This article takes a look at the upcoming ADO.NET Entity Framework, its features and benefits. It also discusses why it promises to be the technology of choice for the next generation of data access using ADO.NET. The primary objective of the ADO.NET Entity Framework is to objectify your application’s data - add a level of abstraction on top of the relational model. In raising this level of abstraction, you can isolate the logical model of your application's data from the relational model.
ADO.NET Entity Framework (formerly known as ADO.NET vNext), promises to be the technology of choice for the next generation of data access using Microsoft.NET's managed platform. The ADO.NET Entity Framework is actually an extended ORM and you can even use it to query data through strongly typed LINQ. And, you have the ability to use the entity SQL query language as well. The other striking features include, support for entity inheritance, entity composition and change tracking.
In this regard, the MSDN states, “A primary goal of the ADO.NET Entity Framework is to raise the level of abstraction available for data programming, thus simplifying the development of data aware applications and enabling developers to write less code. The Entity Framework is the evolution of ADO.NET that allows developers to program in terms of the standard ADO.NET abstraction or in terms of persistent objects (ORM) and is built upon the standard ADO.NET Provider model which allows access to third party databases.”
The following is a list of the salient features of the ADO.NET Entity Framework:
The entire concept of the ADO.NET Entity Framework is rests around the Entity Data Model – the core of the ADO.NET Entity Framework. The Entity Data Model is a an Entity Relationship Model – the conceptual view of your application’s data. The ADO.NET Entity Framework makes use of mapping files to isolate your application’s code from any changes in the relational schema. The Entity Data Model is actually the core of the Entity Framework and is responsible for providing the level of abstraction between the relational or the logical model and the object model.
The MSDN states, "The Entity Data Model is an Entity-Relationship data model. The ER model is familiar to most if not all database application developers, and has been used successfully for about 30 years. The central concepts in the EDM are entities and relationships."
To query data against the Entity Data Model (EDM), you can use one of the following:
The EDM is a conceptual model that includes the following features:
It is comprised mainly of three layers:
The ADO.NET Entity Framework enables you to raise the level of abstraction by isolating your application’s relational model from the object model. Added to what a typical ORM provides, it enables identity resolution, chance tracking, entity inheritance, entity composition, etc. In this article we have had a look at the ADO.NET Entity Framework and the Entity Data Model. To find more information on this technology, refer to my latest book titled "Entity Framework Tutorial" from Packt Publishing.