C# COM+ Programming(英文)

PROFESSIONAL MINDWARETM Your Complete Guide to COM+ Services in the .NET Framework Whether you want to integrate existing COM+ services into the .NET Framework or create all-new .NET COM+ services using C#, this unique guide shows you the way. With lucid explanations and a generous helping of sample components and source code, COM+ expert Derek Beyer shows you step by step how to consume COM components from .NET, consume .NET components from COM, and create .NETCOM+ components for transactions, security, events, object pooling, queuing, and remoting. Your Road Map to COM+ and .NET Integration • Understand the .NET Framework and Common Language Runtime • Convert COM type libraries into .NET namespaces • Transform .NET assemblies into COM type libraries • Harness JIT activation, synchronization, and AutoComplete in a transaction component • Create a role-based security component • Write a loosely coupled events component and create subscriptions with COM+ Explorer • Learn the ins and outs of object pooling, from attributes to scalability • Get the scoop on MSMQ, exceptions, error handling, and other queuing issues • Use SOAP, channels, formatters, proxies, and other tools to create remoting serviced components C# COM+ Programming $39.99 US $59.99 CN £29.99 UK incl. VAT C# COM+ ProgrammingBeyer Reader Level Intermediate to Advanced Shelving Category Programming CD-ROM includes all examples and source code Visit us at mandtbooks.com CD-ROM included PROFESSIONAL MINDWARE TM Complete examples for developing COM+ components in C# including: • Queued component • Remote component • Pooled component • Event-driven component • Role-based security component, and • C# transactional component and client application System Requirements: PC running Windows. See the “What’s on the CD-ROM” Appendix for further requirements and details. SOURCE CODE ON CD-ROM C# COM+ Programming Derek Beyer “It took technical grace to forge a waltz between today’s COM+ Services and tomorrow’s evolved world of Next Generation development in C#, and this book is your dancing instructor.” — Michael Lane Thomas, .NET Series Editor Derek Beyer, MCP+I, specializes in programming distributed applications using Visual Basic, C++, and, most recently, C# and .NET. Currently the enterprise architect for a large Midwestern retailer in the U.S., he has worked on a wide variety of projects, including a top-ten B2C Web site, an ERP Web integration, and a distributed application that integrates legacy systems. ,!7IA7G4-feidfc!:p;N;t;T;t ISBN 0-7645-4835-2 *85555-AIGCDe www.mandtbooks.com 4835 - 2 C over 8/23/01 2 : 52 PM P age 1 C# COM+ Programming 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page i 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page ii C# COM+ Programming Derek Beyer M&T Books An imprint of Hungry Minds, Inc. Best-Selling Books Digital Downloads e-Books Answer Networks e-Newsletters Branded Web Sites e-Learning New York, NY Cleveland, OH Indianapolis, IN 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page iii LIMIT OF LIABILITY/DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY: THE PUBLISHER AND AUTHOR HAVE USED THEIR BEST EFFORTS IN PREPARING THIS BOOK. THE PUBLISHER AND AUTHOR MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS BOOK AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIM ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. THERE ARE NO WARRANTIES WHICH EXTEND BEYOND THE DESCRIPTIONS CONTAINED IN THIS PARAGRAPH. NO WARRANTY MAY BE CREATED OR EXTENDED BY SALES REPRESENTATIVES OR WRITTEN SALES MATERIALS. THE ACCURACY AND COMPLETENESS OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED HEREIN AND THE OPINIONS STATED HEREIN ARE NOT GUARANTEED OR WARRANTED TO PRODUCE ANY PARTICULAR RESULTS, AND THE ADVICE AND STRATEGIES CONTAINED HEREIN MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR EVERY INDIVIDUAL. NEITHER THE PUBLISHER NOR AUTHOR SHALL BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OF PROFIT OR ANY OTHER COMMERCIAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR OTHER DAMAGES. Trademarks: Professional Mindware is a trademark or registered trademark of Hungry Minds, Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. Hungry Minds, Inc., is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book. is a trademark of Hungry Minds, Inc. C# COM+ Programming Published by M&T Books an imprint of Hungry Minds, Inc. 909 Third Avenue New York, NY 10022 www.hungryminds.com Copyright © 2001 Hungry Minds, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book, including interior design, cover design, and icons, may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, by any means (electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the publisher. Library of Congress Control Number: 2001089342 ISBN: 0-7645-4835-2 Printed in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 1B/SR/QZ/QR/IN Distributed in the United States by Hungry Minds, Inc. 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For information on licensing foreign or domestic rights, please contact our Sub-Rights Customer Care department at 212-884-5000. For information on using Hungry Minds’ products and services in the classroom or for ordering examination copies, please contact our Educational Sales department at 800-434-2086 or fax 317-572-4005. For press review copies, author interviews, or other publicity information, please contact our Public Relations department at 317-572-3168 or fax 317-572-4168. For authorization to photocopy items for corporate, personal, or educational use, please contact Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, or fax 978-750-4470. is a trademark of Hungry Minds, Inc. 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page iv About the Author Derek Beyer is currently working as a Web development specialist at Meijer Stores in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Derek mentors other developers on application design issues and development techniques. He is also responsible for implementing and maintaining core infrastructure components such as Web and application servers. Derek has developed and evangelized development guidelines for corporate devel- opers in the areas of MTS, COM+, Visual Basic, and Active Server Pages. Derek has also worked as a consultant for the Chicago-based consulting company March First. He has been involved with projects ranging from developing applica- tions for a major Internet-based consumer Web site to Web integration of SAP R/3 applications. Derek also speaks at user group meetings on the topic of COM+ and .NET. In his free time, Derek can usually be found getting some much-needed exercise at the gym or enjoying outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing. About the Series Editor Michael Lane Thomas is an active development com- munity and computer industry analyst who presently spends a great deal of time spreading the gospel of Microsoft .NET in his current role as a .NET technol- ogy evangelist for Microsoft. In working with over a half-dozen publishing companies, Michael has written numerous technical articles and written or contributed to almost 20 books on numerous technical topics, including Visual Basic, Visual C++, and .NET tech- nologies. He is a prolific supporter of the Microsoft certification programs, having earned his MCSD, MCSE+I, MCT, MCP+SB, and MCDBA. In addition to technical writing, Michael can also be heard over the airwaves from time to time, including two weekly radio programs on Entercom (http:// www.entercom.com/) stations, including most often in Kansas City on News Radio 980KMBZ (http://www.kmbz.com/). He can also occasionally be caught on the Internet doing an MSDN Webcast (http://www.microsoft.com/usa/ webcasts/) discussing .NET, the next generation of Web application technologies. Michael started his journey through the technical ranks back in college at the University of Kansas, where he earned his stripes and a couple of degrees. After a brief stint as a technical and business consultant to Tokyo-based Global Online Japan, he returned to the States to climb the corporate ladder. He has held assorted roles, including those of IT manager, field engineer, trainer, independent consul- tant, and even a brief stint as Interim CTO of a successful dot-com, although he believes his current role as .NET evangelist for Microsoft is the best of the lot. He can be reached via email at mlthomas@microsoft.com. 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page v Credits ACQUISITIONS EDITOR Sharon Cox PROJECT EDITOR Matthew E. Lusher TECHNICAL EDITOR Nick McCollum COPY EDITOR C. M. Jones EDITORIAL MANAGER Colleen Totz PROJECT COORDINATOR Dale White GRAPHICS AND PRODUCTION SPECIALISTS Laurie Stevens Brian Torwelle Erin Zeltner QUALITY CONTROL TECHNICIANS Carl Pierce Charles Spencer PERMISSIONS EDITOR Carmen Krikorian MEDIA DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST Gregory W. Stephens MEDIA DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR Marisa Pearman BOOK DESIGNER Jim Donohue PROOFREADING AND INDEXING TECHBOOKS Production Services COVER IMAGE © Noma/Images.com 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page vi For Mom and Dad, without whom none of this would have been possible for so many reasons 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page vii 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page viii Preface Welcome to C# COM+ Programming. If you have purchased this book or are currently contemplating this purchase, you may have a number of questions you are hoping this book will answer. The most common questions I get are “Is COM+ dead?” and “What is COM+’s role in .NET applications?” The answer to the first question is a definite “no”! The COM+ technology that Microsoft has included with Windows 2000 is still available to .NET programmers. In fact, some COM+ technologies that were previously available only to C++ programmers can now be used by Visual Basic .NET and C# programmers. The second question is always a little harder to answer. The typical response you would get from me is “it depends.” The technologies found in COM+ such as distributed transactions and queued components can be found only in COM+. The question to ask yourself when trying to decide if you should use a partic- ular COM+ service is “Do I need this service in my application?” If the answer is yes, then feel free to use COM+. If the answer is no, then COM+ is not a good fit for your application. All of the code examples used in the book use the new programming language C#. C# is an object-oriented programming language developed specifically for .NET. In fact, .NET applications are the only applications you can write with C#. Throughout the book I point out the language features of C# that can help you write better COM+ components. Although all of the code is in C#, the examples can also be rewritten in C++ if you like. Whom This Book Is For COM+ is not a topic for novice programmers. If you have never developed an appli- cation before, then this book probably is not for you. When talking about COM+, the conversation invariably goes toward distributed computing. If you have developed applications, particularly distributed Web applications, then the topics covered in this book will make much more sense to you. If you are new to .NET programming or COM+ programming, do not fear. Part I of this book covers the basics of .NET and interacting with COM components. Part I provides you with the grounding you will need to understand how .NET applications work and how they interact with legacy COM components. If you are new to .NET programming, I strongly suggest you read Chapter 1 before reading any of the other chapters. Chapter 1 introduces you to the .NET environment. If you don’t understand how the environment works, the rest of the book will not make much sense to you. For those of you new to C#, Appendix C provides you with an introduction to the language. Appendix C covers the basic features of the language such as data types, loops, and flow control statements as well as the specific language features used in the rest of the book. ix 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page ix This book assumes that you are not familiar with COM+ programming. Each chapter covers the basics features and issues about each COM+ service. You do not have to be an experienced COM+ developer to learn how to develop COM+ compo- nents with this book. How This Book Is Organized This book is divided into three parts. Each part provides information that you will need to understand the following part. The parts of this book provide a logical pro- gression that you will need in order to build your skills and understanding of COM+ programming in .NET. Part I: Interoperating with COM Part I covers the basics of the .NET runtime environment called the Common Language Runtime. Because every .NET application runs in the Common Language Runtime, it is crucial that you understand this environment if you are to develop COM+ components with C#. The bulk of Part I covers interoperating with the COM world. I show you how to consume legacy COM components from C# applications. I also show you how to write C# components that COM clients can consume. An understanding of COM interoperation with .NET is important if you develop dis- tributed applications that use COM components or are used from COM components. Part II: COM+ Core Services Part II covers the core services of COM+. All of the typical services such as distributed transactions, role-based security, loosely coupled events, and queued components, among others, are covered in Part II. The chapters in this part are organized (as best as possible) from the more easy services to more advance services. Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing The final part of this book, Part III, covers some of the more advanced topics of COM+. Part III covers the .NET remoting framework. The .NET remoting framework provides a developer with a way to call methods of a component from across the network. As you will see, COM+ components written with C# can plug into the remoting framework by virtue of their class hierarchy. Part III also discusses the new features of COM+, Internet Information Server and Microsoft Message Queue (all of these technologies are used in the book) currently slated for Windows XP. Many of the new features of COM+ center on providing a more stable environment for COM+ components. x Preface 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page x Conventions Used in This Book Every book uses some several conventions to help the reader understand the material better. This book is no exception. In this book I used typographical and coding con- ventions to help make the material more clear. Typographical Conventions Because this is a programming book, I have included lots of code examples. I cover each code example (the larger ones have their own listing numbers) almost line for line. Paragraphs that explain a particular code example often refer to the code from the example. When I refer to code from the example, it is always in monospaced font. Here is an example from Chapter 5. using System; using Microsoft.ComServices; [assembly: ApplicationAccessControl( AccessChecksLevel = AccessChecksLevelOption.ApplicationComponent ) ] public class SecuredComponent { // some method implementations } Notice that I use the assembly keyword inside the attribute tags. This tells the C# compiler that the attribute is an assembly-level attribute. Inside the attribute decla- ration, I have set the AccessChecksLevel property to application and component by using the AccessChecksLevelOption enumeration. The code example above (the line starting with using System;) is set entirely in monospaced font. The paragraph above explains the code example. In this paragraph I refer to keywords from the code example such as assembly, AccessChecksLevel, and AccessChecksLevelOption. Wherever you see something in monospaced font inside a paragraph, there is a good chance that it is a keyword that was used in a previous or forthcoming code example. Coding Conventions The .NET framework uses Pascal casing to name most of its classes, method para- meters, enumerations, and so on. The code examples used in this book follow this practice. Pascal casing capitalizes the first letter of each word in a name. For exam- ple, if I wrote a class that accessed customer order information, I might name it CustomerOrders. Because I use Pascal casing, I must capitalize the C of Customer and the O of Orders. I use this convention to help make the code examples more readable. Preface xi 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page xi Icons Used in This Book Many of the topics covered in this book have related topics. Quite often it is impor- tant for you to understand these related topics if you are to understand the central topic being discussed. It is can be rather easy however, to lose a reader if you go too far off on a tangent. In order to both cover the important information and not lose you, the reader, I’ve put these topics into a Note. For example: Notes explain a related topic.They are also used to remind you of particular features of C# that can help you write good COM+ components. xii Preface 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page xii Acknowledgments I am truly grateful to the team of reviewers and editors who worked so hard and dili- gently on this