Sunday, August 17, 2008

ADO.Net Entity Data Framework

I've spent a great deal of time with the Entity framework over the past month trying to incorporate into an application solution. I had high hopes that the framework, but after a month it's left me with a bad taste. No matter how you slice it, this framework is not ready for prime time. Here are a few issues that I have with it so far.

1. The Conceptual Data model does not allow me to abstract from the data store, I thought this was the great promise of this model but it turns out to be the great impendence mismatch magnifier. The mappings are absolutely unforgiving in complex situations. Mapping is really an all or nothing scenario, if every key isn't matched you'll never be able to map the entities.

2. The EDM modeler has a real difficult time with poorly normalized data stores. Arguably this could be addressed by cleaning and normalizing the database, however, it's currently not an option in this project and I'm sure that this is not an uncommon enterprise scenario.   As a result it is nearly impossible to map the entities in the store, even though it can be accomplished with LINQ2SQL.

3. I've run into issues where the model generator will, for whatever reason, just arbitrarily change the namespaces. and the fact that you can view the conceptual model at all is just unbelievable given that the conceptual model is such a central part in the framework.

4. Now I have to learn a number of new query technologies in order to use the model effectively. And coincidentally none of these models provides any real benefit when you need strong typing and generic runtime support.  

So if I had a chance to start over, LIN2SQL would be my first choice, especially given the the DB lives on SQL Server. The LINQ2SQL programming and mapping models are more forgiving and easier to work with as well as being functional.  If these issues and the multitude of other issues addressed in other blogs and numerous forums aren't addressed, the Entity framework will be stillborn. My advise to anyone who is considering LINQ2SQL and EDM for a SQL server based project would be this, save yourself pain, time and productivity and go with LINQ2SQL.

1 comment:

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