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Steve Loethen When I grow up I want to code in c#

In my job at Microsoft, I am forced to be a generalist, knowing about all development topics.  I find it too easy to allow myself to find excuses to not commit the time to go deep and completely understand a topic. 

But sometimes along come some very intriguing topics that really peak my interest.  The current set of technologies in the .net framework, specifically WCF, WPF, WF, and Cardspace were the first to grab my attention.  And the Next Gen web UI stuff in the form of Silverlight really needs a look.  But then we have Ajax, and mobile, and.....

You can see the problem.   Too many cookies in the cookie jar.  How do I choose?  A wise man once said "the only way to eat an elephant is one bit at a time".  Okay, maybe not wise.  you eat an elephant, your going to get really fat.  But the theory does hold for technologies.  One pillar at a time.  So, I close my eyes, spin around 3 times, and point....

The winner is.....   WCF.

WCF is a big beast.  You can usually judge a technology by the amount of books that spring up.  1)  How engaging or valuable the writer community and developers think it is.  (History has often proven them wrong, technologies rise and fall, but at the front edge of the wave, this is a valuable sign)  2)  How much info is needed. 

The first one is easy.  This is a valuable technology.  It makes a ton of sense in the application communication space.  It simplifies the programming model, offers a administrative as well as a programatic path to features, has a high degree of standards compliance, is available or coming available in the Visual Studio 2008 (Orcas for those of you who can't quite let go of code names) time frame for mobile devices.  I can talk to Linux boxes, legacy win32 boxes, smart phones, Mac's.....  

Of course, some realities creep in.  Not all platforms will talk all variants.  Standards are evolving and as new ones crop up, WCF will have to be updated to embrace them.  But from a practical standpoint, it works. 

WCF is logically seperated into 3 components.  Essentially the What, the How, and the Where of communication.  The what, known as the contract, specifies the work to be done.  The How is called the binding, and deals with the how (tcp, secure, named pipes, queued...).  Lastly, the where is the address.  IP and port address....  Okay, you get the picture. 

So, I have decided to start with the contract.  A bottom up approach.  I suppose if I was an Architect and was only allowed to use a set of markers and a white board, I would start at the Address and do a top down solution.  But they actually still let me use a keyboard.

Next stop, the contract.  We will define a interesting one next time...

Posted on Monday, June 18, 2007 9:08 AM | Back to top


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