Anyone who has spent more than a few hours in front of late-night TV has seen
the unintentionally funny commercial for the Hair Club for Men. You know, the
one where the company president proudly announces: "I'm not just the president,
I'm also a client."
Well, Paul Kimmel, longtime enterprise application developer and author of
the new book LINQ
Unleashed for C# (Sams Publishing, 2008), has had a hair club moment
of his own. Only in Kimmel's case, it's over the Language Integrated Query (LINQ)
data access technology introduced as part of .NET Framework 3.5 and Visual Studio
Kimmel, you see, was more than a little skeptical about LINQ when he first
heard of the technology. To his mind, LINQ couldn't fix what was already wrong
with SQL, which he felt lacked the simplicity and consistency of natively object-oriented
code. But when he set to work to write LINQ Unleashed for C# (in part,
he said, to get a "continuing education"), something funny happened.
"I just decided to give LINQ a second look, and as I started to explore
and use it, I realized it was a well-conceived extension of the architecture
and tightly integrated," Kimmel said. "They really didn't just glom
this on here. It was really an evolutionary progression of features and capabilities."
Today, Kimmel is using LINQ in a limited fashion in some of his enterprise
development projects for Electronic Data Systems (EDS). But he expects that
we'll all be seeing a lot of LINQ in the future. The benefits, he said, are
just too great to ignore, especially when developers are struggling with so
many different data access approaches.
"Once you know how to do a left join or how to use aggregation or something
like that, it is pretty much the same, regardless of the technology you are
hitting," he said. "That homogenization of knowledge, where I have
to learn one set of grammar for all these different technologies, is a tremendous
lever for what I need to learn to be productive in the enterprise."
Kimmel said it will be some time before LINQ gains widespread adoption. After
all, the industry is still waiting for LINQ to Entities to emerge in its final
form. But Kimmel thinks the technology could help attract developers to .NET.
"The LINQ technology has so many useful tools surrounding it that most
developers are going to be interested, and it may be the thing that moves the
VB6 guys to .NET," Kimmel said, noting: "Nothing is going to get the
FoxPro folks out."
Are you a LINQ skeptic, and if so, why? E-mail me at email@example.com
and let me know what you think is wrong -- or right -- about LINQ.
Posted by Michael Desmond on 07/31/2008 at 1:15 PM