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Video 2 (FWD) - "Introduction to the Firefox JavaScript Console"

Firefox comes with many incredible utilities right out of the box. One of these tools is the JavaScript console. Most developers who have done any web development at all utilizing Firefox has used this great tool, but few know of some of the more powerful features. In this video I touch lightly on a few features that you may have overlooked.

In the next video we will dive hard core into some code to see the Firefox Web Development suite in action.

Video 3 (FWD) - "Introduction to the Firefox Console"

Here's the next video in the Firefox Web Developer series: Using the Firefox Console. The Firefox Console is a tremendously underused tool built right into Firefox. It allows for safe and efficient JavaScript development that may otherwise be a complete nightmare. This tool is also an absolute must for remote scripting developers (yes, I still refuse to call it "Ajax"). You can think of this tool as being much like a service tracer. C# programmers will feel right at home with this guy.

I say it in the video as well, but let me emphasis it here: the Firefox console is not the JavaScript console. Firefox is a complete standalone Web Development Suite -- not just a web browser. These tools are not addons, plugins, or extensions, but rather are natively built-in tools in Firefox. In later videos I will discuss other tools also built right into Firefox.

OK, so here ya go...

WCF Beta 2 and Go-live license!

At last! We now have beta 2 of WCF and a corresponding Go live license! This is incredible news for architects and developers alike. We can finally use the foundation to help unite our current (and future) component services, web services, and MSMQ applications in production

Just the other day I was designing an architecture and I was thinking "Gosh, this would be so nice in WCF. I *REALLY* don't want to do this in the old school way...if only the beta 2 and the Go-live license would be released!" Three days later...BAM!

Woohoo!! Not only that but beta 2 of WWF with a corresponding Go-live license is also available. I haven't been this excited since Firefox 1.5 came out!!!

Here's the Go-live license and the WCF beta 2 download (as well as WWF beta 2).

WCF Relative Binding Speeds

My latest infrastructure design consists of a few services spread over various servers and with many clients in various locations. Some of the clients will be on the same machine as the service, others will be on the same NT-based network, others will be WSE3 services, and even others will be PHP based. I wanted to provide the best solution for each, ergo my love for the Go-live of WCF! With WCF I can have the services expose multiple endpoints to allow a diverse number of clients each with their own maximum efficiency (remember, if you aren't measuring, then you aren't engineering!) PHP clients for example will get a BasicHttpBinding endpoint, while clients on the same machine as the service will use the NetNamedPipeBinding.

What do the speeds look like for each of these bindings? I went ahead and wrote a quick test harness to see the relative speeds of each binding. These are very simple tests, but they do demonstrate how the speeds of the bindings compare with each other. Without a ton of needless talk, let's get right into what's going on...

Here is the service configuration file...

  <system.serviceModel>
    <services>
      <service type="WcfDemo.DemoService">
        <endpoint
          address="WsDualHttpBinding"
          contract="WcfDemo.IDemoService"
          binding="wsDualHttpBinding"
          />
        <endpoint
          address="WsHttpBinding"
          contract="WcfDemo.IDemoService"
          binding="wsHttpBinding"
          />
        <endpoint
          address="BasicHttpBinding"
          contract="WcfDemo.IDemoService"
          binding="basicHttpBinding"></endpoint>
        <endpoint
          address="NetTcpBinding"
          contract="WcfDemo.IDemoService"
          binding="netTcpBinding"
          />
        <endpoint
          address="NetNamedPipeBinding"
          contract="WcfDemo.IDemoService"
          binding="netNamedPipeBinding"></endpoint>
      </service>
    </services>
  </system.serviceModel>

Here is the significant portion of the service code...

Uri netTcpAddress = new Uri("net.tcp://localhost:8080/");
Uri httpAddress = new Uri("http://localhost:8081/");
Uri netPipeAddress = new Uri("net.pipe://localhost/");
using (ServiceHost service = new ServiceHost(typeof(DemoService), new Uri[] { netTcpAddress, httpAddress, netPipeAddress })) {
        service.Open( );

        Console.WriteLine("Listening...");
        Console.ReadLine( );
}

Notice the netPipeAddress is using "net.pipe" as the address scheme and doesn't have a port. This is actually for the netNamedPipeBinding binding which is for inner process communication on the same machine, so there wouldn't be a port for that. The netTcpBinding binding does however have a port as it would really be out on the network somewhere. Also keep in mind that you add a URI for each address scheme, not each address.

