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Nolan Richardson
Nolan Richardson

How to Use Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server for Faster and Easier Data Access


Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server 3.13.13: A Comprehensive Guide




If you are a .NET developer who works with SQL Server databases, you might be familiar with Entity Framework (EF), an object-relational mapper (O/RM) that enables you to work with relational data using .NET objects. EF simplifies data access and reduces the need for writing and maintaining data-access code.




Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server 3.13.13


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However, EF also has some limitations and drawbacks, such as poor performance for bulk operations, lack of support for some SQL Server features, and complex configuration and customization options.


That's where Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server comes in. This library is an extension for EF that enhances its capabilities and performance by providing additional features such as bulk operations, performance optimization, and support for SQL Server features.


In this article, we will explore what Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server 3.13.13 is, what are the benefits of using it, how to install and use it, what are its main features, how it compares with other versions and alternatives, and some FAQs.


What is Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server 3.13.13?




Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server is a library that extends EF by adding features that improve its performance and functionality when working with SQL Server databases. It is compatible with EF Core, EF6, and EF5.


The latest version of the library is 3.13.13, which was released on March 28, 2021. It includes several bug fixes and improvements, such as:



  • Support for EF Core 8 Preview 4



  • Support for query hint option for SQL Server



  • Support for timestamp type for PostgreSQL



  • Improved performance for TPC, TPH, and TPT inheritance



  • Improved memory footprint for IncludeGraphBeta option



  • Fixed issues with Oracle, Postgres, NodaTime, HasColumnEncrypted, IncludeGraphOperationBuilder, etc.



To use Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server, you need to install the NuGet package that corresponds to your EF version:



  • For EF Core: Install-Package Z.EntityFramework.Extensions.EFCore



  • For EF6: Install-Package Z.EntityFramework.Extensions



  • For EF5: Install-Package Z.EntityFramework.Extensions.EF5



After installing the package, you can use the library by adding the following namespace to your code:


using Z.EntityFramework.Extensions;


What are the benefits of using Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server?




Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server provides several benefits over using EF alone, such as:



  • It improves the performance of EF by enabling bulk operations that can execute thousands of commands in a single database round-trip.



  • It reduces the memory usage and network traffic by optimizing the batch size and column mapping.



  • It supports creating temporary tables on the fly to perform bulk operations on views or complex queries.



  • It allows using query hints to optimize the execution plan of SQL statements.



  • It supports some SQL Server features that are not available in EF, such as always encrypted data enclaves, memory-optimized tables, and JSON support.



  • It is easy to use and customize, as it follows the same syntax and conventions as EF.



In short, Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server can help you to write faster, cleaner, and more efficient code when working with SQL Server databases using EF.


What are the main features of Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server?




Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server offers a variety of features that enhance the functionality and performance of EF. Some of the most important ones are:


Bulk operations




One of the most common complaints about EF is that it is slow and inefficient when performing bulk operations, such as inserting, updating, deleting, or merging multiple entities at once. This is because EF executes one SQL command per entity, which results in multiple database round-trips and high network overhead.


Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server solves this problem by providing methods that can execute bulk operations in a single database round-trip, using SQL statements that can affect multiple rows at once. These methods are:



  • BulkSaveChanges: This method replaces the SaveChanges method of EF and performs all the pending changes (inserts, updates, and deletes) in bulk.



  • BulkInsert: This method inserts a collection of entities in bulk.



  • BulkUpdate: This method updates a collection of entities or a query in bulk.



  • BulkDelete: This method deletes a collection of entities or a query in bulk.



  • BulkMerge: This method merges (inserts or updates) a collection of entities or a query in bulk.



These methods are easy to use and follow the same syntax as EF. For example, to insert 10,000 entities in bulk, you can write:


using (var context = new EntityContext())


    var list = new List();


    // ... add 10,000 entities to the list


    context.BulkInsert(list);


This code will execute a single SQL statement that will insert 10,000 rows in the database, instead of 10,000 separate statements. This can significantly improve the performance and reduce the memory usage and network traffic.


Performance optimization




Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server also provides options to optimize the performance of bulk operations by adjusting the batch size, column mapping, temporary table, and query hint parameters. These options can be specified using the BulkOperation<T> class or the BulkConfig class. For example:


using (var context = new EntityContext())


    var list = new List();


    // ... add 10,000 entities to the list


    context.BulkInsert(list, options =>


        options.BatchSize = 1000;


        options.ColumnMappings.Add("Id", "EntityId");


        options.UseTempDB = true;


    );


This code will execute the bulk insert operation with the following options:



  • The batch size is set to 1000, which means that the SQL statement will insert 1000 rows at a time. This can improve the performance by reducing the number of database round-trips and balancing the network and CPU usage.



  • The column mapping is set to map the "Id" property of the entity to the "EntityId" column of the table. This can improve the performance by avoiding unnecessary columns and conversions.



  • The use of temporary table is enabled, which means that the library will create a temporary table on the fly to perform the bulk operation. This can improve the performance by avoiding locks and triggers on the destination table.



You can also use query hints to optimize the execution plan of SQL statements by adding hints such as NOLOCK, RECOMPILE, etc. For example:


using (var context = new EntityContext())


    var list = context.Entities.Where(x => x.IsActive).ToList();


    context.BulkUpdate(list, options =>


 &         options.QueryHint = "OPTION (RECOMPILE)";


    );


This code will execute the bulk update operation with the query hint OPTION (RECOMPILE), which means that the SQL statement will be recompiled every time it is executed. This can improve the performance by avoiding parameter sniffing and using the most optimal execution plan.


