Entity Framework FAQ: Introduction

Entity Framework FAQ: Introduction

Back to EF FAQs Table of Contents

Where else should I go to learn more about the EF?

Get started:
Entity Framework team blogs:
Some individuals (inside and outside Microsoft) who blog about EF:
MSDN Magazine:

.NET Framework 4 webcasts:

Forums / Places to Ask Questions:

How can I get the Entity Framework bits?

The first release of the Entity Framework (called EF 3.5 SP1) is part of Visual Studio 2008 sp1 and the .Net Framework 3.5 sp1.

The second release of the Entity Framework (called EF4) is part of Visual Studio 2010 and the .Net Framework 4.

What's new in EF4?

See the following resources:

Why use the EF and Entity Data Model (EDM)? How do they help?

The first way to look at this is to ask, why use an Object/Relational Mapper (O/RM) at all. For that I suggest looking at Glenn Block's post Ten Advantages of an ORM.

Next, you might ask, why use the EF in particular. One opinion about that question appears in the post Why use the Entity Framework.

If you ask about the Entity Data Model in particular, the key thing is that it enables developers to reason about and write queries in terms of a higher-level conceptual model rather than the relational database schema of tables, joins, foreign keys, and so on. Many enterprise systems have multiple applications/databases with varying degrees of normalization, different schema styles, and different naming conventions for tables and columns. Furthermore, in complex systems the entities of interest may be scattered across multiple rows in multiple tables, and changes to the logical schema can be painful to track within applications. By adding an additional level of abstraction, the EDM insulates developers from the low-level details of the logical model, and frees them to focus on the essential aspects of the application/problem at hand. For more information, see Introducing the Entity Framework.

Where can I learn about plans for the next release of the EF?

The EF Design blog is intended to significantly increase the transparency of design for the EF. The Entity Framework team also launched a website that allows you to easily submit and vote on feature requests for the EF: http://ef.mswish.net/.

What are some tools that work with the Entity Framework?

The following tools help with debugging and troubleshooting:

The following are some tools that work in combination with the Entity Framework:
  • Huagati DBML/EDMX Tools is an add-in for Visual Studio that adds new functionality to the ADO.NET Entity Framework designer in Visual Studio 2008 and 2010, such as e.g.: rule-based mass renaming of entities and members, selective compare and sync between the database, SSDL, and CSDL portions of EFv4 models.
  • Entity Developer is a modeling and code generation tool for the ADO.NET Entity Framework.
  • LLBLGen Pro is an advanced O/RM Designer for the .NET Framework and offers, among other things, Entity Framework support. This tool is highly complementary to the Entity Framework designer.
  • LINQPad is a great tool for learning LINQ and the Entity Framework.
  • The Naked Objects framework works with the Entity Framework to create fully functional web applications from domain objects automatically.

How can I contribute to this FAQ?

The content on this site resides on the Microsoft Technet Wiki. As a wiki, it is very easy to contribute to.

The only thing you have to do in order to get set up to contribute is go here (http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/129.aspx) and sign up. What this consists of is getting a Windows Live ID, and registering a Display Name so you can earn points, which count towards attaining MVP status.

Once you do that, you are good to go, and can edit and create wiki topics at will. If you haven’t worked with wikis before, the above link has further links that will introduce you to the process.

The easiest way to start is to edit an existing topic. The FAQs are divided into categories, and each category is a separate wiki topic that contains multiple questions. So if you want to add to an existing question, that is probably the easiest thing to do. If you have a new queston that fits into an existing category, you can also do that pretty easily: just try to be consistent with the existing styles. Questions that don't fit into existing categories are a bit harder: you will need to create a new Category page, and add it to the table of contents. Perhaps a simple solution would be to add a Miscellaneous category, and only add other new categories when enough questions arise to populate it.

What would be some good additions to this FAQ?

The existing content reflects the latest Entity Framework version that had been released when it was written: version 4.0. So content relating to the following is not there:

  • DbContext
  • DbSet
  • Code-First

Didn't there used to be a different FAQs web site? Why did you move it?

Glad you asked! There were two main reasons:

  • The current build process for that site requires someone to run it who understands it, but more importantly:
  • The FAQs site ought to be a community resource, and members of the Entity Framework community ought to be able to contribute to it easily, without going through a “single person bottleneck”. The wiki format meets this requirement much better.

The old website will not be maintained: at some point we will add a link to this site.

What's with the Technet name in the wiki? I'm a developer and never go to Technet: why isn't this content on MSDN?

Well, the truth is, Microsoft is experimenting with different ways to involve the community. We have been doing wikis for a relatively shorter period of time, and are still experimenting: the Technet wiki site was available for us to use, and doing so allows us to focus on the best ways to engae with the community, rather than on learning a new technology and all the associated infrastructure. At the present time, this wiki is a very convenient testbed for us as we learn to use this medium.

Although this content is on Technet, our main audience is you the developer.

Other Languages

 Entity Framework FAQ: Introducción (es-ES)

Back to EF FAQs Table of Contents


Leave a Comment
  • Please add 8 and 8 and type the answer here:
  • Post
Wiki - Revision Comment List(Revision Comment)
Sort by: Published Date | Most Recent | Most Useful
  • Ed Price - MSFT edited Revision 17. Comment: Removed some white space lines

  • Ed Price - MSFT edited Revision 15. Comment: Cleaning up the TOC

  • Ed Price - MSFT edited Revision 7. Comment: Other Languages and TOC

  • Nevin Janzen edited Revision 6. Comment: Tags Edit

Page 1 of 1 (4 items)
Wikis - Comment List
Sort by: Published Date | Most Recent | Most Useful
Posting comments is temporarily disabled until 10:00am PST on Saturday, December 14th. Thank you for your patience.
  • Fantastic article!

  • Nevin Janzen edited Revision 6. Comment: Tags Edit

  • Ed Price - MSFT edited Revision 7. Comment: Other Languages and TOC

  • Ed Price - MSFT edited Revision 15. Comment: Cleaning up the TOC

  • Ed Price - MSFT edited Revision 17. Comment: Removed some white space lines

  • Excellent  article

    What can i do when i see a forgotten character ( n in "engae"  at the end of this article ). ? I have never done that ( if someone can do this little modification, don't forget to rub off this part of my message as it would be useless )

  • ulcer edited Revision 19. Comment: Add link to russian translation

  • Carsten Siemens edited Revision 22. Comment: fixed typo

Page 1 of 1 (8 items)