The Entity Framework has advanced significantly over the last few years. A little over a year ago we released EF 4.1, which introduced the new DbContext API and EF “Code First” support. Earlier this year we delivered EF 4.3, which provides Code First Migration support that enables developers to easily evolve database schema in a code optimized way. And we are now in the final stages of wrapping up the EF 5 release, which adds enum support, spatial data types, table-valued function support and some significant performance and Visual Studio Tooling improvements.
One of the things the team has done throughout the EF4 and EF5 development cycles has been to involve the community early as we make design decisions and solicit as much feedback as possible. Going forward with EF 6 we are looking to take this to the next level by moving to an open development model.
The Entity Framework source code is today being released under an open source license (Apache 2.0), and the code repository is now hosted on CodePlex (using Git) to further increase development transparency. This will enable everyone in the community to be able to engage and provide feedback on code checkins, bug fixes, new feature development and build and test the product on a daily basis using the most up to date version of the source code and tests. Community contributions will also be welcomed, so you can help shape and build Entity Framework into an even better product. You can find all the details on the Entity Framework CodePlex Site.
Last December the Windows Azure SDKs adopted this open development model, and in March of this year I blogged about how ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET Web API and ASP.NET Razor were also adopting this approach. These products have all found the open development approach to be a great way to build a tighter feedback loop with the community, and at the end of the day deliver even better products.
Very importantly – Microsoft will continue to ship official builds of Entity Framework as a fully supported Microsoft product both standalone as well as part of Visual Studio (the same as today). It will continue to be staffed by the same Microsoft developers that build it today, and will be supported through the same Microsoft support mechanisms. Our goal with today’s announcement is to increase the development feedback loop even more, allowing us to deliver an even better product.
The team is really excited to move to this more open development approach. You’ll see some exciting new features committed very soon.
Head over to the Entity Framework Codeplex Site to learn more and get involved. Also check out the EF 6 roadmap page on the CodePlex site for more details about features that will be coming in the next major release. And read about the new Microsoft Open Tech Hub and some of the process changes we are making to help enable this and other collaborations with the open source community.
Hope this helps,
P.S. In addition to blogging, I use Twitter to-do quick posts and share links. My Twitter handle is: @scottgu