"Oslo"==Windows Registry(++)?

"Oslo"==Windows Registry(++)?

So finally, Microsoft revealed "Oslo". There has been so much rumors about what it is. Starting of at the SOA & BPM conference last year, "Oslo" was to be the next generation of BizTalk. For some time now, it's been clear that this was not to be the case. But what is it then?

This question was the main reason why I attended the PDC this year. However, I left the first "Oslo" session even more confused then was before attending it. The main reason for this was probably that I created my own expectations about what it would be.

I've now attended five "Oslo" sessions, along with several discussions with the team members, and I believe I finally understand the concept. You see, the simplicity of "Oslo" is what makes up its complexity. Once you understand it, you'll find endless possibilities where to use it, or at least where Microsoft will be using  it.

So "Oslo" is three things:

  1. "Repository" the store
  2. "Quadrant" the tool
  3. "M" the language

To explain this in a (much) simplified way, think of it as:

  1. A Registry like we have today, but to which you can store user defined types and models (not only string, binary, DWORD and QWORD)
  2. Regedit(++), from which you can view and edit the types and models from the Registry
  3. A language which describes the models, in the same way as xaml describes a workflow.

WHAT! THAT'S IT????

-Well, add to that; "Oslo" ships with lots of models, such as System.Workflow, System.ServiceModel and many more. This will give you ONE store (SQL db) from which you can find all your workflows and WCF endpoint configuration!!

And you can of course create your own models, say a Process model, which would have a number of workflows, with any number of endpoints… You really need to poke "Oslo" with your own ideas to grasp this magnitude of this.

In the current bits, you can create your workflow from within Quadrant and export it to Dublin – Darren Jefford. I'm willing to bet that, in the future, we'll see it the other way around. That we will from Dublin, point to the Repository, to get the xaml and endpoint configuration. No more .config files!

Working Paper #666

Working Paper #666

Recently, in one of the current economic crisis disccusions, I saw a link to a Working Paper #666 from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. At first I thought it’s a prank. Well, the number alone sounds like some dark humor. Nope. It was not. I went through the link http://www.minneapolisfed.org/publications_papers/pub_display.cfm?id=4062, yeah, really, the site truly belongs to one of the FRS members. For reference, “FRS member” is not any FDIC insured bank, it’s one of the very few banks which _ARE_ FRS. And, yes, before this working paper, there are working papers 662, 663, 664, and 665. I guess, just a coincidence. And the actual paper refers to the actual FRS site and their official published data at http://federalreserve.gov/releases/h8/ I checked, yes, it looks like data there really confirm what the paper says…


To be fair, the paper does not argue that US has a financial crisis or likely to get a recession soon. However, it doubts a few statements that were used widely since the crisis was acknowledged. Specifically:


1. Bank lending to nonfinancial corporations and individuals has declined sharply.

2. Interbank lending is essentially nonexistent.

3. Commercial paper issuance by nonfinancial corporations has declined sharply, and






Page 3

rates have risen to unprecedented levels.

4. Banks play a large role in channeling funds from savers to borrowers

1. Bank lending to nonfinancial corporations and individuals has declined sharply.

2. Interbank lending is essentially nonexistent.

3. Commercial paper issuance by nonfinancial corporations has declined sharply, and






Page 3

rates have risen to unprecedented levels.

4. Banks play a large role in channeling funds from savers to borrowers

1. Bank lending to nonfinancial corporations and individuals has declined sharply.

2. Interbank lending is essentially nonexistent.

3. Commercial paper issuance by nonfinancial corporations has declined sharply, and


  1. Bank lending to nonfinancial corporations and individuals has declined sharply.

  2. Interbank lending is essentially nonexistent.

  3. Commercial paper issuance by nonfinancial corporations has declined sharply, andrates have risen to unprecedented levels.

  4. Banks play a large role in channeling funds from savers to borrowers. 

And once you check the data (again, from the Federal Reserve System site) it really looks like all these statements are false. Credits even increased a bit, interbank credit is about on the same level, commercial papers by nonfinancial corporations are issued as usual at the same rate, in fact, even commercial paper by financial institutions albeit diminished and now at a higher rate, still not reached the rate of 2006. And, most of nonfinancial corporations debt (~80%) are commercial papers bought directly by savers, not banks. Oops…


Wait a minute… Aren’t those the same statements that were trumpeting the Doom and forced Senate and Congress to get American taxpayers into $700 bln debt despite tons of calls, letters and faxes of voters demanding not to do so?


