Screencast: Windows Workflow – Managing workflow services context in WF client applications

by Matt Milner 1. May 2009 05:19

I’ve recently published a free screencast on how to manage context information when using workflows, and the Send activity, to interact with workflow services. 

 

wf-managing-context-wfclient

 

When using workflows as clients to workflow services, the Send activity is used to manage context on the client. This screencast covers how to configure the send activity correctly with respect to context and how to manage the context manually.

Check out our growing collection of free .NET screencasts and videos.  Subscribe to the Pluralsight feed to be notified when new screencasts are published.  Also, check out our growing library of online .NET training courses -- see what you can learn with Pluralsight On-Demand!

Tags:

Windows Workflow Foundation | Windows Communication Foundation

Screencast: Windows Workflow - Managing workflow services context in .NET client applications

by Matt Milner 1. May 2009 05:16

I’ve recently published a free screencast on how to manage context information when using a .NET client to interact with workflow services. 

wf-managing-context-client

 

This screencast shows how to manage context in .NET applications to enable multiple calls on the same proxy for different workflow instances, or to make calls to an existing workflow instance with a new proxy/channel.

NOTE: for reusing the same channel to make calls to different services, you should see this blog post that provides details on some extra steps required to turn off the automatic context management.  If you fail to do this step, you will get the following exception message: “Context cached at the channel layer cannot be changed after the channel is opened.” 

Check out our growing collection of free .NET screencasts and videos.  Subscribe to the Pluralsight feed to be notified when new screencasts are published.  Also, check out our growing library of online .NET training courses -- see what you can learn with Pluralsight On-Demand!

Tags:

Windows Workflow Foundation | Windows Communication Foundation

Screencast: Windows Workflow – Creating Custom Context Bindings

by Matt Milner 30. April 2009 18:12

I’ve recently published a free screencast on how to create custom context bindings in workflow services. 

wf-custom-context-binding

 

Microsoft ships several bindings that support context management, but they cannot possibly cover all of the scenarios you might need. In this screencast, I'll show you how to build your own custom context binding using a netNamedPipesContextBinding as an example.

Check out our growing collection of free .NET screencasts and videos.  Subscribe to the Pluralsight feed to be notified when new screencasts are published.  Also, check out our growing library of online .NET training courses -- see what you can learn with Pluralsight On-Demand!

Tags:

Windows Workflow Foundation | Windows Communication Foundation

Screencast: Windows Workflow Foundation workflow service context basics

by Matt Milner 30. April 2009 18:04

I’ve recently published a free screencast on the basic ideas around context management with workflow services. 

wf-service-context-basics

 

This screencast walks through the basic ideas of managing context in workflow services and introduces several concepts that will be used for deeper exploration in other screencasts in the series. 

Check out our growing collection of free .NET screencasts and videos.  Subscribe to the Pluralsight feed to be notified when new screencasts are published.  Also, check out our growing library of online .NET training courses -- see what you can learn with Pluralsight On-Demand!

Tags:

Windows Workflow Foundation | Windows Communication Foundation

Twitter or Syndication (RSS or ATOM)

by Matt Milner 27. April 2009 11:17

A friend of mine, Jon Helmberger, posted on this Facebook status the other day a great quote which really pointed out how some people use technology that is trendy, and not necessarily the most appropriate technology.  “If RSS had a cooler name we wouldn't have shenanigans like this...” with the following link: http://tiny.cc/kxALC.  In a nutshell, local Minnesota municipalities are posting information, of varying usefulness, on Twitter and Facebook. 

I realize it must be hard for organizations that are not on the cutting edge of technology to make decisions about what to pick. For that matter, I have been talking to a lot of developers lately who have trouble keeping up with all the technologies, even from a single vendor like Microsoft.  But it is frustrating to see people gravitate to the hot item and try to use it without really figuring out if it is the right technology for the job.  I can’t imagine that with the 140 character limit in Twitter, an organization can convey much useful information.  If the posts always end up linking to something else, how useful is that?  It seems to me that having an RSS feed would be the more appropriate mechanism for conveying this type of information.  There are so many tools for reading RSS / ATOM feeds and including them in a page, etc.  Sure, a Twitter feed can be read as an RSS feed, but again, the micro format seems like an inappropriate means conveying anything other than the simplest bit of information.

We at Pluralsight have started using these technologies (Facebook and Twitter) to convey information about what is happening with classes, content, etc.  Of course we are mostly on the cutting edge of technology and hopefully have some idea of the best way to use these technologies.  However, even we are still learning how best to use these technologies and which information is best suited for each format. 

What do you think, is Twitter an appropriate tool for this sort of thing?  Do enough, or the right, people use it to make it worthwhile?  Or are too many people caught up in the hype?  What tools do you find work best for you to get information? 

