LINQ to SQL resources

A quick round-up of some useful LINQ to SQL related resources that are available for developers. I’ve not used everything on this list myself so don’t take this as personal endorsement.

Templates

  • Entity Developer
    Add-in for Visual Studio that provides a replacement designer with code templates. Commercial ($99.95)
  • LLBLGen Pro
    This ORM templating and design tool has a set of LINQ to SQL templates available for generating C# code including file per entity that can be used in conjunction with their designer. Templates are free but require LLBLGen Pro licence (€179-249).
  • L2ST4
    My templates use Visual Studio’s built in T4 engine and provide a great starting point to customizing the code generation process. Everything that SQL Metal/LINQ to SQL designer can generate is handled including C# and VB.NET generation and are freely licensed under the MS-PL.
  • PLINQO
    These templates for Eric Smith’s ever-popular CodeSmith templating environment include a whole host of extra functionality beyond the standard generation including entity clone & detach, enum’s from tables, data annotations, batching, auditing and more. Templates are free but require CodeSmith licence ($79-$299).
  • T4 Toolbox
    Oleg Sych has put together a suite of useful T4 templates including ones for producing LINQ to SQL entities, data contexts as well as SQL scripts for altering the schema to reflect changes. C# only, MS-RL.

Note: While the T4 templating language is built-in to Visual Studio 2008/2010 it does not come with syntax highlighting or IntelliSense. Check out either:

  • Clarius Visual T4
    Basic ‘community’ version available for free, commercial ‘pro’ version with IntelliSense, sub-templates, preview, user preferences etc. is $99.
  • Tangible T4
    Free version available with limited IntelliSense, commercial ‘pro’ version with UML modelling etc. available for $99.

Blogs

  • David DeWinter
    David is a dev in test who recently joined our team and hit the ground running with testing, blogging and helping out on the forums.
  • Roger Jennings
    Roger over at OakLeaf Systems publishes regular articles and roundups of some of the best .NET data access content from around the web including LINQ to SQL.
  • Scott Guthrie
    Our Corporate Vice President for the .NET Developer Platform takes a very active role in getting his hands dirty and publishes a series of useful LINQ to SQL articles.
  • Sidar Ok
    Sidar is a regular forum helper and has written a number of great posts on LINQ to SQL including some good POCO coverage.

Tools

  • Devart dotConnect
    Devart’s dotConnect family are database providers for Oracle, MySQL, Postgres and SQLite that also include LINQ support to enable LINQ to SQL like functionality on other platforms. Some database basic versions are free, professional versions are commercial and vary in price (~$99-$209).
  • Hugati DBML/EDMX Tools
    Add-in for Visual Studio that provides comparison/update facilities between the database and the DBML as well as standardising names and generating interfaces. Commercial ($49-$119, free 30 day trial).
  • Hugati LINQ to SQL Profiler
    Profiling tool to help optimize your LINQ to SQL based applications. Commercial ($49-$119, free 45 day trial).
  • LINQpad
    This invaluable tool helps you write and visualise your LINQ queries in a test-bench without compilation and includes a version for the .NET 4.0 beta. Free to use, auto-completion add-on available ($19).
  • LINQ to SQL Cheat Sheet
    PDF download of the most popular query and update syntax for C# and VB.NET.

Official guides

  • Samples
    The official samples includes a whopping 101 snippets showing how to use many of the features and syntax.
  • Programming Guide
    Includes steps on how to get started, querying, making changes, debugging and background information.
  • Whitepaper
    Single document describing the architecture, query capabilities, change tracking and lifecycle, multi-tier entities, external mapping etc.
  • Changes in .NET 4.0
    List of the changes made to LINQ to SQL to .NET 4.0 including some possible breaking changes

Books

Support

  • Official MSDN forums
    Great way to get access to the product team directly as well as knowledgeable and experienced users if you have a question or a problem.
  • Official LINQ to SQL FAQ
    Coverage is a little thin on the ground but it has some useful tips.
  • StackOverflow’s LINQ to SQL tag
    StackOverflow has rapidly become a leader in questions and answers for a wide variety of developer topics and covers LINQ to SQL (which the site uses for it’s data access too!)

[)amien

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