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A Very Brief Peek at LINQ

Microsoft demonstrated a new technology at PDC called LINQ (Language Integrated Query). The following note from Alan Griver, a member of the LINQ team at Microsoft, offers some details related to the LINQ project.

t PDC, Microsoft announced the Language Integrated Query framework (the LINQ Project). The LINQ Project is a set of language extensions to C# and Visual Basic and a unified programming model that extends the .NET Framework to offer integrated querying for objects, databases, and XML.

You can query against any of these three data sources, mixing and matching as appropriate. So, for instance, today we showed querying against a database table and an array, and then turned the output into XML.

LINQ is made up of a set of core query operators that can be applied to any .NET array or collection of objects, effectively providing SQL-like capabilities for in-memory data. Additionally, we are providing two APIs, codenamed DLinq (for SQL relational data access) and XLinq (for XML access).

These capabilities are available to any language that implements the core requirements of LINQ - currently we are showing implementations in Visual Basic and C#.

Here is a simple example of creating an array and then selecting the values over five:

   Dim primes = {1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13}
   Dim primesOverFive = _
   Select p From p In primes Where p > 5

The cool thing is that this works against any IEnumerable, so you can go against the .NET Framework classes as well. In this example, we get the process name from the .NET GetProcess() call and limit it to those with more than 6 threads:

   Dim procs = Select p.ProcessName _
   From p In Process.GetProcesses() _
   Where p.Threads.Count > 6

It goes a lot further, but this is the idea. We've set up some sites with white papers, RSS feeds, and bits you can download that work with VS2005. (The online bits for C# are for Beta 2 of VS2005, the online bits for VB are for the Release Candidate of VS2005).

Check these links for more information about LINQ, and more about the future of Visual Basic.

You'll be seeing a lot more coming from these sites in the future.

Yair Alan Griver is the Chief Information Officer at Flash Creative Management, a Hackensack, NJ based consulting firm that works with businesses to jointly map their strategies and build the supporting technology and processes to achieve their growth and profit objectives. Flash is a Microsoft Solution Provider at the Partner level and a Microsoft Authorized Technical Education Center. Alan is responsible for overseeing the development of Flash's methods and development frameworks. He has received the "Most Valuable Professional" award from Microsoft for his expertise in applying Microsoft technology to real world applications and for sharing that knowledge with other software developers. Alan has written articles that have been published in many leading publications, has lectured throughout the world on computer systems and software design, and has written five books on Visual FoxPro and Visual Basic. He can be reached at 201-489-2500 ext. 201.
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