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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

To WSE3 through a DIME-field?

I spent some time last week looking at what it will take to move my product, the Digipede Network, from WSE2 to WSE3.

The motivation to move to WSE3 is

  • the many performance improvements;
  • support for MTOM; and
  • interoperation with Windows Communications Framework (WCF).

Unfortunately, therein lies the rub. Not only doesn’t WCF support DIME, which is too be expected, but neither does WSE3. The last two items (MTOM + WCF interop) basically imply this, but I was hoping WSE3 would offer a migration step combining DIME and MTOM.

This decision can make it much more complicated for developers to migrate their production apps to WSE3. It is even more complicated for those of shipping product based on WSE2 & DIME. Let me highlight one example (that is near and dear to my heart):

Imagine you have smart-clients (or agents) that use WSE2 and DIME. These clients periodically “check-in” with the WSE2 Web service. Among other things, they find out whether an updated client is required and perform their own self-update. Now imagine you want to upgrade the entire system (i.e., the Web services and clients) to WSE3. You need to:

  1. Maintain your original WSE2 Web service for your clients to continue to use throughout the migration period.
  2. Create / install a second WSE3 Web service that supports MTOM under a different virtual directory (of course, with different endpoints).
  3. Update your clients inclusive of a redirection to the new WSE3 virtual directory and Web service.
  4. Manually uninstall your WSE2 Web service when it is no longer needed.

This is a real hassle. I think it isn’t too bad for developers with control over a public Web site or corporate intranet; however, it introduces a lot of complexity for those of us who create shipping product. Complexity around installations and upgrades increases support costs for both the developer and the user. Necessarily.

I would have appreciated it if DIME was supported in WSE3 even though not in WCF. That way we would have the opportunity to migrate our customers with a single WSE3 site release supporting both DIME and MTOM.

This reminds me a bit of the Visual Studio 2005 Web Projects in the RTM. The ASP.NET project model changed significantly from Visual Studio 2003. These changes were focused on making the tool better for building public Web sites and corporate intranet sites. In the process they missed the fact that they broke Web projects for companies that ship product based on ASP.NET. Luckily for many, they fixed this with an add-on the week VS2005 shipped (I solved the problem myself two weeks earlier and didn’t make it into a plugin because I knew Microsoft was working on a solution).

Is Microsoft forgetting about those of us building installed software?

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