Extra, Extra – Read all about it!

(5/16/08, Updated MSDN Link)

Application Extensibility

Back in February 2006, the Managed Add-In Framework charter and myself, moved over to the CLR team. See my previous post, “The only constant is change”. After the transition, I spent several months initially focusing on ISV/VAR/SI .Net concerns. You can checkout my posts on ISV/VAR/SI’s. Not surprisingly, many of these customers need a .Net solution for Application Extensibility. This requirement is often tied to the Managed Add-In Framework solution. I now have an overall responsibility for ISV application extensibility needs and a primary focus on the Managed Add-In Framework.

Hot off the Press

Jesse Kaplan (the PM on the Add-in team) and I recently published the first of two articles on the CLR’s implementation of MAF. Here is a link to the first MSDN article.

“The Microsoft .NET Framework has made it very easy to take components built by different developers and companies and integrate them into your own applications. But it's only easy if you know which components you're building against. If those components are not known at build time, which is typically the case for add-ins, then things become much more difficult. Developers often have questions when extending their applications.”…

Come and get it

Over the last few months the CLR team has been working hard in developing MAF for the Orcas release. Here is the link to the Microsoft Pre-release Software Visual Studio Code Name "Orcas" - January Community Technology Preview (CTP) (Installable Bits). In this release we added a few new Add-In features.

“Support for advanced lifetime management of add-ins and their AppDomains

We’ve added the helper classes that manage the lifetime of add-ins, the objects passed between the host and add-ins, and even of the AppDomains the add-ins live in. By using the ContractBase and LifetimeToken handle, pipeline developer can let the hosts and add-ins act as if everything, including the AppDomain the add-in was activated in, was controlled by the garbage collector even though .Net Remoting would normally make that impossible. “

Stay tuned

If you have read to this point, I’ll let you in on a little secret. In addition to the second MSDN article, we have another highly desired Add-in/Application extensibility feature that will be available in the February CTP!