Here is the client configuration file...

<system.serviceModel>
    <client>
      <endpoint
        address="http://localhost:8081/WsDualHttpBinding"
        binding="wsDualHttpBinding"
        name="WSDualHttpBinding"
        contract="IDemoService" />
      <endpoint
        address="http://localhost:8081/WsHttpBinding"
        binding="wsHttpBinding"
        name="WSHttpBinding"
        contract="IDemoService" />
      <endpoint
        address="http://localhost:8081/BasicHttpBinding"
        binding="basicHttpBinding"
        name="BasicHttpBinding"
        contract="IDemoService" />
      <endpoint
        address="net.tcp://localhost:8080/NetTcpBinding"
        binding="netTcpBinding"
        name="NetTcpBinding"
        contract="IDemoService" />
      <endpoint
        address="net.pipe://localhost/NetNamedPipeBinding"
        binding="netNamedPipeBinding"
        name="NetNamedPipeBinding"
        contract="IDemoService" />
    </client>
  </system.serviceModel>

Again notice there is no port on the netNamedPipeBinding binding and there is a port on the netTcpBinding. Also notice that each of the addresses end in the name of the endpoint specified by the server; the endpoints also have a name attribute to be accessible by the client-side code as seen in the next code block.

Here is how I start my client code...

DemoServiceClient wSDualHttpClient = new DemoServiceClient("WSDualHttpBinding");
DemoServiceClient wSHttpClient = new DemoServiceClient("WSHttpBinding");
DemoServiceClient basicHttpClient = new DemoServiceClient("BasicHttpBinding");
DemoServiceClient netTcpClient = new DemoServiceClient("NetTcpBinding");
DemoServiceClient netNamedPipeClient = new DemoServiceClient("NetNamedPipeBinding");

My actual benchmarking code consists of a simple timer that look like this...

Person person = new Person( );
DateTime a = DateTime.Now;
int i = 0;
while ((DateTime.Now - a).Seconds < 10) {
    wSDualHttpClient.RecordPerson(person);
    i++;
}
Console.WriteLine("WSDualHttpBinding: Processed  calls in 10 seconds", i);

That basically just means I want to run as many tests as possible in 10 seconds.

I actually ordered the tests based on my predictions of their relative speeds and it turns out my predictions were correct. Take a look for yourself...

WSDualHttpBinding: Processed 1602 calls in 10 seconds
WSHttpBinding: Processed 2531 calls in 10 seconds
BasicHttpBinding: Processed 17913 calls in 10 seconds
NetTcpBinding: Processed 39957 calls in 10 seconds
NetNamedPipeBinding: Processed 48255 calls in 10 seconds

This isn't really that surprising. The more complex web services protocols are slower than the most basic ones, which are in turn slower than a direct TCP connection, which in turn is slower than the named-pipes binding connection for use on the same machine.  So, if you are going to be doing something chatty, you may want to think twice before using SOAP.

That was actually an out-of-the-box benchmark; that is, I didn't customize the bindings in any way. In another test I turned off security for the WsDualHttpBinding and WsHttpBinding bindings.

First, I added the following binding sections to both the service and the client configuration files.

<bindings>
  <wsDualHttpBinding>
    <binding name="noSecurity">
      <security mode="None"></security>
    </binding>
  </wsDualHttpBinding>
  <wsHttpBinding>
    <binding name="noSecurity">
      <security mode="None"></security>
    </binding>
  </wsHttpBinding>
</bindings>

Then I altered the endpoints to point to the appropriate binding. Here is the service configuration alteration.

<endpoint
    address="WsDualHttpBinding"
    bindingConfiguration="noSecurity"
    contract="WcfDemo.IDemoService"
    binding="wsDualHttpBinding"
    />
<endpoint
    address="WsHttpBinding"
    bindingConfiguration="noSecurity"
    contract="WcfDemo.IDemoService"
    binding="wsHttpBinding"
    />

here is the client configuration alteration.

