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Access RSS Feeds with Entity Framework 6

This article shows how to access RSS feeds using an Entity Framework code-first approach. Entity Framework 6 is available in .NET 4.5 and above.

Entity Framework is an object-relational mapping framework that can be used to work with data as objects. While you can run the ADO.NET Entity Data Model wizard in Visual Studio to handle generating the Entity Model, this approach, the model-first approach, can put you at a disadvantage if there are changes in your data source or if you want more control over how the entities operate. In this article you will complete the code-first approach to accessing RSS feeds using the CData ADO.NET Provider.

  1. Open Visual Studio and create a new Windows Form Application. This article uses a C# project with .NET 4.5.
  2. Run the command 'Install-Package EntityFramework' in the Package Manger Console in Visual Studio to install the latest release of Entity Framework.
  3. Modify the App.config file in the project to add a reference to the RSS Entity Framework 6 assembly and the connection string.

    You can connect to RSS and Atom feeds, as well as feeds with custom extensions. To connect to a feed, set the URL property. You can also access secure feeds. A variety of authentication mechanisms are supported. See the help documentation for details.

    <configuration> ... <connectionStrings> <add name="RSSContext" connectionString="Offline=False;URL=http://broadcastCorp/rss/;" providerName="System.Data.CData.RSS" /> </connectionStrings> <entityFramework> <providers> ... <provider invariantName="System.Data.CData.RSS" type="System.Data.CData.RSS.RSSProviderServices, System.Data.CData.RSS.Entities.EF6" /> </providers> <entityFramework> </configuration> </code>
  4. Add a reference to System.Data.CData.RSS.Entities.EF6.dll, located in the lib -> 4.0 subfolder in the installation directory.
  5. Build the project at this point to ensure everything is working correctly. Once that's done, you can start coding using Entity Framework.
  6. Add a new .cs file to the project and add a class to it. This will be your database context, and it will extend the DbContext class. In the example, this class is named RSSContext. The following code example overrides the OnModelCreating method to make the following changes:
    • Remove PluralizingTableNameConvention from the ModelBuilder Conventions.
    • Remove requests to the MigrationHistory table.
    using System.Data.Entity; using System.Data.Entity.Infrastructure; using System.Data.Entity.ModelConfiguration.Conventions; class RSSContext : DbContext { public RSSContext() { } protected override void OnModelCreating(DbModelBuilder modelBuilder) { // To remove the requests to the Migration History table Database.SetInitializer<RSSContext>(null); // To remove the plural names modelBuilder.Conventions.Remove<PluralizingTableNameConvention>(); } }
  7. Create another .cs file and name it after the RSS entity you are retrieving, for example, Latest News. In this file, define both the Entity and the Entity Configuration, which will resemble the example below: using System.Data.Entity.ModelConfiguration; using System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations.Schema; [System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations.Schema.Table("Latest News")] public class Latest News { [System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations.Key] public System.String Author { get; set; } public System.String Pubdate { get; set; } }
  8. Now that you have created an entity, add the entity to your context class: public DbSet<Latest News> Latest News { set; get; }
  9. With the context and entity finished, you are now ready to query the data in a separate class. For example: RSSContext context = new RSSContext(); context.Configuration.UseDatabaseNullSemantics = true; var query = from line in context.Latest News select line;