Murach’s ADO.NET 3.5 LINK and the Entity Framework is an ambitious book that covers a lot of material in a very thoughtful and progressive manner. Because of the way this book is structured, it can be considered suitable for both the beginner and the more advanced .NET programmer.
Approximately the first half of the book – up to page 346, covers the basics of databases, using SQL, and ADO.NET. The really interesting stuff, LINQ and Entity Framework, starts on page 350.
In section 1 you get a basic introduction to databases, SQL, and ADO.NET. If you already have ADO.NET experience, you can skip this.
In section 2, you'll be prototyping database applications using Rapid Application Development (RAD) tools like data sources.
In section 3, you learn how to build 3-layer applications with presentation, business, and database classes.
But the really good stuff starts in Section 4, which covers LINQ (Language-Integrated Query).
Chapter 11 covers basic concepts of working with LINQ, including providers and the 3 stages of a LINQ query.
You’ll learn how to write query expressions.
There is also good coverage of extension methods and lambda expressions, two areas that are critical to your success in understanding and using LINQ.
A “Vendor Balances” application is presented using LINQ.
In Chapter 12, you’ll learn Use LINQ to DataSet to query the data in typed or untyped datasets. You’ll learn the extension methods that are used with DataSets. You’ll continue working with a Vendor Display form.
In Chapter 13 is LINQ to SQL, which allows you to generate an object model from the objects in a SQL Server database that can then be used to access and update the database data. You learn how to creat an object model with the designer, datacontext methods, retrieving data. You learn how to work with bound controls, and a Vendor Invoices application is presented.
Chapter 14 continues the LINQ to SQL with how to insert, update and delete. It also covers concurrency, using stored procedures, and presents a Vendor Maintenance application.
Chapter 15 shows us how to use LINQ data source controls with web applications with an Invoice Display application. It covers grouping and updating data.
Chapter 16 goes into LINQ to XML, including full coverage of the XDocument / XElement object model.
In Section 5, you start learning the Entity Framework.
Chapter 17 covers how to create an Entity Data Model.
Chapter 18 Cover the use of LINQ to Entities: retrieving, inserting, updating and deleting data. It continues the Vendor Maintenance application.
Chapter 19 covers Entity SQL and works with the Vendor Invoices form.
Finally, Chapter 20 covers Entity Data Source controls with web applications in depth.
In sum, this is a good instructional book in a format that is suitable for self-paced learning. It has good coverage of the basics in each area mentioned above, and it is easy to read and understand. By working with the author on the provided projects, the reader gets a chance to have some real “hands on lab” type experience. Recommended. The C# version is 699 pages, and sticker prices is $52.50 USA.