Entity Framework

EntityFramework – “The provider did not return a ProviderManifest instance”

Quick post for the day. I was trying to configure a data source in a listview – converting over to EntityFramework from a SQL data source – and I got this funky message:

Hmmm. Why is this? Well, I had to open up my data models project, and change the ProviderManifestToken=”2012″ attribute to “=2008”.


And voila. Changing that one key – and this is a known bug with EntityFramework 6 that the team has on their list to fix – got me where I needed to go. I had my lot tracking admin screen up and going in about 5 minutes.

Webforms Versus MVC – Honestly, Who Cares?

P.s. – Webforms, rightly, have a bad name – because of bloated codebehind. But what happens when you drag on a listview, and click on the little arrow in the Design pane – and point to an EF data source with a PK? Suddenly, you have a fully functioning page – with NO codebehind – and all your upd/ins/del statements are coming straight from EF. That seems pretty clean to me.

To me – and to many others – ASP.NET Webforms and MVC are equivalent forms. IF your webform has no bloated codebehind, and is running from either a EF-generated model or, better, knockoutJS data binding – don’t you have a clean and easy to maintain architecture?

Webforms are bad if you have bloated codebehind. They’re good and equivalent to MVC without that code smell. MVVM – well, that is a superior pattern to both – but that’s for a future post.

Noodling around with Entity Framework.

Entity Framework is the default way that Microsoft wants us to be noodling around with data. And it’s easy to see why – this is MSFT’s answer to the challenge posed by Ruby, well over ten years ago. EF gets better with every version.



From the Getting Started documentation, it should just be a simple matter of

  1. Add a new diagram – and make sure for delete (for example) all changes are set to cascade.
  2. Add a new web form + master page.
  3. Add an Entity Data Source. In design view, configure it to point to your Entities data source you created in step #1.
  4. Add a new GridView. Select your entity data source. Select Enable Paging…. down to Enable Delete. Delete the ID fields.
  5. Set the Dates template, etc on any custom fields.
  6. Set up the ContextTypeName attribute to enable lazy loading.

However, I’m getting a “The provider did not return a ProviderManifest instance” error message. This usually indicates an issue with the connection string. I’ve tried switching to Integrated Security, changing the username/pwd – no dice. I honestly think this is a bug with EF6, since I’m using the most recent version of Entity Framework and I can’t recall seeing this issue in EF5.

Since the forms use sprocs by and large, and we are using webforms, I’m OK with – for now – going old-school and using sprocs not EF for my data connections. For our new app though I am going to revisit this and use either Linq-to-SQL or preferably that nifty BackboneJS/KnockoutJS + MVC stack and a webapi data layer.