New Releases of Entity Framework Include First Look at EF 5
This week's Visual Studio 11 Beta release was quickly followed by the new Entity Framework (EF) 5 Beta 1, which has been awaiting several features only supported in .NET Framework 4.5. Microsoft also announced the release of EF 4.3.1, which includes fixes to the recent release that introduced Code First Migrations.
Entity Framework's most frequently requested feature, Enum support, is available in EF 5. Other additions include Table-Valued Functions and the Spatial datatype. (These three items are dependent on functionality introduced in .NET Framework 4.5). Microsoft says that the changes they made to enhance overall performance, such as auto-compilation of LINQ-to-Entities queries, are also in this release.
Since Visual Studio 11 Beta uses LocalDB instead of SQLEXPRESS, the EF 5 installer will check to see which database is in use, and configure that as the default server. LocalDB is the default unless SQLEXPRESS is running during installation. There are a few enhancements to the Entity Model Designer in Visual Studio 11 as well, such as the addition of multi-diagram models.
EF 4.3.1 is a full release that includes several fixes and improved error reporting. Like EF 5, it also now supports LocalDB as well as SQLEXPRESS.
Have you had a chance to try out EF 5? Please let us know in the comments.