Wise man or Wise guy? You Decide

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Linq and Linq To SQL

Posted by sqlwiseguy on April 25, 2008

There is an interesting discussion on SQL ServerCentral.com about Linq To SQL based on this editorial by Steve Jones. You will see the DBA’s perspective on such tools and, I think, some misunderstanding, particularly about Linq and even Linq To SQL. Linq stands for Language Integrated Query and Linq To SQL is just one implementation of Linq (go here for more Linq implementations), so please when discussing Linq be specific as Mike Taulty has asked in his blog as well.

Basically Linq allows you to access objects with a common syntax something like (in C#):

var query = from p in persons
where p.LastName == “Corbett”
orderby p.Age
select p

The great part is that persons is the object you are querying and it can be a class, a list, an array, a database query, etc… You can also have Linq query that joins objects which is a lot easier to read than nested loops to find matches.

Now back to Linq To SQL. As a hybrid DBA\Developer I see some good things about Linq To SQL, but I also know, as the “protector of data”, that having to allow table level access, which you need for Linq To SQL, opens some security holes. I like the way Linq To SQL builds my .NET objects, but wish it made using stored procedures for CRUD (create, update, delete) operations simpler or the default. Since it already has to build the SQL to do the operations, why not have it create a stored procedure? I think it could be an option when building the objects and the designer could ask you for a template for naming the stored procedures.

Also mentioned in the discussion is a mapping tool called iBatis.Net, which looks interesting and, I think has a nice implementation using XML files. It would be nice if MS incorporated something like that in Linq To SQL so you could more easily see, test, and tune SQL statement. Wouldn’t it be nice to have Linq To SQL build your objects with all of the method signatures and properties and an XML file that defines the SQL for each of the methods. If it did that, then you could just edit the XML to use stored procedures.

It’s important to remember that Linq (including Linq To SQL) is a 1.0 product and that there is definitely room for improvement and we can encourage it by letting MS know what we think the improvements can be.

Remember it is a tool and just like a hammer has certain things you use it for, the same can be said of Linq and Linq To SQL. Make sure it is the right tool for the job!

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