In This Chapter
Defining LINQ uses, benefits, and design goals
Considering the real world uses of LINQ
Defining declarative programming languages
Understanding the LINQ namespaces
The Language INtegrated Query (LINQ) feature of Visual Studio 2008 provides you with a new way to interact with data of all types. In fact, this new feature provides you with tools that make it easier to create queries using less code. The resulting queries are often easier to understand than other techniques for deriving information from both standard (think databases) nonstandard (think memory data structures) data sources. In addition, you gain a measure of flexibility that most developers associate with using a database, not lists provided internally as part of applications.
The easiest way to think of LINQ at the outset is as a means of looking for something — a specialized kind of search. Because most people are inundated with information today, providing a fast means of locating specific data is important. LINQ provides the means to perform a search without writing a lot of code. Everything is built in to the development environment so all you need to consider is what to find, not how to find it. Unlike other kinds of searches, however, LINQ provides the means to look inside data structures that you normally can't search, such as objects. It can also standardize the methods you use to perform searches within Web services. In short, LINQ
Provides access to a huge range ...