LINQ versus DataSet ?

Today, someone asked on an internal mailing list, what does LINQ offer, than I cannot do with DataSet.Select()?

Luca Bolognese, my compadre from the old country, provided a clear and insightful response.  Just for some background – LINQ is a codename for a set of extensions to the .NET Framework that encompass language-integrated query, set, and transform operations. Language-integrated query means, the query “verb” is built-in to the language itself.  It is not a query library; it is integrated into the language.  So you can do queries across in-memory graph of objects, as easily as you might send a query to a database to retrieve results.   Here is Luca’s response:

[DataSet.Select() and LINQ] are very different.

  1. The dataset is an in-memory relational representation of data, Select works against this in-memory representation.

  2. An object model is, well, an in-memory graph of objects. LINQ query works over this object view.

  3. Select takes a string as input, so it is not strongly typed; LINQ queries are strongly typed.

  4. LINQ queries work seamlessly across domains, you can submit the same query against in-memory objects, databases or, also, a dataset.


If you know at compile time the structure of your query and you are working with datasets, I suggest you investigate “LINQ to DataSet”.

By the way, here’s the blog post he mentioned, LINQ-to-DataSet.

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