Danny Simmons is providing guidance for dealing with EF and Web Services

It seems to me that Danny Simmons must be working on v2 of Entity Framework.

The posts he has written in the past week are examples of things that would probably have been in V1 had they had the time and resources. Now they are winding down v1, building up the team and thinking about v2.

Danny has written three blogs posts filled with really handy extension methods for entity framework (and LINQ to Objects) [here’s the third which contains pointers to the first two] and now he is building a state bag for dealing with getting  entities across boundaries SOA style (i.e. web services and dealing with the limitations of XML serialization – something many of us have been writing about for a while).

I”m really pleased to see this coming out of Microsoft (although what happened to whitepapers? ;-)). I have come up with my own methods (some with help from Danny and some on my own) but it’s always a little unnerving when you are just making your best guess at what they might have planned for.

Months ago I started a thread on the MSDN forum about this issue and it ended up being a 3 or 4 page thread because every time someone on the team said “well, just do this” I said “no – that doesn’t really solve the problem”. I was pretty relentless (thanks to all of the work I have done with web services and ws-* in the past) and finally Danny ended the thread with “okay, obviously there’s more we need to look at here.”

Since then I have struggled to come up with disconnected solutions that deal with binary and xml serialization and presented them at a few conferences. This was with Beta2 and there are some new goodies in Beta3 that will ease the pain somewhat but it’s still pretty complex.

For the last week or so, Danny has been writing a series of blogs where he’s using his indepth understanding of entities, object services, statemanagment, etc. to build a “state bag” for transferring the whole kit ‘n caboodle across processes. It’s impressive as hell but there was something bugging me that I was dwelling on, and Roger Jenning’s pointed it out on his blog as well.The answer to “why is ObjectContext not serializable?” is that it’s big and it would not be scalable. And no, I’m not suggesting that Danny forgot this. 🙂 Which is why I’m biding my time to see how it comes out.

I’m assuming that Danny’s state bag is a proof of concept for a v2 solution (though he has been clear that because of some obvious issues with interop, it just may not go in.) And as he suggested in today’s post, readers (like me) are probably “chomping at the bit” to see how he does the object context part so that we can see how streamlined it is.

Most people have no clue how deep Entity Framework goes and what the ADO.NET team is setting up for us to be able to do with it down the road. It’s probably clear by now that I’m really excited about Entity Framework and I’m struggling to keep up with all of the great ideas that people are trying out as evidenced in the forums.

So while we’re all looking forward to the release of Entity Framework, I’m already starting to get excited about what’s going to come in V2.

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