Thursday, October 2, 2008

Microsoft "Dublin" addresses composite SOA applications

Microsoft just released a white paper outlining how .NET Framework 4.0 and new Windows Server capabilities (code-named Dublin) will help developers design, build and maintain Composite Applications. The white paper is available here.

What are composite SOA applications? Applications that are composed by assembling and integrating reusable services. This makes the deployment and management of applications (and servers) more complex and creates new requirements to address scalability, performance and reliability.

Microsoft has announced .NET Framework 4.0 to add functionality to WCF and WF, and also "Dublin", an add-on to Windows Server 2008, that will make SOA applications and servers easier to deploy, configure, manage and scale. The first preview will be available at the PDC at the end of October.

See the chart below from the white paper:


Windows Communication Foundation 4.0

Windows Workflow
Foundation 4.0

Windows Server
"Dublin" technologies

RESTful enhancements

·   Simplifying the building of REST Singleton & Collection Services, ATOM Feed and Publishing Protocol Services, and HTTP Plain XML Services using WCF

·   WCF REST Starter Kit to be released on Codeplex to get early feedback

Messaging enhancements

·   Transports - UDP, MQ, Local in-process

·   Protocols - SOAP over UDP, WS-Discovery, WS-BusinessActivity, WS-I BP 1.2

·   Duplex durable messaging

Correlation enhancements

·   Content and context driven, One-way support

Declarative Workflow Services

·   Seamless integration between WF and WCF and unified XAML model

·   Build entire application in XAML, from presentation to data to services to workflow


Significant improvements in performance and scalability

·   Ten-fold improvement in performance

New workflow flow-control models and pre-built activities

·   Flowcharts, rules

·   Expanded built-in activities – PowerShell, database, messaging, etc.

Enhancements in workflow modeling

·   Persistence control, transaction flow, compensation support, data binding and scoping

·   Rules composable and seamlessly integrated with workflow engine

Updated visual designer

·   Easier to use by end-users

·   Easier to rehost by ISVs

·   Ability to debug XAML

Provide standard host for WF and WCF applications   

Pre-built developer services

·   Message-based correlation

·   Message forwarding service

·   Content-based message routing

·   Compensation service for long-running transactions

Greater scalability and easier manageability

·   Enable scale-out of stateful workflow applications

·   Persisting and rehydrating state for high scalability

·   Enhanced management and monitoring functions

·   Tracking store for workflow events

Supports “Oslo” modeling platform



Key takeaways:

  • Microsoft will make it easier to design applications as WF workflows that are easily integrated into WCF services.
  • WCF and WF both use XAML. Microsoft will move to a "unified" XAML to make the integration easier.
  • Microsoft is moving more toward REST for web services due to its simplicity. The REST Starter Kit will be available on Codeplex in the near future.
  • The server infrastructure (Dublin) to host and manage these new types of applications will become available after .NET 4 and Visual Studio 2010 ship.


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