Is LINQ to SQL Dead?
Developers are reckoning with the fact that Microsoft's
LINQ to SQL data access protocol is getting short
shrift in Redmond these days as the company continues
to shore up its focus on the second version of
the ADO.NET Entity Framework.
Some would argue LINQ to SQL was DOA when it
arrived in the .NET 3.5 Framework just over a
year ago, but in Microsoft's recent messaging
it leaves little doubt that the company doesn't
have any major plans to further enhance LINQ to
SQL. For many, the blog post by Tim Mallalieu,
the program manager for both LINQ to SQL and the
Entity Framework during PDC sealed its fate.
"We're making significant investments in
the Entity Framework such that as of .NET 4.0
the Entity Framework will be our recommended data
access solution for LINQ to relational scenarios,"
wrote on Oct. 29. Two days later, as people
were returning home from PDC, he added: "We
will continue to make some investments in LINQ
to SQL based on customer feedback."
Many are saying that is code for LINQ to SQL
is finished. "It is dead as a door knob,"
said Stephen Forte, chief strategy officer at
Telerik Inc. and a Microsoft regional director,
speaking at a .NET User Group Meeting in New York
two weeks ago.
To put Forte's remarks in context, he was giving
a talk on the various data access alternatives,
including the Entity Framework, ADO.NET Data Services
with REST, and ASP.NET Dynamic Data, among others.
"In my opinion there is going to be a shakeout;
the first casualty will be LINQ to SQL,"
Forte told the group.
For his part, Mallalieu explains in his Oct.
31 post that Microsoft has been looking for ways
to migrate both LINQ to SQL and LINQ to Entities.
"At first glance one may assert that they
are differentiated technologies and can be evolved
separately," Mallalieu wrote at the time.
"The problem is that the intersection of
capabilities is already quite large and the
asks from users of each technology takes the products
on a rapid feature convergence path."
Andrew Brust, director of new technology at twentysix
New York, said given both are relatively new,
Microsoft's moves shouldn't prove disruptive to
most developers. "Both are new and neither
has gathered so much steam that the victorious
emergence of the other could be viewed as a huge
imposition," Brust writes in an e-mail. "To
me it's like Blu Ray winning out over HD DVD.
While people who bought HD DVD players and discs
are not happy about the outcome, they represent
a small group of early adopters, all of whom were
warned of and understood the risks in making an
Roger Jennings, principal of Oakland, Calif.-based
Oakleaf Systems, authored this month's Visual
Studio Magazine cover
story covering object/relational mapping using
LINQ to SQL. Jennings explains while Microsoft
may abandon any significant enhancements of LINQ
to SQL, it is forever part of the .NET 3.5 Framework,
and despite Microsoft's messaging on the next
version of the Entity Framework, many developers
may still be inclined to work with LINQ to SQL.
"LINQ to SQL is alive and well," Jennings
says. "They can't remove it because it's
part of the .NET 3.5 Framework."
Jennings believes many developers will continue
to use LINQ to SQL, given the direction Microsoft
is taking Entity Framework v2. He for one, laments
announcement last month that v2 won't support
Jennings says Microsoft appears to be backing
off on others features that were presumed to be
slated for EF version 2. In a blog
posting Tuesday, Microsoft explained how developers
should migrate stored procedures developed with
LINQ to SQL to EF using Visual Studio 10.
But, says Jennings, Microsoft made it less certain
than earlier messaging that it will make the EF
v2 cut. "What they are saying now is support
for stored procedures might be implemented in
EF v2, instead of will be," Jennings says.
"Basically what they are doing is back peddling
on their original commitment."
Jennings also pointed to the LINQ to SQL Designer,
which allows developers to map stored procedures
that return scalars. While acknowledging that
such automatic code-generation of methods is missing,
Microsoft is now saying "this is something
that is being strongly considered for the next
release of Entity Framework." Jennings said
it was presumed that would make the EF v2 release.
"That's called it's fallen off the list,"
Jennings says. "The upshot is it appears
the team is paring their list of what they are
going to implement in EFv2 form what the original
As a result, Jennings believes many developers
might still opt to use LINQ to SQL via a Visual
Studio add-in developed by Huagati Systems, based
in Bangkok, Thailand. Huagati's DBML/EDMX adds
menu options for synching LINQ to SQL designer
diagrams with changes in the database.
"It's ironic that a lone developer can provide
add-ins for features that the ADO.NET Entity Framework
v2 team aren't even proposing for their upgrade,"
What's your take on this? Drop me a line at email@example.com.
Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 12/04/2008 at 1:15 PM