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What is the rationale of having Cascade as a DeleteAction in EntityFramework.Core?

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I have noticed some time ago that Entity Framework assumes a CASCADE behaviour (implicit value, if not specified) for referential constraints (FKs) when deleting items.

This means that by default, if a parent record is removed, all descendants are removed.

I remember that back in the days, when database first was still heavily used and database objects were created through SQL scripts rather than through migrations, I received the advice to never use DELETE CASCADE to prevent unwanted deleted items. Back then that made perfect sense since recovering deleted data is not exactly trivial.

Coming to my question: why have DELETE CASCADE as an implicit option for foreign keys in Entity Framework Core?

Why should this post be closed?

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After toying a little more with Delete actions for referentials, I think the rational of having the CASCADE DELETE as default is the following:

  • having to DELETE the children before the parent is not actually trivial (clearing the navigation properties collections first leads to a save error, removing the children and saving creates lots of delete queries).

  • back in the days there was a more database centered (first) approach (e.g. much business logic in stored procedures, many queries to be run directly from a SQL client) and less focus on automatic testing. Since the logic is more "code-first" now and more focus on test coverage it is harder to accidently remove data in cascade.

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