4 November 2008 in General | Comments enabled

It appears, as it has always been expected, that LINQ-to-SQL is being put out to pasture and that Microsoft is now pushing LINQ-to-Entities as the database abstraction engine of choice. This is a great shame given that Entities, as it currently stands, is a long way off being a viable solution for many projects (for a good number of reasons you can find all over the internet).

Some of you will connect that dots and know that I’m a co-founder of Mindscape, developers of a .NET object relational mapping framework, LightSpeed and think that it’s only because of this that I would write something effectively touting the alternatives to Microsoft’s O/R Mapping offerings. The truth is, we have only seen a surge in sales from the release of Microsoft tools. Primarily I believe this is because developers tend to listen to what Microsoft tells them to use and then they start to explore other offerings in that domain – especially when they need more than Microsoft is providing.

Many choose Microsoft’s offering over ours is simply because of the reliability they have in Microsoft continuing to enhance their product line. Clearly this is not the case with LINQ-to-SQL and those people would have been better off working with a company that not only continues to enhance their products, but enhances them more regularly and offers much more in that product. I can completely understand Microsoft wanting to focus on just one framework – it does seem odd to develop competing products – but I feel it is premature to do this with LINQ-to-SQL given the situation with the EF and the desire for something nice and easy to use that just gets the job done.

Due to LINQ-to-SQL being part of the .NET framework, Microsoft are going to have to keep it on life-support for years to come. This doesn’t mean you should expect much more than bug fixes being added and, reading between the lines, DamienG’s blog (member of the LINQ-to-SQL team) appears to state that future feature enhancements will likely be provided by the community. The community has created some nice enhancements for LINQ-to-SQL to be sure, but this feels like those situations where you find a site by some guy who still thinks OS/2 is going to catch on any-day-now and continues trying to extend it himself to keep up with where the entire rest of the planet is going.

Coming back to LINQ-to-Entities, I have to add that while the current version has been widely panned by those who have used it, I do believe that future versions can only be an improvement. Microsoft has a long history of just continuing to improve a product no matter how poorly it starts its life until it gets to a state where it is fantastically successful. I also personally know a couple of people working on the future versions of the EF and have a world of respect for their understanding in this domain. I would simply implore Microsoft to cease making politically motivated decisions in this space and start doing what’s best for the developers and end users.

To read more about LINQ-to-SQL being put to sleep:

  • David Hayden – good summary of managing the market (I’d suggest LightSpeed though David!)
  • Ayende – Microsoft Kills LINQ-to-SQL

So where next? Well, you could continue to invest time and effort into LINQ-to-SQL until EF v2 is released and hope the issues with EF are resolved or you could roll over to the Mindscape site, check out our feature comparison, get the free version of LightSpeed and start experiencing the difference :)

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