book. Although my name appears on the cover, this book is truly a team effort. Matt Lusher and Eric Newman filled the project editor role on this project and provided great feedback. Matt made stressful times much more bearable through his professionalism and good humor. Chris Jones caught the grammar mistakes I made late at night while I was sleepy and bleary-eyed. A good acquisitions editor glues the whole book together and tries to keep everyone happy, and Sharon Cox was terrific in this capacity. Sharon no doubt buffered me from lots of issues that I would normally have had to deal with. Thank you, Sharon! I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Production Department at Hungry Minds; these folks are the ones who suffered my artwork and screenshot mistakes. You guys really came through in a pinch. I should also thank Rolf Crozier, who was the acquisitions editor early on in this book. Rolf pitched the book idea to Hungry Minds and got the whole ball rolling. The best part about being in a field that you love is the people you get to share your ideas with and learn from. Steve Schofield is the most enthusiastic guy I have ever met when it comes to learning new technology. His excitement for .NET is infectious. Steve also provided me with the contacts inside Hungry Minds I needed to make this book a reality. Nick McCollum was an awesome technical editor for the book. He kept me honest throughout and helped me relate many topics better to the reader. I would also like to thank a couple of key Microsoft employees, Mike Swanson and Shannon Paul. Mike was always there to offer assistance and get things I needed. He also absorbed many of my complaints about the technology with a smile and a nod. Shannon provided me with key information about COM+ events. He also kept me on track when it came to that subject. Thank you, Shannon. I now realize that writing a book is a monumental undertaking. No one can undertake such an endeavor without the proper support system of friends and fam- ily. I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful support system. The cornerstone of that system are my parents. My dad showed me by example what a work ethic really is. This is the hardest-working man I have ever seen. I am grateful that some of his work ethic rubbed off on me. My mother provides me with unconditional support and encouragement. I must thank her for understanding why she hardly saw me for months while I was cooped up writing this book. Last but certainly not least I must thank Jacque. Jacque is a very special friend who bore the brunt of my crankiness during the course of this book. She was able to pick me up at my lowest times with her compassion and positive energy. Thank you, sweetie! 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page xiii 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page xiv Contents at a Glance Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix Acknowledgments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiii Part I Interoperating with COM Chapter 1 Understanding .NET Architecture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Chapter 2 Consuming COM Components from .NET . . . . . . . . 21 Chapter 3 Consuming .NET Components from COM . . . . . . . . 33 Part II COM+ Core Services Chapter 4 Transactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Chapter 5 Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Chapter 6 Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Chapter 7 Object Pooling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 Chapter 8 Queued Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 Part III Advanced COM+ Computing Chapter 9 Remoting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155 Chapter 10 The Future of COM+ and .NET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185 Appendix A: What’s on the CD-ROM? . . . . . . . . . 209 Appendix B: The COM+ Shared Property Manager 215 Appendix C: Introduction to C# . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233 Appendix D: Compensating Resource Managers . . 259 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page xv 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page xvi Contents Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix Acknowledgments. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiii Part I Interoperating with COM Chapter 1 Understanding .NET Architecture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Loading and Executing Code Inside the Common Language Runtime . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Microsoft Intermediate Language and Metadata . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Class Loader . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Just In Time Compiler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Automatic Memory Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Assemblies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 The Manifest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Versioning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Shared Names . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Global Assembly Cache . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Locating Assemblies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Application Domains . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Common Type System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Chapter 2 Consuming COM Components from .NET . . . . . . . . 21 Converting Type Libraries to .NET Namespaces . . . . . . . . . . 21 Converting Typedefs, Enums, and Modules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Runtime Callable Wrapper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Preserving Object Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Maintaining COM Object Lifetime . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Proxying Interfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Marshalling Method Calls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Threading Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Chapter 3 Consuming .NET Components from COM . . . . . . . . 33 Converting Assemblies to COM Type Libraries . . . . . . . . . . 33 Registering Assemblies with COM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 COM Callable Wrapper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Preserving Object Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Maintaining Object Lifetime . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page xvii Standard COM Interfaces: IUnknown & IDispatch . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Proxying Interfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Marshalling Method Calls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Activation Lifecycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Design Guidelines for .NET Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Part II COM+ Core Services Chapter 4 Transactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 ACID Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Atomic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Consistent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Isolated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Durable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Understanding the COM+ Transaction Process . . . . . . . . . . 50 Logical Transaction Lifecycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Physical Transaction Lifecycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Writing Transactional Components in C# . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 ServicedComponent Class . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Attribute-based Programming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Installing a Class into a COM+ Application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 JITA, Synchronization, and AutoComplete . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Developing the Root and Worker Objects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Chapter 5 Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Understanding Windows Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Authentication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Authorization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Special Accounts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Impersonation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Authenticating over the Wire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Understanding Authentication in IIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Using the COM+ Security Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Authentication & Authorization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Role-based Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Understanding Security Scope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Chapter 6 Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Understanding the Need for LCEs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 .NET Event Architecture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 Comparing TCE Events to COM+ LCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 xviii Contents 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page xviii The LCE Architecture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Understanding Subscriptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 COM+ Attributes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 Controlling Subscriber Notification Order . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 Writing LCE Components in C# . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Your First LCE Component . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Creating Subscriptions by Using Component Services Explorer . . 95 .NET Framework EventClass Attribute . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 Using Transactions with Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 Chapter 7 Object Pooling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 Understanding Object Pooling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 When to Use Object Pooling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 Object Pooling Attributes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 Object Pooling and Scalability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 Object Pooling and Nondeterministic Finalization . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 Requirements for Poolable Objects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 Requirements for Transactional Objects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 Object Pooling in C# . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Pooled and Nonpooled Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Analyzing the Client . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117 Chapter 8 Queued Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 Making the Case for Queued Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122 Introduction to Microsoft Message Queue . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124 Installing MSMQ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124 Understanding Queues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 MSMQ Messages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 Developing MSMQ Applications by Using C# . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128 Understanding Queued Components in COM+ . . . . . . . . . . 131 Client and Server Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131 Recorder, Listener, and Player . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132 Instantiating Queued Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135 Exception Handling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137 Queued Component Design Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 Using Other COM+ Services with Queued Components . . . 142 Role-Based Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142 Transactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143 Loosely Coupled Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143 Developing Queued Components in C# . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144 HelloWorld Queued Component . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144 Loosely Coupled Events and Queued Components . . . . . . . . . . . . 148 Exception Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149 Contents xix 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page xix Part III Advanced COM+ Computing Chapter 9 Remoting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155 .NET Remoting Framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156 Marshaling Defined . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156 Endpoint Defined . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157 Well-known Objects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158 Marshaling by Reference Versus Marshaling by Value . . . . . . . . 158 Activating a Remote Object . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161 Proxies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165 Channels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168 Remote Object Lifetime . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169 Introduction to SOAP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171 HTTP Header . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172 SOAP Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173 Remoting ServicedComponents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177 SingleCall Component Using SOAP and HTTP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178 SingleCall Component Using Binary Formatter and TCP . . . . . . . 181 Client-Activated ServicedComponent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183 Chapter 10 The Future of COM+ and .NET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185 New Features of COM+ 1.5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185 COM+ Applications as Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186 Application Partitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188 Application Process Dump . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191 Component Aliasing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191 Configurable Isolation Levels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192 Low-Memory Activation Gates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193 Process Recycling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193 Application Pooling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194 New Features of IIS 6.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195 New Server Architecture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196 Application Pools and Web Gardens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200 Server Modes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203 Worker-Process Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203 ASP Template Cache Tuning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204 XML Support for the Metabase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205 New Features of MSMQ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206 Appendix A: What’s on the CD-ROM? . . . . . . . . . 209 Appendix B: The COM+ Shared Property Manager . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215 xx Contents 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page xx Appendix C: Introduction to C# . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233 Appendix D: Compensating Resource Managers . . 259 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273 Contents xxi 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page xxi 014835-2 FM.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page xxii Interoperating with COM CHAPTER 1 Understanding .NET Architecture CHAPTER 2 Consuming COM Components from .NET CHAPTER 3 Consuming .NET Components from COM Part I 024835-2 Pt1.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 1 024835-2 Pt1.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 2 Chapter 1 Understanding .NET Architecture IN THIS CHAPTER Loading and executing code inside the Common Language Runtime Automatic memory management Assemblies Application domains The Common Type System THE .NET FRAMEWORK attempts to solve many of the problems historically associ- ated with application development and deployment in the Microsoft Windows environment. For example, using Visual Studio 6 and earlier versions it was impos- sible to write a class in C++ and consume it directly inside Visual Basic. COM has attempted to ease this pain by allowing compiled components to talk to one another via a binary contract. However, COM has had its flaws. COM has provided no clean way of discovering the services a component provides at runtime. The .NET Framework provides mechanisms that solve this problem through a concept known as reflection. Error handling is another issue the Framework solves. Depending on what API call you are making, the API call might raise an error, or it might return an error code. If the call returns an error code, you must have knowl- edge of the common errors that might be returned. The Framework simplifies error handling by raising an exception for all errors. The Framework library provides access to lower-level features that were traditionally the domain of C++ program- mers. Windows services, COM+ Object Pooling, and access to Internet protocols such as HTTP, SMTP, and FTP are now firmly within the grasp of the Visual Basic .NET or C# developer. As you can see, the .NET Framework provides a number of services that level the playing field for applications that run in its environment. All applications written for .NET (including COM+ components written in C#) run inside an environment called the Common Language Runtime (CLR). An application written to run inside the CLR is considered managed code. Managed code can take advantage of the services the CLR provides. Some of these services, such as Garbage Collection, are 3 034835-2 Ch01.