Third Parties Weigh In on Microsoft's 'Dublin' App Server

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-10-01 Print this article Print

title=Is Dublin Too Much, Too Soon?}


Rymer said he views Dublin as the first release of a set of technologies that were formerly known collectively as "Oslo." However, now Oslo is a modeling tool, language and repository Microsoft will deliver at its PDC. "I think of these technologies as what comes after WCF, which unified Microsoft's various distributed computing-programming models," Rymer said.

"Now the emphasis is on conquering the complexity of building distributed apps," Rymer added. "Dublin reaches toward this goal with several features: extends the programming model into compensating transactions and message sequencing; adds support for REST [Representational State Transfer] pattern and Atom protocols; and enhances the visual development tools for WF."

The new .NET 4.0 technology also "expands the use of XAML [Extensible Application Markup Language] to entire applications, not just UIs," Rymer said. "This is an important step toward a) capturing the entire application definition in a single format [XAML] that b) can generate different views of that definition. This is a key goal of Oslo: To allow different people to contribute to the creation and maintenance of applications, ranging from business analysts to architects to developers and designers."

For its part, AmberPoint adds governance capabilities to the .NET 4.0 technologies to make sure that the resulting applications are compliant with security and service level policies--without hard coding these into the applications, Horst said. "In fact, with WCF, we will be able to automatically provision appropriate policies into WCF without requiring any additional agents," he said. "This will be a big breakthrough in simplifying the management of these applications."

Moreover, AmberPoint also provides continuous discovery and transaction management for the business transactions that are flowing through the composite applications. "This is especially critical since business transactions--an order, an invoice, an insurance claim, etc.--are now executed as a series of messages hopping between different components and infrastructure," Horst said. "When a customer calls with problems associated with their transactions, it is very hard for the business and operations staffs to figure out what went wrong.  AmberPoint fixes that."

However, not everybody is ready for Dublin, Rymer said:

"For many of our clients, .NET 3.5 is still very new, and so Dublin will be 'too much, too soon.' But there's always the crowd that is hungry for the next set of improvements and new features that will jump on Dublin to start their learning processes. The core goal of CSD--to simplify creation, deployment, and maintenance of SOA applications by using executable models-still must be proven. If Microsoft gets it right, the results will be very useful for developers. But this has never been done before. Dublin is the first step on this path, with much more still to come."


Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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