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Sybase Adds LINQ and Entity Framework Support

iAnywhere Solutions Inc. opens beta program for its SQL Anywhere 11 embedded and mobile database-management system.

When Sybase Inc. subsidiary iAnywhere Solutions Inc. opened the beta program for its soon-to-be-released SQL Anywhere 11 embedded and mobile database-management system, the company barely mentioned two improvements that are likely to appeal to .NET developers.

The Waterloo, Ontario, Canada-based company corrected that omission during a demonstration at Microsoft's Tech-Ed North America 2008 Developers conference last month in Orlando, Fla., throwing a spotlight on version 11's support for the ADO.NET Entity Framework and Language Integrated Query (LINQ).

LINQ is a set of extensions to the .NET Framework that provides native data querying capabilities to .NET languages using a SQL-like syntax. Microsoft released LINQ as part of its new Visual Studio 2008 suite, and is supporting it in the latest releases of the .NET platform -- beginning with C# 3.0 and Visual Basic 9.0. The ADO.NET Entity Framework, Microsoft's latest data-access paradigm, provides services on data models-essentially, an object-relational mapping technology. Both are designed to simplify the building of data-driven apps for developers. iAnywhere says it wants that capability for the 10-million-plus developers of embedded and mobile apps it claims use SQL Anywhere.

Partnering with Microsoft
iAnywhere's support for LINQ in particular is worthy of note because Microsoft is looking to extend LINQ as an object language beyond its own data-management offerings. "We want to ensure that the developers who are dedicated to Microsoft tools and methodologies can easily take advantage of SQL Anywhere. We want to make sure that SQL Anywhere is always a first-class citizen in a .NET development environment," explains iAnywhere's Senior Engineering Director Chris Kleisath.

Along with support for Entity Framework and LINQ, SQL Anywhere 11 -- formerly code-named "Panorama" -- comes with support for .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) stored procedures.

"Ordinarily, in SQL Anywhere, you have stored procedures that are written in SQL or in Java, but for this release we've added .NET managed code stored procedures," says iAnywhere's Senior Product Manager Jim Graham. "So developers can write stored procedures within the database that will execute in Microsoft's CLR, or they can write them in C# or Visual Basic."

"Application developers hate the idea of having to craft up a SQL statement," Kleisath adds. "But they love the idea that they can specify a query that Entity Framework will translate for them to talk to the database. It makes them more productive and generates better code."

New in SQL Anywhere 11

  • Integration with Visual Studio 2008
  • LINQ support
  • ADO.NET 3.5 Provider
  • Support for .NET Common Language Runtime stored procedures
  • Full-text search capability

Improving Database Functionality
When it's released this month, SQL Anywhere 11 will be integrated with Visual Studio 2008, Kleisath says. It will also come with the ADO.NET 3.5 Provider, the piece that .NET programmers use to talk with SQL Anywhere. The company's own ADO.NET Provider is compliant with the .NET 3.5 release, Graham says. Users will find a new, embedded, full-text search capability in this release. This feature is designed to allow application developers to take advantage of full-text indexing; they can utilize this feature to allow users of their apps to issue Google-style queries against data in a database and return results.

Since releasing the beta in April, hundreds of users have participated in that program, Kleisath says. "We're driving database functionality to the front lines," he says, "the places outside the traditional data center where users of the database aren't typically DBAs who are spending time worrying about how queries are formulated and how things work inside the DB."

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance author and journalist based in Silicon Valley. His latest book is The Everything Guide to Social Media. Follow John on Twitter, read his blog on ADTmag.com, check out his author page on Amazon, or e-mail him at john@watersworks.com.


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