Sunday, May 27, 2007

Managed Add-Ins for .NET 3.5

A new architecture for managed add-ins is introduced with .NET 3.5. The new functionality shipped in System.AddIn addresses common tasks such as discovery, activation, isolation and sandboxing. Add-in version problems are also addressed by allowing developers to isolate version adapters into separate assemblies.

Add-in discovery and activation is simplified with two new classes: AddInStore and AddInToken. AddInStore helps you to find add-ins based on type and location while AddInToken allows you to activate. Here's some sample code:

IList<AddInToken> tokens = AddInStore.FindAddIns(typeof(AddInType), addinPath);
foreach (AddInToken token in tokens)

The framework SDK also includes a tool called AddInUtil.exe that makes it easy to manipulate the AddInStore.

A variety of isolation & sandboxing modes are supported upon activation. Isolation and pooling allow you load add-ins in-appDomain, cross-appDomain and cross-process. You can also conveniently apply standard and custom permission sets to the sandbox.

Jesse Kaplan has a recently written an article on managed add-ins in the Architecture Journal and is a regular contributor to the CLR Add-In Team Blog.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

SCSF May 2007

The SCSF May 2007 release provides support for WPF. Visual Studio tooling for WPF is still in development so you need to go through a few simple steps prior to installing the factory.
Fortunately, the SCSF installer shows a prerequisites page listing the required components.

All you need is the February 2007 guidance extensions and optionally the guidance toolkit and studio extensions for WCF and WPF. Note that the factory also requires SQL 2005 Compact to enable disconnected service agents! I'm really looking forward to having a closer look at the offline capabilities.

It's interesting to note that you don't need to install the composite UI application block or enterprise library any more. The binaries are actually shipped with the factory and you have the option to install the source code. The smart client guys have done a fantastic job on the installer.

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