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Microsoft Releases New CTP for ADO.NET Entity Framework

Microsoft has released a new community technology preview of the ADO.NET Entity Framework, which allows coders to program against data defined in a conceptual fashion instead of directly interacting with information stored in traditional table-and-column fashion.

The CTP released this week includes a number of changes, among them tweaks to Object Services, Query, and the Entity Data Model Wizard in Visual Studio, according to Microsoft.

There is also a range of new features, including support for referential integrity constraints, better support for stored procedures, and native SQL read-only views.

There's one big caveat associated with the CTP, however. The only version of Visual Studio that can be used with it is Visual Web Developer Express, according to the ADO.NET team blog.

"This means that you will only be able to author Web sites in Visual Studio. Nothing prevents you from building console applications or WinForms applications outside of Visual Studio and building them with MSBuild and a .NET Framework compiler, but you will not be able to work on those project types inside Visual Web Developer Express," reads a posting on the blog.

The Entity Framework has had something of a bumpy existence so far. At first, Microsoft intended to release is as part of Visual Studio 2008, which is set for release later this year. But the company switched gears in late April and pulled it out of VS2008, saying a key component named the Entity Data Model Designer was behind schedule. Microsoft has said this will be offered as an extension to VS2008.

Along with Microsoft's Language Integrated Query (LINQ) -- which allows developers to query various types of data sources from within VB.NET and C# -- the Entity Framework is set to be a key tool for working with the upcoming SQL Server 2008.

The ADO.NET CTP is available for download here.

About the Author

Chris Kanaracus is the news editor for Redmond Developer News.

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