Entity Framework ”reboot” – EF7 – Get a sneak peek via TechEd US live stream

The next version of Entity Framework has just been named “EF7” (code name EF EveryWhere). Before the presentation, which will be streamed live on Channel 9 during TechEd US on Wednesday May 14 at 1:30 PM CDT (Houston, Texas), allow me to summarize what we know so far about the next version of Entity Framework.

The Entity Framework team has already published some thoughts about the new Framework here, and based on this and other sources, we can summarize the following (some or maybe most of which is me guessing, of course):

– A completely new codebase, will not be based on the 1 million+ line codebase of EF6

– Will be open source, and accept pull requests and other community feedback

– Will support Windows Phone, Windows Store, Windows Desktop/Server/Cloud, and also support Mono/Xamarin platforms

– Will be based on a provider model, so SQL and NoSQL data sources can “plug in”. Will initially support SQLite on Phone and Store apps. Will also support SQL Server and Azure Table Storage

– Will only include a productive subset of the current, huge API – Code First Mappings, DbContext, POCO classes, and less mapping schemes. So current investments in DbContext, Code First/Second and POCO will be forward reusable.

– Will not contain ObjectContext, Entity SQL, EntityConnection, EntityCommand etc. Phew.

Sounds ambitious and great to me. Can’t wait to see some code and start playing!

UPDATE: The source code is now available on Github as part of ASP.NET vNext. And Rowan Miller, Program Manager on the EF team speaks about and demonstrates EF7 in this TechEd session available online.

An alternative to Merge Replication with SQL Server and SQL Server Compact – Zumero for SQL Server

While looking for a migration path for a customer currently using Merge Replication with SQL Server and Windows Mobile, I came across the recently released solution from Zumero, Zumero for SQL Server. As mentioned in my previous blog post, Merge Replication between SQL Server Compact and SQL Server 2014 is no longer possible, and in addition, SQL Server Compact 3.5 SP2 only supports a limited number of client platforms (Windows Mobile/CE and Windows desktop). Microsoft is promoting Azure Mobile Services with Offline support, but for obvious reasons, this solution does not work for on premise databases.

Zumero for SQL Server enables you to synchronize any mobile device with tables on a central SQL Server, using essentially the same components that we know from Merge Replication:

1: Configuration of tables to be synchronized, and added metadata/tracking to those. Before: Using SQL Server Management Studio to create a Merge Publication with articles (tables)
Now: Using ZSS Manager to create a DBFile with Tables

2: An IIS based agent, that exposes a http(s) endpoint for performing the sync process.
Before: Configure Web Synchronization Wizard
Now: ZSS Server

3: Client library for performing sync.
Before: System.Data.SqlServerCe.SqlCeReplication class, part of the SQL Server Compact ADO.NET provider
Now: Zumero Client SDK and SQLite.

using Zumero;

ZumeroClient.Sync(
"/path/to/sqlite.db", // full path to local db file
null,
"http://MY_ZUMERO_SERVER:8080",
"test", // remote DBFile name
null,
null,
null);

To get started testing out Zumero, simply follow the instructions here: http://zumero.com/get-started/ or start by watching the short, introductory videos here: http://zumero.com/howto/

Notice that Zumero works with any edition of SQL Server 2008 R2 Express or higher/later. Zumero Server is not free, but works with the free SQL Server Express for small scale solutions.

On the client side, the following impressive list client Operating Systems are supported:

Android (native and PhoneGap)
iOS (native and PhoneGap)
Xamarin
Windows, WinRT and Windows Phone 8
Mac OS X
Linux (Ubuntu 12.04+, Fedora 17+)

In my next blog post, I will be doing an interview:  “Hard Talk” with Eric Sink, Zumero founder.

Disclaimer: I am simply a Zumero user, and not affiliated in any way.

SQL Server Compact breaks when upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1

Symptoms

1: The SQL Server Compact Toolbox now longer works after upgrading to Windows 8.1

2: Entity Framework based SQL Server Compact solutions no longer work after upgrading to Windows 8.1

Issue

When upgrading a machine that already has SQL Server Compact 3.5 SP2 and/or 4.0 installed, the DbProvider registration, which is stored in machine.config is broken, probably due to the fact, that a newer version of .NET Framework is installed (version 4.5.1) which simply overwrites the existing maching.config file. Both the SQL Server Compact Toolbox and Entity Framework depend on this registration.

Fix

The fix is to repair/re-install SQL Server Compact 3.5 SP2 and/or 4.0 SP1, both versions are fully supported on Windows 8.1/Windows Server 2012 R2.

You can download 3.5 SP2 from here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=5783

You can download 4.0 SP1 from here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30709