Microsoft today released multiple highly anticipated products: Windows 8 Consumer preview, Windows Server 8 Beta, .NET Framework 4.5 Beta, Visual Studio 11 Beta, Visual Studio 11 Team Foundation Server Beta and several related applications, tools or toolkits. If you work with Microsoft technologies and want to check what's new, it is the best time to download this stuff and install some virtual machine for exploration of new features, tools and APIs.
.NET Framework 4.5 also contains a new version of Entity Framework Core libraries (ObjectContext API). This new version contains all features previewed in Entity Framework June 2011 CTP = enums, spatial types, mapped table valued functions and other features are finally here. The new Entity Designer presented in June 2011 CTP is direct part of Visual Studio 11. Together with this release ADO.NET team released Entity Framework 5.0 Beta (DbContext API) which is able to use new features from Entity Framework Core libraries. Some features are still available only when used with database first approach (EDMX) - for example mapped table valued function but features like enums, spatial types, auto-compiled LINQ queries or performance improvements are available for code first as well.
Do you remember Entity framework June 2011 CTP with all that nice features? This CTP was initially released as first try for out-of-band (independently on .NET Framework) release of core .NET library - System.Data.Entity.dll. The out-of-band release caused some issues because we had to use separate .NET target for using it and it makes incompatible with other tools and features. Last week ADO.NET team announced that they will not be able to release core functionality out-of-band. It means that all changes and major features / improvements can be released only with a new .NET framework version. The team also announced that we can expect features from June 2011 CTP in upcoming .NET Framework 4.5. What does it mean? .NET Framework 4.5 should contain new version of Core Entity framework libraries (that is the new name for ObjectContext API and Entity framework core features). The rest of this article describes all changes related to upcoming release including new features, missing features and relation to DbContext API.
I didn't write almost any article during past three months because I decided to pass several Microsoft certifications and I spend most of my free time be preparing for required exams. Two exams I definitely wanted to pass were:
Well, I passed those exams but I really didn't enjoy the experience. Especially the second exam is probably the worst one I have ever taken. In the rest of the article I will describe some of my opinion about these exams. Be aware that if you are looking for exam questions you will not find them here and I'm not going to share any detailed content of them.