A couple of months ago we committed to shipping a very early technology preview of the ADO.NET Entity Framework and the LINQ integration in ADO.NET, and we said we were "shooting for August". Well, here is it, with a whole 2 weeks to go before August ends :)

As of right now the ADO.NET vNext August CTP is available for download.

This CTP includes a really broad set of features. The CTP documentation has a more detailed feature matrix, but here is a high-level summary of what you’ll find in this preview:

  • The ADO.NET Entity Framework, which includes:
    • The Entity Data Model (EDM), which allows developers to model data at a higher level of abstraction
    • A powerful client-views/mapping engine to map to and from store schemas
    • Full query support over EDM schemas using Entity SQL and LINQ
    • An object services layer that allows you to choose to present query results as rows and columns or as objects. When using .NET objects, the system will transparently do identity resolution, change tracking and update processing for you.
    • An open provider model that allows other stores to plug into the ADO.NET Entity Framework
  • Language-Integrated Query (LINQ) integration in ADO.NET for this CTP includes:
    • LINQ to Entities: formulate queries using LINQ against your EDM schemas
    • LINQ to DataSet: the DataSet finally gets full query capabilities! You can formulate LINQ queries that go against one or more DataTable objects. The LINQ to DataSet implementation will even optimize certain query patterns for better execution performance.
  • Tools
    • We're working hard to include a rich set of tools that integrate naturally with the runtime components to provide a great end-to-end experience. Some early tools are included in this CTP, and more will come soon!

In the CTP package you'll find:

  • The actual ADO.NET CTP assemblies that will be installed in your system
  • A few new project templates to create new ADO.NET Entity Framework-based applications and entity model libraries
  • Various examples that illustrate how to use the ADO.NET Entity Framework and the LINQ integration in many different scenarios
  • A couple of documents that describe the Entity Framework & LINQ integration.

I'd like to encourage everyone that writes data-centric applications to take a look at this and send your questions, suggestions and complaints this way; we'll be eagerly waiting for feedback!

If you want some more extra background before downloading and installing this, you can watch this Channel 9 video, and read an introduction to the Entity Framework (which is a previous version of the document installed with the CTP), an introduction to the Entity Data Model, and the Next Generation Data Access Vision document.

Looking forward to hear your thoughts on the CTP!

Pablo Castro
ADO.NET Technical Lead
Microsoft Corporation