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Just started working with the Entity Designer Database Generation Power Pack and I must say it is a very solid first offering. Model first design is something new in EF4/VS 2010 and it's great to see a tool available that has evolved alongside VS 2010.

I was very happy to see that it comes with the ability to synchronize with a database project right out of the box. In my opinion, this is the most valuable feature. In the past, the actual production database was considered to be the "truth". As our tools have evolved, this has shifted to where the model, however stored, is the "truth".

The conceptual entity model that you create is an abstraction over the actual physical storage of the data. As such, there is no way to model such things as indexes, UDFs, permissions, users, and other strictly database level objects nor should there be. We do not have the whole truth and nothing but the truth (couldn't resist that one) if we rely solely on our conceptual model. Tracking these additional types of objects is the domain of the database and server projects in Visual Studio.

This is the reason I feel that the database project synchronization is such an important feature. We can model our conceptual entities in the EF designer and then synchronize those entities with the rest of the database objects and then keep the whole thing in source control to protect the truth.

I have only one issue at the moment and that is the use of the Entity Set name when generating the SSDL and DDL for the database.  Database entities should have singular names and by using the entity set name they become pluralized.  If fact, due to the logic built into the designer that automatically pluralizes entity set names you get some interesting outcomes such as a Person entity becoming a People table.

Overall, this is an excellent V1 product and I look forward to its enhancement.

Just because I can…

posted on Friday, July 2, 2010 3:19 PM