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The Jist: Entity Framework 4.1 is out now and you can download it here.
Those of you that read Scott Hanslemans blog or listen to Hanselminutes (if you don’t you should) will know that Scott was less than pleased with the name "Microsoft ADO.NET Entity Framework Feature CTP4" and suggested that perhaps it should be called EF Magic Unicorn Edition. Some teams might have got a little insulted, but not the EF team. They took the feedback in good sprit and even had the following wallpaper put together, it shows that the team have a sense of humour; which I always think is a required attribute of a good software developer.
Having a healthy sense of humour was certainly useful when dealing with some of the older versions of EF, because often you had to jump through so many hoops it felt like someone was having a laugh. I recall working on a large project 2 years ago and would get so frustrated with EF when working with complicated models. It was far too much work to get EF to play nicely with your existing classes, and to avoid coupling we ended up writing tons and tons of what seemed like unnecessary code. It was also confused by the fact that Linq to SQL seemed to do very similar things but in a very different way... and to be honest a much simpler way.
Fast forward a few years and looking at EF 4.1 it seems like many of these initial issues have now been solved. We now have POCO support, you can do code first and best of all it’s now very clear that EF is the recommended solution for DataAccess in .net. I think that last point is really important. I would often face criticism from managers in our team which would see how much time we were spending on EF and complain that we should be using Linq to SQL. Having a clear message from Microsoft that EF is the right technology would have helped so much in those days.
If you were burnt a little by the original EF and it put you off, now is the time to take another look, it really is in a different league.
If you want to learn more about EF I'd recommend these 2 resources:
You can download EF and learn more about it here.
Unless you are using WCF RIA services.....