Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Composite UI Application Block

Composite UI Application Block

Another Microsoft Application Blocks is available for downloading now. This new ‘Composite UI Application Block’ provides a long awaited smart client application framework for .NET technologies. That is the ‘pluggable component architecture’ for smart client applications. This plugability is required in many applications to provide features such as:

  • providing multiple versions of application with different feature sets (e.g. enterprise version, standard version, etc)
  • creating the application as a composition of loosely coupled reusable modules
  • providing personalization capability for the application
  • Easily adding, updating, configuring sub modules of the application (e.g. online updating and versioning)

Few months ago, Microsoft has released a portal framework with the new ASP.NET 2.0 release, enabling web applications to enjoy many of the above features. Also several Java implementations provide similar frameworks for Smart Client application development. Eclipse framework is one of the major competitors in this area with a very powerful plug-in engine. Sun’s Netbeans application platform also provides a development framework with a pluggable architecture.

For some time, I have been waiting for a similar kind of framework to appear in the .NET arena as well. Few of our customers had similar kind of requirements for their smart client applications and I was wondering how to provide this plug-in capability in .NET platform. So I’m really excited with the .NET ‘Composite UI Application Block’ and hope that this will be the first step towards a feature rich .NET plugging framework for smart client applications.