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Using .NET Remoting to Meet the Challenges
Ultimately, it's all about money. An organization can make more money if it can create better solutions faster and without having to fret over finding enough superstar developers who can juggle all the disparate complex technologies needed to develop large-scale, real-world solutions. Although DCOM is well-equipped to solve complex distributed application problems, it requires significant expertise. You can't always solve these sorts of problems with wizards and naïve development concepts, but you can do a lot to simplify and consolidate the configuration, programming model, and extensibility of DCOM. This is .NET Remoting's greatest strength. .NET Remoting greatly simplifies—or better yet, organizes—the approach to creating and extending distributed applications. This level of organization makes developers more productive, systems more maintainable, and possibly, organizations a bit richer.

If you configure a .NET Remoting application for optimal performance, the speed will be comparable to that of DCOM, which is very fast. Of course, when configured this way, .NET Remoting applications have the same interoperability constraints as the DCOM applications they're comparable with. Fortunately, configuring .NET Remoting applications for maximum performance versus interoperability is as easy as specifying a couple of entries in a configuration file. Note .NET Remoting performance differs from DCOM performance when the client and server are on the same machine. The DCOM/COM infrastructure detects that the processes are local and falls back to a pure COM (more optimized communication) method. .NET Remoting will still use the network protocol that it was configured to use (such as TCP) when communicating among application domains on the same machine.

Extending and Customizing Remoting
Making a system easy to use for simple, common scenarios yet logically extensible and customizable for more advanced ones is a universal software design problem. How well .NET Remoting solves this problem is probably the technology's strongest feature. For the common cases, .NET Remoting supports many distributed scenarios with little work or configuration through its pluggable architecture. Therefore, it's easy to get a distributed application running. You might say that pluggability is the next layer above component development. Component development provides greater encapsulation of objects into building blocks that can be assembled into working applications. In a similar vein, pluggable architectures support swapping entire subsystems of functionality as long as they support the same "plug." For example, the .NET Remoting architecture supports plugging in the type of channel you want (such as HTTP or TCP) and the type of formatter you want (such as binary or SOAP). This way, you can make common yet powerful configuration choices based on performance and interoperability, simply by plugging in a new module.

.NET currently supports configuring remoting applications in three ways: Using configuration files Remoting can be easily configured by using XML-based files. Using an open standard such as XML for configuration data is a big improvement over using the Windows registry. For example, various instances of remoting applications can coexist on the same machine and be separately configured via configuration files located in their own private directories. Configuration files also facilitate what's known as Xcopy deployment for .NET Remoting applications. Xcopy deployment is a method of deploying applications by simply copying a directory tree to a target machine instead of writing setup programs and requiring the user to run them to configure applications. After the initial installation, maintenance is far easier because reconfiguring the application is as easy as copying a new configuration file into the same directory as the remote application's executable. This ease of


With COM. CLR and CTS Benefits A distributed object technology derives a lot of its power and ease of use from its underlying type system and object model. such as static modifiers.NET Remoting is easy to use and powerful. based on their scope: Machine. Using the .safaribooksonline.NET's object-oriented 7/21/2009 . MMC snap-in configuration is supplied to allow the administrator to configure remoting applications. Because .NET Remote objects hosted under Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) Application configuration file Used to configure a specific application domain Programmatically Developers who don't want to allow changes to remoting configuration can retain full control over the settings within code.Page 2 of 5 configuration simply isn't possible when using the registry-based configuration of COM objects. meaning that handling errors in distributed objects is a big improvement over DCOM's return code error handling. Error handling is limited to return codes because COM doesn't support exceptions. COM doesn't support a number of object-oriented features. Finally. this metadata is unified and stored within the defining assembly so that remote objects don't need separate type descriptions such as DCOM and CORBA. The .NET Remoting can use the full power of . and overloaded methods. . while Visual Basic and scripting languages rely on binary type representations (type libraries). C++ COM systems use source code type descriptions (IDL). By contrast. and overloaded methods.NET-compliant languages must support.NET Framework Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in Although programmatic and file-based configuration is considered the domain of the developer.NET Framework CTS defines the basic types that all . The CLR and CTS allow developers to use a single object system for both local and remote objects and to avoid implementing designs in which the distribution of objects limits object-oriented programming choices. http://proquestcombo. Furthermore. These types are the atoms that all remoting clients and servers can count on for compatible communication with the same fidelity as classes communicating within a single project.config Used for machinewide settings Web. Note Configuration files come in three flavors. is consistent and accessible.NET applications and . Finally.config Used to configure ASP. COM's type system is also inconsistent and disparate. and static. known as metadata. Neither IDL nor type libraries are a definitive standard because both support constructs that aren't supported by the other. virtual. properties. virtual functions.NET fully supports exception propagation across remoting boundaries. its scope is directed at the tasks an administrator would want to perform. there's no implementation inheritance except through constructs such as aggregation and containment. . largely because it's based on the common type system (CTS) and the common language runtime (CLR). Type information. Although this GUI-based configuration tool doesn't give you the control that code and configuration files provide. it supports full implementation inheritance. DCOM is subject to the same limitations of COM's type system and object-oriented feature constraints.

