ADO.NET vs Entity Framework

What is ADO.NET?

ADO.NET short for ActiveX Data Object is a access tool used to access databases. It was developed by Microsoft under its .NET framework that makes is easier to access almost all sorts of data sources. It’s a collection of object-oriented classes that bring forth an efficient set of data components with the idea of building  high-performance, dependable, and flexible database applications based on client-server and other contextual interactions across the Internet and other networks.

Unlike it’s predecessor, ADO and other data access technologies, programs under the ADO.NET paradigm connect to data sources when reading or modifying data. The connection is then terminated. This is significant since one of the most resource-intensive components of client-server or distributed systems is keeping connection resources available all the time. You don’t have to be in a connection with the data source at all times rather, you only need a connection when you are trying to read and/or make final modifications to a data source.

ADO.NET reads, writes, updates, and deletes data from a data source using SQL queries and pre-specified procedures. You utilize the ADO.NET Command object to run SQL queries, which analyses and retrieves data in the form of DataReader or DataSet objects. After that connection is terminated, you work with the data using DataSet objects and reconnect to the data source when you need to change it.

ADO.NET heavily relies on XML. To store data in cache and communicate data between applications, the ADO.NET model uses XML. XML schemas are used to store and communicate data across applications in datasets. You can even utilize this XML file without interacting with the actual dataset in other apps. Since XML is an industry standard, you may use data across a wide range of applications and components; and also since the XML is text-based, you can send data using a variety of protocols, including HTTP.

ADO.NET Architecture

  • Consumers: The applications that require an access to data can be called as consumers. This data. Simply put these are the elements of the software that generate a query asking for a certain proportion of data.
  • Providers: Providers are the components of the software that had the job of interacting with the database and identifying the required data to be used by the consumers. The data providers under ADO.NET are known to be analogous to JDBC and ODBC drivers as well as OLEDB providers.

What is Entity Framework?

Entity Framework was introduced along the .NET Framework 3.5 in 2008 to make developers be able to be attentive  towards business domain objects rather than dealing with underlying data stored in databases and it eliminates the requirement for creating a code to write and read data from data sources.

Entity Framework is built to be an Object Relational Mapper more commonly referred to as an ORM built on top of ADO.NET that generates the necessary code for the automatic storage and retrieval of data, allowing developers to be attentive towards the creation of the application rather than dealing with databases and their issues.

The latest release version, i.e. Entity Framework 7 is a simple, adaptable, and extendable ORM framework that was built from the ground up. It also allows developers to create a wide range of apps by targeting different devices, platforms, and deployment scenarios. It also includes a number of new capabilities that make it easier for .NET developers to deal with various databases and perform database operations.

Entity Framework 7 devises a simpler method for .NET developers to help create an extensive array of applications by supporting various new platforms, despite its nature as a lightweight ORM solution. Developers will now be able to run Entity Framework 7 apps on three major platforms namely Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. In addition, Entity Framework 7 supports the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and the most recent version of ASP.NET. The ORM system may also be used by.NET developers to create apps for all sorts of application stores across multiple platforms. Entity Framework 7 includes enhancements to optimize SQL query creation in addition to supporting new relational and non-relational data sources. The revised ORM system includes a SQL generation module that is built around user needs and demands. The module allows Dot Net developers to target many databases using a single SQL SELECT statement. The module is also used by the developers to generate SQL without the need for further nested queries.

Entity Framework ORM Architecture

  • The Entity Framework architecture’s top tier is the Object Service. It keeps the connection between the program and the database alive. Assisted by queries, it conducts CRUD procedures. It displays an application’s model entities.
  • The most basic element in Entity Framework is the Entity client, and it uses providers to give a connection between the data source area and the Object Service arear. It E programmers to create LINQ queries Along with reading or writing data without having to create conceptual schema classes.
  • The database is directly linked to the Data Provider layer. It does the job of converting a query into a native SQL command expression in the database. Furthermore, it return the results to the application’s domain objects.

Comparison : ADO.NET VS Entity Framework

  • Performance comparison:

When seen under the shade of performance, ADO.NET fares a lot better than the entity framework. As it is already clear by the architectural elements of ADO.NET that it is based on consumers and providers which denotes that it is connected without a mid-layer to the data source making it easier for it to sort and retrieve data faster than the latter.

The major lag source in the Entity framework is it’s basic function to translate queries given in LINQ to SQL to start with and then sorting the data as an answer to the query.

  • Ease of Development

Here the ADO.NET allows you to have a more flexible developmental experience but with a catch. It is a ton more flexible since it requires the programmer to build methods and classes from the ground upwards so that there can exist, a stable communication system between the application and the database.

On the other hand, Entity framework has the ability to create classes under database context and models automatically to ease the handling of database operations. Therefore there is no need to build a complete data handling structure by the developer thus saving time.

  • Code Maintenance

Since the code of the ADO.NET is required to be coded layer by layer going from the application layer and the database layer along with data handling structure, the debugging of such a code can be quite a hefty and unpleasant task.

On the other hand, the entity framework provides a detailed yet simple models of the relationships between the entities and the various tiers that rely on them.

  • Flexibility

The ADO.NET as mentioned earlier is the more flexible of the two in comparison since it provides the developer with total control over the code and structure. Since Entity framework has the automatic model generation feature, it’s flexibility is quite less when compared to ADO.NET

In Conclusion

Before you begin, make sure you’re on the proper track. ADO.NET is a wonderful framework to work with if you require larger control and grasp over the SQL statements and operations. By automating the method of producing code for simple SQL queries, Entity framework is quite powerful and is able to take care of database services. Both techniques, namely Entity Framework can be used aptly for CRUD operations and the ADO.NET can be applied for SQL operations based on bulk data.


Microsoft has complete documentation on the same. Please find below links to understand how to save data using both the technologies:

ADO.Net and Entity Framework Core

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