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Is Microsoft Making It Harder To Talk to Oracle Databases?

Microsoft's decision to remove the Oracle data provider from its ADO.NET roadmap has generated a lot of buzz, with some saying it was wise for Redmond to cut bait on it, and others wondering whether it's going to mean lots of code re-writing.

As reported yesterday, Microsoft is discontinuing its System.Data.OracleClient. Though it will be available in .NET Framework 4, it will be labeled as "deprecated."

That was disappointing news to Ayub Patel, a vice president and senior technical specialist at a major New York bank that has ASP.NET 2.0 applications that need to connect to Oracle databases. Patel wants to move to Entity Framework for the improved performance. "Entity Framework is more robust and its C# class-based. We want to leverage that part," he said. Using third-party tools is not an option, he added, so he will just wait until Oracle or Microsoft heed the call.

But it's at third parties that Microsoft is pointing to fill the gap for its now discontinued ADO.NET data provider for Oracle. Companies such as DataDirect Technologies and Devart (formerly known as Core Lab) offer such tools. In addition, Oracle's provider, called Oracle Data Provider for .NET (ODP.NET), is by many accounts better than Microsoft's System.Data.OracleClient.

"We already have Oracle Data Provider for .NET, which is much better than [the Microsoft] version," writes Ravi Santlani from Birmingham, U.K.

"Microsoft is dropping duplicated efforts to maintain a driver that Oracle already does better," adds Lynn Crumbling of Lancaster, Pa.

"ODP.NET provides more comprehensive support for Oracle and demonstrates a more subtle understanding of, and fidelity with, Oracles data types," notes Andrew Brust, chief of new technology at twentysix New York.

Brust adds that it all boils down to this: "If we could just keep Microsoft from churning its data APIs so much, we wouldn't have to keep repeating this cycle. The journey from ODBC to OLE DB to ADO.NET has taken us through several cycles of going from broad to sparse support for and by other databases. With the advent of LINQ and the Entity Framework, we are essentially going through yet another such cycle."

If you were among those who have used the System.Data.OracleClient or if you were hoping to use the Entity Framework to connect to Oracle, let me know how this impacts you and how you're going to move forward. Drop me a line at [email protected].

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 06/17/2009 at 1:15 PM

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