It's been a busy couple of weeks over in Building 5! With the holidays approaching quickly, the whole group has been working hard to get a bunch of great deliverables out before the silly season comes into full swing. And I'm pleased to say that things have gone well - and even though EntLib didn't make it out this month, there should be plenty of stuff to keep you busy in the meantime:
At long last, the Guidance Automation Toolkit (GAT) and Guidance Automation Extensions (GAX) have been updated for the final version of Visual Studio 2005. For those that came in late, GAT allows developers and architects to integrate guidance deliverables such as blocks, frameworks and patterns into the Visual Studio environment, using mechanisms such as templates, wizards and code generation. GAT is targeted at people authoring these "guidance packages", while GAX is the runtime component required by anyone consuming guidance packages. You'll be seeing quite a few p&p deliverables built using GAT (and hence requiring GAX) over the next year, so this would be a great time to get up to speed on this exciting technology.
Building web services can be difficult, and securing applications can be difficult, so it follows that securing web services can be really difficult! But this great guide demystifies this space by providing extremely clear and actionable guidance in the form of patterns, scenarios and decision matrices. I'm personally really pleased about how this guide came together and its potential to make a big difference in this important area. I was in the team building this guide in its formative days (which is a big part of why I'm so excited :-), but most of the credit goes to Jason, Don and the rest of the team who navigated it through sometimes turbulent waters to its completion.
This news is actually a few days old, but it's still well worth repeating. The Composite UI Application Block (aka CAB, despite the fact that we've already used this acronym to death and it doesn't even contain all of the necessary letters :-) is finally here, and is finally available in both C# and VB.NET flavors. It provides proven practices to build complex smart client user interfaces based on well known design patterns such as the Composite pattern, in which simple user interface parts can be combined to create complex solutions, but at the same time allowing these parts to be independently developed, tested, and deployed.
If you're anything like me, you will have written a whole lot of VB6 code over the years. But all good things must pass, and .NET is where all of the action is now. But upgrading all of those existing VB6 systems to .NET can be non-trivial to say the least - so the p&p team is hear to help! This guide provides proven practices to reach functional equivalence with a minimal amount of effort and cost and guidance for common advancements after the application is running on the .NET Framework. In addition to the guidance itself, a new tool, the Visual Basic 6.0 Upgrade Assessment Tool, is provided to give your organization assistance in identifying common upgrade issues and estimating the cost and effort required to upgrade your Visual Basic 6.0 code.