Entity Framework 6.0

Release dates…or lack thereof

On the EF team we frequently get questions along the lines of, “when will the next version of EF be released?” This is an entirely reasonable question to ask and it is frustrating to me personally that I cannot answer such questions. But of course this is nothing compared to the frustration felt by those of you who never get an answer. So why is it this way?

Update: Visual Studio 2013 has been announced for “this year” by Brian Harry. If you read the rest of this post you will realized that this means EF6 RTM will be also released “this year”.


Please keep in mind that this is my personal view and doesn't necessarily reflect the views of my employer or others on the team.


First, let's take a look at how we do RTM releases. It's no secret that Microsoft releases lots of things that must work together. For example, EF and ASP.NET MVC both work together, and both of these must work with Visual Studio tooling. To coordinate such interactions and also for other reasons things are often released together in “waves”. So, as we have said elsewhere, EF6 will be released at the same time as the next version of Visual Studio.

“Okay then,” you say, “so when is the next version of Visual Studio going to be released?” As of right now, we on the EF team genuinely do not know the answer to that question. We do have to plan and so we do of course have a general idea of the timeframe involved. But we don't know exact dates.

As we get closer to a major release we will learn exact dates…but we will still not tell them to you. This is partly because we aren't allowed to tell you and could get fired if we did. But there's a reason for this—the date is not just about EF, it's about a wave of products that are all being released at or around the same time. Nobody on the EF team is in a position to know what strategic implications there are for these releases, or how the marketing and messaging is being handled at a high level. If somebody on the EF team leaked the date for all this it could undermine lots of careful planning and have massive implications for Microsoft way beyond EF.


Okay, so that's why we can't give you dates for RTM releases that are part of waves. What about pre-release versions like EF6 beta 1 which was released yesterday? Surely we must know in advance when these will be released.

The answer to this is that yes, we do know, but we only know the exact date when we get very close to that date—usually we don't know the exact date until the day we actually release. The process we have goes something like this:

We could, theoretically, at any point in this process provide you with what we know. We generally don't do this because things change all the time and experience has shown that it gets very confusing if people read “early May”, which then turns into “late May”, which then becomes “May 28”, which then becomes “May 30”, and so on.

Not only can this be confusing, it is also often perceived negatively. For example, it is often seen as “missing a date” when it is instead just a normal part of how we plan in an agile environment where we expect and embrace change.

What I can tell you

As explained above, I can't give exact dates. However, I can tell you that:
This page is up-to-date as of May 31st, 2013. Some things change. Some things stay the same. Use your noggin.