ADO.NET Entity Framework Saga
A vocal group of ADO.NET Entity Framework testers that has issued
a "vote of no-confidence"
is illuminating a long-standing conflict
between a segment of the .NET development community and Redmond. The petition
raises a big question: Is there a storm brewing among developers of data-driven
applications looking toward the latest iterations of the .NET Framework, or
is this just a tempest in a teapot?
Ironically, I got wind of the protest on Tuesday while attending the Data Services
World conference in New York, where none other than Michael Pizzo, a principal
architect on Microsoft's data programmability team, was giving a session on
LINQ, the Entity Framework and ADO.NET Data Services.
In his session, he demonstrated LINQ queries being used against the Entity
Framework. "We expect [that] when you're using the Entity Framework and
writing applications against the Entity Framework, LINQ will be the primary
way you do that," he explained in an interview following his demo.
As for the online
petition, Pizzo was unaware of it until I pointed it out to him (it was
posted just this week). However, he said the discord comes from what he called
a "vocal subgroup." Pizzo said the issues raised are under consideration
for a future release.
"While we certainly take them seriously and are planning on addressing
many of their concerns, specifically around persistence ignorance in the next
release, we have a large number of customers who see value in the Entity Framework
as it is in version 1," Pizzo said.
For his part, Tim Mallalieu, a Microsoft product manager, posted
a detailed response to the no-confidence vote in his blog.
Not surprisingly, the controversy has generated a lot of buzz. OakLeaf Systems
Principal Consultant Roger Jennings pointed
out in his own blog that this vocal group is spearheaded by NHibernate proponents.
Jennings pointed to a blog post by Ian Cooper, proponent of LINQ to SQL but an opponent to Entity Framework and a Microsoft MVP, who argued that this is history repeating itself
(see circa 2000 when complexities around Enterprise Java Beans surfaced).
"EJBs were an ambitious attempt to support persistence, transactions,
events, RPC, etc. in a single component," Cooper wrote
in his blog. "While there was an initial rush to adoption, they quickly
proved a millstone around the Java communities' neck, because of their complexity.
Technologies like Spring and Hibernate emerged as less complex ways of delivering
enterprise-class solutions. Many of them were later to be incorporated into
drastically revised EJB visions."
Cooper believes the .NET community can learn from that. "Ports of Hibernate
and Spring offered the community the chance to avoid the mistakes of the past,"
he added. "However, seemingly unaware of the lessons of history, the EF
team embarked on a project to produce a complex framework, of which persistence
is just one aspect, reminiscent of the EJB initiative."
Jennings described Cooper's assessment as a "level-headed critique of
the Entity Framework v1."
So what's your take on this? Will this affect the choices you make as you embark
on developing new data-driven apps using the Entity Framework and related technologies?
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/26/2008 at 1:15 PM