(We'll discuss channels in Chapter 7. and XML.NET Remoting systems has changed quite a bit from the complex and highly configurable model of DCOM. For the initial release of the . the domain) by setting a client configuration option.NET Remoting Framework and IIS lets you generate Web Service descriptions that you can provide to developers of non-. SOAP.NET clients and servers. but for now we'll look at some of the security options IIS provides.Page 3 of 5 Interoperability Customer demand for enterprise technologies such as distributed object technologies has changed during the past few years. performance http://proquestcombo. password.NET clients so that they can interoperate over the Internet with the . We'll give an example of IIS hosting in Chapter 3. In Figure 1-4. "Serialization Formatters. a developer can plug in a SOAP formatter. the best way to implement a secure remoting system is to host the remote server inside IIS. Web Service Description Language (WSDL). as we'll discuss in Chapter 7/21/2009 . . Security The security model for . This is one of .safaribooksonline. (We'll discuss formatters in Chapter 8. you can plug in an HTTP channel.NET Remoting's key design goals. For a technology to succeed today. This means you can secure a remoting system just by changing the hosting environment to IIS and passing credentials (user name.NET remote objects. To pass through firewalls. The best part of hosting inside IIS is that you can use its strong security features without changing the client's code or the server's code.NET Remoting scenarios: an HTTP channel/SOAP formatter configuration for maximum interoperability.NET Framework.") To communicate with non-.NET Remoting meets the interoperability goal by supporting open standards such as HTTP.") Remoting objects can be exposed as Web Services. you'll see two common . and optionally. it needs to balance power and ease of use in closed systems as well as possess an ability to interoperate with other potentially proprietary and legacy systems. "Channels and Channel Sinks. The . Both configurations can be set by plugging in simple options. Figure 1-4. and a higher-performing TCP channel/binary formatter configuration. Interoperability vs.

Privacy After the user is authenticated. However.NET community. SSL is an industry standard for encrypting data. for Internet-based remoting and other authentication scenarios involving firewalls. you'll need a scheme such as Basic or Passport authentication. . and certificate-based services. Security with Other Hosts The initial . IIS also provides a strong solution for encryption: Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). because the architecture is pluggable. Basic authentication.safaribooksonline.NET Framework release doesn't support out-of-the-box remoting security by using hosts other than IIS. However. your next concern might be to hide sensitive data that's being marshaled between remoting tiers. there will doubtlessly be many solutions available through the . However. Writing such a module is beyond the scope of this book. This is an ideal choice for intranet applications because NTLM doesn't support authentication over firewalls and proxy 7/21/2009 . you can write your own custom security solution and plug it in.NET Remoting clients then need only specify https (instead of http) as the protocol in the server's URL. including Windows Integrated Security (NTLM). Passport authentication. NTLM provides the same robust security system as Windows NT and its successors. http://proquestcombo. and IIS fully supports SSL by using server-side certificates.Page 4 of 5 Authentication IIS has rich support for various authentication mechanisms.

NET remote object can participate in a transaction by simply applying an attribute to a remote object hosted by COM+. and poorly configurable in practice. object pooling.NET Remoting clients and traditional COM clients. allows a developer to describe code so that tools and other code can learn about his or her intentions and requirements.NET Remoting. Although DCOM's reference-counting model is simple in concept. However. and security services.EnterpriseServices. For example.ServicedComponent. among other things.NET objects must be given strong names and registered as traditional COM objects by using the Regasm tool. http://proquestcombo. you really need them. reference counting and pinging are out. If you do need enterprise services such as distributed transactions. a .NET remote objects derive from). the . When both client and server are running under the CLR.NET Remoting's solution to object lifetime management is a prime example of the easy to use in simple cases.") Enterprise Services Enterprise services are like medicine: If you don't need them. But if you need them.NET objects hosted by COM+ use COM for the communication method rather than . it can be complex.NET remote objects can participate in COM+ services and can service both . error prone. Any object derived from ServicedComponent can use COM+ services by adding attributes to its class or its methods.NET Remoting parameters.NET leases and sponsors are easy to use. Attribute programming is a powerful paradigm that. As with other . all .com/print?xmlid=0735617783/IDAUGZR 7/21/2009 .NET COM+ objects are automatically remotable. logical to extend for complex ones philosophy. to support legacy COM clients.NET Remoting Architecture. Because ServicedComponent ultimately derives from MarshalByRefObject (the type all . accessing COM+ services is as easy as deriving an object from System. "Understanding the . Leasebased lifetimes and sponsors are in. In addition.safaribooksonline. First.Page 5 of 5 Lifetime Management . Note . .NET Framework can leverage the robust COM+ services. you should avoid them. (We'll look at lifetime management in detail in Chapter 2. these . and they customize both clients and servers and allow them to participate in server lifetime management if desired. you can configure object lifetimes both programmatically and via configuration files. the initial version of the .

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