Republished with Permission - Original
.NET 4 ships with a much improved version of Entity
Framework (EF) – a data access library that lives in the System.Data.Entity
When Entity Framework was first introduced with .NET 3.5
SP1, developers provided a lot of feedback on things they thought were
incomplete with that first release. The SQL team did a good job of
listening to this feedback, and really focused the EF that ships with .NET 4 on
Some of the big improvements in EF4 include:
POCO Support: You can now define entities without requiring
base classes or data persistence attributes.
Lazy Loading Support: You can now load sub-objects of a
model on demand instead of loading them up front.
N-Tier Support and Self-Tracking Entities: Handle scenarios
where entities flow across tiers or stateless web calls.
Better SQL Generation and SPROC support: EF4 executes better
SQL, and includes better integration with SPROCs
Automatic Pluralization Support: EF4 includes automatic
pluralization support of tables (e.g. Categories->Category).
Improved Testability: EF4’s object context can now be more
easily faked using interfaces.
Improved LINQ Operator Support: EF4 now offers full support
for LINQ operators.
Visual Studio 2010 also includes much richer EF designer and
tooling support. The EF designer in VS 2010 supports both a “database first”
development style – where you construct your model layer on a design surface
from an existing database. It also supports a “model first” development
style – where you first define your model layer using the design surface, and
can then use it to generate database schema from it.