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

    OData in WebAPI – RC release

    • 20 Comments
    Next week we will release an official RC of the Microsoft ASP.NET WebAPI OData assembly. This marks the third release on our way to RTM.  Although this post talks about code that hasn’t been officially release yet, since all development is happening...
  • Meta-Me

    Tip 37 – How to do a Conditional Include

    • 13 Comments
    Problem Someone asked how to do a Conditional Include a couple of days ago on StackOverflow. They wanted to query for some entity (lets say Movies) and eager load some related items (lets say Reviews) but only if the reviews match some criteria (i.e....
  • Meta-Me

    Tip 44 – How to navigate an OData compliant service

    • 7 Comments
    I recently did a crash course in Data Services and OData . While doing so I realized my notes might be useful for you guys. So here is my little cheat sheet to quickly get up to speed with OData Urls. Note: OData Services may not necessarily support all...
  • Meta-Me

    Creating a Data Service Provider – Part 4 – Minimal Running Service

    • 2 Comments
    This is Part 4 of my ongoing series of posts showing how to create an Custom Data Service Provider . NOTE: I’ve done a little refactoring to the code in Part 3 to simplify the code in this post, so be sure to check that out if you’ve been following along...
  • Meta-Me

    Tip 13 - How to Attach an Entity the easy way

    • 13 Comments
    The Problem: In some of earlier tips we talked about using Attach to load things into the ObjectContext in the unchanged state without wearing the cost of doing a query. Attach is the weapon of choice if performance is your goal. Unfortunately our APIs...
  • Meta-Me

    Tip 56 - Writing an OData Service using the Reflection Provider

    • 2 Comments
    At TechEd I got a lot of questions about how to expose Data as OData By now you probably know you can use Data Services and the Entity Framework to expose data from a database as an OData Service. You might even know you can use Data Services with...
  • Meta-Me

    Rolling your own SQL Update on-top of the Entity Framework - Part 1

    • 4 Comments
    One of the current limitations of the Entity Framework, is that in order to modify an entity you have to first bring it into memory. Now in most scenarios this is just fine. There are however some bulk update cases where performance suffers somewhat....
  • Meta-Me

    Tip 28 - How to implement an Eager Loading strategy

    • 20 Comments
    Background: Over the last 2 years lots of people have complained about the way Eager loading works in the Entity Framework, or rather the way you ask the Entity Framework to eagerly load. Here is how you do it: var results = from b in ctx.Blogs.Include...
  • Meta-Me

    Tip 7 - How to fake Foreign Key Properties in .NET 3.5 SP1

    • 22 Comments
    Background If you've been reading the EF Design Blog you will have seen that we recently announced something called " FK Associations " for the EF in .NET 4.0. However in .NET 3.5 SP1, we only support Independent Associations. What that means is that...
  • Meta-Me

    Creating a Data Service Provider – Part 5 - Query

    • 4 Comments
    In Part 4 of our series showing how to implement a Custom Data Service Provider we hooked up an incomplete implementation of IDataServiceQueryProvider , just enough to get the ServiceDocument and $metadata working. In this part we’ll get query working...
  • Meta-Me

    Creating a Data Service Provider – Part 7 – Update

    • 3 Comments
    In Parts 1 thru 6 we created a custom Read/Only provider over an in memory list of Products. Now it’s time to add update support. To do that we need to add an implementation of IDataServiceUpdateProvider . But first lets talk about the… Implications...
  • Meta-Me

    Tip 50 – How to query a Data Service using JQuery

    • 6 Comments
    Recently I’ve been spending some of my time playing with JQuery . And because Data Services can expose data in JSON format, I thought I’d use JQuery to grab some data from a Data Service. Turns out it is pretty simple. This example isn’t going...
  • Meta-Me

