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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

New EF Features #PDC10

One thing lacking from EF 4 is code first.  They showed off a new CTP for Entity Framework that includes these features.

New API surface for simplifying EF:  DbContext, DbSet<T>, more. DbContext gives a vastly simplified view at an EntityContext.

Code first can created a database automatically.

Of course, makes all sorts of assumptions based on conventions.

  • Pluralization convention
  • Infers references between tables into keys and foreign keys
  • EdmMetaData table contains snapshot that is kept to keep code/database in sync.
  • Attributes can be used to override conventions (e.g., StringLengthAttribute overrides the default length of 4000 for strings).  In Microsoft.Data.Entity.Ctp System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations.
  • StoreIgnore
  • DatabaseInitializer can force your code to be in sync.  Automatically?  Sounds dangerous, but they give you many options. Pretty cool, really.
  • Conventions for inferring many-to-many relationships.

They added an OData service on top.  OData is really cool.  May change my itinerary to go to an OData session.

Other things:

  • Enum support!
  • Spatial
  • Alternate keys
  • TVF support!
  • Migrations and deployment
  • Perf & scalability
  • Designer improvements (multiple models!)
  • Better SQL generation

Available now in a CTP, 5th CTP out in another month.  2011 Q1 will be the first full release.  Terrific that Microsoft is delivering on their out-of-band enhancements.

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#PDC10 Keynote Roundup

PDCs used to be something special, only reserved for big announcements or trends for Microsoft / Developers.  Of course, they used to be bigger too – regardless of Ballmer’s calling this the biggest PDC ever.  Holding it in Redmond, keeping it down to two days, limiting the attendees to 1000 (or so?) are all indicative of this PDC change. Will it be permanent?  Who knows, but I do wonder why they held it now.

Ray Ozzie was sorely missed in the keynote.  I can’t help but wonder if this PDC was put on just to show that Microsoft is still developer focused even with Mr. Ozzie’s departure.  Ballmer did a fine job this morning, but without Bill Gates and now no Ozzie, it doesn’t feel the same.

Anyway, in terms of the announcements (i.e., the “reveals”), not too much and nothing I would say is truly big.

There are lots of announcements though, but mostly they are incremental additions to existing products (e.g., all the new Azure enhancements) or the completion of initiatives that have been in process for years (e.g., Dallas).

All together the announcements show terrific strides for the Azure platform making it all the more compelling.

Windows Mobile 7 is also pretty cool.  I don’t know I’ll every use it, but I can see why a lot of people will.  I think they’ll have a homerun here.

Here is a live view on my PDC10 tweets:


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Going to PDC10?

RegisterPDC10 is coming up in late October. I signed up for it knowing it was Azure-centric, but I am glad to see that there is also a .NET track.  I hope this will include non-Azure server side technologies (e.g., EF, AppFabric for Windows Server and the like). Of course these other pieces all have their place (or counterparts) in Azure, but I don’t think I’ll be using Azure directly over the next year.

PDC’s are quite valuable to attend (access to Microsoft product teams, exposure to their roadmap, opportunity for light-bulb” moments, etc).  That said, I may decide not to go after the session list is released – a simple balancing of priorities.

Anyway, I’ll likely keep my registration – I would actually love it if Microsoft could change my plans about Azure this October.

Are you going? Or not? If so, please share your reasons.

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