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|title: The Entity Framework - don't get fooled in what is wrong about it|
|<p><em>[edit: modified text slightly to more accurately reflect my point and remove references to Julia being fooled, which apparently has been interpreted as Julia being a fool. Apologies.]</em></p> <p>I'm off to bed, but thought I'd end up the day on a note. There are many flaws in the programming model adopted by the Entity Framework and they've been documented enough. But this is not what makes me cringe the most.</p> <p>The Entity Framework team responds to the vote of no confidence by proposing fixes to programming issues in v2, talks of openness in the design of the next version, and <a href="http://web.archive.org/web/20080830030455/http://www.thedatafarm.com/blog/2008/06/26/SoNowImAFool.aspx">have got people thinking</a> that we object with the programming model. They even suggest that <a href="http://blogs.msdn.com/dinesh.kulkarni/archive/2008/06/24/design-of-linq-to-sql-and-core-linq-what-were-we-thinking.aspx">it's alright for Microsoft to deliver</a> a tool that violates best practices established by people that built real systems.</p> <p><em>[edit: I don't believe this is done with malicious intent, but I do believe there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the arguments that have been put forward, both by the EF team and their supporters and by the signatories of the letter]</em></p> <p>The idea that a <em>conceptual</em> model can represent everything for everyone through designer-generated angle-bracket files is the issue. The fundamental of selling your product as one model crossing tiers and being standardized to all is a sweet dream that will end up biting anyone getting in contact with such a system. When Microsoft says <em>transparently</em>, I hear <em>painfully</em>.</p> <p>The EF team explain how to fix the syntactic sugar without addressing the elephant flaw in the model is equivalent to telling people disagreeing with the <em>one conceptual model to rule them all</em> that they're just nitpicking over syntax. It's quite amazing that the people voicing their anxiety at the ripple-effect of introducing EF are being discarded as a small minority of weirdos that shouldn't complain because <em>their</em> way is not being adopted until v2. The reality is that a majority of those people are leading the industry in interesting directions discovered through experience and reflection, and their ripple effect is wide. . There is no wonder why TDD and BDD (and DDD and DDDD and all those acronyms I hate so much because of their opacity) all started with a couple of people, not with a couple of tools and designers.</p> <p>Microsoft has a responsibility, because of its size, to not screw the people that are trying to promote a better craft. When those people react to a technology like they have with the Entity Framework, they should be listened to, because by delivering yet another monster (sharepoint anyone?), Microsoft may generate business but in the process degrade the overall quality of their development ecosphere. In the long term that may just end-up killing them, as the market will decide on better, simpler and more efficient tools. It's the law of two feets. But this movement takes years and impacts everyone that has to maintain a system.</p> <p>As for Entities, they exist as several transpositions adapted to not only the programming model but also the context in which you use them. My notion of a user and your notion of a user only share a couple of trivial rules. If you ever, ever try to come up with one model that covers everything, you'll be too flexible or not enough, and your project, and the projects depending on your project, will fail. Full stop. It's been tried and tested. It is wrong. Like putting mustard in your corn flakes.</p> <p>[<em>updated for clarity and minor adjustments]</em></p>|