Wednesday, April 04, 2007

LINQ Featured in Redmond Developer News

"Looking to LINQ: Will Microsoft's Language Integrated Query transform programmatic data access?" is the cover story for the April 2007 issue of Redmond Developer News. The story by Jeffrey Schwartz and Michael Desmond leads with a quote from Julie Lerman, who gained her introduction to LINQ at the 2005 Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles:

"I was jumping up and down," recalls Lerman, who describes herself as an old FoxPro hand. ... "It's very powerful and it's a really important addition to the languages and to .NET," Lerman says.

If you don't catch the significance of "an old FoxPro hand" in the preceding quotation, you might not be aware that FoxPro, dBASE, Clipper and all other early xBase dialects supported query reserved words such as USE, LIST [ALL], REPLACE [ALL], and FOR as elements of the programming language in commands like the following:

USE employees
REPLACE ALL salary WITH salary * 1.1 FOR supervises > 0
LIST ALL fname, lname, salary TO PRINT

SELECT, FROM, WHERE, ORDER, BY, IN, and JOIN later became reserved words in Visual FoxPro's more expansive xBase dialect.

Similarly, LINQ supports SQL-like From, In, Join, Select, Where, and Order By instructions as C# 3.0 and VB 9.0 reserved words. One of the reasons I'm partial to LINQ is that I started my database programming career with dBASE III+ and later moved to Clipper.

"The View Beyond Redmond" section quotes Curt Cotner, an IBM Fellow and CTO for database servers:

"I don't think there's anything along the same lines in the Java world," he says. "I think this is an area Microsoft has innovated and gone in a direction that is different than a lot of the other programming languages have gone."

That praise comes from someone who would know. Regarded as one of the early innovators of relational database technology, Cotner is the chief architect of IBM's mainframe-based DB2 and the architect of database connectivity for IBM's WebSphere application server line.

The article also includes a LINQ FAQ by—and quotes from an interview with—Anders Hejlsberg.

Update 4/5/2007: Julie Lerman added her own post about the article.