Back to FAQs

ORM Designer for Entity Framework - Entity Developer Overview

Entity Developer is a powerful ORM designer for ADO.NET Entity Framework, NHibernate, LINQ to SQL, and LinqConnect. The tool supports Model-First and Database-First approaches and offers a number of benefits, not available in Visual Studio Entity Data Model designer or other ORM tools.

Entity Developer supports creating all kinds of mapping: mapping entity to several tables, table splitting, inheritance hierarchies, complex types, creating entities from queries and methods from SQL code, etc. Model editing is performed visually and, unlike EDM designer, does not require manual XML code editing even for complex mapping cases. Several entities having a common subset of properties can easily be converted to TPT or TPC inheritance hierarchies in our Entity Framework designer, or you can separate these properties to a complex type with the Model Refactoring wizard in few clicks.

Entity Developer offers powerful T4-like template-based code generation. It has a number of predefined templates that generate C# or Visual Basic code for the model, including templates with support for both persistence aware and persistence ignorant (POCO) entities, support for validation framework for entity property values validation, auxiliary templates generating MVC Controller and views, Data Transfer Objects with converter classes for entities, Data Annotations metadata classes, WCF RIA service and other features.

In addition to SqlClient, Entity Developer supports a number of third-party providers for different databases. You can see the list of the supported ADO.NET providers on the Compatibility page of Entity Developer.

When you design an ORM model in Entity Developer, you can view and edit data in the database tables or data returned by model entities, test your model with LINQ to Entities or Entity SQL queries. Your model is checked for errors asynchronously while you edit it, and all errors are immediately highlighted.

Entity Developer seamlessly integrates with Visual Studio and allows editing Entity Framework, NHibernate, or LINQ to SQL models as Visual Studio documents, in the same way as EDM designer models.

Update To Database and Update From Database wizards allow you to synchronize database with ORM model in any direction automatically, in case if one of them changed during development and you need to apply these changes to another one. When you update the database, Entity Developer tries to preserve its data, and when you update the model, our designer preserves manual changes to the model where possible. You can choose which changes must be applied, and which are skipped. Thus, you can use Model-First or Database-First approach to create your model, or even mix them, which makes Entity Developer one of the most convenient ORM tools for creating Entity Framework, NHibernate, or LINQ to SQL models.

This article series offers tutorials on creating an Entity Framework model using Database-First and Model-First approaches. In the first tutorial we will use Entity Developer as a separate application, and in the second tutorial we will use it as a Visual Studio add-in.

Visit next article to learn creating Entity Framework Model with Entity Developer using Database-First Approach