Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The 4 Paths of 3.0

Microsoft.Net v3.0 has been out and around for a good couple of years now (including its days under the WinFX name) and it seems like just now people are beginning to use it. With in the past year and a half, more and more advances in development paradigms have caused the need for a better interface along with easier ways to do things. .Net 3.0 was to help in the areas of authentication (CardSpace), processing (WF), UI (WPF & Silverlight), and SOA (WCF). The 4 aspects pack a huge impact once one dives into them and applying them together makes them a true force of development.

So, if one was to start pick one up of these up, which of the 4 paths would one choose?

CardSpace provides a quick and easy way to provide digital authentication. Unlike Passport, CardSpace provides better management, an easier API, and a significantly better cost structure (if anyone priced the Passport authentication licenses, you know what I mean by this). Many other bloggers view it as probably the most important piece that's getting the least amount of attention. I have a feeling that I'll be diving into CardSpace in the next few months, but not initially given some of my direct needs.

Workflow Foundation (WF):
I started reading up on WF about a month ago, randomly chosen from the 4 technologies. An embedded runtime specifically for workflows that would take compiled or xaml-based workflows was quite nice. It provided an easy interface for design and was quite easy to implement. Even with all of the benefits, WF is one that I'm going to feel is acceptable with my limited knowledge at the moment. I'll pick it back up after a bit.

Communication Foundation (WCF):
As I was researching and playing around with WF, I noticed that WCF can be integrated into it quite nicely. This, combined with recent performance statistics posed on MSDN, makes it a very nice option to learn and apply in just about any environment. Again though, I haven't truly dove into WCF and will probably do it second on my list.

Presentation Foundation (WPF):
When the first WinFX book came out, I thumbed through it and the first thing I saw was Xaml. I saw it and shrugged it off (since I was still semi-green in the ways of .Net at the time). Xaml was a strange language and I felt more comfortable honing my Perl skills before touching it. However, now looking over 3.0 and also reading more into Xaml, I must say that I wish I did discard it earlier. WPF uses Xaml (or can be generated through code) and the deeper you go into the 3.0 technologies, so does everything else. The power of Xaml is amazing and seeing how it works along with Silverlight, it truly is a remarkable language.

While probably not the most professionally practical in many current settings, I can see many companies begin to adopt WPF should their development staff become educated in such. The sheer power is amazing and becoming well versed in it has 0 negatives from what I can tell.

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