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Paperback: 920 pages
Publisher: O'Reilly Media; Second Edition edition (August 29, 2010)
Building Data Centric Apps with the ADO.NET Entity Framework 4
About the Author
Julia Lerman is the leading independent authority on the Entity Framework and has been using and teaching the technology since its inception in 2006. She is well known in the .NET community as a Microsoft MVP, ASPInsider, and INETA Speaker. Julia is a frequent presenter at technical conferences around the world and writes articles for many well-known technical publications including the Data Points column in MSDN Magazine.
Julia lives in Vermont with her husband, Rich, and gigantic dog, Sampson, where she runs the Vermont.NET User Group. You can read her blog at www.thedatafarm.com/blog and follow her on Twitter at julielerman.
First - go ahead and get this book. Second - Please let me refine an important point straight away. I would have liked Amazon to provide multiple categories for rating this book and many other books.
Perhaps this chart will help to clarify:
Reference Value = ***** Quick Start Value =** Organization=***.5 Depth=*****
My priority is Quick Start, hence the 3 star rating. Your mileage may vary.
Like Juval's WCF book, this EF book begins with well-organized introductory material, but later chapters contain a jumble of practical application techniques, deep dives into implementation details, anecdotes, and copious detail. By the time I reached the mid-point of the book, I was buried in detail without a practical understanding of how to approach the immediate modeling problem at hand. I am just now shifting my attention over to the APress EF recipes book to reset my learning effort. I plan on interleaving my study of these two EF books from this point forward. For example, while I start to run through a bunch of the hands-on material in the APress recipes book, I'll fast forward to later chapters of the Lerman book for material on N-Tier, MVC, and POCO.
What would be the best approach? Sanderson's MVC sets the benchmark as it is a perfect example of successive embellish. Success embellish begins with entry level material and builds one core concept upon another. Key material is methodically revealed from top to bottom and the final result is a solid understanding which enables application developers to tackle real-world problems. But it gets even better. The second half of the MVC book is a quasi-reference section that carves out each building block introduced in the first part of the book for detailed examination.Read more ›
It would be nice if there were multiple reviews available. If you're looking for an expert guide to every nut and bolt of the Entity Framework (EF) - I'm not sure this is the book.
If you're looking for a quickstart, I think this is a decent book. But, anybody can draw a model without a book. The challenge is DOING something with that model, and that takes a little more than a 1 page MSDN tutorial.
The challenge is that if you're going to talk about EF, there are hundreds of semi-directly related topics. LINQ, Entity Queries, WCF, WPF, Silverlight, MVC. There is no way any book could cover everything you can do with EF.
However, this book covers all the core topics very well. As someone relatively new to LINQ, WCF, and MVC, it was great. As someone who is familiar with databinding, but never really used it (because it's been mostly awful), it was nice to get into it.
So, 5 stars might be a little high, but this book did everything I wanted: 1. It gave enough detail to help me start reasonably quick. 2. It covered all the related technologies with enough depth that I don't have to buy a LINQ book, WPF book, etc, just to use EF.
So, if you're newer to the 2010 technologies, I think this is a great place to start.
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Prior to reading this book, I was not completely sold on Microsoft's Entity Framework. Version 1 of EF fell far short of other ORM methods such as LINQ to SQL in a number of areas, not the least of which was ease of use and overall querying capability. With the release of .NET 4.0 and the accompanying release of Entity Framework version 4, I (wrongfully) assumed that the pain points of EF in its first incarnation would continue to be so. I work with very complex financial data models and have yet to come across an ORM/RDMS that did what I needed out of the box so to speak. It was not until I took up reading Julie's book - "Programming Entity Framework 2nd Edition" that my eyes were opened.
Through a masterfully crafted text, one of the current data coding masters of .NET has laid out, from beginning to end, a way to realize those complex data models as usable objects to be programmed against. Even at just over 900 pages, you will find NONE of the typical "filler" tech garbage seen in many computer books today where they parrot information readily available freely from other sources just to increase page count. Within each chapter can be found numerous "ah ha!" moments wherein a conceptual theory actually becomes a practical application, usable in daily coding. This is how all computer books should be written - with actual complex, real world examples.
Microsoft has designated EF as their primary ORM for use with SQL Server and SQL Azure going forward which warrants its adoption and use by all RDMS data centric .NET developers.Read more ›
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This book is very disorganized and makes it nearly impossible for someone with no prior EF experience to learn it.
Another reviewer said it deserves a 5-star rating as a reference, initially i thought so as well, but after hitting a few technical errors and poorly explained concepts, I now think its value as a reference is maybe only 1 or 2 stars. Think about it: a reference is something you highly trust and holds answers to all basic definitions, but this book is neither.
1. It has way too many errors, just check its errata page on orelly.com and you'll be shocked. Contrast that with another Oreilly book "programming WCF services 3rd edition", authored by a real .NET authority, Juval Lowy. The difference in the amount of dedication to these two books really shows. Juval's WCF book is a classic and a great reference but this one is not. To those readers who gave it a 4 or 5-star rating, I wonder how they dealt with these errors, did they finished reading without noticing them or what?
2. It leaves lots of basics undefined and refers the reader to MSDN web site for reference. While some people might think this is to avoid repeating publicly available info, I believe it's because the author is incapable of distilling a large topic (LINQ + EF) into easily digestable chapters. Flip thru pages 231-236 of Chapter 10, and you'll see what I mean.
3. Regarding why I think it's a disorganized mess, one good evidence of that is the large number of forward references to topics in later chapters. Every 3-5 pages will see another paragrah stating "for more details on blah... please see Chapter N later". There is no good logical progression in the explanation of key topics.
Julia Lerman is the leading independent authority on the Entity Framework and has been using and teaching the technology since its inception in 2006. She is the author of the highly acclaimed book, Programming Entity Framework, 1st and 2nd editions and is well known in the .NET community as a Microsoft MVP, ASPInsider, and INETA Speaker. Julia is a frequent presenter at technical conferences around the world and writes articles for many well-known technical publications including the Data Points column in MSDN Magazine. Julia tweets at @julielerman and blogs at http://thedatafarm.com/blog.