Microsoft published a second beta version of ADO.Net Entity Framework this week and a community technology preview of tools to work with the framework, in order to assist developers building business applications.
The goal of the ADO.Net Entity Framework is to eliminate the impedance mismatch between data models and languages. An example of such a mismatch is objects and relational stores. Automation of complex processes is critical to the framework.
Britt Johnston, product manager data programmability tools at Microsoft, said: "Today, when a developer builds an application, they have to write code that fills in the gaps between the way the data is stored in however many databases they interact with and the way they want to manipulate the data in their application.”
Developers might write an application that manipulated a CRM system with data for customers stored in 12 different tables, said Johnston.
"With the Entity Framework, you can automate the process essentially of bringing all that data together and presenting it to the developer as a single entity so they can interact with it at a higher level of abstraction," Johnston said.
Key new features in the framework beta release include events to customise code generation; complex programming types and entity key serialisation. A key is a unique identifier for an entity, such as a customer ID. Metadata annotations and better support for Language Integrated Query (LINQ) also are included.
Developers can access the framework on Microsoft's website. ADO.Net Entity Framework is due for general release as part of .Net Framework 3.5 in early-2008. Most would get it as part of an operating system update.
The ADO.Net Entity Framework Tools Community Technology Preview for August features an early version of the ADO.Net Entity Designer, enabling users to visually design model and mappings using the Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 release. The tools preview is accessible on Microsoft's download page with the tools to be part of Visual Studio 2008.