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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

nHydrate is an object-relational mapping (ORM) solution for the Microsoft .NET platform providing a framework for a relational database to be mapped to .NET objects. It is designed to alleviate the drudgery software developers experience writing persistence domains.

nHydrate is free as an open source project on under the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL).

nHydrate was originally created in 2003 as a private project to solve the issues with the .NET Framework 1.1. Using datasets was cumbersome and error prone, so a small generated framework was created to relieve developers of the CRUD work. As a private project it was later inspired by the work of the NHibernate group.

nHydrate was a private project from 2003 until 2009. It was used at various companies in the Atlanta, Georgia, area but never widely released. It was publicly released on September 10, 2009.

nHydrate is built on the .NET Framework 3.5.

Feature summary

nHydrate's primary feature is mapping .NET objects to an SQL server database. The CRUD layer (create, update, delete) is also implemented. There are numerous retrieval mechanism facilities. nHydrate generates the SQL for all CRUD operations as well as advanced LINQ capabilities. The product is not database portable. The framework is designed to work exclusively with SQL Server.

The tool is entirely sited within Visual Studio.NET and all model maintenance and generation is handled directly from the environment. There are no XML files or other complex configuration scenarios to navigate like almost all other ORM tools. The VS.NET plugin GUI editor provides an interface to interact with a model and use it.

The data access layer (DAL) is very robust right out-of-the-box with no setup required to use it. An imported database model can be used to generate a DAL layer with no other configuration required.

nHydrate does provide a DTO (data transfer object) layer as well. This functionality consists of POCO (Plain Old CLR Object) to transfer objects and an extension layer (using .NET extension methods) to extend the retrieve and save functionality of the DTOs. When an application is written against the DTO layer as opposed to the DAL layer, an application can swap out the generated middle layer to provide test driven development (TDD), mocking, or WCF services. This functionality implements the Inversion of Control pattern described in many computer science texts.

There is a REST-ful (Representational State Transfer) layer as well that provides REST services of all database objects. There are based on native JSon and XML capabilities. Currently the project is adding the finishing touches on accessing the generated objects from JavaScript. Some LINQ capability will be present in JavaScript as well. This new functionality will allow developers to build Web 2.0 applications.


nHydrate was started by Michael Knight, and later added Chris Davis. By 2006, the platform had much of its current functionality, minus LINQ, and was being used in applications in the Atlanta area. By 2009, the advanced functionality had been added like inheritance, LINQ, and VS.NET integration.

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