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 3 provided for you automatically. Other services, such as software versioning, require your involvement. This chapter covers the services provided by the CLR. An understanding of the CLR will provide you with the proper grounding you need to develop COM+ com- ponents in C#. Loading and Executing Code Inside the Common Language Runtime As mentioned previously, the CLR provides many services that simplify develop- ment and deployment of applications. Part of the reason the CLR is able to provide these services is that all applications run on top of the same execution engine, called the Virtual Execution System (VES). In fact, it is a combination of compiler support and runtime enforcement of certain rules that allows the CLR to provide its services. This section describes the runtime support available to your application as well as the compiler and VES support needed to provide those services. Throughout this chapter, the terms class and dll are used to illustrate the concepts because they apply directly to the COM+ programming model. These concepts apply to all types and file formats (exes and dlls). Microsoft Intermediate Language and Metadata When you compile a C# application, you do not get the typical file you expect. Instead, you get a Portable Executable (PE) file that contains Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL) code and metadata that describes your components. MSIL is an instruction set that the CLR interprets. MSIL tells the CLR how to load and initialize classes, how to call methods on objects, and how to handle logical and arithmetic operations. At runtime, a component of the CLR, the Just In Time Compiler (JIT), converts the MSIL instruction set into code that the operating system can run. The MSIL instruction set is not specific to any hardware or operating system. Microsoft has set the groundwork to allow MSIL code to be ported to other plat- forms that support the CLR. Visual Studio .NET and Windows 2000 provide the only tool and platform combination the CLR runs on, but it is conceivable that the CLR can be ported to other platforms. If this becomes the case, your MSIL code can be ported directly to these other platforms. Of course, making use of platform- specific services such as those COM+ provides makes it more difficult to port your application to other platforms. As I mentioned previously, metadata is also present in your dll (Dynamic Link Library) along with the MSIL. Metadata is used extensively throughout the CLR, and it is an important concept to grasp if you want to understand how the .NET Framework operates. Metadata provides information about your application that 4 Part I: Interoperating with COM 034835-2 Ch01.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 4 the CLR needs for registration (into the COM+ catalog), debugging, memory man- agement, and security. For COM+ components, metadata tells the CLR and the COM+ runtime such things as the transaction level your class should use and the minimum and maximum pool size for pooled components, to name just a few. This metadata is queried at registration time to set the appropriate attributes for your class in the COM+ Catalog. When you write the code for your class, you use coding constructs called attributes to manipulate the metadata. Attributes are the primary method for manipulating metadata in the .NET Framework. Metadata provides a means for all of an application’s information to be stored in a central location. Developers who write COM+ applications with an earlier version of Visual Studio store an application’s information in a variety of locations. A com- ponent’s type library stores information about the components, their methods, and interfaces. The Windows registry and the COM+ Catalog store information about where the dll is located and how the COM+ runtime must load and activate the component. In addition, other files may be used to store information that the com- ponent needs at runtime. This dislocation of information results in confusion for developers and administrators. Visual Studio .NET attempts to resolve this problem by using metadata to describe all of an application’s dependencies. Metadata goes beyond describing the attributes you have placed in your code. Compilers use metadata to build tables inside your dll that tell where your class is located inside the dll and which methods, events, fields, and properties your class supports. At runtime, the Class Loader and JIT query these tables to load and execute your class. Chapter 1: Understanding .NET Architecture 5 C# Code: Truly Portable? If your application uses COM+ services or other services specific to Microsoft or another vendor, then you run the chance of those services being unavailable on other platforms. If, on the other hand, your application uses services such as the TCP/IP support provided in the System.Net.Sockets namespace, your application might be relatively portable. TCP/IP is a well supported and common service that most platforms are likely to support. As long as the support does not differ greatly from platform to platform, chances are that this type of code will be highly portable. The point to understand here is that MSIL and the CLR provide a consistent set of standards for various vendors to shoot for. Although true portability with code written for the CLR is not a reality yet, it soon may be. 034835-2 Ch01.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 5 Class Loader Once you have written and compiled your code, you want to run it, right? Of course. However, before the CLR can run your class, your class must be loaded and initialized. This is the Class Loader’s job. When application A attempts to create a new instance of class C, the Class Loader combines information it already knows about A with information from administratively defined XML configuration files and determines where C is physically located. (The process of locating a particular type is covered in more detail in the “Assemblies” section, later in this chapter.) Once the Class Loader finds the class, it loads the dll into memory and queries the dll’s metadata tables for the offset of the class. The offset is a location where the Class Loader can find the class inside the dll. The Class Loader also queries the metadata to determine how it should lay out the class in memory. Generally, the Class Loader is allowed to construct the class in memory any way it sees fit, but there are times when the compiler needs to tell the Class Loader how the class must be constructed in memory. Three options are available to tell the Class Loader how to lay out the class: autolayout is the default and allows the Class Loader to load the class into memory in any manner acceptable to the Class Loader. layoutsequential forces the loader to lay out the class with its fields in the same order the compiler emits. explicitlayout gives the compiler direct control over how the class is constructed in memory. I should emphasize that the compiler has the responsibility for generating the correct MSIL code to instruct the Class Loader on how it should lay out classes in memory. Microsoft provides documentation on how to instruct the Class Loader on a class’s layout in the Tool Developer Guide. The Tool Developers Guide comes as part of the Visual Studio .NET product documentation. As a COM+ developer you do not need to worry about specifying the layout scheme of your classes. The Class Loader performs a cursory verification of the loaded class and its caller. The Class Loader examines the class to see if it has references to other classes that have not been loaded. If it does have such references, the Class Loader either loads the next class or, if it cannot, records this fact for later use. The Class Loader also enforces accessibility rules. For example, if a class being loaded inherits from another class, the Class Loader ensures that the child has not attempted to inherit from a sealed class or to extend a method the base class has deemed final. Any references made by classes already loaded to the newly created class are verified. Conversely, any refer- ences made by the new class to classes already loaded are verified. 6 Part I: Interoperating with COM 034835-2 Ch01.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 6 Once the class has been located and verified as safe to execute, the Class Loader creates a stub for each of the methods that have been loaded for the class. The stub acts as an intermediary between the consumer of the class and the method being called. The stub’s responsibility is to invoke the JIT. Just In Time Compiler The Just In Time Compiler is responsible for converting MSIL instructions into native machine code. It performs this task only when methods are first called on a object. Once invoked, the JIT preserves the converted MSIL in memory. Subsequent calls to the method go directly to the native machine code. The JIT compiler is responsible for performing a much more thorough verifica- tion process than the Class Loader performs. The JIT verification process ensures that only legal operations are performed against a class. It also ensures that the type being referenced is compatible with the type being accessed. For example, if a class A references an instance of class CFoo and calls one of CFoo’s methods, ToString(), the JITer ensures that the call to Cfoo.ToString() is being called for an instance of CFoo. The JIT compiler also checks memory access at this point. The JIT does not allow a class to reference memory that the class is not supposed to access. Security access permissions are also checked at this point on various levels. The JIT operates on the concept that not all of an application’s code is always executed. Rather than waste CPU time and memory by converting an entire MSIL file to native code, the JIT converts only the code the application needs at any given time. This is one of the key strategies behind improving the performance and scalability of applications written for the .NET Framework. Automatic Memory Management The task of allocating and deallocating memory has often been a source of bugs in many applications, particularly those written in C++ where this is more of a man- ual process than in languages such as Visual Basic. The CLR addresses this issue by allocating and deallocating memory from a managed heap. The CLR creates and initializes the managed heap when it starts an application. In addition, the CLR initializes the heap’s pointer to the base address of the heap. The heap’s pointer contains the address of the next available block of memory. Figure 1-1 shows the managed heap after it has been initialized and before any objects have been created. When you create an object by using the new keyword in C#, the CLR allocates memory from the heap and increments the heap’s pointer to the next available block of memory. Figure 1-2 shows the heap after the first call to new in an application. Chapter 1: Understanding .NET Architecture 7 034835-2 Ch01.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 7 Figure 1-1: Managed heap before Garbage Collection The CLR can allocate memory from the managed heap much faster than it can allocate memory from a traditional unmanaged Win32 heap. In a typical unman- aged Win32 heap, allocation is not sequential. When memory is allocated from a Win32 heap, the heap must be examined to find a block of memory that can satisfy the request. Once a block of memory is found, data structures that the heap maintains must be updated. The managed heap, on the other hand, only needs to increment the heap pointer. At some point, the heap pointer is incremented to the top of the heap, and no more memory is available for allocation. When this occurs, a process known as Garbage Collection is started to free resources that are no longer in use. The Garbage Collector starts by building a list of all objects the application is using. The first place the Garbage Collector looks is the application’s roots, which include the following: Global object references Static object references Local variables (for the currently executing method) Parameters (for the currently executing method) CPU Registers that contain object references Heap before any objects are created Unallocated memory Heap pointerHeap's base address 8 Part I: Interoperating with COM 034835-2 Ch01.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 8 Figure 1-2: Managed heap after memory allocation A full list of application roots is maintained by the JIT compiler, which the Garbage Collector is allowed to query at runtime. Once the full list of roots has been identified, the Garbage Collector walks through each object reference in each of the roots. If a root contains references to other objects, these references are also added to the list. Once the Garbage Collector has walked through the entire chain of object references, it examines the heap to find any references that are not in its list. References not in the list are considered unreachable and can be freed. After the memory has been released for the unreachable objects, the Garbage Collector com- pacts the heap and sets the heap pointer to the next available block in the heap. It may seem that any time saved by memory allocation is now consumed by the Garbage Collection process. This is not entirely the case. The Garbage Collector uses a technique called Generational Garbage Collection to optimize the Garbage Collection process. Generational Garbage Collection assumes the following is true about an application: New objects have shorter lifetimes than old objects. A new object’s memory can be released sooner than an old object’s memory. New objects have strong relationships with one another. Heap after first call to new Unallocated memory Heap pointer Allocated memory Chapter 1: Understanding .NET Architecture 9 034835-2 Ch01.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 9 New objects are accessed at about the same time. Compacting a portion of the heap is faster than compacting the entire heap. Based on these assumptions, the Garbage Collector logically breaks the heap into three generations: Generation 0, Generation 1, and Generation 2. Generation 0 objects are newly created objects that have not undergone a Garbage Collection cycle. Generation 1 objects have survived one Garbage Collection cycle. Objects in Generation 2 have gone through at least two Garbage Collection cycles and are considered the oldest objects. When a Garbage Collection occurs, the Garbage Collector looks at Generation 0 objects first for any garbage that can be cleaned up. If the Garbage Collector is able to reclaim enough space from a Generation 0 collection, it does not attempt to collect objects from older generations. The Garbage Collector works through Generations 0, 1, and 2 as needed to reclaim enough memory to satisfy a request. The Garbage Collector has to walk through only a subsection of the heap to perform a Garbage Collection. This greatly enhances the Garbage Collector’s performance. The Garbage Collection feature in .NET has sparked much controversy. The controversy stems from the fact that a programmer does not know when his or her object will be destroyed. This is referred to as nondeterministic finalization. Nondeterministic finalization can be a particular problem for objects that hold on to expensive resources such as handles to files or database connections. The prob- lem arises when the object waits to release its resources until it is destroyed by the Garbage Collector. In traditional applications, this is not a problem because the object’s destructor (or Class_Terminate in the case of Visual Basic) is called when the client frees its reference to the object. In this scenario, the object has a chance to release its resources immediately after the client is done with it. In .NET, objects do not have destructors or Class_Terminate events. The closest you can come to the Visual Basic Class_Terminate event if you are writing your application in C# is a method called Finalize. The problem is that the Garbage Collector calls the Finalize method — you do not. Finalize is not necessarily called when the client releases its reference to the object. Resources such as database connections and file locks remain open in your object until a Garbage Collection is run if they are closed in the Finalize method. Microsoft’s workaround for these types of objects is a rec- ommendation that you implement a Dispose or a Close method. The client can call these methods explicitly just before it is done with your object in order to allow you to free any resources. Before we continue, let’s discuss what the Finalize method is intended for and what the costs are of using it. First of all, as mentioned previously, the Finalize method is called by the Garbage Collector, not by the client using the object. The Finalize method should not be called by a program consuming your object. In fact, the C# compiler does not compile a class if it has implemented a public final- izer. The finalizer should be declared protected so that only classes that inherit from the object can call the Finalize method. The key points to remember about imple- menting a Finalize method are as follows: 10 Part I: Interoperating with COM 034835-2 Ch01.