Your official information source from the .NET Web Development and Tools group at Microsoft.
On 9/11 we published a new* set of pages on MSDN offering guidance for getting started with data access in ASP.NET. If you're already using ASP.NET, parts of these pages will just repeat what you already know or take for granted, but a few parts contain recommendations that are new for ASP.NET 4.5. These pages clearly identify which technologies are still available and supported but are no longer part of Microsoft's strategic direction, such that you should think twice before choosing them if you're creating something new. One page provides help setting up SQL Server connection strings.
Here are links to the new pages, with a sampling of what you can find in them:
*Some of these ASP.NET 4.5 pages existed in ASP.NET 4 or earlier versions, but the content is all new. The others are new pages for ASP.NET 4.5.
Feedback is welcome, and this blog is the best place to post comments.
-- Tom Dykstra
Typo: Server Explorer in Visual Studio 2012 offers limited database manipulation functionality. You can install this functionality in Visual Studio 2012 SP1 by clicking the following link: Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 SP1 Tools for SQL Server Compact 4.0. - Should be: functionality in Visual Studio 2010 SP1
Typo on blogs.msdn.com/.../data-access-guidance-published.aspx: search for "Iinternet" (notice double "I").
Thanks for the useful guidance, though you're really asking for an EF vs nHibernate war with some of the content. This might seem to undermine the credibility of the guidance somewhat. (See ayende.com/.../nhibernate-vs-entity-framework-usage or ayende.com/.../nhibernate-vs-entity-framework-4-0 for an contrasting opinion.) That being said, we like EF!
@ErikEJ, and Oily A - Thanks for finding and reporting the typos. They'll be fixed with the next MSDN update. Normally that happens only every 3 weeks, unfortunately.
Is there any kind of guidance for the scenario where you want to break the ASP.NET website and the Data Access options you describe above by adding a service layer? i.e. A WCF or MVC WebAPI web service that utilizes EF and then an ASP.NET website that consumes the web service as its backend instead of directly referencing the data layer.