Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Updating a Linq to SQL dbml file

As you probably know Microsoft started its journey in ORM land with 2 frameworks: Linq to SQL, a lightweight ORM with some nice features and good performance but tightly coupled to SQL Server and Entity Framework which started as an ugly beast but is now transformed into a good, performant Enterprise ready ORM solution.

So Microsoft decided to stop investing in Linq to SQL and put al its effort in Entity Framework. This means that although Linq to SQL is a nice ORM framework, it’s missing some useful features.

Last week I got a question from a colleague about Linq to SQL. He couldn’t find a way to update the Linq to SQL DBML file so it reflects the changes he made to the underlying database model.

This is just one of the missing features. Luckily there are some workarounds to fix this:

  • Option 1: Remove the changed tables from the DBML designer and drag them again from the SQL explorer window.
  • Option 2: Use the SqlMetalPlus addin. The add-in adds some extra context menu options to all the DBML files in the solution.
    • Create Mapping XML: This command just creates the initial mapping file for you to customize. It just creates a copy of DBML file and changes the file name.
    • Apply Customization: This command applies the custom changes to the existing DBML file.
    • Create/Refresh: This command either creates the initial DBML (or) refreshes the complete DBML with the latest changes from the selected database and then applies the custom changes.

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