The 2010 release provided a dramatic shift in the build platform. Previous releases were built on top of MSBuild, providing integration through custom tasks and a special logger for tracking events during a build. Current and future releases are built on Windows Workflow Foundation, providing a design experience in Visual Studio and the ability to orchestrate a build process across multiple machines. During the product development cycle I learned quite a bit about workflow (having access to the architect didn’t hurt), since I was essentially forced to do so by the collective direction of my team. Once the product cycle was over I took some of my down time to post knowledge gained during the process to (hopefully) help others learn.
Now we’re developing the next release and I have been driven down a similar, yet different, path of making extensive use of the Windows Communication Foundation libraries. Through many long nights (sadly enough I actually found that I missed them) I have been slowly expanding my knowledge base in this area of the .NET framework. I must admit that upon first glance the API seems extremely complicated. The size of the library is enormous and there are so many customization points it becomes tough to determine the appropriate hook. However, once you understand the pieces and how they fit together you have infinite possibilities at your disposal.
Sorry to spoil the fun, but this isn’t the first installment …. soon though, very soon.