Chapter 27

LINQ to SQL

Probably the biggest and most exciting addition to the .NET Framework 3.5 is the addition of the .NET Language Integrated Query Framework (LINQ) into C# 2008. Basically, what LINQ provides is a lightweight façade over programmatic data integration. This is such a big deal because data is king.

Pretty much every application deals with data in some manner, whether that data comes from memory (in-memory data), databases, XML files, text files, or something else. Many developers find it very difficult to move from the strongly typed object-oriented world of C# to the data tier where objects are second-class citizens. The transition from the one world to the next was a kludge at best and was full of error-prone actions.

In C#, programming with objects means a wonderful strongly typed ability to work with code. You can navigate very easily through the namespaces, work with a debugger in the Visual Studio IDE, and more. However, when you have to access data, you will notice that things are dramatically different.

You end up in a world that is not strongly typed, where debugging is a pain or even non-existent, and you end up spending most of the time sending strings to the database as commands. As a developer, you also have to be aware of the underlying data and how it is structured or how all the data points relate.

Microsoft has provided LINQ as a lightweight façade that provides a strongly typed interface to the underlying data stores. LINQ provides the means ...

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