Blog - About

About Meta-Me

Hi,

My name is Alex James, a Program Manager working on the Data Services team at Microsoft.

My current focus is OData and improving the usability of Data Services, both client and server side.

Previously I worked on the Entity Framework team where I helped create EF 4.0, and CodeOnly.

I'm also really passionate about Metadata, hence the name Meta-me.

Cheers
Alex

I waffle and twitter as adjames

  • Meta-Me

    EntityConnectionStringBuilder

    • 1 Comments
    In my last Metadata post I suggested using a string template to create an EntityConnection connection string. Well it turns out there is a better way... Enter the EntityConnectionStringBuilder class. The only thing it is missing is the ability to specify...
  • Meta-Me

    EDM misconceptions

    • 5 Comments
    Recently I've seen a few slide decks on Entity Framework's architecture that have made me cringe. Their crime: mislabeling an EDMX file as EDM. Now without doubt, you have to be a hard core metadata freak like me to find this offensive. But take...
  • Meta-Me

    Tip 43 – How to authenticate against a Data Service

    • 0 Comments
    Problem: When writing code against a Data Service, like say SharePoint , the client application must provide a valid set of credentials, or you will see a dreaded “401 Unathorized” response. For Silverlight applications hosted on the same site as...
  • Meta-Me

    Compiled Queries and the EntityFramework

    • 2 Comments
    For a while LINQ to SQL has had compiled Queries... and now in Beta3 of the Entity Framework, due out soon, we have them too. The idea behind compiled queries is that you don't want to re-process the same LINQ expression every time it is encountered...
  • Meta-Me

    Associations with Payloads - part Deux

    • 5 Comments
    Okay so the 'cat is out of the bag' you CAN do associations with Payloads... Sort of . Now for an explanation of what I meant by 'Sort of'. Let's dream a little and imagine how it might work in an ideal world. Imagine something like this: Product p =...
  • Meta-Me

    And while you are at it… why can’t I compose REST calls?

    • 0 Comments
    In my last post I asked why you can’t compose SOA method calls efficiently. With REST services like ADO.NET Data Services having nice uniform URLs too, and a model (aka EDM) why can’t I compose those with my SOA methods too: i.e. expounding on my...
  • Meta-Me

    Why can’t I efficiently compose method calls in SOA?

    • 14 Comments
    Imagine if you have these 3 methods: public Employee GetEmployee(string alias); public Department GetDepartment(Employee employee); public Employee GetManager(Department department); Now imagine if you want to find the Manager of the Department that some...
  • Meta-Me

    State vs Statement of Intent

    • 5 Comments
    Well I went to Vegas for Dev Connections. What an experience. Never been there before, but for first two days I was too worried about my two talks to take much in. My first talk was Entity Framework in a world of Services and Processes . My old...
  • Meta-Me

    Colin Meek talks about his EF Extensions

    • 1 Comments
    Colin is a super smart colleague of mine, who works as a developer on the Entity Framework. So it is great to see him start a blog . His first post is super cool, because he discusses a set of extensions he put together that get around some of mapping...
  • Meta-Me

    Nullable=”False”… but when exactly?

    • 5 Comments
    If you look at the EDM and in particular the metadata it considers important, one thing is clear: Persistence is the Priority . For example this: <Property Name=”Firstname” Type=”String” Nullable=”False”/> Tells us that the Firstname property can...
  • Meta-Me

    Maybe there is more

    • 3 Comments
    Michel Perfetti , has taken my little Maybe thingie and gone a lot further , by using expression tree re-writting he has made it possible to express this: string code = licensePlate.Maybe(lp => lp.Car) .Maybe(c => c.Owner) .Maybe(o => o...
  • Meta-Me

    Using a random model at runtime

    • 4 Comments
    In my last post I hinted that using the Entity Frameworks Value layer and Metadata allows you to work against any Entity Data Model in a loosely coupled way. Let’s see how… So let’s imagine you are working against the Value layer. With code something...
  • Meta-Me

