I tried to provide you with the best possible answer at the moment for all of your questions:
1. Our plans include exactly to bring a more graphical approach to data mapping, but it takes time to do so. We can assure you that this is the direction, however I am unable to provide you with exact time-frame for this development.
2. Like in the EntityFramework case we will support totally LINQ as a general usage pattern, and leave the OQL to deal with the sophisticated and complex scenarios that are not efficiently handled by LINQ.
3. We are preparing a comparison document that should be available very soon. We can notify you when ready and get your feedback on the topic.
4. We will polish and enhance our wizards and include several other integration points like in EntityFramework. To name few, you will have a specialized 'model browser' and specialized property grid with the details. The culmination will be when we deliver a GUI support similar to L2S and EF designers and a DSL support.
We can understand the “religion” thought, but it is usually more an issue of getting away of thinking in tables and writing SQL (everybody can and does, but nobody wants it) and move to the objects world in full. At the end it is about improving productivity and on this point we couldn't agree more with you. Since there was a lack of ORM for years, many people developed their own wrappers. So everybody actually wants to move to ORM but many need to wait for the right point of time to switch to ORMs, which is usually a strategical decision.
We share your mindset (the rock-solid core that handles the data), we've done a lot in this direction and we still do on a continuous basis. We have thousands of unit tests that verify all aspects of OpenAccess - starting from the core up to the VS.net UI integration. They are not made public at this time however. Please elaborate a bit more on your idea regarding the automated unit test generation and OpenAccess as it sounded quite interesting.
the Telerik team
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