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EF Power Tools Bugs Fixed as Development Heads in New Direction

The Entity Framework Power Tools Beta 3 was released this week, but some data developers eager to get their hands on new features were disappointed to learn it mostly includes bug fixes because the product's functionality is shifting to the EF Designer in Visual Studio 2012.

With EF Power Tools, data developers get additional Visual Studio design-time tools for Entity Framework development.

The most important bug fix in Beta 3 is non-compatibility with Visual Studio 2012 Update 1. Several other issues were also addressed, but some developers wanted more.

"I was so happy when I saw the title ... but no new features," one reader commented.

Microsoft's Rowan Miller explained: "The reason we aren't adding a bunch of new features is that we're incorporating 'Reverse Engineer Code First' into the EF Designer workflow (which already has table selection, etc.)." He pointed to the Entity Framework CodePlex page for more information on that initiative.

In response to another reader, Miller expounded on his explanation:

When I say included as part of the EF Designer I really just mean that all the EF tooling (EF Designer, Reverse Engineer Code First, and the other Power Tools functionality) will be included in a single installer (which in turn is included 'in-the-box' in new versions of Visual Studio). We are going to use the same wizard that Database First uses for selecting tables etc. though.

The Beta 3 does add some context menu options to the "Entity Framework" sub-menu in Visual Studio. For example, you can right-click on a C# project for "Reverse Engineer Code First" functionality, which lets you generate Code First mappings for a database. "This option is useful if you want to use Code First to target an existing database as it takes care of a lot of the initial coding," Microsoft said.

Another project right-click option lets you add reverse engineering templates to your project.

You can also right-click on a code file that includes a derived DbContext class to display the entire Code First model in the EF designer, display Code First model Entity Data Model (EDMX) XML and generate pre-compiled views, along with other options.

And, instead of generating pre-compiled views, you can right-click on a EDMX file to generate views for a model created using the EF Designer.

Microsoft said that even though it won't be releasing a Power Tools RTM, it will continue Beta releases until the related functionality is incorporated into a pre-release version of the EF Designer.

What's your experience been when using EF Power Tools and the EF Designer? Please share your thoughts here or drop me a line.

Posted by David Ramel on 02/01/2013 at 1:15 PM


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