Just Released! GAT, and all sorts of other cool stuff…

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:

Guidance Automation Toolkit and Guidance Automation Extensions

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.

Web Services Security: Scenarios, Patterns, and Implementation Guidance for WSE 3.0

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.

Composite UI Application Block

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.

Upgrading Visual Basic 6.0 Applications to Visual Basic .NET and Visual Basic 2005

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.

Comments (10)
  1. djensen says:

    I am trying to convert a project from Beta 2 to RTM. I have all but one issue resolved. Where can I find a list of breaking changes for GAT? Specifically, what happened to the DteHelper class in the Microsoft.Practices.RecipeFramework.VisualStudio namespace? It’s gone, and I can’t find a replacement. Thanks for any help.

  2. Oscar.Calvo says:

    The class have been moved to Microsoft.Practices.RecipeFramework.Library.

    Make sure that you are referencing the assembly Microsoft.Practices.RecipeFramework.Library.dll. in your project.



  3. Chris Kinsman says:

    CAB and GAT links to the download yield a download not available message….

  4. Bob Salita says:

    GAT copy needs reworking. Too abstract, too self defining, too much marketclature. Think of me as a 10 year old child who has an attention span of one minute. That’s pretty much the case. Why should I learn yet another API? Why should I spend time downloading and installing?

    Explain who is the audience for GAT so I can quickly judge if it’s for me. If so, what are the benefits?

    Sorry, I’ve just spent 15 minutes on a one minute concept. I know others are thinking the same.

  5. Thanks Bob – this is valuable feedback, and I’ll see what we can do to clarify the intent and audience for GAT. This is a little tricky since GAT is inherently somewhat abstract, as it’s a programming layer on top of Visual Studio that helps build a certain style of integrated guidance – and at the moment we don’t have many good examples of what it’s good for. In fact we have been deliberately keeping pretty quiet about GAT until we ship some p&p deliverables in 2006 which will make use of it – hopefully the intent will become much clearer then, and we’ll start making some more noise.

    In the meantime, probably the quickest way to understand the intent of GAT is to install the Hands-On-Labs available from http://guidanceautomation.net/cs/library/view.aspx?tab=3&id=40

    Hope this helps


  6. Ray Williams says:

    Not very experienced with this new tool, "Visual Basic 6.0 Upgrade Assessment Tool”. Can anyone tell me if I can optionally select the Wizard as part of the application conversion. With all the known problems with the Wizard I would like to remove it from the estimator and just rely on the manual conversion calculations.

  7. Gabo says:

    Thanks for the info, I have a couple of questions:

    1. Do you know when will GAT be a released product (it is still a CTP for now)?

    2. Is there a merge module that we can bundle with our package installs to make sure GAT gets pre-installed?

    Thanks again.


  8. Tad Anderson says:

    The Guidance Automation Toolkit (GAT) has potential to be a very useful tool if the organization is willing to make the upfront investment in an Architectural Driven Development process or a Product Line Engineering (PLE) process… More @ http://realworldsa.blogspot.com/2005/12/guidance-automation-toolkit-gat.html

  9. Erik Sanders says:

    I have some concerns on this tool usefullnes.

    – If it is targeted as a productivity tool why is it available for one developper only using SUO files.

    – When an architect releases a new version is the already produced code maintained / updated(roundtrip)


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