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 10 Implement this method only if you must. A performance hit is associated with implementing this method (see the next paragraph for details). Release only references held by the object. Do not create new references. If you are inheriting from another class, call your base class’s Finalize method via base.Finalize() — assuming it has a Finalize method. Declare the Finalize method as protected only. Currently, this is the only access attribute the C# compiler allows. The first bullet brings up an important point. When an object is created with the new keyword, the CLR notices that the object has implemented a Finalize method. These types of objects are recorded onto an internal Garbage Collector queue called the Finalization Queue. Remember that when a Garbage Collection cycle occurs, the Garbage Collector walks the managed heap, looking for objects that are not reach- able. If the Garbage Collector sees an unreachable object on the heap that has implemented a Finalize method, it removes the reference to the object from the Finalization Queue and places it on another queue called the Freachable Queue. Objects on this queue are considered reachable and are not freed by the Garbage Collector. As objects are placed on the Freachable Queue, another thread awakes to call the Finalize method on each of the objects. The next time the Garbage Collector runs, it sees that these objects are no longer reachable and frees them from the heap. The result of all this is that an object with a Finalize method requires two Garbage Collection cycles in order to be released from the heap. As you can see, the CLR does a lot of work on your behalf behind the scenes. This can be good and bad at times. It can improve your productivity because the task of tracking down memory leaks and bugs is greatly simplified. On the other hand, this type of black-box functionality can make it difficult to see what your application is really doing. Fortunately, the SDK comes with several performance counters that can help you monitor the performance of your application. Some of the counters relevant to our discussion are JIT Compilation Counters, Loading Counters, and Memory Counters. These counters are highlighted as follows. JIT Compilation Counters: IL Bytes Jitted / sec: the number of bytes of IL code being converted to native code per second # of IL Bytes Jitted: the number of IL bytes that have been JITed since application startup # of Methods Jitted: the number of methods that have been JITed since application startup Loading Counters: Current Classes Loaded: the current number of classes loaded into the CLR Chapter 1: Understanding .NET Architecture 11 034835-2 Ch01.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 11 Total # of Failures: the total number of classes that have failed to load since the application started up Total Classes Loaded: the total number of classes that have been loaded since application startup Memory Counters: # Bytes in Heap: The total number of bytes in the managed heap. This includes all generations. Gen 0 Heap Size: The size of the Generation 0 heap. Similar counters for Generations 1 and 2 are also provided. # Gen 0 Collections: The number of collections on Generation 0. Similar counters for Generations 1 and 2 are also provided. Assemblies Assemblies are the point at which the CLR implements versioning. Assemblies are also the point at which name resolution occurs. Assemblies can be thought of as logical dlls that contain the implementation of types (such as classes and inter- faces), references to other assemblies, and resource files such as JPEGs. Assemblies in and of themselves are not applications. Applications reference assemblies to access types and resources of the assembly. Think of .NET applications as made up of one or more assemblies. A reference to an assembly can be made at compile time or at runtime. Usually, references are made at compile time. This is similar to set- ting a reference to a COM library in a Visual Basic project. These references are contained in a section of the assembly called the manifest. The Manifest The manifest contains the information the CLR needs to load the assembly and to access its types. Specifically, the manifest contains the following information: The name of the assembly The version of the assembly (includes major and minor numbers as well as build and revision numbers) The shared name for the assembly Information about the type of environment the assembly supports, such as operating system and languages A list of all files in the assembly Information that allows the CLR to match an application’s reference of a type to a file that contains the type’s implementation A list of all other assemblies this assembly references. This contains the version number of the assembly being referenced. 12 Part I: Interoperating with COM 034835-2 Ch01.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 12 Usually, the manifest is stored in the file that contains the assembly’s most commonly accessed types. Less commonly accessed types are stored in files called modules. This scenario works particularly well for browser-based applications because the entire assembly does not need to be downloaded at once. The manifest identifies modules that can be downloaded as needed. Figure 1-3 shows a logical representation of a file that contains both the assem- bly’s manifest and types implemented in the file. Figure 1-3: Assembly’s logical dll structure Versioning As stated previously, the assembly’s manifest contains the version of the assembly. The version is made up of four parts: the major version, the minor version, the build number, and the revision number. For example, the version of the System.Windows.Forms assembly in the .NET SDK Beta 2 is 1.0.2411.0, where 1 is the major version, 0 is the minor version, 2411 is the build number, and 0 is the revision number. The CLR compares the major and minor version numbers with those the application asks for. The CLR considers the assembly to be incompatible if dII containing an assembly's manifest Assembly manifest Type metadata MSIL code Version information Assembly's shared name References to other assemblies References to other files in the assembly Implementation of all types List all types available in this file Describes each type's visibility COM+ settings Chapter 1: Understanding .NET Architecture 13 034835-2 Ch01.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 13 the major and minor version numbers do not match what the application is asking for. By default, the CLR loads the assembly with the highest build and revision numbers. This behavior is known as Quick Fix Engineering (QFE). QFE is intended to allow developers to deploy fixes or patches to applications such as fixing a secu- rity hole. These changes should not break compatibility for applications using the assembly. Shared Names In addition to the version number, the assembly’s manifest contains the name of the assembly, which is simply a string describing the assembly and optionally a shared name (also referred to as a “strong” name). Shared names are used for assemblies that need to be shared among multiple applications. Shared names are generated using standard public key cryptography. Specifically, a shared name is a combina- tion of the developer’s private key and the assembly’s name. The shared name is embedded into the assembly manifest at development time using either tools pro- vided in the .NET SDK or the Visual Studio .NET development environment. The CLR uses shared names to ensure that the assembly the application references is indeed the assembly being accessed. Global Assembly Cache Now that we have a mechanism for uniquely identifying an assembly that multiple applications can use, we need a place to store these assemblies. This is the Global Assembly Cache’s job. The Global Assembly Cache is a logical folder that stores all assemblies that can be shared among applications. I say it is a logical folder because the assemblies themselves can be stored anywhere in the file system. An assembly is placed in the Global Assembly Cache at deployment time using either an installer that knows about the assembly cache, the Global Assembly Cache Utility (gacutil.exe) found in the .NET Framework SDK, or by dragging and dropping the file with the assembly manifest into the \winnt\assembly folder. The \winnt\assembly folder is implemented with a Windows Shell extension, so it can be viewed from Windows Explorer or from My Computer. Figure 1-4 shows what the Global Assembly Cache looks like when viewed from My Computer. Figure 1-4: Global Assembly Cache 14 Part I: Interoperating with COM 034835-2 Ch01.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 14 The Global Assembly Cache stores basic information about the assembly, includ- ing the assembly name, the version, the last modified date, the public key used to sign the assembly, and the location in the file system of the file that contains the manifest. There are several benefits to adding an assembly to the Global Assembly Cache: The Global Assembly Cache allows you to share assemblies among applications. An application can gain several performance improvements. Integrity checks are made on all files the assembly references. Multiple versions of an assembly can be stored in the Global Assembly Cache; QFE is applied automatically if multiple versions exist. The Global Assembly Cache improves performance for assemblies in two ways. First, assemblies in the Global Assembly Cache do not need to be verified each time they are accessed. If you remember our previous discussion, when an assembly is ref- erenced the CLR ensures that the assembly an application is referencing is the one being accessed. If an assembly is in the Global Assembly Cache, this verification process is skipped. Second, assemblies in the Global Assembly Cache need to be loaded into the CLR only once. Multiple applications access a single instance of the assembly. This decreases the load time for assemblies in the Global Assembly Cache. In addition, because all applications are accessing the same instance, a greater chance exists that methods being called are already JIT compiled. Of course, there is a down side to using the Global Assembly Cache. If most of your assemblies are application specific (that is, only one application uses them), you are introducing an extra admin- istrative step by installing these types of assemblies into the Global Assembly Cache. Locating Assemblies Before the CLR can access any types in an assembly, it must locate the assembly. This is a multistep process that begins with the application’s configuration file. The application’s configuration file is XML formatted. It is named the same as the appli- cation except it uses a .cfg extension. The configuration file, if it exists, is in the same folder as the application. For instance, if the application is c:\program files\Microsoft office\Word.exe, the application’s configuration file is c:\program files\Microsoft office\Word.exe.cfg. The configuration file tells the CLR several things when it tries to locate an assembly: The version of the assembly to use instead of the one being asked for Whether to enforce QFE Whether the application should use the exact version it is compiled against (known as safe mode) The exact location to find the assembly being referenced (known as a codebase) Chapter 1: Understanding .NET Architecture 15 034835-2 Ch01.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 15 The example that follows shows a section of the configuration file called the BindingPolicy. The BindingPolicy section tells the runtime which version of an assembly to replace with another version. In this example, we are telling the CLR to use version instead of version for the assembly named myAssembly. Notice that the major and minor versions are different. This overrides the default behavior of the CLR, which normally does not allow us to load an assembly with a different major or minor version number. The other tag of interest to us is UseLatestBuildRevision. This tag allows us to turn off or turn on the CLR’s QFE policy. In our example, we have set this tag to “no,” which tells the CLR not to use assemblies that have greater build or revision numbers. If we omit this tag or set it to “yes,” the CLR loads the assembly that has the greatest build and/or revision number. Finally, the Originator tag represents the assembly creator’s public key that has been used to sign the assembly. The safe mode section of the configuration file tells the CLR whether or not it should use only assemblies the application is compiled against. If safe mode is turned on, the CLR loads only assemblies the application has referenced directly. Safe mode is intended to be used to revert the application to a state where it can reference only assemblies it was originally compiled against. The example that follows shows how safe mode can be turned on for an application. It is important to note that safe mode is turned on for an entire application. Once safe mode is set to “safe,” it is applied for all assemblies. Safe mode is turned off by default; however, it can be explicitly turned off by setting the Mode attribute to “normal.” In addition to overriding the versioning rules, the configuration file can specify exactly where an assembly can be found. The Assemblies collection specifies locations for each of the application’s assemblies through a CodeBase attribute. In this example, we are telling the CLR that version of myAssembly can be found at c:\winnt\myNewDll.dll. If a code base is specified and the assembly is not found, the CLR raises an exception. But what happens if the code base is not specified? At this point, the CLR starts a process known as probing. When the CLR probes for an assembly, it searches for the assembly in a specific set of paths, in the following order: 1. The application’s current directory. The CLR appends .mcl, .dll, and .exe file extensions when referencing the assembly. 2. Any PrivatePaths specified in the application’s configuration file. The name of the assembly is also added to this path. 3. Any language-specific subdirectories 4. The Global Assembly Cache Step four is where things get interesting. If the configuration file does not con- tain an Originator attribute, probing stops, and an exception is raised. However, if an Originator has been specified and QFE is enabled, the CLR searches the Global Assembly Cache for the assembly that has the highest build and revision numbers. Let’s go though an example of probing. Assume the following conditions are true about our application: The application’s name is myapp.exe. The application directory is c:\program files\myapp\. Our configuration files specify PrivatePaths as . myassembly is located in the Global Assembly Cache with the same major and minor version number the application references, and an Originator entry is included in our configuration file. QFE is enabled. With our conditions defined previously, our probing paths look like the following: 1. C:\program files\myapp\myassembly.mcl 2. C:\program files\myapp\myassembly.dll 3. C:\program files\myapp\myassembly.exe 4. C:\program files\myapp\myassembly\myassembly.mcl Chapter 1: Understanding .NET Architecture 17 034835-2 Ch01.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 17 5. C:\program files\myapp\myassembly\myassembly.dll 6. C:\program files\myapp\myassembly\myassembly.exe 7. C:\program files\myapp\complus\myassembly.mcl 8. C:\program files\myapp\complus\myassembly.dll 9. C:\program files\myapp\complus\myassembly.exe 10. Global Assembly Cache Application Domains Just as assemblies can be thought of as “logical dlls,” application domains can be thought of as “logical exes.” On a Windows platform, a Win32 process provides isolation for applications running on the system. This isolation provides a number of services to applications: Faults in one application cannot harm the other application. Code running in one application cannot directly access another applica- tion’s memory space. Win32 processes can be stopped, started, and debugged. The CLR is able to provide these services to application domains through its type safety and its rigorous code verification process. The CLR is able to provide these features at a much lower cost than traditional Win32 applications because it can host multiple application domains in a single Win32 process, thus reducing the number of Win32 processes needed to run applications. The CLR improves perfor- mance by reducing the number of context switches the operating system must perform on physical processes. In addition, when code in an application domain accesses types in another application domain, only a thread switch may need to occur as opposed to a process context switch, which is much more costly. Common Type System The Common Type System defines the rules of how types interact with one another and how they are represented with metadata. These rules help solve some of the conventional problems associated with reuse among programming languages. In the .NET Framework, almost every entity is considered a type. Types can be classes, interfaces, structures, enumerations, and even basic data types such as integers and characters. All types can be classified into two categories: reference types and value types. 