What is this? Secretary of Treasure being clueless? Who is lying? Or did we got another PR campaign like in 2001? “Wag the Dog“?


I specially like the conclusion of the report:



Our analysis is based on publicly available data. Policymakers have access to other sources of data as well. Policymakers could well believe that bold action is necessary based on data that are different from that considered here. If so, responsible policymaking requires that they share both the data and the analysis that underlies the need for bold policy with the public.



Free-form translated from my Russian blog

PDC2008: Introducing BizTalk Express, sorry, Dublin

PDC2008: Introducing BizTalk Express, sorry, Dublin

Just at a session on BizTalk Express, sorry Dublin
Dublin is a set of extensions to Web Application Server (WAS) also known as Web Process
Activation Server (also WAS) – confused yet?!
Basically, Dublin allows hosting of WCF/WF services/workflows on IIS/WAS.
What it adds though is UIs for Hosting, Messaging, Durability, Correlation, and Tracking
Sound familiar? Yup, all things that BTS provides today.
It’s early days yet – most of the advanced stuff is currently configured via PowerShell
scripts, but it shows where they’re going with it.

Persistence is implemented by storing message information in SQL Server.
In the IIS Administration Console, you can look at suspended instances, resume them,
cancel them, etc. All stuff that seems very very familiar to a BTS dev.
Correlation and filtering is achieved via XPath statements (no comments on whether
it loads the message into a DOM, or whether it supports fast-read-only forward XPath
only).

We’ve all received copies of Dublin with our PDC bits – I’ll be keen to see what perf
you can achieve under load. I suspect the answer is “not much”.
The BTS dev team spent a lot of time tuning the filtering/persistence stuff, and in
a lot of ways it seems that the Dublin team are reinventing the wheel here.

One cool thing shown was creating a model in Quadrant (the Oslo modelling tool) and
deploying WCF/WF apps from there to Dublin.

More to come as I spend time with Dublin.

PDC2008: Wow, look Windows 7, it’s so exci zzzzzzzz

PDC2008: Wow, look Windows 7, it’s so exci zzzzzzzz

I’m sorry, is it just me? I just can’t get excited about Windows Vista R2,
sorry, Windows 7.

[side note: Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008 use v6.0 of the windows kernel.
Windows 7 uses v6.1 of the kernel. They’ve also upgraded Windows Server 2008 to use
v6.1 – and called this refresh Windows Server 2008 R2 but they’ve called the client
refresh Windows 7. Even though it technically is just Vista refreshed with an updated
kernel.
I suspect that MS got so burnt with the Vista brand name, that they’ve been forced
to re-name it.
But I wonder what the client OS which will contain v7.0 of the kernel will be called.
I suspect it won’t be Windows 8!]

So Windows 7 is pretty much Windows Vista with some new features.

And some of them are pretty cool (e.g. reduced resource footprint, improvements in
collaborating with connected computers/devices). But don’t be fooled into thinking
that this is a new OS, or even an evolution – it’s Vista with some new features.
Which is absolutely fine – Microsoft have just managed to stabilize Vista, and are
starting to leave the early painful years behind.

For me, the coolest and most useful feature is the ability to boot from a VHD.
Now just stop and think about what that means: there must be a thin layer of bootstrap
code which knows how to read a VHD and present to as a physical HDD/Storage Controller
to the system.

[Note: yes, Win 7 allows you to create/mount VHDs using DiskManager, but this functionality
has been around for a while if you installed Virtual Server, although it was command-line
only.]


I imagine this bootstrap code is pretty much the same as for Windows Hyper-V server,
which works on a similar principle i.e. booting from images, although Hyper-V does
this in a virtualised environment, allowing you to boot multiple VHDs at the same
time.

What I’m not clear about is if the VHD must contain an install of Win 7, or whether
you can boot any OS install. If the latter, then this is super cool.
(given that there appears to be a VHD HostBusAdapter in Device Manager in Win 7, I
suspect it’s the former i.e. Win 7 only VHDs. I hope not.)

