RIA.NET, ADO.NET Data Services… NHibernate?

My observation, despite seeing slides that throw ‘nhibernate’ into them, is that, of course, the new technologies I see emerging from Microsoft is really geared toward the Entity Framework.  That doesn’t surprise me, I do think it provides some rather seamless integration.

However, I do think it tends to push these great open source projects out of the fold. 

One of the most interesting projects I’ve seen come out of Microsoft has been the asp.net mvc project.  Rather than push out these open source projects, they embraced them, and even added support for them (the biggest one being jQuery).  Granted, the community took the ball and ran with it with the MVCContrib project.  The MVCContrib project for asp.net mvc, to me, represents a great community involvement into the asp.net mvc development process.   It excels with different view engine options, different validation options, new controls, different Inversion of control container support, etc… On top of that, we have developers building templates like the Sharp Architecture (oh never mind, looks like they moved away from codeplex to google… which maybe highlights what I’m trying to say here…)

I know RIA.NET is very new, and my guess is that it was probably pushed as hard as possible to make it out the door by Mix 09 (my guess, I have no idea what happens internally at MS – lol), but the success of this IMO is the ability to pull off what asp.net mvc did by embracing the community, getting them involved. 

Showing ‘how to use RIA.NET with NHibernate’ is one great example – (even a ‘here is how to use this with DAAB’ would be nice – create database connectivity).  

So, what I’m trying to say … :  we need to see from MS the continuation of what we saw from the asp.net mvc team – the willingness to go outside of ‘just the core ORM EF/Linq2SQL’.   Just to give an idea, I’ve seen one example of ADO.NET DataServices with NHibernate out on the web – done by Shawn Wildermuth.  That is about all I’ve seen , and even in that post (none of the needed NHibernate.Linq libraries were included).  Perhaps it is due to NHibernate moving slowly on the Linq front – it is there now as a wrapper around the ICriteria, but it is critical imo to getting developers interested in technologies such as RIA.NET.  Shawn’s example shows ‘here is the EF version, here is the NHibernate version’. 

I’d like to see more of this – just including the verbage of ‘oh, and you can do that with NHibernate’ isn’t very helpful, it comes across to me as just giving lip service to the open source community when there isn’t any examples or concentration on the matter   :)   Nikhil gave great examples of RIA with Azure, Linq2SQL, even jQuery in his slides and talks from Mix 09… I encourage them to extend that into the technologies such as DAAB and NHibernate to really show how RIA can be the ‘glue’ between those layers and the UI.


I guess I do see from Brad Abram’s blog post ‘What is RIA.NET Services’ that these items I address are in the pipeline and just not ready yet.


System.Web.DomainServices.Providers.dll  – the LINQ2SQL and EF provider… we hope between us and the community to provide much more in the future such as Azure, Dataset, nHibernate, etc


So… it sounds like the missing piece right now is that an nHibernate DomainService Provider must be written.

I would love to see someone(s) from the RIA.NET team really engaging the community, answering questions, posting information – become very transparent – as I see a ton of potential in what MS has done with RIA.NET.  I think after the release at Mix 09 it will continue to produce many questions by developers interested in learning more about it  ie. with Nikhil Kothari showing jQuery calling RIA.NET services it opens the door up to many more possibilities outside of ‘just Silverlight’. 

I think there is a great opportunity to really show and promote this ‘prescriptive pattern’‘.   In the rich applications (ie. asp.net mvc with jquery, asp.net webforms needing richer client side capability, then finally the silverlight controls) I’ve built, the RIA.NET capabilities would have filled that much needed space.

Basically… I’m very interested in learning more about slide shown from Nikhil’s talk:

I hope to see the RIA.NET team continue to flush this out with examples, demo code, etc… filling in the voids  🙂


7 thoughts on “RIA.NET, ADO.NET Data Services… NHibernate?

  1. We are working with Shawn and others in the community precisely in that direction. Also, this is our first preview so we want to get feedback based on building applications to fine tune our programming model. As we make adjustments based on feedback and work on getting a provider sample out, it will become easier for provider writers to expand out the offering.
    This was not designed to be an extension of EF although it works well with EF. It is intended to support broader DALs and in coming months you should expect us to push harder on that.
    As you have alluded, MIX was our first preview and the goal was to get the broad developer community to experiment first by building some apps while we simultaneously work on provider front with a smaller section of community that is inclined to write providers.

  2. Steve,

    I certainly plan on blogging about this picture – as you can see there are several interesting slices to be drawn on this slide. In fact my intent with this slide was to highlight different slices in future blog posts.

    I did cover some slices at MIX – a bit of Ajax (more is needed there), a bit of ASP.NET, and Azure. I also had a demo ready for plain old CLR types but ran out of time in the talk itself, but it is included in my sample at http://www.nikhilk.net/RIA-Services-MIX09.aspx.

    I definitely need to look into showing the nHibernate slice. Its one of the super interesting ones. Its great to see all this interest in .NET RIA Services!

  3. Thanks for both of your responses. I am definitely looking forward to seeing the direction of this project – in the samples I’ve created it has a ton of potential.

    (PS. make sure to include some MVVM samples!) 🙂

  4. Has there been any progress on this issue?
    Brad A published solution for a very simple problem (not real world), but the RIA-nHibernate 1-M problem remains.

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