Microsoft Releases Another Preview of Entity Framework 5

The Release Candidate of Microsoft's object-relational mapping framework for .NET is available via NuGet.

Microsoft has made several changes to ADO.NET Entity Framework 5 since the Beta 2 release, which has lead to another preview before the RTW, according to the company. The Entity Framework 5 Release Candidate, released on Tuesday, is available via NuGet, the open source package manager for the .NET Framework.

The latest preview of Microsoft's object-relational mapping framework adds a CommandTimeout property to DbMigrationsConfiguration and updates Code First, so that developers can add tables for the Entity Data Model to existing databases, as needed. The Release Candidate also fixes several bugs that were discovered in Beta 2. The ADO.NET team blog about the Release Candidate offers details on the bug fixes and new features. The Entity Framework 5 RC can be used in production environments with some restrictions.

Entity Framework 5 follows Entity Framework 4.3, which was released on February 9, 2012 and enabled Code First Migrations. The decision to go directly to EF 5 (instead of 4.5 in line with the upcoming .NET Framework versioning) was made because important APIs continue to ship out of band, according to Microsoft. The company began to use "Semantic Versioning," which is based on technical requirements, starting with Entity Framework 4.2.

Separating Entity Framework updates from the .NET Framework release schedule has proved challenging, however. The Entity Framework core libraries remain part of the .NET Framework (System.Data.Entity.dll, System.Data.Entity.Design.dll, System.Web.Entity.dll) and are updated accordingly. Entity Framework 5 offers support for several features based on those updates, including enum types, spatial types, table-valued functions, stored procedures with multiple results and auto-compiled LINQ queries.

The Visual Studio 11 and .NET Framework 4.5 betas were released on February 29, 2012. Updates to the tooling are expected in the same timeframe as Windows 8. According to Microsoft, the Windows 8 Release Preview is slated for the first week of June.

Like Entity Framework 4.2 and 4.3, version 5 will be released via NuGet only (no MSI installers), according to Microsoft. The Entity Framework RC NuGet package is compatible with the Visual Studio 11 beta, Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.5/4. However, new Entity Framework 5 features such as enums, spatial data types and table-valued functions require .NET 4.5.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards is the editor of and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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