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About Mindscape NHibernate Designer

Save days of effort with this NHibernate toolset.

NHibernate Designer allows you to work with NHibernate faster and more reliably than ever before. It directly integrates with Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 2012 leveraging Mindscape's skills in delivering one of the best model designers for Visual Studio. NHibernate Designer provides a feature rich solution to kick your NHibernate development into high gear.

NHibernate Designer Benefits

  • Powerful Visual Designer - Save time - from no code to a working domain model in 10 minutes with the rich Visual Studio 2010 integrated NHibernate Designer. Create entities, drag and drop tables from your database and round-trip updates to and from the your database.
  • Free for small models - The NHibernate designer is fully functional and free for small models of 10 entities or less.
  • Supports all major database engines - The NHibernate Designer works seamlessly with SQL Server 2000, 2005, 2008, Oracle 9i+, MySQL and PostgreSQL.
  • Model first? Database first? Either works - The NHibernate Designer provides a design experience for your tastes - if you prefer model first development the NHibernate Designer can update and manage your database. If database first is your preference NHibernate Designer can pick up changes from your database and update your model right before your eyes.
  • New to NHibernate? Make your life easier - It's no surprise that NHibernate has a steep learning curve - it is large and supports almost everything you can imagine. The NHibernate Designer helps new, and experienced, NHibernate developers build their models and validates them so you can be sure you're doing the right thing. Make your life easier with the NHibernate Designer (or grab Mindscape's very own ORM, LightSpeed, which is widely recognised for its ease of use.)
  • Legendary support - Mindscape answer most help requests in under 24 hours and add new features and enhancements to nightly builds based on feedback so all users can enjoy them.

The NHibernate Designer is packed with powerful features to take your software project to the next level of productivity. Here's a taste of some of the most time saving features of the NHibernate Designer.

Get started fast
When you create a new model with the NHibernate Designer you will be stepped through the setup of your model so you can work the way your want. After just a few questions you'll be ready to create your NHibernate model with ease.

Fluent? XML? Your choice!
The NHibernate Designer supports generating mappings the way you want - be it with Fluent NHibernate or with standard XML mapping configuration. You can easily swap between the two to decide your preference.

Database first development
If you prefer database first development then you're in good hands with the NHibernate Designer! Drag and drop tables from your database from the Server Explorer and Mindscape will do the rest.

Model first development
If you prefer model first development then the NHibernate Designer is a great choice. Create your model and then generate the database from the model you created.

360 degree model updates
Right Click - update the model from the database, or update the database from the model! It really is that easy. If you like model first development, or database first, or work in a large team where different developers have different preferences then this feature really is magic.

Visual Studio integrated migrations
Create migrations directly from within Visual Studio. The snapshots are easy to take and are code based so creating the migrations is super easy. Being code based, developers can extend migrations to include custom logic if required.

The most amazing migrations framework
Beyond just creating migrations in Visual Studio, developers can view, execute and generate scripts for all the supported databases. A beautiful and integrated UI gives a quick view of what migrations exist, what version your database is at and provides the tools you need to manage your schema.

No more hunting for required assemblies!
When you create your model for the first time you will be asked if you would like the NHibernate Designer to save copies of the required assemblies for you. By choosing to do so the NHibernate Designer saves them in a location of your choice and automatically adds the assemblies as references to your project.

Ready to code?
Finished modelling and ready to actually write code against your model? The NHibernate Designer includes dedicated guidence based on your configuration choices on how to setup the configuration for your solution. Beyond just code, you will get a small snippet demonstrating how to query data from your model.

Save the configuration
From the Getting Started dialog you can choose to save your configuration. As NHibernate supports several configuration mechanisms the NHibernate Designer provides the options you need to get started fast. 

Integrated support for NHibernate Validator
Entities can be setup so that properties have associated validation generated for the NHibernate Validator library. Even smarter - if you model Database First then the NHibernate Designer will intelligently infer validations for you to save you even more time.

See your data in Visual Studio
Curious what data is in an entities associated table? Right click -> View Data will bring up the table contents within Visual Studio for you to view and edit. Work more efficiently without needing to jump between Visual Studio and SQL Management Studio.

Integrated Refactoring
The NHibernate Designer includes several refactorings to make common tasks easier. For example, when renaming an entity the NHibernate Designer will make sure that it renames any references to that class across your solution.

Other great features
These features are just a taste of the many ways that the NHibernate Designer will shave hours or days off your NHibernate development work. Some of the other features you may be interested in are:

  • C# and Visual Basic language support
  • Per-project code generation templates
  • Extensive database support (SQL Server 2000, 2005, 2008, Oracle, MySQL, SQLite)
  • Automatic Updates
  • Choice of file-per-class or one generated file