Microsoft Application Block focus and evolution

I led a Birds of a Feather session last night on the Microsoft Application Blocks that was pretty well attended for being the last timeslot. Most of the people there had not yet used any of the blocks, so it ended up being more of a Q&A than a discussion, but it still went well and was a lot of fun.

Today I attended a session by Wojtek Kozaczynski from the Patterns and Practices team that puts out the blocks. Very good session on the future of the blocks that I wish I had attended before my BoF. They are working on something they are calling the Application Block Library that will be released towards the end of the year. This ties together a number of the existing blocks such as data access, exception management, configuration management, caching and more into a single library that is more consistent with the architecture and interdependencies of the blocks. They are also going to add some functionality to each, improve the documentation and samples to be more consistent and well formatted, and will include an administrative tool that will plug into Visual Studio 2003 and run as an external tool to ease the configuration and management of the blocks through their underlying configuration settings. All very cool stuff.

Bottom line message was to start using the blocks available today, don’t wait for the library, but for apps that get started next year you will have a will have a whole new set of blocks to work with that will be even better.