What to expect in next (and future) Orcas bits for Entity Framework

I am at DevConnections where I was VERY excited to see Brian Dawson (ADO.NET team) do not one but TWO Entity Framework talks on Monday.

Brian has a newer build than what we are working with in the March CTP and I saw some stuff that made me wanna whine “gimme gimme”.

  • SPAN – calling span on an entity sql query will force the ObjectContext to load up an object’s entire hieriarchy without having to call Load after the fact to get related data. This seems to be available in Object Services but not through Linq to Entities. Hopefully an Extension Method will be created for Linq to Entities to give us access.
  • The EDM Wizard will display Views and Stored Procedures when building an EDM from a database. Then these will be part of the schemas.
  • Referential Contraints will work the way you would expect. For example if your db has a referential constraint to delete child records when a parent is deleted, EDM will pick those up. I don’t know the details here but am assuming we will have some granular control over this.
  • ToList may not be necessary in the future and serialization will be implicit.
  • Beta 2 will have something (new to me) called IPOCO… Interface for Plain Old CLR Objects
  • QueryViews – ooh baby ooh baby. Create your own views in the mapping layer.
  • Associations between sub types.
  • There will be a way to convert existing strongly typed datasets to entity schemas. Unfortunately either Erick (who I got this from) misunderstood the question or I misunderstood the question or I misunderstood the answer. Darn.

At the same time as DevConnections, VSLive was happening in San Francisco. (Quite unfortunate scheduling…) Britt Johnston did a keynote and showed [a video of] the latest prototype of the EDM Modeler and also let us know that it won’t be ready for Orcas but they plan to release it shortly (?) (well the quote from the ADONET blog post is literally “sometime”) after Orcas. This is really frustrating, but it is just the reality and as developers we know the difficulties of designing tools… so it is what it is and until we have it, I will learn a LOT with the XML and personally hold off on doing any seriously complex modeling.

See the ADONET Team blog and Data Blog for more on Britt’s keynote and links to the screencast on where the modeler is at today.

I did my ADO.NET Orcas overview talk yesterday to a full room (not a huge room, but still all the seats were filled which was great given that Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell were doing a live DotNet Rocks show with Scott Guthrie at the same time!). I love talking about this stuff even if I never seem to have enough time for all the cool stuff I wish I could show.

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6 thoughts on “What to expect in next (and future) Orcas bits for Entity Framework

  1. Julie, thanks for the update, and for the great blog.It sounds like you’re doing the same kind of research that I am right now, into the March CTP of Orcas, particularly the entity framework.I have a question for you (and probably for the ADO.NET forums tomorrow):Have you messed with the various kinds of mappings in the entity framework.Browsing the schema, I’ve seen CollectionProperty, ComplexProperty, and others like it, but I can’t find a single bit of documentation about them.Have you found anything, or have you used them much?

  2. John – yeah I dug around in the schema of the CSDL and the MSL and have been intrigued by some of the comments in there hoping that they represent future plans. Hadn’t noticed CollectionProperty. Complex property sounds like it might be related to ComplexTypes – which are entity types that behave like properties (they don’t have keys), just enabling a little more separation and reuse in the entities. For example, creating a complex type for address, city state and zip. Then in contact, you just have a property for contactAddress that points to the complex type. I wonder…

  3. Julie,ComplexTypes is something that we’ve had on the road map and complex types is part model and the overall future. As it is right now it doesn’t look like complex type will make it in Orcas as a supported feature. Ask me about it closer to beta 2.-Brian

  4. Hi, Julie,Did you use telepathy or teleportation to get the "shortly" in Britt’s "they plan to release it shortly after Orcas" quote? Official story is "after Orcas" (but no time frame), one source says "not in the beta", and another says nothing about EDM availability. An MVP in the ADO.NET Orcas newsgroup said "I believe Orcas is past its feature lock-down stage, so if it’s not in the current CTP, a major enhancement like this is very unlikely for the initial release," which Danny Simmons refuted. I’m still waiting for MSFT to give me the real story.Anyhow, thanks for giving me a bit more confidence about the ADOEF’s short-term viability. See the bottom of http://oakleafblog.blogspot.com/2007/03/orcas-edm-wizard-and-designer-previewed.html.Cheers, –rj

  5. RogerNot telepathy but as you suggested, just based on Elisa’s statement: "You can expect to see more on these sometime after the upcoming Orcas release". I guess I interpreted "sometime" into "shortly" wtih my rose-colored glasses. I will edit that statement.

  6. RogerNot telepathy but as you suggested, just based on Elisa’s statement: "You can expect to see more on these sometime after the upcoming Orcas release". I guess I interpreted "sometime" into "shortly" wtih my rose-colored glasses. I will edit that statement.

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