Microsoft Debuts 'Dublin' App Server in .NET 4.0

Microsoft has announced new application server technology, codenamed "Dublin," that will surface in Windows Server. The company also announced enhancements to its Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) technology. Microsoft's Dynamics applications will be first to use the new technology, while independent software vendors (ISVs) such as Amberpoint also have pledged to use the new Microsoft technology that will be unveiled at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference in late October.

As part of its release of the .NET Framework 4.0, Microsoft is enhancing its Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Workflow Foundation technology as well as delivering new application server capabilities into Windows Server in an offering codenamed "Dublin."

Burley Kawasaki, director of Product Management, Connected Systems Division, said the enhancements were needed because the development of composite applications has become increasingly complex, particularly with the need to build, deploy and manage a variety of Web services. The enhancements to the core .NET technologies include new messaging and REST (Representational State Transfer) capabilities in WCF, new workflow models, seamless integration between WF and WCF to support stateful and conversational services, and a new visual designer, Microsoft officials said. In addition, Kawasaki said "Dublin" will offer greater scalability and easier manageability and provide a standard host for applications that use workflow or communications.

"WCF is the foundation for our service-oriented investments in .NET," Kawasaki said. "We're adding in pre-built templates inside Visual Studio to make it easier to build REST and Atom and POX [Plain Old XML] extensions and we'll be releasing that on Codeplex [Microsoft's community development site] at the same time as the PDC [Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference, which will be in Los Angeles in late October]."

Also at the PDC, Microsoft will deliver CTPs (Community Technology Previews) of the enhanced and new technology for building composite applications: WCF 4.0, WF 4.0 and "Dublin," Kawasaki said.

The WCF REST Starter Kit is an early preview of capabilities that will be shipped with WCF in the .NET Framework 4.0, Microsoft officials said. The Starter Kit provides Visual Studio project and item templates for common RESTful scenarios: REST Singleton Service, REST Collection Service, Atom Feed Service, Atom Publishing Protocol Service and HTTP Plain.

And in addition to the templates, the Starter Kit will include support and guidance around caching, security and error handling in REST servers and early ideas around a REST client as well.

"WCF 4.0 will tighten integration between WCF and WF, with a unified declarative model underneath it with XAML [the Extensible Application Markup Language]," Kawasaki said. "You can now build an entire application in XAML."