    Interesting reads

    • 3 Comments
    Over the weekend in between run throughs that I did prepping for a webcast, I did some catch-up blog reading. Lots of interesting stuff. Recording and sharing here for posterity: Entity Framework Simon Segal has a interesting post on Entity Framework...
  • Meta-Me

    Tip 38 – How to use CodeOnly with Astoria

    • 0 Comments
    The normal way that you create an ADO.NET Data Services (aka Astoria) Service is by creating a class that derives from DataService<T>. public class BloggingService : DataService<BloggingEntities> And if you want to use Entity Framework...
  • Meta-Me

    Self-Tracking Entities

    • 1 Comments
    Some of the feedback we got on the EF design blog about our early N-Tier plans , highlighted that lots of people just want the whole "tier thing" to just work out of the box. Fortunately now that we have adopted T4 to generate our entities we have...
  • Meta-Me

    Fantasy Soccer - part 3 - Unit of Measure

    • 4 Comments
    Today I spent a bit of time working on the data model for my fantasy soccer application. I don't want to talk about the actual model today though, because I'm not really ready. What I want to do is talk about a problem that occurred to me, namely...
  • Meta-Me

    Fantasy Soccer - Part 4 - Architectural Overview

    • 1 Comments
    Okay this Fantasy Soccer thing has got me thinking. What is this thing going to look like from about 100,000 feet? I.e. what are the big bits? Well being a pure geek, I really want to play with new shiny stuff (i.e. the new ASP.NET MVC Framework ) but...
  • Meta-Me

    Sample Oracle Provider for EF

    • 1 Comments
    Jarek has released his sample provider for Oracle here . In his post he talks about a few of the more notable challenges he had and how he got around them. If you are writing an EF provider this is gold!
  • Meta-Me

    An analogy: Good UIs and Fluent APIs

    • 5 Comments
    Background A while back I was writing a web app to try the Entity Framework and MVC together. I knew the pain points would probably be around Foreign Keys, or at least the lack of them in .NET 3.5 SP1 (FKs are now available by default in .NET 4...
  • Meta-Me

    Judgment

    • 2 Comments
    In my last post I blithely said ' This is where judgment comes in... '. Unfortunately judgment isn't easy. Now when I was younger - say 10 years ago - I was sure about everything - not least my latest harebrained API design. I chalk that up to...
  • Meta-Me

    Virtuoso – Entity Framework compatible ADO.NET provider

    • 0 Comments
    Now this is worth a mention. Kingsley has produced a ADO.NET provider for their virtuoso product which is Entity Framework compatible. Which means in theory access to SQL, XML and RDF data via the Entity Framework. It also supports a raft of third party...
  • Meta-Me

    Learn about EF Pluralization Services courtesy of Dan Rigsby

    • 1 Comments
    Not long ago I wrote a ‘sneak peek’ for our new Pluralization features on the ADO.NET team blog. There is a more indepth post coming soon… But it seems the community is starting to do our education for us, and beating us (or should I say me) to the punch...
  • Meta-Me

    Tagging File Systems?

    • 6 Comments
    I had an interesting in passing conversation with someone today about tagging file systems… which reminded me of my own sordid past. Before I joined Microsoft, before I was an MVP, before I released Base4, I wrote something called XTend. At the time I...
  • Meta-Me

    Some comments on efficient SOA method composition

    • 2 Comments
    A couple of posts back I started talking about composing SOAPY operations efficiently, by shipping intent to the service. An interesting debate ensued in my comments: Kristofer (the guy behind the Huagati tools for DBML and EDMX , and it seems a man after...
  • Meta-Me

    Intellisense : What properties are required?

    • 8 Comments
    Yesterday I was talking to a Simon, another super smart dev on the EF team, and he raised a big concern, one that I am sure you can all relate too: We've all seen something like this: And thought: "What is the bare minimum I can do here to save...
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