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Entity Framework


Ashish Jain

May 06, 2011

Every application developer strives to reuse programming code that would reduce the effort and cost to develop an application and to achieve that, several tools are available in the market that are developed by different vendors. Microsoft too, has always come up with new technologies and providing new tools for programmers to develop applications with ease. Unsurprisingly, continuing with this celebrated tradition, Microsoft introduced ADO.NET Entity Framework 1.0 with .NET Framework 3.5. It is based on ORM (Object –Relational mapping concept) and offers a platform for developers to work with data as application-specific objects while allowing it to manage data accessibility.

Entity Framework 1.0 has been widely criticized by developers across the globe due to various flaws in its architecture. Recently I got an opportunity to work with this version and I, along with my team, faced various challenges using it. However, Microsoft soon came up with an upgraded version 4.0 and introduced it with .NET Framework 4.0 along with lots of upgrades and new features that make it worth using. This new version, in my opinion, finally justifies the decision of Microsoft introducing this tool.

Some of the key features of Entity Framework 4.0 are as follows:

  • Create an entity model and generate a database from it
  • Create customized code generation templates (POCO classes, for example)
  • Automatically fix entity names if database tables are in plural form
  • Load related entities automatically on-demand (Lazy Loading)
  • Use of Silverlight with Entity Framework and ADO.NET Data Services to quickly create data-driven Rich Internet Applications (RIA)

Besides this, EF 4.0 has a better LINQ provider that gives it an edge over NHibernate and other ORM tools. There’s a lot more in Entity Framework 4.0 that improves the developer’s productivity, code quality and application performance. It is the best ORM tool I have used so far and guess what… It is available absolutely free of cost! For organizations that do not have specialized database developers, EF 4.0 provides an excellent platform to work with database from front-end that minimizes the required resources and the cost of project.

I am eagerly waiting for the next version of Entity Framework, hoping that it will provide an even easier and powerful way to manage entities.

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