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Why Put Off Until Tomorrow What You Can Do Today: EF4 Challenges Accomplished with EF1

Why Put Off Until Tomorrow What You Can Do Today: EF4 Challenges Accomplished with EF1

August 12, 2010 0 Comments

Microsoft’s recently released Entity Framework 4 (EF4) is generating deserved buzz among the .NET community. It seems that people can’t wait to make the jump directly to EF4, even if they haven’t even touched EF1. The perception is that EF1 was not up to snuff when it came to important database-related tasks, but the reality might be a case of a classic, “I’ll wait for Microsoft to release the 2.0 version before I commit.” A little known fact is that the majority of the core use cases that programmers want to tackle on EF4 can already be done today on EF1. Here are a few examples.

  • A lot of our customers define themselves as one of two categories: 1) Database-first or 2) Model-first organizations. If your company already has an established database in place (which most companies do!) you can use EF1 to build models on top of the database. Since many people are not creating data out of thin air, this database-first approach makes sense. The challenge for EF1 users that EF4 solves is the model-first approach (persistence ignorance). This cannot be currently done on EF1. The greater challenge, which perhaps will see in EF5, is the ‘meet in the middle’ approach where hopefully we will see a framework in place.
  • If your company wants to port your Entity data model among various databases, you can do that today using EF1. Migrating EDMX and more specifically SSDL files is cinch! Progress DataDirect neutralizes the differences across Oracle and SQL Server databases (soon to be DB2 and Sybase) so that the data in disparate sources will “talk” to each other.
  • The greatest step forward from EF4 is the increased efficiency in generated SQL. Unfortunately much the focus has been on improvements for SQL Server, which, while definitely having seen some nice gains, has little impact on non-SQL Server databases such as Oracle, DB2 or Sybase. The distinguishing competitive feature of ADO.Net Entity providers will reset on how well they optimize their SQL gen for the target databases, and it’s important how well they mask this more abstract model.

All in all, the verdict: Some will choose to jump straight to EF4 runtime, and some may find their needs can be met using EF1. Is there something specific you’d like to do in EF4 that you feel you can’t accomplish in EF1? Here at Progress DataDirect, we are moving forward with our EF4 plans for Oracle, DB2 LUW, z/OS, iSeries and Sybase ASE – we’d love to get your input on what features of EF are most important to you.

In the meantime, click below to download and evaluate the only Entity Framework provider for Oracle that is 100% managed and has zero requirements for the Oracle OCI client!

Jonathan Bruce

View all posts from Jonathan Bruce on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.

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