SQL Server features




Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server also supports some SQL Server features that are not available or limited in EF, such as:



  • Always encrypted data enclaves: This feature allows you to encrypt sensitive data in your database and decrypt it only on trusted client applications. Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server supports this feature by enabling you to use the HasColumnEncrypted method to specify which columns are encrypted and how to decrypt them.



  • Memory-optimized tables: This feature allows you to create tables that are stored in memory instead of disk, which can improve the performance and concurrency of your database. Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server supports this feature by enabling you to use the IsMemoryOptimized method to specify which tables are memory-optimized and how to access them.



  • JSON support: This feature allows you to store and query JSON data in your database, which can simplify the data exchange and integration with other applications. Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server supports this feature by enabling you to use the HasJson method to specify which columns are JSON and how to serialize and deserialize them.



These features can be used in conjunction with the bulk operations methods to perform fast and secure operations on your SQL Server data. For example, to insert a collection of entities that have encrypted columns, you can write:


using (var context = new EntityContext())


    var list = new List();


    // ... add entities to the list


    context.BulkInsert(list, options =>


        options.HasColumnEncrypted(x => x.Password, EncryptionType.Deterministic);


    );


This code will execute a bulk insert operation that will encrypt the password column of the entities using deterministic encryption, which means that the same plaintext value will always result in the same ciphertext value. This can improve the security and privacy of your data.


How does Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server compare with other versions and alternatives?




Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server is one of the versions of Z.EntityFramework Extensions, a family of libraries that extend EF for different database providers. Besides SQL Server, Z.EntityFramework Extensions also supports Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Firebird, and more.


The features and options of Z.EntityFramework Extensions vary depending on the database provider, as some features are specific to certain databases. For example, Z.EntityFramework Extensions Oracle supports bulk operations using array binding, while Z.EntityFramework Extensions PostgreSQL supports bulk operations using COPY command.


You can find more information about the different versions of Z.EntityFramework Extensions on their official website: https://entityframework-extensions.net/


Z.EntityFramework Extensions is not the only library that extends EF for bulk operations and performance optimization. There are other alternatives, such as:



  • Entity Framework Plus: This library provides features such as batch update, batch delete, query cache, query filter, audit, etc. It is compatible with EF Core and EF6.



  • Entity Framework Extensions: This library provides features such as bulk insert, bulk update, bulk delete, bulk merge, etc. It is compatible with EF Core, EF6, and EF5.



  • EFCore.BulkExtensions: This library provides features such as bulk insert, bulk update, bulk delete, etc. It is compatible with EF Core.



You can compare the features and performance of these libraries on their respective websites or on third-party benchmarks. For example, you can check this benchmark that compares the performance of different libraries for bulk insert operations: https://dotnet.libhunt.com/compare-entity-framework-extensions-vs-efcore-bulkextensions#benchmark


Conclusion




In this article, we have learned what Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server 3.13.13 is, what are the benefits of using it, how to install and use it, what are its main features, how it compares with other versions and alternatives, and some FAQs.


We have seen that Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server is a library that extends EF by adding features that improve its performance and functionality when working with SQL Server databases. It enables bulk operations, performance optimization, and support for SQL Server features that are not available or limited in EF. It is compatible with EF Core, EF6, and EF5, and supports different database providers.


We hope that this article has helped you to understand and appreciate the benefits of using Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server for your .NET projects. If you want to learn more about this library, you can visit its official website: https://entityframework-extensions.net/sql-server


Here are some resources and links for further learning:



  • Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server Documentation: https://entityframework-extensions.net/sql-server-documentation



  • Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server Examples: https://entityframework-extensions.net/sql-server-examples



  • Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server Release Notes: https://entityframework-extensions.net/sql-server-release-notes



  • Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server Support: https://entityframework-extensions.net/sql-server-support



FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server:


Q: How much does Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server cost?




A: Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server is a commercial library that requires a license to use. The license cost depends on the number of developers, projects, and servers that use the library. You can find the pricing details and purchase options on the official website: https://entityframework-extensions.net/pricing


Q: Is there a free trial or a community edition of Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server?




A: Yes, there is a free trial of Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server that allows you to use the library for 30 days without any limitation. You can download the trial version from the official website: https://entityframework-extensions.net/trial


There is also a community edition of Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server that allows you to use the library for free for non-commercial projects. You can download the community edition from the official website: https://entityframework-extensions.net/community


Q: How can I get support or report an issue with Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server?




A: You can get support or report an issue with Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server by contacting the developers via email, phone, chat, or forum. You can find the contact details and support options on the official website: https://entityframework-extensions.net/support


Q: How can I keep up with the latest news and updates about Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server?




A: You can keep up with the latest news and updates about Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server by following the developers on social media, subscribing to their newsletter, or reading their blog. You can find the links to these sources on the official website: https://entityframework-extensions.net/newsletter


Q: How can I contribute to the development or improvement of Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server?




A: You can contribute to the development or improvement of Z.EntityFramework Extensions SQL Server by providing feedback, suggestions, bug reports, feature requests, or code contributions. You can find the guidelines and instructions on how to contribute on the official website: https://entityframework-extensions.net/contribute dcd2dc6462


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