What you will learn in this course

This course will teach you to exploit the full capabilities of Microsoft's open source platform for universal data access: Entity Framework 6.

The Entity Framework provides a conceptual model that more closely resembles entities and relationships in the real world and includes an industrial-strength ORM (Object-Relational Mapping) tool that allows you connect to almost any backend database.

In this course we will cover many of the features in Entity Framework that enable you to build service-oriented, n-tier applications using test-driven methodologies with robust architectural design patterns.

You'll get answers to these questions:

  • When should I use LINQ to Entities to instead of "classic" ADO.NET?
  • How can I use stored procedures with the Entity Framework to retrieve and update relational data?
  • How can I create and consume data from the Internet cloud using REST-ful data services?
  • How do I build real-world n-tier applications using LINQ and the Entity Framework?
  • Can I reverse-engineer an existing database?
  • Should I use Code First, Model First, or Database First?
  • Can asyncronity be used to improve client responsiveness and server scalability when handling long-running, network or IO-bound tasks?

Course highlights

In this course, you learn to:

  • Leverage features of C#, including extension methods and lambda expressions
  • Use LINQ to filter, sort, and group in-memory collections of objects
  • Use PLINQ to perform queries in parallel
  • Write LINQ to XML queries to search XML documents and save them to the file system
  • Create LINQ to Entities queries to execute queries and perform updates in real-world database applications
  • Build a rich conceptual entity model using the EF and visually map it to a database schema
  • Use Async query and save to improve client responsiveness and server scalability
  • Learn how to implement Repository and Unit of Work design patterns with EF
  • Detect and resolve concurrency conflicts with LINQ to Entities
  • Choose the best strategy for loading related entities (eager, explicit or on-demand)
  • Expose data to web clients as REST-based services that can pass though firewalls
  • Build a real-world n-tier application using WCF and LINQ to Entities

Course outline and topics

Overview

In 2008 Microsoft released LINQ (Language Integrated Query), a powerful API and set of language extensions for querying and manipulating data, whether it resides in a database, an XML document or an in-memory collection. Entity Framework 6 , an open source project licensed under Apache License, is an enterprise-level object-relational mapping technology that allows you to build a conceptual object model over any backend database - not just SQL Server.

This course will teach you to exploit the full capabilities of Microsoft's platform for universal data access. You will learn to build real-world n-tier applications using test-driven methodologies and flexible architectural design patterns. You will also learn to employ WCF Data Services to integrate data from the Internet cloud.

Functional Programming in C#

The C# programming language has evolved to include concepts borrowed from the world of functional programming. This session will start with a look at iterators and anonymous methods, which were introduced in C# 2.0 and lay the groundwork for adding functional capabilities to your code. You'll also learn new features that make functional programming a first class citizen of C#: anonymous types, extension methods and lambda expressions.

LINQ to Objects

Language Integrated Query (LINQ) is a core feature of the .NET Framework and makes query data a first-class feature of the C# programming language. Now we can group, sort, and filter in-memory collections of objects. With SQL-like syntax (from, where, select, orderby, group by, etc), we can leverage an assortment of query operators to perform join, partition, conversion, and aggregation operations. With Parallel Language Integrated Query (PLINQ) we can take advantage of multi-processor computers and the newer wave of multi-core processors

LINQ to XML

LINQ to XML provides an easy-to-use API for both reading and writing XML files. It's the successor to the DOM and XPath for navigating and searching XML documents. LINQ to XML offers an approach to XML queries that is element-centric and makes managing namespaces more straightforward. At the same time, it provides a way to perform serialization of objects to and from XML, while supplying a bridge to legacy API's, such as XPath and XSLT.

Entity Framework Architecture

Entity Framework represents a stable, mature, and now open-source platform for representing relational data in a way that more closely resembles the real world. There is a built-in object-relational mapper, with a Visual Studio designer and support for stored procedures. You can stream data with a reader and dynamic SQL, perform batch updates, or use LINQ to generate entities that can be updated with changes persisted to the database.

POCO and Visual Studio Designer Support in the Entity Framework

We'll take a deep dive into support for POCO's (Plain Old CLR Objects) in the Entity Framework . You'll also learn now to exploit customizable code-generation templates using the T4 technology built into Visual Studio. The Entity Framework also provides options for eager, explicit and lazy loading of related entities, as well as deferred versus real-time change-tracking. You'll learn strategies for selecting which approach is best for your application.

Design Patterns

Application maintainability needs to be part of the design process from the beginning, which is why it pays to consider common design patterns for data-centric applications. We will examine how to use various design patterns (DDD), such as Repository, Unit of Work, and Facade.

Code-First

"Code-First" describes an approach to developing applications with Entity Framework where the entity model is inferred by the runtime based on class definitions. No need to create (or maintain) a model using the designer. By default, EF code-first supports a "convention over configuration" approach that enables you to rely on common mapping conventions instead of having to explicitly configure mappings. But if you have an existing database and need to specify mappings, you can either place "data annotations" attributes on entity classes or use a fluent API.

LINQ to Entities

LINQ to Entities combines the flexibility of the Entity Framework with the power of language-integrated query, providing compile-time type-safety and syntax-checking. We will also cover additional functions and operators for LINQ queries available with EF, including the scalar and table-valued functions, and the ability to execute "pass-through" queries and commands directly against the database.

Concurrency and Stored Procedures

Here you'll learn how to control concurrency and resolve conflicts among multiple users. We'll also cover improved support for stored procedures and when to use stored procedures versus dynamic queries. You'll learn how to configure an entity data model to use stored procedures for CRUD (Create, Retrieve, Update, Delete) operation and mappings needed to manage conflicts.

Managing Connections and Transactions

In this session we'll focus on how to make EF applications production-ready. We'll discuss managing database connections and how to use transactions effectively, including setting the isolation level and when to use local versus distributed transactions.

Mapping Scenarios

The Entity Framework provides a great deal of flexibility for mapping entities to database tables. Here you'll learn how to customize the EF mapping files to split a table into different entities and select alternatives for object inheritance in the database, including table-per-hierarchy, table-per-type and table-per-concrete-type. You'll also learn how to take advantage of improvements in the EDM design tools that ship with Visual Studio.

N-Tier Applications

In this module we will discuss best practices for WCF and Web API service-oriented applications and when it is appropriate to use custom DTO's (Data Transfer Objects). We will also cover the motivation for HTTP oriented services as an alternative to SOAP-based services. We'll examine the major tenets including the importance of URIs, HTTP methods and status codes, content negotiation and hypermedia. We'll conclude with the new client-side programming model for HTTP services with the HttpClient API

Introduction to WCF Data Services

WCF Data Services combines patterns and libraries that enable any data store to be exposed as a flexible data service. These data services integrate naturally with the Web and can be consumed by Web clients within a corporate network or across the Internet. In this module you'll learn to expose data to web clients as REST-ful resources, addressable with URIs that clients can interact with using standard HTTP verbs, such as GET and POST.

WCF Data Services Advanced Features

WCF Data Services also has a number of advanced features, which allow you to control things like how query results are merged into previously cached objects, eager-loading related entities, and performing projections using a select statement. In this session you will learn how to leverage these features for more fine-grained control and to create query interceptors which allow you to perform logging, validation, and authorization. You will also learn how to manage concurrency and expose custom data sources.

Appendices

Custom LINQ Providers

LINQ can be used to query almost any conceivable data source. All that's needed is a way to translate a query expression into some other form, such as SQL statements or even web service operations. Here you'll learn here how to map LINQ expression trees to data source specific queries in order to add a LINQ facade to just any AP