataFile = cb[catalogKey] as string;
        if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(dataFile))

        dataFile = dataFile.Replace("|DataDirectory|", 
        if (File.Exists(dataFile))

        using (var sqliteConn = SqlConnections.New(cb.ConnectionString, cs.ProviderName))
            var createFile = ((WrappedConnection)sqliteConn).ActualConnection.GetType()
                .GetMethod("CreateFile", BindingFlags.Static);
            if (createFile != null)
                createFile.Invoke(null, new object[] { dataFile });


EnsureDatabase has code to create databases for SqlServer, Oracle, Postgres, MySql etc. Here we add a specialized one for Sqlite.

I didn't want to add a direct dependency to System.Data.SqliteConnection assembly in Serene yet, so that's why i had to use reflection to call CreateFile static method on it.

Adding Migrations for Northwind

Serene Default database completely uses migrations, so it should work out of the box without any changes.

But Northwind is another story. Serene has specialized scripts for every database type, so we had to add one for Sqlite too.

I found a script for Northwind/Sqlite by Valon Hoti/Len Boyette, and had to modify it a bit:


You need to set its build action to Embedded Resource, and do following change in NorthwindDB_20141123_155100_Initial.cs:

public class DefaultDB_20141123_155100_Initial : Migration
    public override void Up()




That should be enough to bring Sqlite support to Serene.

Running should be enough to get your Sqlite databases created and populated.

But there is one more problem we'll need to handle. I'll leave it for the next article.