    OData - WCF Data Services Best Practices from TechEd

    • 1 Comments
    Yesterday I promised to share all the code from my Best Practices – Creating an OData Service using WCF Data Services session at TechED. Note: you can find a recording of that session here . So here goes, essentially this is what I did: ...
  • Meta-Me

    Tip 16 – How to mimic .NET 4.0’s ObjectSet<T> today

    • 9 Comments
    Background: In order to be an EF power user today you really need to be familiar with EntitySets . For example you need to understand EntitySets in order to use AttachTo(…) or create EntityKeys . In most cases there is only one possible EntitySet...
  • Meta-Me

    T CastByExample<T>(object o, T example)

    • 15 Comments
    So earlier today I was lamenting that an anonymous type can't be shared between functions with Wes Dyer , when he said "Well actually they can..." Cue me learning something cool. The first step is to create a seemingly innocent method: public...
  • Meta-Me

    Creating a Data Service Provider – Part 9 – Un-typed

    • 10 Comments
    Background info: This post builds on Parts 1 thru 8 which teach you how to create a typed Data Service Provider. But now the part we’ve all been waiting for- an un-typed DSP – which is what I expect most real world DSP implementations will be based on...
  • Meta-Me

    Tip 49 – How to find your Data Service bug

    • 4 Comments
    I’ve been playing around with creating a custom Astoria Data Service Provider , aka DSP, for a while now. So far I’d managed to get my metadata all setup, so browsing to $metadata works great. I’d got a few simple queries work. Basically everything was...
  • Meta-Me

    Creating a Data Service Provider – Part 8 - Relationships

    • 2 Comments
    In parts 1 thru 7 we made a Read / Write typed data service provider, although it was a little simplistic because it didn’t have relationships. So lets rectify that right now by adding a relationship to make this more 'real-world' Changes to our Classes...
  • Meta-Me

    Creating a Data Service Provider – Part 6 – Query Interactions

    • 11 Comments
    Whenever I find myself implementing a series of interfaces to plug into a framework or server, I always find myself wondering how the server will call my implementations. For me this is about forming a mental model to simplify how I think about what...
  • Meta-Me

    Parsing $filter and $orderby using the ODataUriParser

    • 2 Comments
    Background and Plans For a while now we’ve been shipping an early pre-release version of an ODataUriParser in ODataLib Contrib . The idea is to have code that converts a Uri used to interact with an OData Service into a Semantically bound Abstract Syntax...
  • Meta-Me

    MEST - What is it and how does it work?

    • 9 Comments
    MEST stands for M ultiple E ntity S ets per T ype. It is one of the features of the Entity Framework that is typically missing from ORM stacks. The idea is that you can store the same EntityType in multiple EntitySets. For the purposes of this discussion...
  • Meta-Me

    Another C# trick: Fluents, Inheritance and Extension Methods

    • 12 Comments
    Here’s a scenario which Damien and I encountered recently. We needed a way of specifying Facets for properties on Entities, i.e. things like Nullable , MaxLength , Precision etc. And we needed a class hierarchy because different types of properties...
  • Meta-Me

    Associations with Payloads - closing the loop

    • 5 Comments
    I'm assuming you've read part 1 and part 2 , if not why not? Just kidding, they will make this post a little easier to understand though. I'm going to show you how to create a read-only association with a Payload. Okay so imagine you have this model...
  • Meta-Me

    Tip 30 – How to use a custom database function

    • 11 Comments
    Imagine you have a database function like the DistanceBetween function in Nerd Dinner : CREATE FUNCTION [dbo].[DistanceBetween]( @Lat1 as real, @Long1 as real, @Lat2 as real, @Long2 as real) RETURNS real AS BEGIN … END And you want to use it...
  • Meta-Me

    Rolling your own SQL Update on top of the Entity Framework - Part 4

    • 5 Comments
    Okay so we've got to the interesting bit at last. We've hooked up our extension method, we've got a query for filtering the records we are updating, we've got a map from object Properties to database Columns. So now comes the interesting bit... ...
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