17 August 2010

Using the Model Comparer to generate difference reports for Entity Framework v4 models

In the previous two blog entries, Introducing the Model Comparer for Entity Framework v4, and What’s new in the latest version of the Model Comparer for Entity Framework 4 I covered the basics of using the Model Comparer to keep EFv4 models in sync within the model and with the underlying database without replacing or losing customizations made to the model.

Now the turn has come to show the latest feature in the Model Comparer: Reports.

The main work area in the model comparer shows database <=> SSDL differences, SSDL <=> database, SSDL <=> CSDL, and CSDL => SSDL differences broken down in three treeviews and allows users to sync (or ignore) individual/selected (or all) differences.

Model Comparer / Differences tab

In some situations it may be more useful to generate simple diff reports listing all differences in a readable format; printable/mailable reports come in handy when emailing to colleagues, for use during meetings, to review differences in more detail before applying changes, etc.

The newest feature added to the Model Comparer for EF4 is a "Reports" tab made just for creating reports from EF4 models:


The diff reports are generated from the same model diff comparison as the diff data shown in the treeviews in the differences tab, but the report format allows a lot more details pertaining to unmapped and changed objects can be shown; from database column attributes to SQL Server extended property descriptions, and in-model documentation.

Each type of difference get a section in the report detailing all differences of that specific type:


The Model Comparer compares all available attributes; from entity level down to data types, max size, precision/scale, nullability, default values, default constraints and just about everything else that is reflected in both the database, and the SSDL and CSDL layers of the EFv4 model:



Screencast / Video

I have created a short video/screencast demonstrating the basics of the Model Comparer's new report-generator feature:


Want to try it out?

If you want to try out the Model Comparer, you can download Huagati DBML/EDMX Tools and get a trial license from http://www.huagati.com/dbmltools/ . (The model comparer is just one of many features for Entity Framework and Linq-to-SQL contained within the add-in. The report viewer was added in version 1.93.)

Keep an eye on this blog for new features; we’re rapidly adding new EFv4-related features to the Huagati DBML/EDMX Tools Add-in. Note that the EFv4-related feature set only works under Visual Studio 2010.

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