D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Are Datasets Bound For Extinction?

Monday, March 3, 2008 2:43 AM

I'm working late on a project tonight where I'm implementing a MVC pattern into a non-MVC ASP.NET application. The original application was done in .NET 1.1 and relied heavily on a dataset for accessing the database. A thought occurred to me...

Are datasets bound for extinction? Think about it...

.NET 1 and 1.1

.NET is released upon the world, and the biggest shift in Microsoft development begins. There are a *tonne* of VB 6.0 devs who are chomping at the bit to try the new fully OO language features, but there's one problem: working in VB 6.0 you don't *know* how fully OO features benefit you. Knowing that most VB 6.0 devs will understand the Recordset concept, Datasets are pushed as excellent ways to interface with a datastore and manipulate data in your applications.

.NET 2.0 and 3.0

The next version of the framework is released, along with a key feature in the evolution of .NET: Generics. Now instead of having to write your own wrapper classes around ArrayList objects you can create strongly typed collections as easily as you could...well...load a dataset from a data adapter. During this period we notice that Datasets are becoming less and less discussed in development circles.

.NET 3.5

If there was one term that we could brand along with .NET 3.5 it would be (arguably, I admit) ORM. Microsoft's Entity Framework, SubSonic's imminent assimilation into the MVC framework, and the rise of the Alt.NET movement and advanced development practices have pushed .NET development closer to its full maturity. But here's the thing...look at all the example articles out there, look at where the Microsoft focus is, and read blogs of people like JP Boodhoo, Donald Belcham, and others...there's *no* mention of Datasets anywhere...nadda...zilch. And what we do hear more of is LINQ...LINQ to SQL, LINQ to Entities, etc.

So is it safe to say that datasets have served their purpose in helping bridge the VB 6.0 developers into the .NET fold where now they're fully entrenched in OO development? In my own development I would say "yes", but what do you think? Are you still relying on the bulky, clunky datset for your data access?

D




Feedback

# re: Are Datasets Bound For Extinction?

It's hard to say because I think this falls into the category of "preaching to the choir". I was a proponent up until more recently than I should probably admit. And outside our little alt.net circle, I have a feeling they run rampant. 3/4/2008 10:45 AM | Kyle Baley

# re: Are Datasets Bound For Extinction?

No.DataSets are Reincarnated in Visual Stidio 2008. It is realy cool now. See below links.

http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/vbasic/cc138242.aspx?wt.slv=topsectionsee

http://blogs.msdn.com/bethmassi/archive/2008/04/12/linq-to-sql-n-tier-smart-client.aspx
4/19/2008 10:42 PM | A.B Bush

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