Microsoft Enterprise Library:

What:

The Microsoft Enterprise Library is a collection of reusable software components (application blocks) designed to assist software developers with common enterprise development cross-cutting concerns (such as logging, validation, data access, exception handling, and many others). They are provided as source code, test cases, and documentation that can be used “as is,” extended, or modified by developers to use on complex, enterprise-level line-of-business development projects.

Why:

Ø       Application blocks are a type of guidance, the design of application blocks encapsulates the Microsoft recommended and proven practices for .NET application development. These good practices are demonstrated in the overall design of the Enterprise Library, as well in the context-specific guidelines in the design of individual application blocks.

Ø       Software developers can add application blocks to .NET applications quickly and easily. For example, the Data Access Application Block provides access to the most frequently used features of ADO.NET, exposing them through easily used classes. In some cases, application blocks also add related functionality not directly supported by the underlying class libraries.

Ø       They generally have strict security, reliability, and performance requirements.

Goals:

  • Consistency. All Enterprise Library application blocks feature consistent design patterns and implementation approaches.
  • Extensibility. All application blocks include defined extensibility points that allow developers to customize the behavior of the application blocks by adding their own code.
  • Ease of use. Enterprise Library offers numerous usability improvements, including a graphical configuration tool, a simpler installation procedure, and clearer and more complete documentation and samples.
  • Integration. Enterprise Library application blocks are designed to work well together or individually.

Common Scenarios

Enterprise Library can be useful in a variety of situations:

  • Enterprise Library provides enough functionality to support many common scenarios that enterprise-level applications must address.
  • Enterprise Library can serve as the basis for a custom library. You can take advantage of the extensibility points incorporated in each application block and extend the application block by supplying new providers. You can also modify the source code for the existing application blocks to incorporate new functionality. You can also add new application blocks to Enterprise Library. You can either develop extensions for existing application blocks and new application blocks yourself, or you can use extensions and application blocks developed by others.
  • Enterprise Library is designed so that its application blocks can function independently of each other. You have to add only the application blocks that your application will use; you do not have to add the entire library.
  • Enterprise Library includes the source code and the unit tests for all application blocks. This means you can modify the application blocks to merge into your existing library or you can use parts of the Enterprise Library source code in other application blocks or applications that you build.
  • Enterprise Library includes documentation, Quick Start samples, and source code. You can use the library as a tool for learning architectural, design, and coding best practices.

Various Blocks:

  • Caching Application Block. Developers can use this application block to incorporate a cache in their applications. Pluggable cache providers are supported.
  • Cryptography Application Block. Developers can use this application block to incorporate hashing and symmetric encryption in their applications.
  • Data Access Application Block. Developers can use this application block to incorporate standard database functionality in their applications.
  • Exception Handling Application Block. Developers and policy makers can use this application block to create a consistent strategy for processing exceptions that occur throughout the architectural layers of enterprise applications.
  • Logging Application Block. Developers can use this application block to include standard logging functionality in their applications.
  • Policy Injection Application Block. Developers can use this application block to implement interception policies that can be used to streamline the implementation of common features, such as logging, caching, exception handling, and validation, across a system.
  • Security Application Block. Developers can use this application block to incorporate authorization and security caching functionality in their applications.
  • Unity Application Block. Developers can use this application block as a lightweight and extensible dependency injection container with support for constructor, property, and method call injection.
  • Validation Application Block. Developers can use this application block to create validation rules for business objects that can be used across different layers of their applications.

In my next posts, I’ll dig into details of each block.

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