ADO.NET Team Releases Entity Framework Beta 2 & the 1st Entity Framework Tools CTP

Microsoft has released the Entity Framework beta 2 and the 1st beta of the Entity Framework Tools CTP today.

This is great news for those developers using Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 and want to get serious with the Entity Framework and more importantly the Framework Tools.

From the ADO.NET team blog, the Beta 2 includes new features of the June CTP:

Beta 2 of the Entity Framework includes many great improvements and added features since the last release of the June CTP, including:

  • Events to customize code generation
  • Abstract types in EDM models
  • Complex types
  • <Using> support in metadata files
  • Entity key serialization
  • Increased persistence ignorance in entity data classes
  • Improved connection management in ObjectContext
  • Improved DataBinding usability
  • Metadata annotations
  • Better support for span over LINQ to Entities queries
  • Improvements to LINQ queries: additional canonical functions and automatic mapping from CLR functions to server functions
  • A new event for extensibility of SaveChanges
  • Usability and consistency improvements
  • Polymorphic results from stored procedures

My personal excitement is with the tools being released from the team.  From the ADO.NET blog, the tools include:

Entity Designer

  • Generate a model from a database (via wizard) and display it on the designer surface
  • Edit conceptual model properties (namespace, alias, etc.)
  • Control visual aspects of the design surface (layout) and persist changes
  • Add, Delete, and Edit Entities; Scalar properties; Associations; and Inheritance
  • Automatic set management
  • Automatic Navigation property management
  • Error reporting
  • Validate model and mappings using Entity Framework Runtime

Entity Mapping

  • View the mapping for a C-Side Entity or Association
  • Rename or delete C-Side objects without  worrying about mapping
  • Map an EntityType to multiple tables
  • Apply multiple conditions to a table mapping
  • Map associations
  • Automatic generation of conditions and referential constraints on associations
  • TPH: Map an Entity hierarchy to a single table
  • TPT: Map an Entity hierarchy to multiple tables

Entity Model Browser

  • Understand and visualize the model in a tree hierarchy
  • Visually relate shapes on the designer surface with hierarchy in model

Visual Studio Integration

  • Support for C# and VB in multiple project types: ASP.NET Web site, ASP.NET Web Application Project, Console, WinForms, and Library
  • Project system integration: item template for .edmx file, model generation wizard, EdmxDeploy.exe, and Entity Framework validation on build
  • Support for multiple Visual Studio editions: Express, Standard, Pro, and VSTS.

The team also announced a set of samples which should help out quite a bit as well.  I am looking forward to see how the tools stack up against some of my OR/M favorites.

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