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The goal of this walkthrough is to demonstrate a basic scenario for the use of the Self-Tracking Entities feature of Entity Framework.
Self-Tracking Entities consist on a set of code generation templates based on Text Template Transformation Toolkit (T4) technology that is used to generate entity types that have the ability to record changes on scalar and complex property values, and on reference and collection navigation properties, independently of the Entity Framework.
The main scenario we are trying to address with Self-Tracking Entities is one in which a WCF service exposes a series of operations that return entity graphs, then a client application can manipulate that graph and submit the modifications to another service operation that validates changes in the graph and then applies them to the database store using Entity Framework.
While the following walkthrough uses C#, versions of the Self-Tracking Entities template exist for both C# and Visual Basic, and all the concepts described apply as well to the Visual Basic version.
1. This walkthrough requires Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2.
2. The Microsoft Entity Framework Feature CTP 2 that is described here.
3. A local SQL Server 2008 Express instance has to be installed as SQLEXPRESS. Otherwise, changes to the connection string in the web.config file or regenerating the database from the included SQL scripts may be necessary.
4. Download and extract the initial solution attached to this post.