It must be the end of the fiscal year of something, because we have yet another new release to tell you about: the July Community Drop of the Web Service Software Factory is now available to download from our GotDotNet Community Site. While this is not our official "v1" release, it's starting to come together nicely, and if you've been holding out from evaluating previous community drops, now would be a mighty fine time to dive right in!
For those who are new to the Service Factory, it's a collection of integrated guidance (including guidance packages, reference implementation and written guidance) to help you efficiently build consistent and high quality service-oriented applications on .NET Framework 2.0. Currently we are focusing most of our efforts on ASMX for the service interface, but we'll also be releasing guidance for WCF when this technology is released (and one of our older community drops includes an early version of our WCF guidance). A great way to quickly get up to speed on Service Factory is to watch Don's blogcast videos.
The July Community Drop has a number of improvements over the previous community drops, including:
- This release requires the new June 2006 release of the Guidance Automation Extensions and Toolkit, which of course means that the Service Factory benefits from the improvements in the GAX/GAT update. We haven't yet added the appropriate metadata to show the documentation links in the Guidance Navigator, but we'll do this before the final release.
- The installation process has been streamlined, so you'll not longer have to install each guidance package separately to the Service Factory. The Service Factory MSI now registers all of the guidance packages as a part of the main installation process. It also installs the source of the guidance packages, which you can use to customize the automated guidance. The source code versions have different registration GUIDs than the installed version, so you can have both the original and customized versions of a guidance package registered at the same time.
- And the biggest news is that the Service Factory now has a brand new guidance package dedicated to helping you build data access layers using ADO.NET 2.0. The goal of this guidance was not to be an object-relational mapping framework or an entirely new approach to data access. Instead it's designed to take out some of the repetitive and error-prone work of creating a data access layer by hand, by helping to create some (but not all) of the key classes used in a data access layer.
It's important to keep in mind that this is prerelease guidance and is still subject to change, and we'd love to get your feedback. The data access guidance package is still very minimalist, but hopefully it will be something you find valuable. Right now the recipes allow you to add a database connection to your project, generate prototype business entities from database tables, generate prototype CRUD stored procedures from database tables, and generate database repository classes that are exposed to the business layer as CRUD-like operations on business entities. Right now aren't supporting more advanced functionality such as aggregation or inheritance relationships between business entities - this type of code will still need to be written by hand. Some screenshots of some of the wizards are shown below.
Most of you are probably already aware that the choice of available technologies for building data access layers will be changing significantly in the future with the advent of LINQ to ADO.NET. We're already working with these teams to start planning for these technologies, and we'll be publishing samples that show how the Service Factory guidance will look in a LINQ to ADO.NET world. However keep in mind that the current releases of Service Factory are focused on currently shipping technologies, which means ADO.NET 2.0 in the case of the data access guidance.
If you think this looks interesting, please download the latest preview and let us know what you think by posting to the Service Factory Community message boards. As always, we rely on your feedback to make sure we are building the right solutions and doing it the right way.