Tags:

General Musings

Thoughts on a cloud manifesto

by Matt Milner 27. April 2009 11:15

Recently, Steven Martin at Microsoft talked about a cloud manifesto that would presumably define some agreement around open standards for interoperability in the “cloud”.  Aside from all of the politics and secrecy, I’m wondering what this would actually look like.  I’m all for open standards and I think the big players should be involved in the discussion.  But what standards do we need that we don’t already have?  And do more standards really make things better? 

The actual manifesto can now be found at http://opencloudmanifesto.org  and provides a quick look at the actual statements and a list of supporters.  I can’t help but notice that not only is Microsoft not on the list, but neither are Amazon, Google, and some other major players in the cloud space.  It makes me really question the purposes behind this manifesto and why it was created.  A lot of the points are certainly valid and easy to agree with such as the need for security and interoperability.  I think what most bugs me about this is the idea that a user should be able to pick up their application from one cloud and drop it in another.  Obviously I do my work almost exclusively on the Microsoft platform, buy my sense is that the whole write once, run anywhere thing didn’t work for Java, so I’m not too optimistic about it working in the cloud.

I’m of the mind lately that standards, while helpful can also become overkill. Look at SOAP. Having interop for security enables the connection of code on different platforms which is a great thing.  But then we have standards for transactions, reliable messaging, etc. which are primarily useful within the enterprise to connect disparate systems. Yet many today are finding SOAP to be overkill and turning to REST.  REST still uses standards like HTTP and often XML, but the architecture and the implementation is based more on using what works and keeping it simple.  

I’m all for a cloud where users can have their application connect and interoperate between clouds and private data centers in a secure fashion, but like the manifesto says, I don’t think we need new specifications, we have most of what we need to achieve that interoperability and Microsoft at least is showing its commitment to those existing standards with the .NET Services and Azure platform.  In the end, I think this will, and should, come down to who has the best platform, and who has the best tools for developing on that platform.  I think Microsoft has some great potential in this arena, and I’m excited to watch the Azure platform mature. 

Time will tell. 

Tags:

General Musings

MSDN article on versioning in Windows Workflow Foundation

by Matt Milner 20. April 2009 11:21

My current Foundations article on versioning in Windows Workflow Foundation (May 2009)  is now available online.  In this issue I tried to cover the core issues around versioning workflows to help developers understand the core issues that make it hard in the first place.  I then attempt to provide some guidance and tips on how you can ease some of the pain and work around some of the issues.  I didn’t have space to give this topic the complete coverage it deserved, but hopefully this article helps people gain a deeper understanding of the issues and how to approach versioning in workflows and workflow services. 

Tags:

Windows Workflow Foundation

ugMix event in Minneapolis May 8th

by Matt Milner 15. April 2009 05:38

If you are in the local area, there is a pretty cool event coming to town on May 8th.  From Jeff Brand:

Join us for a special event co-sponsored by the .NET User Group & Silverlight User Group. This month we’re bringing highlights from the MIX09 conference to you!! You’ll get detailed information and in-depth demonstrations on the upcoming release of Silverlight 3 and Expression Blend 3 as well as see some of the great new technologies that were introduced at MIX09.

So, if you didn’t make it to Mix and you want to learn all about the cool technologies first hand, get registered soon.  Don’t think this will fill up fast? Think again.  In addition to the MIX content, Microsoft is doing a screening of the new Star Trek movie after the event.  That’s right, run don’t want to that website and register and find your old communicator and Spock ears! 

Tags:

General Musings

Demos from DevWeek 2009 (WF Context, WF 4 Activities, and WCF 4 features)

by Matt Milner 14. April 2009 04:54

A little delayed, to be sure, but here are the demos from my three talks at Dev Week this year.  Thanks for all who attended.  I’ll be giving an updated version of the custom activities talk at DevDays2009 in the Netherlands at the end of May, hopefully with newer bits! 

 

Tags:

Windows Communication Foundation | Windows Workflow Foundation

Screencast: Using the Replicator activity

by Matt Milner 30. January 2009 16:05

My latest screencast in the Windows WF developer screencast series has been loaded up.  In this session, I go into detail about how to use one of the more powerful control flow activities in the framework.  I show how to use data to drive control flow with the replicator, how to control the execution style and how to use rules to control when execution should complete.   In addition, I show how to use code to initialize child activities before they are executed. 

Pluralsight Screencast - Using the Replicator activity in Windows WF

 

wf-replicator

 

Previous screencasts in this series can be found on the screencast section of the Pluralsight website. You will also find short screen casts on other technologies both current (e.g. WCF) and future ("Oslo") on this page.

Tags:

Windows Workflow Foundation

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