Oracle has recently released Oracle Data Access Components (ODAC) 11.2 Rel 4 with support for Entity Framework 4.1 and 4.2. This will allow .NET developers working with Oracle database to work with a popular ORM and use LINQ to Entities for data access operations instead of hand-coding the SQL statements. However Code First and DBContext API are not supported in this release.
The dotNetMontreal community hosted a seminar by Julie Lerman on the Entity Framework Code First approach. Code First is essentially a new programming style for generating a database directly from code. Entity Framework enables developers to create data access applications by programming against a conceptual application model instead of programming directly against a relational storage schema.
The Code First approach means that the object model is created in code, and then the database structure is generated from that model. Code First Migrations allows developers to make changes to the database via code, many of which can be done automatically.
Microsoft announced the final release of Entity Framework (EF) 4.2. While this update only contains one bug fix, it's interesting in the context of Microsoft's adoption of semantic versioning, and their attempt to separate EF from the .NET Framework.
Second Level Caching is one of the features that is not present out-of-the-box in Entity Framework. In an MSDN article “Second-Level Caching in the Entity Framework and AppFabric” Julie Lerman shows how to implement Second Level Caching with Entity Framework to take advantage of caching services like Microsoft AppFabric.
Validation is an interesting feature introduced in Entity Framework 4.1. It enables to validate entities or their properties automatically before trying to save them to the database as well as “on demand” by using property annotations. There are also a lot of improvements made to Validation from CTP5 to RTW version of Entity Framework 4.1.