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In This Issue
1. Developer .NET Perspectives
3. New and Improved
1. Developer .NET Perspectives
Microsoft recently released Web Services Enhancements (WSE) 2.0), an add-on for XML Web services and, to a limited extent, for Visual Studio .NET 2003. WSE 2.0 extends the capabilities of what you can do with XML Web services. It provides support for several standard extensions for XML Web services and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP).
When Microsoft initially released WSE, it described the add-on as a suite of supported code, but one that carried no guarantee of future compatibility. So, not surprisingly, WSE 2.0 has interface implementations that aren't backward compatible.
As noted in the download information, WSE 2.0 is compatible with only Windows .NET Framework 1.1 and Visual Studio .NET 2003. Like its predecessor, WSE 2.0 is supported by Microsoft but carries no guarantee of future compatibility. In other words, WSE 2.0 might not produce interfaces that are fully compatible with Visual Studio 2005 or a future release of WSE.
However, the compatibility problems aren't due to Microsoft's ineptness but rather the nature of the WSE target. WSE targets new and emerging standards related to Web services. Thus, WSE sometimes implements interfaces defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) before the standards body responsible for these interfaces has taken them beyond the draft stage. One of the interesting ways standards bodies work is that all standards are considered drafts until after someone has implemented them. Only then are the final implementation details hammered out.
This process might seem extremely inefficient, but it's designed to prevent unimplementable standards. By forcing vendors to implement the formal draft of a standard, the standards body ensures that the standard can be implemented. Invariably, there are slight modifications to the draft standard to account for unforeseen limitations that occur during implementation.
Why do companies such as Microsoft volunteer to implement draft standards? There are several reasons. Vendors might have requirements that can be met only through the implementation of pending standards. Or, vendors might want to get a jump on future technology. Perhaps the most important reason is that only those companies that implement the draft standard get to participate in meetings to hammer out the final standard.
During the finalization meetings, the vendors, each of which might have a slightly different modification to the draft standard to account for unforeseen limitations, must all agree on one definition. Thus, the software that a vendor wrote based on the draft standard might need to be adapted to adhere to the final standard.
This is the case with WSE and WSE 2.0. WSE was based on the draft version of several Web services standards, such as Web Services Security (WS-Security). When the Web services standards were finalized, Microsoft had to adapt its software--hence the release of WSE 2.0.
What does this adaptation mean for you? Basically, if you've implemented WSE and you now want to update your services to WSE 2.0, you need to expose new interfaces. Don't groan, exposing new interfaces actually makes sense and Microsoft has made it as painless as possible. For starters, although WSE and WSE 2.0 aren't compatible, they can coexist. Thus, those clients who aren't ready to upgrade to WSE 2.0 can continue to use the WSE 1.0 interface until you provide a transition path for them.
If you must use both WSE versions for a while, I recommend that you avoid installing WSE 2.0 on the same development machine you installed WSE. In some cases, having both WSE and WSE 2.0 in the same development machine causes a conflict, and you end up having to manually specify the correct standard.
WSE 2.0 consists of an installation package for installing the runtime components on your Web server and a developer package for installing extensions to Visual Studio .NET 2003. After you install the developer package, you can access the Settings tool through the context menu for your applications project. Specifically, from within Solution Explorer, right-click your project file and select the "WSE Settings 2.0" option at the bottom of the menu. You use the Settings tool to manage WSE 2.0 application settings from within Visual Studio .NET 2003.
In addition to the Settings tool, WSE 2.0 ships with a X.509 Certificates Management tool. This tool is available through the Web Service Enhancements 2.0 option under the Start menu. The X.509 Certificates Management tool lets you review the details of security certificates installed on your machine. As you begin working with some of the extensions in WSE 2.0, you'll likely find a need to learn more about X.509 and how to manage certificates.
Security plays a big role in the WSE 2.0 list of supported features. The supported standard extensions include WS-Addressing, WS-Attachments, WS-Policy, WS-SecureConversation, WS-Security, WS-SecurityPolicy, and WS-Trust. More than 50 percent of these standards touch on security either directly or indirectly. The fact is that one of the areas where XML Web services have needed some tightening is in the area of security. You'll find that WSE 2.0 provides a robust set of new capabilities to tighten security.
If you're already familiar with WSE 1.0, you'll find it much easier to get up to speed with the WSE 2.0. Similarly, if you take the time to learn about WSE 2.0, you'll be on track to understand the underpinnings of Indigo.
What's Indigo? It's the code name for Microsoft's comprehensive communications strategy that uses Web services as the common layer. According to Don Box, an architect working on the Indigo project at Microsoft, Indigo should be able to automatically detect and optimize communications between common hosts. This goal is pretty impressive--and one that's built around many of the basic protocol enhancements available today through WSE 2.0. For more information about WSE 2.0, check out this URL:
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Novice forum member jconant has a Visual Studio .NET 2003 solution that contains two projects. The first project is an API library. The second project is an installation project for the API library. The installation project includes Web pages for the library project built with the Tools/Build Comment Web Pages menu option. The problem is that the menu command Tools.BuildCommentWebPages must be invoked manually. He wants to invoke this command programmatically. If you know how to programmatically invoke this command within the currently running invocation of the IDE, go to the following URL:
3. New and Improved
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