In a word, Puzzling, over the years they have been historically late delivering support in their ADO.NET provider for new features in Oracle. That said ODP.NET was generally the better option for accessing Oracle’s more extended features than the MS based provider. They were there giving .NET developers something. Oracle Developer Tools for .NET (ODT) came later as a plug-in to Visual Studio to improve the development experience. It was a great move by Oracle at the time to improve the Visual Studio experience. The integrated debugging (from .NET code to PL/SQL) was nice although honestly the tooling had enough usability issues and missing functionality that I had to go back to PL/SQL Developer to be productive even though I didn’t want to switch between tools.
With the rise of LINQ, Entity Framework, and Visual Studio Team System Database Edition (VSTSDB) there is a lot of activity happening in the .NET Database world. The Database Edition made news in June when it was announced that they would be exposing a provider model of sorts to support other database technologies to plug-in and use the tooling. Deployment, Builds, Code Analysis, and Unit Testing are areas of database development that are extremely immature compared to what we see available in the Java and .NET worlds. Data Dude as VSTSDB was called has given database developers tools to start making up the gap in those areas. Oracle support for VSTSDB would of course obsolete their investment to some degree in ODT and I would be surprised to see them do that unfortunately. I would personally prefer to see VSTSDB extended to support Oracle rather than have Oracle build a different development experience within VS.
With the VSTSDB vs ODT argument Oracle is at least doing something with ODT to support .NET developers. The lack of information and commitment from Oracle in regards to LINQ and the Entity Framework is the most puzzling piece. LINQ and Entity Framework are at the forefront of many discussions these days. Many database vendors are supporting it (including IBM who along with their move to support VSTSDB seem to be positioning DB2 as a .NET development option much more than they have in the past – or at least much more than they have seemed to in the past). If Oracle’s position is that they will let third-parties provide this capability (of which there are several doing just that) – then fine – but at least communicate. There is a hesitancy by some to go the third party route (that is certainly the case at my company) and a preference to go with what Oracle provides if they were to provide something. Oracle saying they aren’t going to do it will allow people to plan accordingly or saying that they will but the timeline is lengthy still allows for dev teams to plan accordingly. In the absence of information developers wonder about Oracle’s commitment to .NET development and in a database world where for the large majority of apps could run just fine on any number of database platforms losing the hearts and minds of developers and architects doesn’t seem to be a wise thing to do.
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