Beta 2 Sneak Preview of the New Visuals for the Distributed System Designers

Okay, I think it’s time we show you guys a preview what our designers will look like in Beta 2. We’ve had Jesse, our User Experience guru, revamp them completely and he’s done a great job prettying them up considerably from Beta 1. Jesse and Bill Gibson, my feature team lead, have given almost all the colors, shapes, and drop shadows some sort of semantic significance.


As for the colors, I have to honestly say that I would have picked them differently. Being color blind, all I know is that WindowsApplication and the GenericApplication applications appear to have the same color, even though everyone’s told me otherwise. Let me know if they look the same to you too! J


In the following images I’ve zoomed into the designers so that the visuals show up clearly. Therefore, they will in appear slightly smaller in the product itself.


Furthermore, the application that I have used to display the new visuals are in no way indicative of how an applications and datacenters should be built/structured using our designers. I’ve just dragged and dropped several applications, application hosts, etc so that you guys have an idea of how they will look in Beta 2 and most probably going forward in V1. I am not trying to give any guidance on how these applications/datacenters should be created in this post.


I’m also not going into detail about the functionality of these designers. That information can be found in the following article:


Warning: I wanted you to see the details of diagram so the images are quite big.


Application Designer (AD)

This is the puppy that I spend the most time working on. The first change you’ll notice is that we have changed the name of the designer, from Application Connection Designer (Beta 1) to Application Designer. This is because we received comments from customers along the lines: “In addition, since you can do [or rather "will be able to do"] many more things than configure connections I suggest the term connection be removed entirely”. The reason that we had originally decided to go with the Application Connection Designer was because we thought that the name Application Designer was more adequate for the designer of a single application. Therefore, going with Application Connection Designer gave us the room to later create an Application Designer which was the drill down view of an application. We later rethought the issue and decided that it was okay to have different scopes for the Application Designer if we ever decided to do the drill down version of the Application Designer.


Click here for the new AD



  1. The toolbar can be used as an index to identify the new shapes
  2. The provider endpoints on the Application Designer are filled. Unfilled endpoints are consumer endpoints.
  3. The exclamation mark in the Storefront’s Web service consumer endpoints is there to indicate that the consumer endpoint is not implemented even though the Storefont application is. This is because the provider endpoints the consumer endpoints are connected to (OrderService and CatalogService) are not implemented yet.
  4. There is a new type of endpoint called the Web Content Endpoint. A web content endpoint tells us that this *webapplication* exposes content that is addressable through an http endpoint. (I’ll cover this in more detail in another blog)
  5. The generic application on the diagram represents a way of documenting a legacy system directly on the Application Designer.
  6. Also, please notice that we’ve changed the name of the EDW to the Web Service Details Window. This was done because the Web Service Detail window will be used exclusively in V1 to define the operations for the Web Service provider endpoints.
  7. In the Web Service Details Window we’ve also changed the icons of the operations. This is because the earlier icons were similar to those used by the class designer’s details window to indicate methods. This was causing users to believe that the Web Service Details window is where they would enter methods as opposed to operations. (I’ll cover this in detail in another blog 

System Designer (SD)

The System Designer is where the user can created application systems that he wants to deploy onto his logical datacenter. You do *not* need to go through this designer to create a deployment and you can directly ‘Define Deployment’ from the Application Designer. Doing so will result in a default system being created with all the application definitions in the Application Designer so that you can define a deployment definition in the Deployment Designer without having to go through the process of creating a system first.


I’ve created a AdventureWorksSystem that contains several application definition uses and nested systems (CatalogSystem, OrderSystem, InventorySystem). The user can drag and drop uses of the application definitions (defined in the Application Designer) and systems created earlier (in the solution) onto the System designer to place them into the current system.


Click here for the new SD


Logical Datacenter Designer (LDD)

The coolest thing about the visual changes in the LDD is that I can now tell you immediately what direction the Zone endpoints flow is (Inbound, Outbound, and Bi-directional).The color of the datacenter’s logical hosts also match those of application definitions that can be deployed on them .


Click here for the new LDD


Deployment Designer (DD)

We’ve given better guidance to the user about how to bind application definition uses by dragging and dropping them from the System view onto the Deployment Designer.


Click here for the new DD


There’s a lot that I haven’t covered in this post because I wanted to avoid writing an overwhelming blog. Let me know if there are any areas that you would like me to discuss in more detail…