What this means for me: I do all of my BizTalk/Services dev in Windows Server 2003/2008.
And up to now, this has been done using Virtual PC images (running Vista 64-bit as
the host OS).
But now, hopefully, I have the choice of booting my dev VHD, or running it in VPC/Virtual
Server/Hyper-V.

And that’s pretty cool.

Microsoft takes REST to the next level: the WCF REST Starter Kit

Microsoft takes REST to the next level: the WCF REST Starter Kit

The first version of WCF didn't have any built-in REST support. WCF 3.5 introduced a "Web" programming model that enabled REST service development scenarios (through classes like WebServiceHost, WebServiceHostFactory, WebHttpBehavior, WebHttpBinding, WebGetAttribute, WebInvokeAttribute, UriTemplate, etc). However, building RESTful services today with WCF 3.5 still leaves a lot to be desired.

At PDC this week, Microsoft announced the WCF REST Starter Kit, which makes building RESTful services with WCF much easier. You can download the WCF REST Starter Kit from CodePlex. It comes with a new library of APIs, both new classes and extension methods, that address some of the common pain points around building RESTful services with WCF 3.5 today. For example, you'll find new classes like WebServiceHost2, WebServiceHost2Factory, WebHelpAttribute, WebCacheAttribute, WebProtocolException, and RequestInterceptor to name a few. One of my favorite features is how the new host enables an automatic documentation page for your RESTful services describing the URI design, message formats, and sample instances, making it much easier for clients to discover how to integrate with your RESTful service.

Today when you download the WCF REST Starter Kit from CodePlex, you get the source code, which opens up additional opportunities for community collaboration and internal customization. As we move towards .NET 4.0, the WCF team will be looking at the various features found in the WCF REST Starter Kit they'll be evaluating which ones make sense to roll back into the .NET framework moving forward.

The WCF REST Starter Kit also comes with a Visual Studio installer that provides a suite of new project templates that provide skeleton implementations for today's most common types of RESTful services including: REST singleton services, REST collection services, AtomFeed services, AtomPub services, and HTTP Plain XML (POX) services. These templates make it really easy to get simple REST services up-and-running quickly.

If you want to learn more about REST and the WCF REST Starter Kit, browse to the new REST landing page on MSDN WCF Dev Center. This will become the new gathering place for WCF REST resources.

I recently wrote a REST whitepaper called A Guide to Designing and Building RESTful Services with WCF 3.5, which covers REST design fundamentals, the new WCF 3.5 programming model, and the new WCF REST Starter Kit. It's a great way to get your head around REST and to start writing REST code. I've also recorded a bunch of screencasts illustrating how to get started with the starter kit. You'll find links on the REST landing page.

Kudos to Microsoft, specifically Vish, RC, Steve, Kent, and the rest of team for providing first-class REST support to .NET developers. I'm excited to watch this project continue to evolve over the next year.

Microsoft Connected Systems at PDC 2008

Microsoft Connected Systems at PDC 2008

If you're a Microsoft Connected Systems developer, and you're at the PDC this week, you're swimming in a sea of new technologies that will surely impact your life in the years ahead. There are too many specific things to enumerate in one post but there are several major themes:

Over the past year, I've been following these developments closely but haven't been able to talk about them in public due to the typical NDAs. However, now that PDC is here and things are out in the open, the information can finally start flowing. I've been busy working on a lot of content leading up to the PDC, both in the form of whitepapers and screencasts, that you'll see showing up on the sites above.

I'll be following up with more in-depth posts of these various topics over the next several days. Stay tuned!

Microsoft Connected Systems: PDC 2008

Microsoft Connected Systems: PDC 2008

If you're a Microsoft Connected Systems developer, and you're at the PDC this week, you're swimming in a sea of new technologies that will surely impact your life in the years ahead. There are too many specific things to enumerate in one post but there are several major themes:

Over the past year, I've been following these developments closely but haven't been able to talk about them in public due to the typical NDAs. However, now that PDC is here and things are out in the open, the information can finally start flowing. I've been busy working on a lot of content leading up to the PDC, both in the form of whitepapers and screencasts, that you'll see showing up on the sites above.

I'll be following up with more in-depth posts of these various topics over the next several days. Stay tuned!