My Personal Toolkit – A Minor Update and Upgrade

As anyone in the software industry knows, especially those that use the latest and greatest, having an up to date and powerful toolkit is vital for the job.  Without a good personal toolkit a developer can be rendered almost useless or at least lost a huge amount of value.  In my efforts to stay above par with my toolkit I made another surfing expedition out on the ole’ world wide web for latest tools.

One of the framework type tools that I wanted to check up on, especially with all the patterns based development that I’ve been working on lately, was the WCSF, or to “de-acrynomize” it, the Web Client Software Factory.  For more information on the WCSF check out the Wiki on Composite Clients.  WCSF helps out when the various layers are broken out between Model-View-Controller, UI and Business Layer, or other such pattern paradigms.  It provides a framework in which to build up architecture.

The second major item to pick up, even if you intend to only use one or two elements at first, is the Enterprise Library.  Currently the version out is the Enterprise Library May 2007 version 3.1.  Awesome parts of this library that I’ve had the fortune of using recently include policy injection, if you haven’t heard or seen this in action, you owe it to yourself to check it out!  Policy Injection ROCKS!

Two other tools, which could be considered a tool, are the Guidance Automation Toolkit and the Guidance Automation Extensions.  These installs set the development environment up with some pretty snazzy help documents and predefined templates for use with the WCSF or SCSF (SCSF == Smart Client Software Factory).  These pieces, along with the WCSF, will probably start aging rapidly when Avalon and the respective tools start hitting prime time.  But for now, prime time is WCSF, SCSF, and the Guidance tools.

The biggest kicker of recent time are the WF (Workflow Foundation), WCF (Windows Communication Foundation), and WPF Extensions for Visual Studio 2005.  For now those of us that are still using Visual Studio 2005 (Which I would assume is about 99% of .NET 2.0 or 3.0 technology development) definitely need these extensions for 3.0 work.  Trust me on this, 3.0 is full of great additions, if you aren’t, start using it.

To summarize my latest toolkit:  (Do a search for any of these acronyms on MSDN and you’ll have the download)

  • WCSF – Web Client Software Factory
  • Enterprise Library May 2007 (3.1)
  • Guidance Automation Toolkit and Extensions (GAT & GAX)
  • .NET 3.0 Extensions (WF – WCF/WPF) for Visual Studio 2005