Microsoft's 'Dublin' App Server Tied to .NET 4.0
New Windows Server and .NET Framework 4.0 technologies aimed at developers
who are building composite applications will be released at Microsoft's Professional
Developers Conference, Oct. 26-30. The server technologies are the first to
support Microsoft's upcoming "Oslo" modeling platform, according to
The community technology previews (CTPs) will include early looks at new app
server technologies, codenamed "Dublin," designed to increase the
performance, scalability and operations of service-oriented software. Dublin
is designed to host apps built using the next generation of the .NET Framework's
messaging and workflow APIs. The final release will integrate with BizTalk Server,
but BizTalk is not required. For now, Dublin will be offered as extensions to
Windows Server 2008.
While the concepts behind Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and Windows
Workflow Foundation (WF), launched in .NET 3.0, were applauded, the early versions
of the technologies meant steep learning curves, little to no support for REST
principles -- the common architecture on the World Wide Web -- and frustrating
workarounds for developers. Earlier this year, .NET 3.5 added some support for
RESTful Web Services to WCF.
Microsoft's moves toward further embracing RESTful principles after an allegiance
to SOAP was foreshadowed in its ADO.NET Data Services (codenamed "Astoria")
available in .NET 3.5 Service Pack 1 released in August. .NET 4.0 leaps into
Web 2.0 territory by enhancing WCF with REST, ATOM, POX and additional support
for the WS*-stack: WS-Discovery, WS-BusinessActivity, WS-I BP 1.2 and SOAP over
"With Windows Communication Foundation, one of the things that we are seeing
from customers is that they are doing a lot of work around Web 2.0 with things
like REST, ATOM and POX," said Burley Kawasaki, director of product management
in Microsoft's Connected Systems Division. "Investments we are making in
the 4.0 release are making it even easier to build these RESTful services as
a seamless extension of .NET."
Toward that goal, Microsoft is releasing a WCF REST Starter Kit on CodePlex
this month and asking developers for feedback on its preview technologies. The
starter kit offers developers Visual Studio 2008 tooling, integration with ASP.NET,
and guidance on common server and client-related issues such as caching, security
and error handling, as well as templates for REST Singleton Service, REST Collection
Service, ATOM Feed Service, ATOM Publishing Protocol Service and HTTP Plain
In addition to messaging and communication, composite apps often require more
complex operations in the form of transaction flows, data binding and declarative
application logic (HTML and XAML). To that end, Microsoft is improving the integration
between WCF and WF, and ratcheting up the performance and flexibility of its
"Today you can model parts of the applications and then you still have
to drop into code, so one of the big focuses of the 4.0 release is trying to
create a much broader set of apps that you can build entirely just using declarative
programming," Kawasaki explained. "We are adding workflow models.
We are adding all these pre-built activities, so it is not 100 percent, but
something close to 80 to 90 percent of apps that you can write without having
to write code."
Better performance and scalability are also expected in WF 4.0. The early previews
of the workflow engine are clocking 10X better performance during benchmark
testing in certain scenarios, according to Kawasaki.
Early adopters of "Dublin" and its related dev frameworks include
the Microsoft Dynamics team, who have committed to using the new technologies
in the next releases of AX and CRM.
Kathleen Richards is the editor of RedDevNews.com and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.