Many people are asking if it is possible to use EFOracleProvider with EDM Designer in Visual Studio 2008 SP1. The answer is yes, but because the sample doesn't include a DDEX provider required for VS integration, there are certain steps that have to be run manually.

I've compiled a step-by-step guide for those interested in trying this out (this assumes NorthwindEF sample database installed according to instructions included with the sample, but it should be straightforward to adjust it to your own setup)

PART 1 : INSTALLING ORACLE SAMPLE PROVIDER

1. Download and unzip EFOracleSampleProvider.zip from http://code.msdn.com/EFOracleProvider

2. Follow instructions in the README.txt to set up a sample database.

3. Open elevated Visual Studio instance. Build the sample project.

4. Open elevated command prompt and open machine.config using notepad: 
notepad %WINDIR%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\config\machine.config

5. Find <DbProviderFactories> section and add EFOracleProvider entry:

<add name="EF Oracle Data Provider" invariant="EFOracleProvider" 
     description="EF Provider for Oracle testing" 
     type="EFOracleProvider.EFOracleProviderFactory, EFOracleProvider, Version=1.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=def642f226e0e59b"/>

6. The completed system.data section has to look similar to this:

<system.data>
  <DbProviderFactories>
    <add name="Odbc Data Provider" invariant="System.Data.Odbc" description=".Net Framework Data Provider for Odbc" type="System.Data.Odbc.OdbcFactory, System.Data, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089"/>
    <add name="OleDb Data Provider" invariant="System.Data.OleDb" description=".Net Framework Data Provider for OleDb" type="System.Data.OleDb.OleDbFactory, System.Data, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089"/>
    <add name="OracleClient Data Provider" invariant="System.Data.OracleClient" description=".Net Framework Data Provider for Oracle" type="System.Data.OracleClient.OracleClientFactory, System.Data.OracleClient, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089"/>
    <add name="SqlClient Data Provider" invariant="System.Data.SqlClient" description=".Net Framework Data Provider for SqlServer" type="System.Data.SqlClient.SqlClientFactory, System.Data, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089"/>
    <add name="EF Oracle Data Provider" invariant="EFOracleProvider" description="EF Provider for Oracle testing" type="EFOracleProvider.EFOracleProviderFactory, EFOracleProvider, Version=1.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=def642f226e0e59b"/>
    <add name="Microsoft SQL Server Compact Data Provider" invariant="System.Data.SqlServerCe.3.5" description=".NET Framework Data Provider for Microsoft SQL Server Compact" type="System.Data.SqlServerCe.SqlCeProviderFactory, System.Data.SqlServerCe, Version=3.5.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=89845dcd8080cc91"/>
  </DbProviderFactories>
</system.data>

PART 2: GENERATING MODEL FROM ORACLE DATABASE

7. Create a new project in VS. For simplicity let's create a console application

8. Open elevated command prompt. Enter the directory that contains the newly created project and run the following command:

%WINDIR%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.5\edmgen.exe /provider:EFOracleProvider /mode:fullgeneration 
/connectionstring:"data source=XE;user id=edmuser;password=123456" /project:NorthwindEFModel

The output should be:

Microsoft (R) EdmGen version 3.5.0.0
Copyright (C) 2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Loading database information...
warning 6005: The data type 'timestamp(9)' is not supported, the column 'OrderDate' in table 'dbo.Orders' was excluded.
warning 6005: The data type 'timestamp(3)' is not supported, the column 'RequiredDate' in table 'dbo.Orders' was excluded.
Writing ssdl file...
Creating conceptual layer from storage layer...
Writing msl file...
Writing csdl file...
Writing object layer file...
Writing views file...

Generation Complete -- 0 errors, 2 warnings

9. This will create a bunch of NorthwindEFModel.* files for you.

10. Open Northwind.ssdl file in a text editor and replace all instances of Schema="dbo" with empty string (this is needed because tables in the sample Oracle database don't use a schema)

11. In order to use generated model in the EF Ddesigner, we have to create NorthwindEFModel.edmx file. This can be done manually (just copy/paste contents of individual files into an empty EDMX as indicated by the comments) or by using EdmGen2 tool from Code Gallery:

C:\Path\To\EdmGen2.exe /toedmx NorthwindEFModel.csdl NorthwindEFModel.ssdl NorthwindEFModel.msl

12. This will create NorthwindEFModel.edmx, which we can add to the project in VS.

13. At this point you can now delete the following files generated by EdmGen.exe, which won't be necessary:

  • NorthwindEFModel.csdl
  • NorthwindEFModel.ssdl
  • NorthwindEFModel.msl
  • NorthwindEFModel.ObjectLayer.cs
  • NorthwindEFModel.Views.cs

PART 3: TESTING GENERATED MODEL

14. The only remaining thing to do is to add App.config file with connection string for our Oracle database:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<configuration>
  <connectionStrings>
    <add name="NorthwindEFModelContext" 
         connectionString="provider=EFOracleProvider;
                           metadata=res://*/NorthwindEFModel.csdl|res://*/NorthwindEFModel.ssdl|res://*/NorthwindEFModel.msl;
                           Provider Connection String='data source=XE;user id=edmuser;password=123456'" 
         providerName="System.Data.EntityClient" />
  </connectionStrings>
</configuration>

15. We can now try out our model by running a sample LINQ to Entities query:

using (NorthwindEFModelContext context = new NorthwindEFModelContext())
{
    foreach (var c in context.Customers.Where(c=>c.City == "Seattle"))
    {
        Console.WriteLine(c.CompanyName);
    }
}