While watching Jim Gray's PASS video that Alex referenced in the previous post it reminded me that while I’ve been building commercial relational database systems for 20+ years, I've have had the opportunity to work with Jim Gray twice in my career. If you are a database professional, you are likely have a copy of “Transaction Processing: Concepts and Techniques”, by Jim Gray and Adreas Reuter which I see as a defining work in the evolution of database technology. By studying that text you will understand the fundamental concepts on which most commercial database engines are built and why they provide reliability and scalability.

As you might expect, we’ve been working with Jim on our ideas for raising the abstraction available to programmers through client-side views. This technology is the foundation for Microsoft’s next generation ADO.NET that adds the notion of Entities to the .NET framework and provides a robust ORM solution. That discussion appears to have left an impression because in Jim’s presentation “My Current DB Projects and General Database Trends” (.ppt), Microsoft TechNet, London, UK, 1 June 2006 he called out ADO.NET Entities as one of the important “BIG Changes” he sees coming in the database industry.

Jim specifically hits on the point that “DB systems have evolved to be containers for information services”, and how the programming model has evolved to what we are building in the form of ADO.NET Entity Sets. Jim’s homepage is at http://research.microsoft.com/~gray.

To add to the discussion of conceptual schemas, Charles from channel 9 stopped by and grabbed some video that touches on the topic and dives into some details.  See "ADO.NET Entity Framework: How. What. Why" and Pablo’s post introducing the video.

Britt…

Director of Program Management
Data Programmability
Microsoft Corporation