I really haven't had the time I thought I'd have to work with the latest nORMa releases, or do the theory side exploration of ORM2, these last few months. Still, I do keep both the tool development and the methodology in mind when I have a chance to attend presentations on data centric technologies (and what, ultimately, isn't data centric?).
The people heading up the nORMa team have long standing ties to the Microsoft technology development community - so I'm sure they know far more about these related issues, and heard about them earlier, than I could. None the less, I'm also sure there are many here that haven't heard about what's being put forward in MS sponsored events over the past several months, that relates to conceptual data modeling issues. For those that haven't heard some of these concepts, terms and code names, just knowing that they are things that may effect the direction for development of ORM based tools (like nORMa), as well as how others working in the field of conceptual data modeling might assess ORM2 and supporting tools,is important - so note the names, Google them; or better yet, Windows Live Search them.
Caveat: I'm not part of MS, and don't claim to be any sort of expert on MS products or technologies; and I'm just passing along some of what I've been hearing and seeing - so this is what this stuff looks like to me.
In this post, I'll just mention the one initiative I just learned a bit about today: Astoria. In other posts in this thread, I'll try to bring up some other bits, and open them up for comment and discussion.
Astoria is the codename for a project expected to come into production sometime in the coming year. A demo using CTP code shown to us, was used to generate what they termed a conceptual data model of the fabled Northwinds SQL Server tutorial database. My impression is that it used inference algorithms to reverse engineer this established database schema, back to an approximation of a conceptual data model. Interestingly, the slidedeck showed some example "conceptual level" entities linked by predicates - looking very much like objects playing roles. Unfortunately, the PPT slides also the "ORM" features of the technology - which I expected, and they confirmed, meant Object Relational Mapper, not Object Role Modeling. I think the important takeaway is that MS is beginning to recognize the importance of conceptual modeling of data sources.
I'll be looking through the notes I took, and following up on the resources provided. If there's some interest in this thread, I'll try to give a more complete introduction of Astoria, and how other component technologies (like LINQ), fit into the picture of universal and expedient data access that the MS reps are trying to paint. I'll pass along the terms and the resource links that they provided, as well.