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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
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.

Background

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. I say quasi as MVC reference material is both detailed and practical.

So how could the EF book be improved? For my immediate quick start purposes, it would have been quite helpful if the EF material had been organized using the successive embellishment/reference section two-part model.

In summary, this book is a must have and is destined to become a trusty, dogged-eared volume on many prairie dog shelves. Best wishes on happy coding and natural light shining brightly on your p-dog cubicle.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2011
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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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2010
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. Entity Framework in its latest release becomes a powerhouse of data persistence and functionality, yet it remains rather hard to grasp from a development standpoint even with the massive convention over configuration initiative brilliantly implemented under the sheets. There is simply no way to master a technology until you get down to the nuts and bolts of it, and this is where Julie comes in. Julie makes it so easy as to be construed as simple (which it isn't.)

Thank you Microsoft and Julie Lerman!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2010
This 2nd Edition has been the best book on Entity Framework (EF) so far.

The book starts out in detail what EF is all about. Chapter 1 details what the technology is all about. It also gives overviews of technologies related to EF. I appreciated how the author updated this version and retracted what he called pain points from the 1st version of the book.

Chapters 2 - 8 go into detail about how to use EF. You learn what Entity Models are and how to query them. The author then teaches you how to leverage LINQ, specifically LINQ to Entities, to query the model. Next you learn about Entity SQL and how to query using it. As the book progresses you learn in Chapter 6 how to manage entity states and keep track of them. You learn about saving, inserting and deleting entities. In Chapter 7 the author show you how to use stored procedures with your Entity Model. By Chapter 8 you are implementing what the author calls "a More Real-World Model." He show you how to separate your EDM from your project so that it is more manageable.

In Chapter 9 you learn about data binding with Windows Forms and WPF Applications. Since I am not currently using these technologies I skipped on over to Chapter 11. In Chapter 11, the author shows you how to customize your entities using partial classes and partial methods. He also teaches you how to modify the code generation templates.

Chapter 13 does into creating and using POCO Entities.

Chapters 22 and 23 are a must read. Author shows you how to handle exceptions and how to plan for concurrency problems.

Finally in Chapter 27 you get to build two layered web applications using Web Forms and MVC.

Overall this book is a must have book that every developer should have in their library.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2010
I highly recommend this book to programmers both basic and advanced who uses the Entity Framework.

This book can be used as a learning book for someone who wants to learn about EF afresh or as a reference book for an advanced programmer. Even if you think you know everything to know about EF - you still want to read this book as it puts a better perspective on things you thought you know.

The book starts with the basic of EF and explains the difference between database schema and business schema and how the normalized tables of a database done by the database administrator may not be the same as your domain objects - and how EF helps you to fix that gap.

The book explains the Entity data model and the 2 way of querying it namely : LINQ to Entities and SQL Entity ( similar to T-SQL ). The later chapter covers both querying methods in detail. It also covers how to use the Stored Procedures with the EDM, data binding with Windows Forms and WPF application, EF object services like keep track of changes and relationship between objects, customizing entities, etc.

In short the author does a good job of covering all the topics related to EF in a nice way. Highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2010
From the table of contents I can see that this is a comprehensive attempt to teach the 2nd version of Microsoft's new Entity Framework. It appears that the author put a lot of time and thought into this book. That said, code samples are in C# and if you are a Visual Basic User, you will be in for a struggle. Also, the first chapter has a section indicating that many of the pain points of the Entity Framework have gone away. One problem mentioned that hasn't gone away is support for very large models. It would be nice to know what is meant by this before taking the time to learn a system that might not do the job. Quantifying "large" right away might help me determine the direction for me to take on my project. Maybe I should stick to traditional ADO.net for now. I would encourage the author to continue the series for what is certain to be another version of the Entity Framework. However, incorporating Visual Basic and quantifying issues that could make a critical difference in direction should be incorporated in the next version of "Programming Entity Framework".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2011
This is probably one of THE best technical books I've come across in recent years. It compares very favorably to the old UNIX/Internet related books O'Reilly started out with that were known for covering a subject both broadly and deeply. This has been my one and only reference for working with the Entity Framework and its answered pretty much every question I've had. It even has good coverage of under-the-hood and low level features which most books gloss over or skip entirely. I'm a software architect who has built ORM systems from scratch, Microsoft's Entity Framework is far from perfect but this book is about as good as one could possibly expect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2012
I have skimmed through this book. I will say for application developers(who are the target audience for Entity Framework), the best way to learn EF is to learn a few examples, with the help of MSDN and Googling, as most developers just need EF to substitute CRUD operations and leave the database design side to sql server and scripts. IMHO a 950-page book is a bit of an overkill. I'm actually amazed 950 page could be written on EF. In proportion, a book on ASP.NET has to at least 20,000 pages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2012
Never has an author so thoroughly covered a subject as Julie Lerman has this one. This book is still extremely relevant although to get the full benefit. I recommend the purchase of all three books (this, "Code First" and "DbContext"). This tomb of a book covers everything from a simple model, to RAD development, to transactions, to more complex n-layered applications.

I would say at the time of the writing of this book, it was an all inclusive look at Entity Framework, but this book was written before the release of Code First and DbContext. The later two books can and should be viewed as an addendum to this book. In short, if there is something that is not covered by one of these three books, EF does not do it.

Although I cannot say anything negative about this book, it has caused me extreme frustration in learning. This is due to the many ways in which Entity Framework can be used and in the ways that it cannot be used.

It should be known that there are many ways to define "entities" and it can be confusing at times to keep them straight. The original way of working with the designer (model first) was to have it create classes that derive from entity frameworks entity base. Then came along the ability to use T4 (*.tt) files to generate your files. You can even use your own POCOs, with or without proxies. Orthogonal to this, you could work with attached objects or detached objects and have the data context manage the change state of objects, or you can manage it yourself and update it when passing it back to the context. The point is, there are a lot of decisions to make when using Entity Framework and this can be frustrating, but this book does an excellent job of covering all of them.

Other reviewers complain that there is no quick-start guide in here. Well, that is not entirely true. The first few chapters get you up and running, unfortunately, data management quickly becomes extremely complicated and so did this book.

In short, get all three books. You will be glad that you did.

I hope that this helps.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2011
I initially tried to learn EF on my own using online tutorials and the MSDN forum. I realized very quickly that the tutorials were too superficial and I needed a strong foundation in EF before using it on production projects. This book provided all the foundation I needed to be able to quickly work with EF so that I could program against simple POCO's classes and let EF handle the communication with the backend. You can do this in such a way that you have complete separation of concerns so if you ever decide to switch from EF to another ORM product or ORM methodology -- your code remains unaffected. If you desire, you can control the interaction with the backend.

This book focuses on creating an EDMX model and working with that model and the XML behind the model. I, on the other hand, was interested only in Code First with and without existing databases (existing databases are 99% of my world). But the insight in how EF works made learning Code First a breeze. The book does have chapters that show you how to let EF to generate and work with POCO classes. However, I prefer to create my classes (domain model) myself.

In Code First, your POCO classes are the model. But whether you create an EDMX model or choose the Code First approach, once you compile and run the project everything that follows is exactly the same. It is important to learn the concepts in this book so you understand the implications of what you are doing and make the right choices in Code First.
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