Monday, June 30, 2014

Getting and building the Entity Framework 7 alpha bits – step by step

The Entity Framework version 7 bits are slowly coming together, for a demo of some features, look at the presentation by Rowan Miller from the Entity Framework Team at the recent dotNetConf.

This blog post will show you how to get the source code and build it on your own machine, in order to better understand EF 7, and maybe give it a early run. Keep in mind that a number of features are still broken/not implemented, keep an eye on the list:

There are instructions on Getting and Building the Code available on the EF7 Wiki:

But I have stumbled upon a few issues, that might also hit you.

1: Get the code

You can either do this as clone of the repository as stated in the link above, you you can simply download a .zip file via the Download .zip button on this page.

If you download a .zip, DO use a tool like 7Zip to unpack the file to a folder, do NOT use the built-in Windows zip extractor, in order to avoid files being marked as “Blocked”.

Either way, you will now have a folder called “EntityFramework” on your system, with contents like this:


2: Initialize

This will download all the required NuGet packages that EF7 depends on, and reference them from the projects.

Before you do this, launch Visual Studio 2013 and verify that:

You are running VS 2013 Update 2 (check Help, About):


In Package Manager Settings, check that the official NuGet feed is configured and enabled (the AspNetVNext feed is added by the build process)


Now launch a VS 2013 Developer Command Prompt as Administrator:


Now navigate to the “EntityFramework” folder and run:

build initialize

If the build initialize process succeeds, you will see this message:

Build succeeded.


If the message does not appear, double check the VS 2013 required settings.

3: Build and run tests

The next step will build the EntityFramework projects, and run all the tests in the solution. Before today, running unit tests were not possible on non-US systems, but I and MrJingle have had a few pull requests accepted to enable this (this, this and this).

Let me know if you encounter any related issues, and I will be happy to submit a pull request to get it fixed.

Again, from a VS 2013 Administrator command prompt, run:


If the build process succeeds, you will see this message:


4: Work in Visual Studio

You can of course also open the solution in Visual Studio and build there.

In order to run tests in Visual Studio, I found that the built-in Test Window did not detect any tests on my PC, but TestDriven.NET worked well.

You can now add some unit tests of your own in order to give EF7 a run!

Hope you manage to build, and good luck exploring the EF7 source.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

SQL Server Compact Toolbox 3.7.3 – Visual Guide of new features

After nearly 290.000 downloads, version 3.7.3 of my SQL Server Compact Toolbox extension for Visual Studio  “14”, 2013, 2012 and 2010 is now available for download. This blog post is a visual guide to the new features included in this release, many suggested by users of the tool via the CodePlex issue tracker.

New features

Export SQL Server database to SQLite script (beta)

This feature enables you to create a script of all tables and data in an existing SQL Server database, that can be run using the SQLite3.exe tool as described in my blog post here, allowing you to quickly migrate to SQLite, for example for use in Windows Store/Phone Apps.


“Set Password” option added to Maintenance menu

This feature enables you to set or change the password of an existing database.


Enable entry of multiline text in DataGridView

This feature allows you to enter multi line text in the data edit grid, by pressing Shift+Enter to get to a new line.

Support for VS “14” CTP

Support for VS “14” was actually already enabled, but there was a minor issue with registration of the simple DDEX providers, that has now been fixed.

UPDATE: Microsoft has blocked add-ins that claim to support VS 14 from VS 2013, so in the meantime you can download a build for VS “14” from here:



Bug Fixes

Result Grid column headers were displayed without the first _ (underscore) character if they had one


Download Count now fetched async, so the About dialog opens faster.


Add Column - defaults to Allow Null


"Migrate" and "Export" features broken for large databases with multiple script files



Thursday, June 5, 2014

Entity Framework 6 and SQL Server Compact (9) –SqlCeFunctions and DbFunctions

One of the major improvements to the SQL Server Compact Entity Framework provider in version 6 is the addition of the SqlCeFunctions class, and enhanced support for the so-called “canonical” database functions (DbFunctions/EntityFunctions).

Just to repeat, the SQL Server Compact providers are delivered in the EntityFramework.SqlServerCompact (for 4.0) and EntityFramework.SqlServerCompact.Legacy (for 3.5 SP2) NuGet packages.

The DbFunctions (previously named EntityFunctions) in the System.Data.Entity namespace define a set of (CLR) methods that expose conceptual model canonical functions in LINQ to Entities queries.

Before EF6.1, the SQL Server Compact provider only supported the functions defined for Entity Framework 1, not it supports all the functions listed here, except the following: Date/Time functions with micro and nanosecond precision (as only datetime exists as a data type in SQL Server Compact), StDev, StDevP, Var, VarP, Reverse, CurrentUtcDateTime, CurrentDateTimeOffset, GetTotalOffsetMinutes.

This means you can now have the SQL Compact engine excute LINQ to Entities expressions like String.Contains, String.EndsWith, String.Left etc.

The System.Data.Entity.SqlServerCompact.SqlCeFunctions class allows you to call database specific functions directly in LINQ to Entities queries, and the following functions have been implemented (for documentation of these, see the equivalent functions for SQL Server listed here):

String functions

Math functions

Date functions


So you can compose LINQ to Entities queries like:

var result = db.Album.Where(a => SqlCeFunctions.DataLength(a.Title) > 20).ToList();

And the resulting SQL will look like this:

    [Extent1].[AlbumId] AS [AlbumId],
    [Extent1].[Title] AS [Title],
    [Extent1].[ArtistId] AS [ArtistId]
    FROM [Album] AS [Extent1]
    WHERE (DATALENGTH([Extent1].[Title])) > 20