18 Part I: Interoperating with COM 034835-2 Ch01.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 18 In .NET, reference types include classes, interfaces, pointers, and delegates (sim- ilar to C++ function pointers). Essentially, any reference type consists of three parts: the sequence of bits that represent the current value of the type, the memory address at which the bits start, and the information that describes the operations allowed on the type. I realize this description is pretty vague, so let’s make these concepts more concrete. As you know from our discussion about Garbage Collection, when you use the new keyword, the CLR allocates a block of memory for the class and returns that memory location to your application. This is the memory location where the class’s (read type’s) bits start. The “sequence of bits” is the value of any fields, properties, method parameters, method return values, and so on at any point in time. The final part of a reference type, the “description,” is the meta- data that describes the public and private fields, properties, and methods. Reference types come in three forms: object types, interface types, and pointer types. For the purposes of this book, you can think of classes as object types, interfaces as inter- face types, and pointer types as pointers in C++ (yes, C# supports pointers). Reference types are always passed by reference, whereas value types are always passed by value. For example, when a reference type is passed into a method as a parameter, the memory address is passed to the method. When a value type is passed to a method, a copy of the value’s bits is passed instead. Value types can be built-in data types such as integers, or they can be user defined such as enumerations and structures. Value types are a sequence of bits that represents the value of the type at any point in time. Unlike reference types, which are created from the managed heap, value types are created from a thread’s stack. Value types are always initialized to 0 by the CLR. Every value type has a corresponding reference type called a boxed type. To access the boxed type of a value, the value must be cast to an object type. Consider the following code example: int iNum = 1; Object oObj = iNum; oObj = 2; WriteLine(iNum); WriteLine(oObj); /* OUTPUT */ 1 2 In this example, an integer value type, iNum, is declared and set equal to 1. Then an Object reference type, oObj, is declared and set equal to iNum. An implicit cast from iNum to oObj is performed at this point. Reference types can be converted to value types. This is possible only if the reference type in question has a corre- sponding value type. Chapter 1: Understanding .NET Architecture 19 034835-2 Ch01.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 19 Summary As you can see, the CLR provides a lot of features and services. Many of these, if not all, are completely new to someone with a Visual Basic or Visual C++ back- ground. The better you understand how the CLR works, the better you are able to diagnose problems as they arise, and the better you are able to plan the implemen- tation of your components. As you work your way through the rest of this book, remember a few key points about the CLR: Metadata is used to describe the attributes — such as transaction level — of your COM+ components to the CLR and the COM+ runtime. The Global Assembly Cache can be used to store assemblies used by multiple applications. It is likely that most C# components that use COM+ services are used by multiple applications. Shared names are required for assemblies that reside in the Global Assembly Cache. The Garbage Collector can greatly simplify the development of compo- nents, but it can also introduce complexity to components that access expensive resources such as database connections. Assembly-versioning rules can be overridden with an application’s configuration file. In the next chapter, we discuss how COM interacts with the .NET CLR and how the CLR interacts with COM. 20 Part I: Interoperating with COM 034835-2 Ch01.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 20 Chapter 2 Consuming COM Components from .NET IN THIS CHAPTER Converting type libraries to .NET namespaces The Runtime Callable Wrapper Threading and performance issues between .NET and COM AS YOU CAN SEE from Chapter 1, the .NET Framework provides many new features for developers to consider when developing applications. The combination of all these features requires us to adjust our mindset from the old ways of developing applications with COM. We cannot, however, throw out everything we know about COM just yet. It is illogical to think that when a company starts developing applications with the .NET Framework, the COM legacy will just disappear. In reality, there will be a long period where .NET applications need to interact with COM and vice versa. Today, many large e-commerce, Intranet, and other types of applications are built with the Microsoft toolset that heavily leverage COM. Because time always comes at a premium, it may not be possible to convert an application entirely to .NET overnight. In addition, you may have to continue to use COM APIs exposed by third party applications. So what do you do if you want to use .NET to upgrade components of your legacy COM application or to add new features? The answer lies in the COM Interoperation (COM Interop) features of .NET. The COM Interop specification allows .NET components to use COM objects, and vice versa. Converting Type Libraries to .NET Namespaces If you remember from Chapter 1, .NET components talk to other .NET components through assemblies. For a .NET component to talk to a COM component, an assembly wrapper must be generated from the COM type library (TypeLib). The framework provides a tool called the Type Library Importer (tlbimp.exe) to do just that. The 21 044835-2 Ch02.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 21 Type Library Importer utility takes a COM type library as input and produces a .NET assembly as output. The assembly this tool produces contains stub code that calls the COM component’s methods and properties on your behalf. This stub code is the actual implementation of the Runtime Callable Wrapper discussed in the next section. Let’s see how the tlbimp.exe utility works by creating a simple HelloWorld COM component using Visual Basic 6. The HelloWorld component contains one function, Hello, which returns a string to the caller. The implementation of this function is illustrated as follows: ‘ VB project name: prjHelloWorld ‘ class name: CHelloWorld Public Function Hello() as string Hello = “Hello World” End Function Let’s assume our project name is prjHelloWorld and our class name is CHelloWorld, making the COM ProgID for this component prjHelloWorld. CHelloWorld. The COM server is compiled to prjHelloWorld.dll. The relevant information from the type library is depicted as follows. Library prjHelloWorld { Interface _CHelloWorld { HRESULT Hello([out, retval] BSTR* ); } coclass CHelloWorld { [default] interface _CHelloWorld; } Notice that the Visual Basic project name has been converted to the name of the type library. Also, Visual Basic has created a default interface for us by adding an underscore to the class name. Once we have our type library, we are ready to use the Type Library Importer. The Type Library Importer is a command-line utility that requires a number of parameters to build the assembly. For the moment, all we want to do is generate a simple, private assembly. To do this, go to the command prompt, and change to the directory containing the dll we have created. The following command generates an assembly called AsmHelloWorld.dll: tlbimp.exe /out:AsmHelloWorld.dll prjHelloWorld.dll The /out: switch provides the name of the assembly file, and the HelloWorld.dll provides the name of the file containing the type library. So now we have an assembly that contains the stub code mentioned previously. But what does this stub code look like? Let’s use the Framework’s MSIL Disassembler (ildasm.exe) to peek inside the assembly. MSIL Disassembler is another utility that 22 Part I: Interoperating with COM 044835-2 Ch02.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 22 reads the metadata of an assembly to give you a view of the types provided in the assembly. To view the assembly with the MSIL Disassembler, enter the following command at the prompt: Ildasm.exe AsmHelloWorld.dll After running this command, you should see the MSIL Disassembler window as shown in Figure 2-1. Figure 2-1: MSIL Disassembler View of AsmHelloWorld.dll The MSIL Disassembler provides quite a bit of information. For now, we are con- cerned with only three items: The .NET Namespace The default interface from COM The COM CoClass - CHelloWorld At the top of the window, just under the key labeled “MANIFEST,” you see the namespace prjHelloWorld. The Type Library Importer maps the COM type library name to the name of the namespace for the assembly. Below the prjHelloWorld namespace, you see the COM default interface of CHelloWorld implemented as a .NET interface. Again, the type name from COM is carried directly to .NET. Below the definition of the interface, you see the definition of the .NET class. Inside the class definition, you find the line “implements prjHelloWorld._CHelloWorld,” which tells the .NET runtime that this class implements the _CHelloWorld interface defined previously. Finally, you have the definition of the Hello method. As you can see, this function takes no parameters and returns a string. The method’s signature has changed slightly from the defini- tion in the type library. Notice the HRESULT is not present. I discuss the reason for this later in this chapter. Also, the [out, retval] parameter from the type library has been removed. Chapter 2: Consuming COM Components from .NET 23 044835-2 Ch02.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 23 The preceding example works if your .NET application is in the same directory as the generated assembly. But what do you do if you want to use the new assembly from multiple .NET applications? If you remember from Chapter 1, assemblies must be put into the Global Assembly Cache to be shared among multiple .NET applica- tions. To place an assembly into the Global Assembly Cache, the assembly must be signed with a public/private key pair. The Type Library Importer provides a switch — /keyfile — that allows you to sign the assembly with your public/private key pair. The /keyfile switch points to a file that contains the public/private key pair. To generate the key file, use the Shared Name Utility (sn.exe). Use the following command to generate the key file: Sn –k AsmHelloWorld.snk The –k parameter tells the Shared Name Utility to generate the keyfile. The file name following the parameter identifies the name of the new file that the utility will create. In this case, I am storing my public/private key pair in a file called AsmHelloWorld.snk. Once you have created the keyfile, you can run the Type Library Importer by using the /keyfile switch: Tlbimp /out:AsmHelloWorld.dll /keyfile:AsmHelloWorld.snk prjHelloWorld.dll At this point, you can add the assembly to the Global Assembly Cache and use it from any .NET application. Properties of a COM object can be imported from its type library into an assem- bly. If our CDog CoClass implements a property called Breed, the type library contains property fields that let our users set and get the value of Breed. Library Animals { interface IDog { [propput] HRESULT Breed ([in] BSTR); [propget] HRESULT Breed ([out, retval] BSTR*); } coclass CDog { [default] interface IDog; } } When the Type Library Importer converts a type library such as the one shown previously, it creates accessor methods for each property. Logically speaking, the class is implemented in the following manner. 24 Part I: Interoperating with COM 044835-2 Ch02.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 24 Namespace Animals { Class CDog { // private get accessor method called by runtime private string get_Breed() { ... }; // private set accessor method called by runtime private void set_Breed(string) { ... }; // public class field that you will Interop with public string Breed; // public class property } } If you are using Visual Studio .NET and you reference the Animals namespace in your code, you will only be able to call the public property Breed and not the pri- vate methods, get_Breed() and set_Breed(). Depending on where Breed is used in a line of code (that is, the right side of an equation or the left side), the runtime calls the proper accessor method for you. Accessors are glorified fields that allow you to intercept the assignment and retrieval of a field. Accessors are similar to the Let/Set/Get property proce- dures you may have used when developing COM components in Visual Basic 5 and 6. Appendix C, “Introduction to C#,” at the end of this book, explains accessors in greater depth. Converting Typedefs, Enums, and Modules The preceding examples are intended to demonstrate how the common elements of a type library map to a .NET namespace. However, type libraries do not contain only classes and interfaces. They may contain enumerations (enums), type defini- tions (typedefs), module-level constants, and methods (among other things). Typedefs are used in COM just as they are used in programming languages such as Visual Basic and C++. The Type Library Importer does not import COM typedefs directly into an assembly. Consider the following typedef: Library Animals { Typedef [public] int AGE; Interface _CDog { HRESULT GetAgeInDogYears( [in] AGE humanyears, Chapter 2: Consuming COM Components from .NET 25 044835-2 Ch02.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 25 [out, retval] AGE dogyears ); } } Because the Type Library Importer cannot import the typedef directly, it produces the interface as follows: Namespace Animals { Interface _CDog { Int GetAgeInDogYears([ComAliasName(AGE)] int humanyears); } } Notice that the type definition has been converted to its underlying type: int. The importer also added the attribute, ComAliasName, to the method signature. The ComAliasName attribute can be accessed through a technique known as reflection. Reflection allows you to examine a type’s metadata for the purpose of determining a type’s interfaces, methods, constructors and other similar details. The Visual Studio .NET documentation contains more information on the topic of reflection if you are interested. Converting an enum from a type library to an assembly is pretty straightforward. Consider the following enum defined in a COM type library. Enum { GoldenRetriever = 0, Labrador = 1, ChowChow = 2 } Breeds; The Type Library Importer converts this enum into a managed enum with the same name and fields. The managed enum is accessible directly from the managed namespace. In addition to typedefs and enums, a type library can define module-level meth- ods and constants. When modules are converted from a type library to an assembly, the name of the module is carried over and used to create a class with the same name. The new .NET class contains the members of the original module. For example, let’s look at a simple COM module called Security. Module Security { Const long SIDToken = 0x009312; [entry(“ApplySidToThread”)] pascal void ApplySidToThread([in] long SID); } When the Type Library Importer sees this module, it creates a new class called Security, as follows. 26 Part I: Interoperating with COM 044835-2 Ch02.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 26 Public class Security { Public static const SIDToken = 0x009312; Public static void ApplySidToThread(long SID); } In this example, I have deliberately left out some of the attributes, such as the calling convention, extraneous to the discussion. The important thing to note here is that members of the original module are converted to public, static members of the new class. Runtime Callable Wrapper Now that you know how to convert a COM type library to a .NET assembly, you need to learn how the .NET runtime interacts with COM. As I mention previously, the assembly the Type Library Importer generates acts as a wrapper for the actual COM class. This wrapper is referred to as the Runtime Callable Wrapper (RCW). The RCW has several responsibilities: preserves object identity maintains COM object lifetime proxies COM interfaces marshals method calls consumes default interfaces such as IUnknown and IDispatch Preserving Object Identity To understand how the RCW maintains a COM object’s identity, let’s examine what happens when you create a new instance of a managed class that wraps a COM object. Calling new on a managed class has the effect of creating a new instance of the RCW and a new instance of the underlying COM object. As methods are called against the RCW, the RCW ensures that those methods are implemented by one of the COM object’s supported interfaces. The RCW accomplishes this by calling IUnknown->QueryInterface() for you behind the scenes. When you cast an instance of the RCW class from one interface to another, the RCW looks in its internal cache to see if it already has a reference to the requested interface. If the interface is not cached, the RCW calls IUnknown->QueryInterface to see if the COM object supports the interface. If the requested interface does not exist, the run- time raises an exception. COM object identity is maintained by the RCW by not allowing .NET clients to gain references to interfaces the underlying COM object does not support. Chapter 2: Consuming COM Components from .NET 27 044835-2 Ch02.