<endpoint
    address="http://localhost:8081/WsDualHttpBinding"
    binding="wsDualHttpBinding"
    name="WSDualHttpBinding"
    bindingConfiguration="noSecurity"
    contract="IDemoService" />
<endpoint
    address="http://localhost:8081/WsHttpBinding"
    binding="wsHttpBinding"
    name="WSHttpBinding"
    bindingConfiguration="noSecurity"
    contract="IDemoService" />

The results for both WSDualHttpBinding and WSHttpBinding were much faster!

WSDualHttpBinding: Processed 5773 calls in 10 seconds
WSHttpBinding: Processed 17257 calls in 10 seconds
BasicHttpBinding: Processed 19528 calls in 10 seconds
NetTcpBinding: Processed 39756 calls in 10 seconds
NetNamedPipeBinding: Processed 47457 calls in 10 seconds

So as you can see you can get really different levels of performance based on the different binding you use. The ability to have these various endpoints provides a great mechanism for my services to reach all kinds of different clients with great interoperability and maximized speed for network and local communication. Best of all, it's all free...no extra coding! All I had to do to add the new binding was add the endpoint to the service configuration file. WCF takes care of all the rest for you...

Supplemental material - Sample Projects

WCF: A self-hosted service with multiple endpoints

Last night I started playing with more more interesting things in WCF (multiple endpoints) and I kept running into a wall: how do you set more than one http endpoint on the same service!? Nothing I was doing was working, then I ran into Indigo Girl's WCF book chapters online (see my next post). Her examples clearly explain what I was doing wrong. Let me explain how to do what I wanted to do in my own words...

Instead of having a different "server" for each endpoint of the same address scheme (i.e. http), you have a a base address for and then give each a name. There is one WSDL for all the endpoints of a service. That is: one service, one WSDL; not one endpoint, one WSDL. This stems from the fact that by default there are two endpoints repackages: mex and HTTP Get. The HTTP get one is the one that will help out with the WSDL.

Here is the fixed up code. By running this up and generating the proxy, we are able to have the complete mechanism for communication from the client to the service, including the configuration file (below).

Program.cs
Uri httpUri = new Uri("http://localhost:8081/");
using(ServiceHost hService = new ServiceHost(typeof(DemoService), httpUri)) {
 hService.AddServiceEndpoint(typeof(IDemoService), new BasicHttpBinding( ), "BasicService");
 hService.AddServiceEndpoint(typeof(IDemoService), new WSDualHttpBinding( ), "DualHttpService");

 hService.Open( );

 Console.WriteLine("Listening...");
 Console.ReadLine( );
}
client app.config

  <system.serviceModel>
    <client>
      <endpoint
        address="http://localhost:8081/BasicService"
        binding="basicHttpBinding"
        name="BasicHttpService"
        contract="IDemoService" />
      <endpoint
        address="http://localhost:8081/DualHttpService"
        binding="wsDualHttpBinding"
        name="DualHttpService"
        contract="IDemoService" />
    </client>
  </system.serviceModel>
Even when using entitely different protocols (the higher level http and say the lower level tcp), you have one WSDL. Of course in this case, since there are more one address scheme (http and net.tcp), you have more than one base address; one per scheme.
Program.cs
Uri netTcpAddress = new Uri("net.tcp://localhost:8080/");
Uri httpAddress = new Uri("http://localhost:8081/");
using (ServiceHost service = new ServiceHost(typeof(DemoService), new Uri[] { netTcpAddress, httpAddress })) {
 service.Open( );

 Console.WriteLine("Listening...");
 Console.ReadLine( );
}
server app.config

  <system.serviceModel>
    <services>
      <service type="WcfDemo.DemoService">
        <endpoint
          address="NetTcpService"
          contract="WcfDemo.IDemoService"
          binding="netTcpBinding"
          />
        <endpoint
          address="DualHttpService"
          contract="WcfDemo.IDemoService"
          binding="wsDualHttpBinding"
          />
      </service>
    </services>
  </system.serviceModel>
client app.config

  <system.serviceModel>
    <client>
      <endpoint
        address="net.tcp://localhost:8080/NetTcpService"
        binding="netTcpBinding"
        name="NetTcpService"
        contract="IDemoService" />
      <endpoint
        address="http://localhost:8081/DualHttpService"
        binding="wsDualHttpBinding"
        name="DualHttpService"
        contract="IDemoService" />
    </client>
  </system.serviceModel>

As you can see WCF really allows for some pretty powerful scenarios...

