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Microsoft’s ADO.NET Entity Framework

By Roger Andrews, Posted on January 29, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Over the years, Microsoft has provided many different ways to access data–ODBC, DAO, ADO, and ADO.NET (with data sets and data readers). The next data access technology is the Entity Framework with the 3.5 SP1 version of ADO.NET. Synergex has provided access to all of these technologies through the baseline ADO.NET 2.0 with its xfODBC driver. Synergex has developed its own ADO.NET 3.5 provider with the extended capabilities needed to interoperate with the Entity Framework and the Entity designers in Visual Studio 2008 SP1.

Microsoft views the Entity Framework as the future of all of its data access technologies – and products like SQL Server, Office, and the Visual Studio designers are all either upgraded or being upgraded to require access to databases via the Entity Framework.

Here is how Microsoft describes the ADO.NET Entity Framework:

“Database development with the .NET framework has not changed a lot since its first release. Many of us usually start by designing our database tables and their relationships and then creating classes in our application to emulate them as closely as possible in a set of Business Classes or (false) "Entity" Classes, and then working with them in our ADO.NET code. However, this process has always been an approximation and has involved a lot of groundwork.

This is where the ADO.NET Entity Framework comes in; it allows you to deal with the (true) entities represented in the database in your application code by abstracting the groundwork and maintenance code work away from you. A very crude description of the ADO.NET Entity Framework would be that It allows you to deal with database concepts in your code.“

The ADO.NET Entity Framework is designed to enable developers to create data access applications by programming against a conceptual application model instead of programming directly against a relational storage schema. The goal is to decrease the amount of code and maintenance required for data-oriented applications. Entity Framework applications provide the following benefits:

  • Applications can work in terms of a more application-centric conceptual model, including types with inheritance, complex members, and relationships.
  • Applications are freed from hard-coded dependencies on a particular data engine or storage schema.
  • Mappings between the conceptual model and the storage-specific schema can change without changing the application code.
  • Developers can work with a consistent application object model that can be mapped to various storage schemas, possibly implemented in different database management systems.
  • Multiple conceptual models can be mapped to a single storage schema.

If you are interested in beta testing our new Entity Framework capabilities, please contactSynergy/DE Developer Support.

For more information and a tutorial of the Entity Framework, see these links:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa697427(VS.80).aspx

http://www.codeguru.com/csharp/csharp/cs_linq/article.php/c15489/#more


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