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Our latest EF Feature Community Technology Preview (CTP5) has been out for a few months now. Since releasing CTP5 our team has been working hard on tidying up the API surface, implementing changes based on your feedback and getting the quality up to production ready standards. At the time CTP5 was released we also announced that we would be releasing a production ready go-live in Q1 of 2011 and we are on track to deliver on the commitment.
Our plan is to deliver a Go-Live Release Candidate version of the DbContext API and Code First in mid to late March. This Release Candidate will be titled ADO.NET Entity Framework 4.1. Approximately a month after the RC ships we plan to release the final Release to Web (RTW). We are not planning any changes to the API surface or behavior between RC and RTW, the release is purely to allow any new bugs found in the RC build to be evaluated and potentially fixed.
This is the first time we’ve released part of the Entity Framework as a stand-alone release and we’re excited about the ability to get new features into your hands faster than waiting for the next full .NET Framework release. We plan to release more features like this in the future. We chose to name the release EF 4.1 because it builds on top of the work we did in version 4.0 of the .NET Framework.
EF 4.1 will be available as a stand-alone installer that will install the runtime DbContext API and Code First components, as well as the Visual Studio Item Templates that allow using the new DbContext API surface with Model First and Database First development. We also plan to make the bits available as a NuGet package.
The majority of our work involves small API tweaks and improving quality but there are a few changes coming in the RC that we want to give you a heads up about.
There are also a few common requests that are not going to be available in the RC/RTW, we really want to address these scenarios and plan to do so in coming releases. We’ve had overwhelming feedback asking for a go-live release though and have decided to finish our current feature set and ship it.
One of the most common requests we get is for a solution that will evolve the database schema as your Code First model changes over time. We are working on this at the moment but we’ve also heard strong feedback that this shouldn’t hold up the RTW of Code First. In light of this our team has been focusing on getting the current feature set production ready. Hence a schema evolution solution will not be available for our first RTW. You’ll start to see more on this feature once we have RTW released.
It has been great to have so much community involvement helping us drive these features, we thank you for giving us your valuable input.
ADO.NET Entity Framework Team