LLBLGen Overview (Special Edition) Video

A friend of mine told me someone tasked him with creating an O/R mapping tool. My first reaction was...well, of course, your company likes to reinvent the wheel, loves useless legacy technology, and is very anti-productivity. He said that nothing is easy to use and everything has useless error messages. So I of course reminded him of the great gift to humanity known as LLBLGen, which is very easy to use and is very clearly designed. I've mentioned LLBLGen to him before, but this time was a real marketing opportunity. (Actually, I'm very annoying about promoting .NET 2.0, Firefox, Gmail, and LLBLGen -- absolute life savers).

Anyways... I told him I would create a quick overview video of LLBLGen as a marketing pitch to his company. Well, the "quick video" turned out to be almost a half hour long. Err, yeah... So, I've decided to share this video with the rest of the world. It's actually not like my usual videos, so I'm marking this version as "Special Edition". I'll probably release the "final" version in the future.

Below is the link to the LLBLGen Overview (Special Edition) video.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Solution Design or any Solution Design/LLBLGen product. The above video is in no way endorsed by Solution design and is unofficial in every sense of the word.

March 2006 WCF Resources

Heres just an update on the popular resources on WCF on the web.

Some links worth looking at...

Here's a list of the video Mike has up at the MSDN Nuggets website (link above).

  • "Hello World"
  • Type Serialization
  • DataContract Serialization
  • Typed and Untyped Messages
  • Bindings
  • Message Encoding
  • Message Patterns
  • Sessions
  • Instancing
  • Concurrency
  • Exceptions
  • Transactions
  • HTTPS Transport Security
  • Message Security
  • Authorisation
  • Auditing

Shared Source Common Language Infrastructure 2.0

I've been waiting for this one! The public version of the .NET 2.0 source code has been released! Otherwise known as the SSCLI 2.0 (Shared Source Common Language Infrastructure 2.0), this is basically the .NET 2.0 framework source code (among other things). With Reflector you can view the framework code, but this is the original code before any compilation thus leaving the developer comments in tact. It's also a bit cleaner here.

Not only that, but you get a load of unmanaged code. I'm talking about real hardcore CLR stuff. It also includes the C# compiler source code as well as the code for ILASM, ILDASM, and a bunch of other utilities. It's going to be really awesome seeing how generics and anonymous delegates are implemented.

My favorite piece that came with SSCLI 1.X is still here: there C# code for the JScript compiler (yes, the JScript compiler is written in C#). I actually used the original source code for the basis for a brain bender quiz in my .NET class. I highly, highly recommend the use of this SSCLI for your educational endeavors. Either to help you learn more, or to help others out.

Here's the link to download the SSCLI 2.0:

Video 4 (FWD) - "Using the Web Developer Toolbar"

One of the most powerful and appreciated extensions for Firefox is the Web Developer toolbar. This is the extension that helped convert me from an independent IEvangelist to a Firefox promoter and standards advocate. This tool puts the keys to client-side web development into the hands of the developer.

With a quick click of the mouse, the developer can now see all elements of a certain type, can disable or enable various portions of development ( i.e. JavaScript), or can view otherwise hidden form information. It's such a powerful tool that you'll never be able to do client-side web development again without it.

I do apologize for being so slow in the posting of these videos. There will be a few more in the future. These videos are from September 2005 and are for Firefox 1.0.x, but are still appropriate for Firefox 1.5.x (and Firefox 2.0)

Brainbench C# Fundamentals Technical Editor

What a week... I finally finished my gig as Brainbench technical editor (they called it an exam "cleaner") for the C# Fundamentals exam. Apparently they were extremely impressed with my work. Where others write a small comment line, I would write a page or so about the question and the answers citing the ECMA standard and anally explaining the improper wording of something.

I'm also rather kicking myself for turning down another gig they offered me. After I finished with this gig, I was offered the gig to write the VB.NET 2005 exam. My initial justification to myself for rejecting it was for the same reason I wouldn't write an Internet Explorer exam: it's no different than devil worship. Now I wish I took that gig, because even though the vbc.exe compiler packs a TON of useless garbage (you ever look at that stuff? A ton of odd Microsoft.VisualBasic references) in the assemblies, it's still IL! .NET is .NET! In any case, I did tell my rep there that I want to be on the list for any C# 2.0, CLR, or .NET 2.0 framework exams! We'll see!