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 27 Maintaining COM Object Lifetime In Chapter 1, we discuss the non-deterministic finalization problem. Non- deterministic finalization deals with the fact that a type in .NET is not necessarily destroyed when it is set to null or goes out of scope. Types in .NET are destroyed only when a Garbage Collection occurs. This can be a particular problem for managed classes such as RCWs that reference unmanaged COM objects. COM implements a completely alternate system for maintaining object lifetime. In COM, objects are reference-counted. Each time a COM client references an object, it calls IUnknown->AddRef(), and each time it releases an object, it calls IUnknown->Release(), allowing the COM object to decrement its internal- reference count. Once the reference count reaches zero, the instance is released. The RCW behaves the same as a traditional COM client by calling AddRef and Release at the appropriate times. The difference is that Release is called by the RCW’s Finalize method. Usually, this does not present much of a problem, but there are two special circumstances when this can be problematic. Take the case of a RCW wrapping a COM object that holds expensive resources such as a database connection. If a COM object such as this releases its resources only when its reference count goes to zero, the resources might be tied up until a Garbage Collection occurs. Obviously, this is a wasteful use of resources. The second problem may occur when the managed application shuts down. The .NET runtime does not guarantee that finalizers are called during an application shutdown. If an RCW’s finalizer is not called before the application shuts down, Release cannot be called on any of the interfaces the RCW holds. The GC class located in the System namespace has two methods — RequestFinalizeOnShutdown and WaitForPendingFinalizers — that can be used to alleviate this problem. RequestFinalizeOnShutown forces the runtime to call finalizers on classes during shutdown. If you remember, a separate thread calls the Finalize method for classes. WaitForPendingFinalizers tells the runtime to wait for the finalizer thread to finish before shutting down. These methods must be used with caution because they can significantly slow down an application’s shutdown time. There is another way around the non-deterministic finalization problem. The .NET framework allows you to take the responsibility of calling Release() yourself. The System.Runtime.InteropServices namespace provides a class called Marshal. Marshal.RelaseComObject takes an instance of an RCW class and decrements its reference count by 1. Using System.Runtime.InteropServices; Class CMain { Public void MakeDogBark() { // RCW that maps to the CDog COM Class CDog dog = new CDog(); dog.Bark(); Marshal.ReleaseComObject ((object)dog); } } 28 Part I: Interoperating with COM 044835-2 Ch02.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 28 In the preceding code example, once we are finished with our RCW instance, we decrement the reference to the underlying COM object by calling Marshal. ReleaseComObject(). If the RCW is the only client using the underlying CDog COM object, its reference count goes to zero, and its memory is freed. When the next Garbage Collection occurs, the RCW instance of dog is freed. Any further use of an RCW after its reference count reaches zero raises an exception. Proxying Interfaces The RCW is responsible for proxying interfaces exposed to managed clients and consuming some “standard” COM interfaces not directly exposed to managed clients. You can call any method on any interface exposed to a managed client. The RCW is responsible for directing these method calls to the appropriate COM inter- face. By doing this, the RCW prevents you from having to cast instances of the RCW to the appropriate interface before calling the methods. As you may have guessed already, the purpose of the RCW is to make a .NET client think it is accessing another .NET object and to make the COM object think it is being accessed by a COM client. One of the ways the RCW is able to do this is by hiding certain interfaces from the .NET client. Table 2-1 lists some of the more common interfaces the RCW consumes directly. TABLE 2-1 INTERFACES THE RCW CONSUMES COM Interface Description Iunknown RCW consumes this interface when the .NET client uses early binding to access COM objects. Early binding to COM is accomplished by exporting the COM type library into a .NET assembly and then accessing the assembly types as if they were ordinary .NET types. When a member is called on a type from one of these assemblies, the RCW determines the interface the member belongs to. If the interface is not currently cached in the RCW’s internal table of interfaces, the RCW calls IUnknown-QueryInterface, passing the name of the COM interface. If the interface exists, IUnknown->AddRef is called. If the interface does not exist, an exception is raised to the client. Continued Chapter 2: Consuming COM Components from .NET 29 044835-2 Ch02.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 29 TABLE 2-1 INTERFACES THE RCW CONSUMES (Continued) COM Interface Description Idispatch The RCW consumes this interface when the .NET client is using late binding to access members of the COM object. Late binding to COM objects is accomplished in .NET through a technique known as reflection. ISupportErrorInfo If the COM object implements these interfaces, and IErrorInfo the RCW uses them to get extended information about an error when a COM method returns a failure HRESULT. The RCW maps the information provided by these interfaces to the exception thrown to the .NET client. IConnectionPoint and These interfaces are used in COM to support the IConnectionPointContainer COM event architecture. The RCW uses these interfaces to map COM events to .NET events. Marshalling Method Calls In addition to all of its other responsibilities, the RCW is responsible for marshalling method calls from the .NET client to the COM object. The RCW performs several functions on behalf of the .NET client: Converts failure HRESULTs from COM to .NET exceptions. Failure HRESULTs force an exception to be raised; success HRESULTs do not. Converts COM retval parameters to .NET function return values Marshals COM data types to .NET data types Handles the transitions from managed code to unmanaged code and vice versa Threading Issues To write efficient .NET applications that use COM objects, it is important to under- stand the threading differences between COM and .NET. The COM threading model uses the concept of apartments. In the COM world, processes are logically broken 30 Part I: Interoperating with COM 044835-2 Ch02.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 30 down into one or more apartments. Apartments can have a single thread running inside them or they can have multiple threads. An apartment with a single thread is called a Single Threaded Apartment (STA); an apartment running multiple threads is called a Multi-Threaded Apartment (MTA). When a COM client calls into the COM runtime to create a new instance of a component, the COM runtime reads the component’s thread value from the Windows registry. The registry value tells the COM runtime which apartment model the component supports. Most components, including those Visual Basic 6 creates, are STA. Clients that run in different apart- ment models from their components must go through a proxy-stub pair to make method calls. The proxy-stub architecture allows seamless integration between clients and components running in different apartments. This seamless integration comes at a price, however. Your applications take an additional performance hit when calls must be made across apartments. This is due to the fact that extra mar- shalling must occur in order for the method calls to work properly. In COM+, apartments are further divided into “contexts.” Contexts are objects that contain COM+ properties such as the current state of a transac- tion. Each apartment can have one or more contexts associated with it. Contexts are the smallest unit of execution in COM+ in that an object can only run in one context at any point in time. The .NET runtime does not exactly follow the COM threading model. By default, objects inside the .NET runtime run in an MTA. If the COM object and the .NET thread do not support the same threading model, calls have to be made through the proxy-stub pair. To reduce the cost of crossing the runtime boundaries, you should understand the threading of the COM component you are using. If you are using a STA COM component, it is wise to set the state of the current .NET thread to STA. This can be accomplished through the Thread class in the framework’s System.Threading namespace. You can set the state of the current .NET thread to STA by calling the following: System.Thread.CurrentThread.ApartmentState = ApartmentState.STA. The thread state must be set before any COM objects are created. By doing this, the RCW can call directly into the underlying COM component without going through a proxy-stub pair. Chapter 2: Consuming COM Components from .NET 31 044835-2 Ch02.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 31 Summary In this chapter, we have covered the aspects of converting a COM type library to a .NET assembly by using the Type Library Importer. As you have seen, this utility is responsible for the following: converting type libraries to namespaces converting typedefs to their native types converting enums to .NET enums converting module-level methods and constants to static classes and members We have explored how the RCW is responsible for marshalling method calls from .NET applications to COM components. In short, the RCW is responsible for the following: preserving object identity maintaining COM object lifetime proxying COM interfaces marshalling method calls consuming default interfaces such as IUnknown and IDispatch In the next chapter, we learn to make .NET classes available to COM-based clients. 32 Part I: Interoperating with COM 044835-2 Ch02.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 32 Chapter 3 Consuming .NET Components from COM IN THIS CHAPTER Converting assemblies to COM type libraries Registering assemblies with COM COM Callable Wrapper Design guidelines for .NET components JUST AS COM COMPONENTS can be consumed from .NET applications, .NET compo- nents can be used from COM clients. In fact, the development model for doing this is very similar to the model used for making COM components available to .NET clients. In this chapter, we cover the steps necessary to make a .NET assembly accessible from COM. Converting Assemblies to COM Type Libraries The .NET SDK comes with two tools that can be used to generate type libraries from assemblies: the Type Library Exporter (tlbexp.exe) and the Assembly Registration Tool (regasm.exe). The Type Library Exporter takes an assembly as input and pro- duces the corresponding type library as output. The Assembly Registration Tool also produces a type library from a .NET assembly and registers the type library and its COM classes in the Windows Registry. Because we are concerned with more than just creating type libraries, let’s focus on the Assembly Registration Tool. The Assembly Registration Tool is yet another command-line utility. Let’s take a look at some of its more common parameters. Table 3-1 identifies the parameters we are using in this section. 33 054835-2 Ch03.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 33 TABLE 3-1 ASSEMBLY REGISTRATION TOOL OPTIONS Options Description /regfile:RegFileName.reg Prevents the normal COM registry entries from being entered into the registry. The RegFileName.reg contains the entries that would have gone into the Windows Registry. /tlb:TypeLibFileName.tlb Specifies the destination file for the newly generated COM type library. This switch cannot be used in conjunction with /regfile. /u and /unregister Unregisters any classes that have been registered from this assembly. Let’s go through a simple example to see how this tool is used. Consider the following .NET class. // Assembly file name: Animal.dll using System; namespace Animals { public class CDog { public void Bark() { Console.WriteLine(“Woof Woof”); } } } We compile this class to Animal.dll and run it through the Assembly Registration Tool with the following syntax: regasm /tlb:animal.tlb animal.dll. Next, if we look at the resulting type library, we find something similar to the following: Library Animals { CoClass CDog { [default] interface _CDog; interface _Object; }; interface _CDog : IDispatch { HRESULT ToString([out, retval] BSTR* pRetVal); HRESULT Equals([in] VARIANT obj, [out, retval] VARIANT_BOOL* pRetVal); HRESULT GetHashCode([out, retval] long* pRetVal); 34 Part I: Interoperating with COM 054835-2 Ch03.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 34 HRESULT GetType([out, retval] _Type** pRetVal); HRESULT Bark(); } } Let’s start off by examining the CoClass definition of CDog. Notice there are two interfaces: _CDog, and _Object. .NET supports single inheritance by allowing one object to inherit members of another class. In .NET, each class inherits from System.Object either directly or indirectly. When the Assembly Registration Tool reads an assembly, it is able to extract the inheritance hierarchy for each public class. Members of each class in the inheritance tree are added as members of the class being evaluated. So when the Assembly Registration Tool sees that CDog inherits from System.Object, it adds System.Object’s members to CDog. As you can see, many of the names in the .NET namespace map directly into the type library. For instance, the namespace Animals maps directly to the library name. In addition, the class name CDog maps directly to the CDog CoClass. There are circumstances where a type name in an assembly cannot map directly into the type library. In .NET, a type name can be reused throughout multiple namespaces. The class CDog can exist in the Animals namespace and in the Mammals namespace. To understand how the Assembly Registration Tool handles this naming conflict, let’s modify our assembly to contain the Mammals namespace. // Assembly file name: Animal.dll using System; namespace Animals { public class CDog { public void Bark() { Console.WriteLine(“Woof Woof”); } } namespace Mammals { public class CDog { public void RollOver(){ Console.WriteLine(“Rolling Over”); } } } If we repeat our previous step, we get something similar to the following type library: Library Animals { CoClass CDog { [default] interface _CDog; interface _Object; Chapter 3: Consuming .Net Components from COM 35 054835-2 Ch03.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 35 }; interface CDog : IDispatch { // .. Declaration of System.Object’s members HRESULT Bark(); }; CoClass CDog_2 { [default] interface _CDog_2; interface _Object; }; interface _CDog_2 : IDispatch { // .. Declaration of System.Object’s members HRESULT RollOver(); } } Notice that the Assembly Registration tool has added an underscore and 2 to the second instance of CDog in the assembly. Because Animal.CDog is defined first in the source code, it gets to keep its original name in the type library. Subsequent uses of the CDog name are suffixed with an underscore and a running index num- ber. If CDog were an interface instead of a class, the same rules would apply. Be forewarned, however, that this naming convention could change in future releases of the framework. There are a few limitations when converting assemblies to type libraries. For instance, only public classes and interfaces can be exported. In addition, any public class you wish to export must implement a constructor with no parameters. Any static members such as fields and methods cannot be exported. If you wish to pro- vide access to a static member, you must wrap it in an instance-level method call. If you have classes that meet these criteria and you still do not want to make them available to COM, you can use the System.Runtime. InteropServices.ComVisible attribute. The ComVisible attribute can be used to hide assemblies, classes, and interfaces from COM. Although this attribute takes a true or false value, it cannot be used to make an other- wise invisible type available to COM.Types that are marked private, internal, or those that do not have a default constructor (no parameters) cannot be made visible to COM, regardless of the value of the ComVisible attribute. Assemblies contain more than just the definition of their types. As you have learned from Chapter 1, assemblies contain a four-part version number, a simple string name, the originator’s public key, and, optionally, a strong name if the assembly is shared among multiple applications. When an assembly is converted to a type library, a unique TypeLib ID must be created for COM clients to find the type 36 Part I: Interoperating with COM 054835-2 Ch03.