All Articles

How to configure a custom IdentityUser for Entity-Framework


I am getting accustomed to the ASP.NET Identity framework and let me just say that I love it. No more boring hassle with user accounts: all the traditional stuff is already there. However often you’ll find yourself wanting to expand on the default IdentityUser and add your own fields to it. This was my use case as well here and since I couldn’t find any clear instructions on how this is done exactly, I decided to dive into it especially for you! Well, maybe a little bit for me as well.

The example will be straightforward: extend the the default user by adding a property that holds his date of birth and a collection of books. For this there are two simple classes:

public class Book
    public Book() { }

    public Book(int id, string title)
        Id = id;
        Title = title;

    public int Id { get; set; }
    public string Title { get; set; }

public class ApplicationUser : IdentityUser
    public ApplicationUser()
        Books = new List<Book>();

    public ApplicationUser(string username) : base(username)

    public DateTime? DateOfBirth { get; set; }
    public virtual ICollection<Book> Books { get; set; }

The Book class is straightforward. The ApplicationUser class isn’t very complex either: inherit from IdentityUser to get the default user implementation. Furthermore there is the MyContext class which contains two tricky aspects:

public class MyContext : IdentityDbContext<ApplicationUser>;
    public MyContext() : base("MyTestContext")
        Database.Log = msg => Debug.WriteLine(msg);

    public DbSet<Book> Books { get; set; }

    protected override void OnModelCreating(DbModelBuilder modelBuilder)

        modelBuilder.Entity<Book>().HasKey(x => x.Id);
        modelBuilder.Entity<Book>().Property(x => x.Id).HasDatabaseGeneratedOption(DatabaseGeneratedOption.None);

        modelBuilder.Entity<ApplicationUser>().HasMany(x => x.Books).WithMany().Map(x =>

First of all: notice how we inherit from IdentityDbContext<ApplicationUser>. The specialized DbContext is important because it provides us with all the user-related data from the database and the ApplicationUser type parameter is important because it defines what type the DbSet<T> Users will be defined as. Before I found out there was a generic variant of the context, I was trying to make it work with the non-generic type and separating user and userinformation: not pretty.

The second important aspect here is base.OnModelCreating(modelbuilder). If you do not do this, the configuration as defined in IdentityDbContext will not be applied. Since this isn’t necessary with a plain old DbContext, I figured it worth mentioning since I for one typically omit this call.

Finally all there is left is demonstrating how this is used exactly. This too is straightforward and requires no special code:

public class Program
    public static void Main(string[] args)
        AsyncContext.Run(() => MainAsync(args));
        Console.WriteLine("End of program");

    public static async Task MainAsync(string[] args)
        var books = new[] { new Book(15, "C# In Depth"), new Book(74, "The Art of Unit Testing") };
        var context = new MyContext();
        var manager = new UserManager<ApplicationUser>(new UserStore<ApplicationUser>(context));
        var user = new ApplicationUser("Jeroen456")
            DateOfBirth = new DateTime(1992, 11, 02),
            Books = books
        await manager.CreateAsync(user);

Notice how I use AsyncEx by Stephen Cleary to create an asynchronous context in my console application. After this you simply create a manager around the store which you pass your context to and voilà: your user is now inserted and everything works perfectly.

Resulting database

You can see the date of birth is in the same table (²AspNetUsers²) as all other user-related data. The second table displays the books and the third the many-to-many table between users and books.

All things considered it is fairly straightforward as to how it works but there are a few tricky aspects that make you scratch your head if you’re not too familiar with the framework yet.

Published 3 Apr 2015

Unearthing curious .NET behaviour
Jeroen Vannevel on Twitter