Author: Scott Klein
Publisher: Apress, 2010
Aimed at: Database developers
Pros: Takes a step-by-step approach
Cons: Book's format lets it down; short on explanation
Reviewed by: Alex Armstrong
Although this is supposed to be a Pro book it seems to be better suited to the beginner. The big problem is that Entity Framework is a tough subject and the very appearance of this book does little to make it seem easier. The font is very small and the lines on the page are very long. It just isn't easy to read physically.
Chapter 1 introduces the Framework - why you need it etc. It really doesn't do the subject justice and quite quickly ends up resorting to bulletpoint lists. Chapter 2 is better and deals with creating an Entity Data Model. It is basically a walk through on how to use the designer. There are lots of screen dumps and this reduces the amount of information on the page. It still doesn't look easy to read however.
Chapter 3 is entitled "The Entity Data Model Inside Out" and it is more of the same. Lots of screen dumps and a steady progress though a small example. Chapter 4 moves on to querying the EDM, Chapter 5 is on working with entities; Chapter 6 introduces stored procedures, Chapter 7 is on relationships and associations, Chapter 8 on T4 code generation, Chapter 9 on model-first development, then code only development. The last few chapters deal with bigger topics: N-tier development using WCF, tuning and databinding.
This is a beginner's book and it takes a step-by-step approach that closely follows the documentation. While there are explanations of the principles they are well hidden within the step-by-step. You have to work hard to separate the two. When you do get to the explanation it can often be difficult to follow what the author is trying to say. There were occasions when even though I knew what the discussion was about I managed to lose the meaning and had to re-read.
If you just want a step-by-step approach that is fairly light on ideas and motivation then this might be a way of getting into EF, mostly from the database angle. If however you are an experienced C# programmer and have tried out the Designer and know more or less what the EF is trying to achieve then you can skip this book.