Microsoft can’t keep me quiet for much longer. I haven’t written about Dublin for many months, and I’m about to explode. Lucky for me we’re getting close to a public release, when I’ll be able to talk about features specifically and post new screenshots.

The first customers who will get Dublin bits are those who have been accepted into our TAP program. This is a great way for customers to get the technology early and a great way for us on the team to get early feedback about our product. See this page for more information and a pointer to how to apply for the program. By the end of the year we plan to release a public beta for everyone.

The themes of Dublin haven’t changed since I last wrote. Dublin is a set of extensions to the Windows Application Server role that make .NET 4 WCF and WF services easier to use. Some specific areas of focus are:

  • Deployment
    In Dublin we talk a lot about deployment. We demonstrate some cool capabilities of packaging and deploying web applications from Visual Studio 2010 and IIS Manager. These are really cool features. They’re just not ours. The IIS team is building MSDeploy, and we leverage the heck of that in Dublin. In earlier coding milestones we built our own wrappers over MSDeploy. As we’ve seen the MSDeploy features evolve, however, we’ve found that there’s no need for us to wrap them. Now when you see us demo Dublin you’ll see the same deployment experience that you’ll get “out of the box” with MSDeploy. If you’re not yet familiar with the MSDeploy technology go check out that team’s blog here.
  • Service visibility and configuration
    In IIS Manager Dublin lets you see the .NET 4 WCF and WF services hosted in WAS. You can also configure them to set things like throttling, monitoring level, and persistence (for workflows).
  • Monitoring
    WCF and WF in .NET 4 come with some great Monitoring enhancements. In WCF we’re giving you fewer, more meaningful events. (We call these AppTrace events). In WF we’re giving you great flexibility with tracking levels and tracking profile customizations. Dublin features capture this data into a database that we use to populate a dashboard in IIS Manager. On the dashboard you can see service activity, and you can drill into raw tracked events when you want to see the specifics of a service invocation or workflow instance.
  • WAS hosting
    Our team has worked closely with the IIS team to build some features that make WAS a better host for WCF and WF services. Our goal is to make WAS the de facto host for these types of services. (“Why build your own host when you get this one—with its toolset—for free?!”)
  • Workflow instance management
    WF in .NET 4 offers mechanisms that let you control running workflow instances. Dublin gives you a management experience around this functionality. Through our IIS Manager modules and PowerShell cmdlets you can see workflow instances. You can also resume suspended instances, terminate running instances, etc.

My role on the Dublin team has changed quite a bit since the last time I wrote. I started out as the “integration dude.” My job was to define core user scenarios, try them out, and give my feedback to the feature teams. I had a blast with that. It allowed me to get a good perspective of Dublin as a whole and to learn about all the feature areas. A few months ago I moved over to our Tools team. We’re the team that builds the IIS Manager and PowerShell features. I own some of the Monitoring features, specifically the raw tracked event view that you will use to troubleshoot problems with your services. Being on a feature team gives me the chance to go deep in a feature and help shape the product more directly. I’m having a good time with this and like getting my hands dirty.

But the team can’t keep me quiet. (Do you see the pattern here?). I’ll always have my end-to-end focus and big mouth. My big mouth turns out to be handy for demos and presentations, so you’ll still see me often act as the “demo monkey” for Dublin.

I want to hear from you. What questions do you have about Dublin? Which features are you energized about? Which ones need work?


Blog Post by: ccraft@microsoft.com