Lots of Entity Framework at DevConnections Nov 5-8, Las Vegas

In his “Microsoft’s Data Access Strategy” blog post, Mike Pizzo, who is an architect for the overall Data Programmability team at Microsoft says:

“The Entity Data Platform is a multi-release vision, with future versions of reporting tools, replication, data definition, security, etc. all being built around a common Entity Data Model. 

Within the .NET Framework, the ADO.NET Entity Framework is integral to this vision.”

The first release of the Entity Framework will arrive in the first half of next year. Many companies are looking at it right now as they consider their software’s architecture and how EF fits in. I know this because I have actually been working with some of them as a mentor.

You can get a big leg up for planning ahead and learning now on Entity Framework at DevConnections next month in Las Vegas.

As part of the special Data Access track (which features an all-star cast of data gurus: Bill Vaughn, Alex Homer, Dave Sussman, John Papa, Dino Esposito, Don Kiely, Kathleen Dollard, and me!) there will be seven Entity Framework sessions and additionally a 1/2 day workshop at the end of the conference which will provide guidance about when to use Entity Framework (and which of it’s 3 methods of querying) compared to when to use LINQ to SQL or just plain old ADO.NET. (Note that you need to sign up specificially for the workshop which costs an additional $199).

Danny Simmons, from the EF team, is not speaking but will be there for the sake of geeking out and has said on his blog:  If you are going, and would like to get together and chat about the EF, ADO.Net, OR/M in general, Domain Driven Design, Agile, or other geeky topics, then put a comment here or send me some email, and we’ll find a way to get together.

On “Microsoft Day”, the first day of the conference, there are three sessions related to Entity Framework by members of the team

  • VDM302: ADO.NET Entity Framework Designers
    Sanjay Nagamangalam
    The ADO.NET Entity Framework (EF) enables compelling Object-Relational Mapping scenarios. This session is focused on developer walkthroughs and demonstrates new designer capabilities in Visual Studio that enable developers to visually design their EF data access layer and map it to a relational database. We also discuss how EF tools and designers help enhance developer productivity while alleviating typical developer pain points during iterative development. It is recommended that you attend “Data Modeling and Application Development with the ADO.NET Entity Framework” before this session.
  • VDM304: Data Modeling and Application Development with the ADO.NET Entity Framework and LINQ over Entities
    Tim Scudder
    Object Relational Mapping technologies have long been used as the infrastructure for the Data Access Components within an application’s architecture. The introduction of the Entity Data Model will make available a first class data model with which application architects can define their domain model and build out their data access layer. With ADO.NET and the Entity Data Model, architects have a number of choices. They can work with Entities with the familiar DataReader and DbCommand abstractions (using the new EntityClient data provider) or they could use generated classes as persistent objects (with LINQ and Entity SQL-based API’s). This session shall discuss the different ways in which one can use ADO.NET and the Entity Data Model within one’s application architecture. The discussion shall include different deployment models and the role that the Entity Framework can play within them. In addition, this session will discuss LINQ over Entities. Most .NET database applications use ADO.NET to access and manipulate data, and most of them have a data-access layer built on top of ADO.NET to abstract out many of the details related to data-access that can get in the way of business logic. We’ll discuss how the system supports conceptual modeling and how great integration with LINQ (language-integrated query) brings new levels of productivity to the data-access development space.
  • VDM303: Project Astoria: Data Services for the Web
    Mike Flasko
    The new wave of Web applications are built on technologies such as AJAX and Microsoft Silverlight, which enable developers to build better, richer user experiences. These technologies bring a shift in how applications are organized, including a stronger separation of presentation from data. The goal of Microsoft code name “Astoria” is to enable applications to expose data as a data service that can be consumed by Web clients within a corporate network and across the Internet. The data service is reachable over HTTP, and URIs are used to identify the various pieces of information available through the service. Interactions with the data service happens in terms of HTTP verbs, such as GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE, and the data exchanged in those interactions is represented in simple formats, such as XML and JSON.

During the main conference, there are four sessions on Entity Framework and a number of the other Data Access sessions will touch on it as well.

  • VDA305: Implementing the Entity Framework
    John Papa
    You can use the Entity Framework to architect applications against a conceptual model that is mapped to the logic model. This session will explore the different XML files that map the objects to the database schema and show how to modify them when needed. I will explain how you can design an object model with the Entity Framework using both the Entity Data Model Wizard as well as by manually editing the XML files. I will demonstrate how to implement inheritance and how to merge multiple entities within a conceptual model as well as how to take advantage of features such as conditions in the mapping layer. This session will demonstrate how to interact with the conceptual model using EntityClient, Entity SQL, and LINQ to Entities to perform queries and make updates to a database.
  • VDA303: Unraveling the Entity Framework
    John Papa
    You can use the Entity Framework to architect applications against a conceptual model that is mapped to the logic model. The Entity Framework has many components including EntityClient, Entity SQL, Object Services, the Entity Data Model, and LINQ to Entities. This session will discuss the architecture of the Entity Framework and explain the roles of each of its different components. I will also demonstrate how to write queries using the different options as well as how to evaluate which options within Object Services to use or if to use the EntityClient provider directly.
  • VDA307: Real-World Entity Framework
    Julia Lerman
    After learning the basics of the Entity Framework, it’s time to see how to implement entities in more complex applications. The Entity Framework’s Object Services provide functionality for persisting objects as well as moving them across machine boundaries. Come to this session to learn patterns that can be used across tiers in Web applications, WCF services and clients, or smart client applications.
  • VDA308: ADO.NET Metadata and Code Generation
    Kathleen Dollard
    LINQ to SQL and Entity Frameworks include code generators. You’ll learn about this technology under the hood and the new metadata strategies these technologies use. This metadata is interesting because it represents some of the first mainstream standards for mapping metadata. If you’re currently using code generation, you’ll want to learn how to leverage these metadata sets to enhance your code generation. If you’re using or considering the ADO.NET technologies, you’ll want to assess your back up strategy if you later need to step outside the box and make a change to how these technologies work. If you elect to do your own code generation, you’ll see the benefits of folding in additional metadata that solve additional problems like automated name morphing. You’ll also see how to leverage patterns in your raw metadata to generate and possibly help maintain the mappings between your database and business objects. This session is technology agnostic and applicable to XSLT, CodeSmith and CodeDOM generation.

And the post-conference workshop

  • VPS201: ADO.NET 3.5 Data Access Guidance (9:00AM – 12:00PM)
    Add’l Fee $199.00

    Julia Lerman
    ADO.NET 3.5’s Entity Framework presents us with a slew of new options for accessing data which you will learn about during the DevConnections conference. This 1/2 day post-conference session will compare and contrast Object Services and Entity Client; Entity SQL, LINQ to Entities and LINQ to SQL providing guidance as to which methods are appropriate in particular scenarios. We will also examine this functionality with respect to both creating new solutions and plugging the Entity Framework into existing applications.

The Data Access track is part of both VSConnections & ASPConnections.

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