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 36 library in the registry. During the conversion process, an assembly’s simple name and originator key are used to generate the new TypeLib ID. A given simple name originator key always generates the same TypeLib ID. Type libraries also contain version numbers. An assembly’s major and minor version numbers are converted to the type library’s major and minor version num- bers. Build and revision numbers from an assembly are discarded. If an assembly does not contain a version number, the Assembly Registration Tool and the TlbExp utility use 0.1 for the type library version number. Registering Assemblies with COM When the Assembly Registration Tool registers an assembly with COM, it makes all the necessary entries for classes and the type library into the Windows registry. The /regfile switch of the Assembly Registration Tool is used to save the resulting registry entries to a file. This file can be copied to other machines that need the assembly registered with COM. Let’s run our CDog class through the Assembly Registration Tool with the /regfile switch turned on. // Assembly file name: Animal.dll using System; namespace Animals { public class CDog { public void Bark() { Console.WriteLine(“Woof Woof”); } } } Using the CDog class defined in the preceding code, the Assembly Registration Tool yields the following registry file. Note that when this switch is used the registry entries are not made to the Windows registry. REGEDIT4 [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Animals.CDog] @=”Animals.CDog” [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Animals.CDog\CLSID] @=”{AC480224-1FA7-3047-AE40-CCDD09CDC84E}” [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{AC480224-1FA7-3047-AE40-CCDD09CDC84E}] @=”Animals.CDog” Chapter 3: Consuming .Net Components from COM 37 054835-2 Ch03.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 37 [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{AC480224-1FA7-3047-AE40-CCDD09CDC84E}\InprocServer32] @=”C:\WINNT\System32\MSCorEE.dll” “ThreadingModel”=”Both” “Class”=”Animals.CDog” “Assembly”=”animal, Ver=, Loc=””” [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{AC480224-1FA7-3047-AE40-CCDD09CDC84E}\ProgID] @=”Animals.CDog” [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{AC480224-1FA7-3047-AE40-CCDD09CDC84E}\Implemented Categories\{62C8FE65-4EBB-45e7-B440-6E39B2CDBF29}] The ProgID for the class follows the format of namespace.class_name. The Assembly Registration Tool registers the CDog class as Animals.CDog. In the registry file shown previously, I have highlighted the most interesting key of all. We can learn a lot from this particular registry entry. First, the COM InprocServer32 is not animal.dll as you may expect, but it is MSCorEE.dll. This dll provides a level of indirection that allows COM clients to talk to .NET. This dll implements the COM Callable Wrapper discussed in the next section. The threading model is defined as “Both.” This allows our .NET class to run in either a single threaded apartment or a multi-threaded apartment — depending on the apartment model the unmanaged client is running in. Finally, notice a brand new registry entry for the assembly. The Assembly reg- istry key tells MSCorEE.dll which assembly is implementing the class the ProgID identifies. The assembly’s version and locale is also present in the registry. This information is passed to the .NET assembly resolver at runtime to ensure that the proper assembly is located. COM Callable Wrapper The counterpart to the Runtime Callable Wrapper is the COM Callable Wrapper (CCW). As you see in the previous section, when a .NET assembly is made available to COM via the Assembly Registration Tool, MSCorEE.dll is registered as the COM server. This dll implements the CCW that COM clients call when they use .NET classes. Unlike the RCW, the CCW is unmanaged code running outside the .NET runtime. The CCW has the following responsibilities: preserving .NET object identity maintaining .NET object lifetime proxying explicit interfaces providing standard COM interfaces on demand marshalling method calls between runtimes 38 Part I: Interoperating with COM 054835-2 Ch03.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 38 Preserving Object Identity The CCW ensures that there is always a one- to-one relationship between a .NET class and the CCW acting as its wrapper. For instance, when a managed method call returns another class instance (either from a return value or an out parameter), the runtime ensures that a new CCW instance is created. Conversely, when a COM client casts its reference to an interface the underlying managed class supports, the CCW ensures that the interface is supported by the managed class and that a new instance of the managed class is not created just to serve the requested interface. Maintaining Object Lifetime When a COM client receives a reference to a COM object, it calls IUnknown->AddRef in order to increment the count on the object. Conversely, when it releases a refer- ence to an object, it calls IUnknown->Release. The CCW provides an IUnknown interface for COM clients to call these methods. Because .NET classes do not imple- ment a reference count, the CCW maintains this count and releases the .NET class when its internal reference count reaches zero. Once the CCW releases its reference to the .NET class, the class becomes eligible for garbage collection, assuming there are no other managed references to the class. It is possible to leak memory from a .NET class a CCW is wrapping. If the unmanaged process using the .NET class via the CCW shuts down before a Garbage Collection occurs, the managed class is not freed from memory.To keep this problem from happening, the unmanaged process must call the function CoEEShutDown. This function is part of the unmanaged API the .NET runtime exposes. The .NET runtime performs one last Garbage Collection once this function is called. More information about this API can be found in the Tool Developers Guide section of the Visual Studio .NET documentation. The methods in this API can be consumed from any programming language that is capable of calling Windows API functions. Standard COM Interfaces: IUnknown & IDispatch IUnknown and IDispatch are two well-known interfaces in the COM world, but they have no meaning in the .NET world. The CCW is responsible for providing these interfaces to COM on demand. IDispatch is perhaps the most heavily used interface in COM. Automation clients such as Active Server Pages, Visual Basic (unmanaged versions), and Visual Basic for Applications use IDispatch exclu- sively. IDispatch exposes methods that allow clients to query type information from the type library at runtime. If your .NET application does not provide a pre-built type library, the .NET runtime may create one on the fly. This process can Chapter 3: Consuming .Net Components from COM 39 054835-2 Ch03.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 39 be rather time-consuming and can considerably slow down your application. It is wise to ship a type library with your application for this reason. If you know ahead of time that an automation client will never call your .NET class, you can suppress support for the IDispatch interface. System.Runtime. InteropServices namespace provides NoIDispatch, an attribute that suppresses support for the IDispatch interface. If COM clients do query for this interface through IUnknown->QueryInterface, the E_NOINTERFACE HRESULT is returned. Proxying Interfaces Classes in .NET can implement any number of interfaces. When a COM client casts its CoClass instance of the .NET class to one of the explicitly implemented inter- faces, the CCW creates a VTable containing the methods of that interface. Usually in COM, a VTable contains pointers to the functions the interface implements. Instead, the CCW places stub functions in the VTable rather than the function pointers. These stubs are responsible for marshalling method calls between COM and .NET. The stub functions are described in more detail in the “Activation Lifecycle” section that follows. VTables (Virtual Function Tables) define a block of memory that contains pointers to functions the interface defines.When a client obtains a reference to an interface, be it a specific interface or the class’s default interface, it receives a pointer to the VTable. Marshalling Method Calls Once a COM client has obtained a reference to one of the class’s interfaces, it begins to call methods on that interface. The client makes its calls against stubs provided in the interface’s VTable. These stubs have several responsibilities: managing the transition between managed and unmanaged code converting data types between the two runtimes changing .NET method return values to out, retval parameters converting .NET exceptions to HRESULTs It is possible to prevent the CCW from marshalling method calls between the two runtimes. The System.Runtime.InteropServices.PreserveSigAttribute attribute is used to maintain the managed method signature when it is called from a COM client. For example, a managed method that has the following signature: long SomeMethod(string sParameter); 40 Part I: Interoperating with COM 054835-2 Ch03.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 40 is converted to the type library in the following format: HRESULT SomeMethod([in] BSTR sParameter, [out, retval] long* pRetVal); When this attribute is applied, the method retains the original signature inside the type library: long SomeMethod(string sParameter); The second point above raises an interesting issue. Converting data types involves marshalling. The marshalling process acts similar to the marshalling process described in the previous chapter, except it works in reverse. The CCW con- verts .NET data types to their corresponding COM data types when parameters are passed to methods and returned from methods. Basic data types like strings and integers work well in this situation. However, other managed classes can also be returned from method calls. Managed classes returned from method calls do not necessarily have to be registered as COM components. The CCW will convert a managed class to a suitable COM component for the COM client. Activation Lifecycle Let’s firm up these concepts by walking through each phase that must occur when a COM client loads a class and begins to call methods. Before a COM client can even get an instance of a managed class, it must find the COM dll, load it, and get access to its class factory. The process for doing this is as follows: 1. Query the Windows Registry for the CLSID, given a specific ProgID. (Remember for .NET classes the ProgId is the namespace.classname.) 2. Given the CLSID, the client queries the registry for the CLSID Key. The section “Registering Assemblies with COM” shows what this key looks like for a .NET class. 3. The client calls the COM API DllGetClassObject, passing in the CLSID, to get a reference to the class’s ClassFactory. Step 3 is where things start to get interesting. MSCorEE.dll is the COM server for all .NET classes – including COM+ classes. When a COM client requests a class fac- tory, MSCorEE.dll queries the .NET Class Loader to see if that class has been loaded. If the class has been loaded, a class factory is returned to the client. The CCW is responsible for creating this class factory and returning it to the client. However, if the class is not loaded, the CCW looks at the assembly key in the registry to deter- mine the name, version, and locale of the assembly. This information is passed off to the .NET assembly resolver. At this point, the assembly is located through the normal assembly location algorithm. All of the versioning rules, config-file overrides, and location rules we discussed in Chapter 1 are applied at this point. Remember, unless Chapter 3: Consuming .Net Components from COM 41 054835-2 Ch03.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 41 the assembly is in the same directory, in a subdirectory, or in the Global Assembly Cache, the assembly resolver is not able to find the assembly. Once found, the assembly is passed back to the Class Loader. The Class Loader is responsible for loading the assembly and determining if the assembly implements the class (by reading its metadata). Assuming the class is found within the assem- bly, the CCW creates a class factory and returns it to the calling client. The class factory returned to the client is a standard COM class factory on which the client can call IClassFactory.CreateInstance() to get an instance of the CCW that wraps the underlying .NET class. IClassFactory.CreateInstance() takes three parameters: a pointer to IUnknown an interface ID (GUID defined in the type library) a void pointer used to hold the reference to the object When the client passes in the IUnknown pointer, the CCW compares the values of the pointer to the instance of the class for which the class factory has been returned. By doing this, the CCW preserves the identity of the .NET class. When CreateInstance() is called, the CCW returns the interface to the client and sets up the VTable for the interface’s methods. Figure 3-1 shows a VTable for an interface called IList that defines methods for MoveFirst, MoveLast, and Goto. 42 Part I: Interoperating with COM Class Factories Class factories are special kinds of COM classes responsible for creating instances of other COM classes. For the most part, each class or object in COM has a corresponding class factory responsible for creating instances of itself. A class factory is responsible for creating only one instance of the class it represents. Using class factories to control the creation process of classes has several advantages over simply making a call to the COM API, CoCreateInstance: The author of the COM class can use his or her knowledge of the class to improve efficiency of the class factory and thus improve the creation process. The class-factory model provides a level of indirection that can be used to catch errors during the creation process. The class factory simplifies the creation of classes for COM’s clients. Class factories also provide an efficient way to produce multiple instances of a class. In a multi-user environment, such as a Web server using COM+ components, class factories are used to create instances of COM+ objects as user requests are received. In fact, COM+ caches instances of class factories to improve the object-creation times of COM+ objects. 054835-2 Ch03.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 42 Figure 3-1: VTable for Interface IList When the client calls MoveFirst and MoveLast, the CCW manages the transition between managed and unmanaged code and catches any exceptions the methods throw. For instance, the class MoveLast may throw an exception if it is called after the client has reached the last position in the list. When this exception is thrown, the CCW converts the exception to a HRESULT. Design Guidelines for .NET Components We have hit upon several concepts for designing efficient .NET classes to be used with COM. This may not have been entirely obvious, so let’s hit upon a few of the key issues. 1. Minimize trips across the Interop boundary: as you can see, a lot of low-level COM and .NET interaction is done automatically for you. COM Interop in .NET provides you with a lot of flexibility. But this flexibility comes at the price of performance. When designing your component, try to minimize the trips your clients have to take across the Interop boundary. 2. Adopt a message-passing architecture: one way to minimize trips across the Interop boundary is to implement a message-passing format. Instead of following an object-oriented approach of setting properties, and calling methods, try passing multiple parameters into a single method call. As an option, you can pass in an XML string containing all of the method para- meters as well. This type of approach sets you up well if you want to use a stateless programming model such as in COM+ or if you want to call your object from a remote machine using .NET Remoting. COM client pointer for MoveFirst() pointer for MoveLast() pointer for Goto(int i) VTable for Interface IList stub for MoveFirst() stub for MoveLast() stub for Goto(int i) COM Callable Wrapper IList.MoveFirst() IList.MoveLast() IList.Goto(int i) .Net Runtime public class CTable : IList Chapter 3: Consuming .Net Components from COM 43 054835-2 Ch03.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 43 3. Provide type libraries: the IDispatch interface consumes type libraries when IDispatch->GetTypeInfo and IDispatch->GetTypeInfoCount are called. As we mentioned previously, the .NET runtime can generate type libraries on the fly for these method calls by examining an assembly’s metadata. This process is extremely expensive in terms of performance. You can gain a big performance win by generating and deploying your own type libraries. 4. Close and Dispose: differences between object lifetime in the two environ- ments can cause some curious problems. Objects that hold onto expensive resources (file handles, database connections, and so on) should implement either a Close or Dispose method that allows the resources to be freed once the client is finished with them. Do not rely on Garbage Collection and finalizers to clean up these resources. 