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Entity Framework 6 Released as Alpha 1

Less than three months after Entity Framework 5 was released, Microsoft this week announced the availability of EF6 Alpha 1, targeting a release to manufacturing date around mid-2013 for the database object relational mapping tool.

New features in the upcoming update include task-based asynchronous programming patterns, custom conventions for Code First development, multi-tenant migrations and many more.

The EF code base is now open source, hosted on CodePlex, program manager Rowan Miller reminded attendees at Microsoft's Build 2012 conference at company headquarters in Redmond, Wash., on Tuesday.

"We're accepting contributions to the code base as well," Miller said in a presentation, which is available on video. "If you want to work out some of how EF works, go grab the code. If you want to help us fix some bugs, we'd love you to."

However, Miller noted, when it comes time for release, the Microsoft licensing, branding and support will remain the same--along with code quality, he emphasized. "If you do want to submit bug fixes for us, you're going to have to write unit tests in the same quality code that people on our team write today."

And it might not be that easy to get contributions accepted, Miller suggested. "So far we've been open source for a few months now. We've taken four contributions, most of them still quite small at this stage, but we've got a few bigger ones brewing in the community, too."

At the EF CodePlex site, you can explore in detail the planned improvements for EF6, such as "Task-based Asynchronous Pattern support in EF."

Other improvements for EF6 listed on the CodePlex site include:

  • Tooling Consolidation
  • Multi-tenant Migrations
  • EF Dependency Resolution
  • Code-based Configuration
  • Migrations History Table Customization
  • Custom Code First Conventions

Rowan noted in his demonstration that developers had vociferously requested enum support, which was added in EF5, but only as integer types. He said Microsoft was working to add support for more types. He also noted that the DbGeography class, which he used in his demonstration, was targeted for improvement. Right now, he said, "it isn't such a great type," requiring some "strange" mapping to class structures.

Yet another improvement might well be "Stored Procedures & Functions in Code First," which was listed in the product roadmap for possible inclusion in EF 6, as noted by a reader in the comments section of the blog post announcing EF6. Microsoft's Arthur Vickers replied: "It's still planned to be done in EF6. Some of the metadata prerequisites are already being worked on and when they are done we should have someone start on it."

What do you think of the planned improvements to EF6? Please share your thoughts by commenting here or dropping me a line.

Posted by David Ramel on 11/01/2012 at 1:15 PM


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