5. Stay with standard data types: “standard” data types such as integers and floating-point types do not need to be marshalled across the Interop boundary. Other, more complex types such as strings and dates are marshalled. Also, keep in mind that a CCW or RCW must be created for methods that return references (as a return value or out parameter) to other objects across the boundary. Summary In this chapter, we have discussed how .NET assemblies are converted to COM type libraries by using the Assembly Registration Tool. The Assembly Registration Tool is responsible not only for converting types in an assembly to types in a type library but also for registering the new type library in the Windows registry. Also remember that a new value, Assembly, is created in the InprocServer32 key. The Assembly sub-key is passed onto the assembly resolver to locate the assembly the client is seeking. We have seen how the CCW plays an important role during method-marshalling between COM and .NET. This chapter wraps up the first part of the book, Interoperating with COM. This part of the book is intended to provide you with the proper grounding you need as you go forward and learn to implement COM+ services in your .NET applications. The next part of the book teaches you to leverage COM+ services such as distributed transactions, object pooling, and queued components from your .NET applications. 44 Part I: Interoperating with COM 054835-2 Ch03.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 44 COM+ Core Services CHAPTER 4 Transactions CHAPTER 5 Security CHAPTER 6 Events CHAPTER 7 Object Pooling CHAPTER 8 Queued Components Part II 064835-2 Pt2.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 45 064835-2 Pt2.F 8/31/01 8:09 AM Page 46 Chapter 4 Transactions IN THIS CHAPTER ACID requirements Logical transaction lifecycle Physical transaction lifecycle Writing transactional components in C# TRANSACTIONS are one of the cornerstone services of COM+. In fact, the benefits COM+ transactions provide applications are among the most driving factors in developers’ decisions to use COM+. COM+ transactions are so compelling to developers because they provide the glue or plumbing necessary to tie together transactional services such as Oracle and SQL Server databases, CICS applications, and message queues in a single transaction. This type of plumbing code is difficult to design and develop correctly. In this chapter, you learn some of the basic rules of transaction processing, such as ACID rules. From there, you learn how COM+ provides services such as the Two-Phase Commit protocol and Automatic Transaction Enlistment to help you follow those basic transaction-processing rules. Once you have a firm grasp of the fundamentals, you write a transactional component by using C# and the .NET ServicedComponent class. Along the way, you see some pitfalls and other things to avoid when developing components in C#. ACID Requirements Any transaction, whether it is a COM+ transaction or not, must have four basic characteristics to be a transactional system. These rules may seem academic and not worth your attention, but a solid understanding of them helps you understand why COM+ does certain things. A transaction must be: atomic, consistent, isolated, and durable. Atomic A transaction represents a unit of work that either completely succeeds or completely fails. A transaction, particularly a COM+ transaction, may have many subtasks to perform in order to execute. For instance, an order-processing application may need 47 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 47 to validate data from a customer, decrement the customer’s account from one data- base, and submit the order to another database or to a message queue. Suppose the customer does not have enough credit for the purchase; you don’t not want the order to be submitted in that case, correct? The atomic rule states that if you decide to abort the transaction because of a lack of customer credit, the order is not submitted. In other words, all the subtasks of a transaction must complete successfully or none of them do. Consistent The consistent rule states that a transaction must start with data in a consistent state and end with data in a consistent state. Consider a scenario where your application is updating two databases. If the first update is successful and temporarily commits data but the second update fails, the first update must rollback its data to the state it was in before the transaction started. By undoing any temporary changes, a transactional system is able to maintain the consistency of the data during an abort. Conversely, if the transaction succeeds, the committed data must not violate any of the business rules surrounding the data.Consistency is something you need to consider in your application design. For instance, if you have a decimal field in your data that con- tains three decimal places, you should not round the field to two decimal places dur- ing the transaction. Consistency is supported in COM+ only to the extent that data changes can be committed and rolled back. Respecting business rules is up to you. Isolated The isolated rule states that transactions occurring simultaneously must not see each other’s work. If transaction A is updating a database table and transaction B attempts to query the same table, transaction B must not see the data transaction A is updating until A either commits or aborts. Usually, the isolated rule leads to some pretty hefty locks on database tables, particularly in COM+. Table locks restrict the level at which another application can view data cur- rently being used by another application.Table locks essentially come in two flavors: read locks and write locks. Read locks allow other programs to read data from the table, but do not allow another program to write data to the table.This allows the application that established the lock to get a clean read from the table without seeing another application’s partially finished work. Read locks are usually used when an application needs to select data from a table. Write locks prevent other applications from reading or writing to the table.Write locks are more restrictive than read locks since they put a greater limitation on the types of activities that can be performed with the table. Write locks are generally used when an application needs to update or insert data into the table. 48 Part II: COM+ Core Services 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 48 The level of locking a database applies inside of a transaction is the isolation level. Isolation levels can be adjusted to improve performance by decreasing the level of isolation, or they can be adjusted to increase the level of isolation. If decreasing the isolation level improves performance, and increasing the isolation level decreases performance, why would anyone ever want to increase the isolation level? It turns out that increasing the isolation level reduces the chance that another application can modify data while you are still in the middle of a transac- tion. There are four possible levels of isolation inside of a transaction. Table 4-1 lists and describes each of the possible isolation levels. TABLE 4-1 ISOLATION LEVELS Isolation Level Description Read uncommitted This is the lowest isolation level (best performer). This will allow you to read a table that is currently being updated by another application. You run the risk of seeing data that has not been completely updated. This is known as a dirty read. Read committed This is a step higher than read uncommitted. An application using this level will wait until any write locks are released. This is a slightly slower performer since the application must wait on other applications to release their locks. Repeatable Read This level prevents other applications from establishing write locks. Other applications will be able to establish a read lock, but will not be able to establish a write lock. Serializable This level establishes a read or write lock (depending on the task) over the entire range of rows affected by the transaction. For example, if the application is doing a select * from a table, then a write lock will be established on all the rows in the table. A COM+ transaction that runs against Microsoft SQL Server applies an isolation level of serializable. This isolation level is the most restrictive, and it usually leads to table-level locks. Unfortunately in COM+, on Windows 2000 the isolation level is not configurable. Durable The durable rule states that once a transaction has been committed, its data must be stored in a permanent state that can survive a power outage. If the computer run- ning the transaction should crash and restart immediately after committing the Chapter 4: Transactions 49 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 49 transaction, then the data involved in the transaction should be stored in a perma- nent location. Put another way, once the transaction commits, the data should be stored in the database and saved to disk by the database engine. Also, for transac- tions in progress, durability requires that transactions can pick up where they left off after a system interruption such as a power outage. Usually, logs are updated as a transaction is taking place that allows a transaction to be rolled back or restarted after an interruption. If a system interruption occurs during the middle of a trans- action, then these log files will be read to determine whether the transaction should be committed or aborted. Transaction managers are responsible for maintaining these types of log files and determining if their part of the transaction should be committed or aborted. Transaction managers are covered in the Physical Transaction Lifecycle section later in this chapter. Understanding the COM+ Transaction Process As I mention in the introduction to this chapter, COM+ provides the glue that makes transactional components work. The glue – or underlying transaction architecture – is not something a typical component developer needs to be terribly concerned with on a daily basis. However, a good understanding of how the underlying architecture works helps you design your transactional components and applications. In COM+, a transaction is divided into two parts: the logical transaction and the underlying physical transaction. Transactional components run inside the logical transaction, which the COM+ runtime hosts. Physical transactions, however, are initiated based upon actions taken inside the logical transaction. Take a look at each of these parts in detail to see how they interoperate to form the complete COM+ transaction. Logical Transaction Lifecycle A logical transaction starts when the client makes its first method call against a transactional component. Your components run inside the logical transaction and interact with it through their contexts. The logical transaction drives the underlying physical transaction. Let’s break down the lifecycle of the logical transaction to see how this works. In Chapter 2, I briefly introduce contexts. I explain contexts in relation to apart- ments in that each apartment may be broken down into multiple contexts. Contexts are of particular importance to transactional components. Each component in COM+ gets a context associated with it when it is created. When a client instanti- ates a transactional component, COM+ looks to see if the client is already partici- pating in a transaction. If the client is running in a transaction (a client can be another transactional component) and if the component supports running in another’s transaction, the component is created, and it inherits the context of the 50 Part II: COM+ Core Services 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 50 client. Think of the context as a sort of property bag that contains runtime-relative information that COM+ and the component use to talk to each other. Unmanaged components – those written with Visual Basic 6, for example – manipulate the context through properties and methods of the ObjectContext. .NET components use a similar object called ContextUtil. ContextUtil resides in the System.EnterpriseServices namespace. If you compare the two APIs, you notice many similar methods and properties. DECLARATIVE TRANSACTIONS COM+ supports declarative transactions. Declarative transactions allow the devel- oper to manipulate a component’s transactional characteristics through attributes. The transaction attribute for a component is stored in the COM+ catalog. You can think of the COM+ catalog as a small database that stores all the information COM+ needs to instantiate and run your component properly. COM+ supports five settings for the transactional attribute: Disabled: Components never run inside a COM+ transaction. Components with this attribute are nontransactional. Not Supported: This is the default value for components running in COM+. This attribute tells the runtime that the component does not support trans- actions. If the component votes on the transaction (see “Casting the Vote” that follows) by calling ObjectContext.SetComplete or ObjectContext. SetAbort, these votes do not count toward the outcome of the transaction. Components that have this attribute are nontransactional. Supported: A component that has this attribute can be created within the client’s transaction. If the client is not running in a transaction, the com- ponent does not run in a transaction. Components that have this attribute are transactional. Required: This component is required to run in a transaction. The compo- nent runs in the caller’s transaction if one exists. If the caller is not running in a transaction, a new transaction is created. RequiresNew: The component must always be created in a new transaction, regardless of the caller’s transaction status. Normally, these attributes are specified in a component’s type library. When a component is installed into a COM+ library or server application, the attribute set- ting is read from the type library and applied to the component. Afterward, these settings can be changed at any time. When you write components with C# or with any other language that supports the CLR, these attributes are inserted directly into the source code through the System.EnterpriseServices.Transaction attribute. When the component is compiled, these attributes show up in the assembly’s meta- data. As you see later in this chapter, this attribute is read from the metadata and applied to the component when it is installed into a COM+ application. Chapter 4: Transactions 51 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 51 JUST IN TIME ACTIVATION I state previously that the logical transaction starts when the caller makes its first method call on a transactional component. The logical transaction starts when the component is created. Both statements are true due to a concept called Just In Time Activation (JITA). JITA can be either enabled or disabled for a component. However, for a transactional component, JITA is required. In fact, when you choose a trans- action attribute of Supported, Required, or RequiresNew, this attribute is checked and disabled for you. Refer to Figure 4-1 to see what this looks like in the Component Services Explorer. Figure 4-1: JITA is required for a transactional component. When the client makes a creation request, COM+ intercepts the call and returns a reference of the component to the client without creating the component. As soon as the client calls a method on the component, COM+ activates the component and calls the method. Assuming the component sets its done bit to true, the component is destroyed once the method returns. The done bit is a flag in the context that the component uses to tell COM+ when its work is done. When a method returns, COM+ examines the component’s done bit to determine if the component should be destroyed. By default, this setting is set to false when a method is first called. In C#, ContextUtil.SetComplete and ContextUtil.SetAbort both set this done bit to true. Conversely, ContextUtil. EnableCommit and Context.DisableCommit set this bit to false. If you have written COM+ components using Visual Basic 6, then these methods of the ContextUtil class should look familiar. The ObjectContext component used in Visual Basic 6 supports the same set of methods, which incidentally perform the same functions as those from the ContextUtil class. COM+ supports an attribute called autodone. This attribute is applied to a method by using the Component Services Explorer. The Auto-Done attribute JIT enabled for transactional components 52 Part II: COM+ Core Services 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 52 changes the done bit’s default value from false to true when a method is first called. The .NET Framework provides this support through the AutoComplete attribute, which you encounter later in the chapter. Figure 4-2 shows a method in the Component Services Explorer that has Auto-Done turned on. Figure 4-2: Auto-Done attribute turned on for a component’s method The .NET Framework supports the COM+ AutoDone attribute through the AutoComplete attribute in the System.EnterpriseServices namespace. This attribute is applied at the method level and is automatically set in the COM+ catalog when a component is installed. The JITA model is well suited for transactional components. Transactional com- ponents work best when each method call does an atomic unit of work, then exits and is destroyed. If COM+ is allowed to destroy the object after each small unit of work, there is no chance the component’s data can corrupt the transaction later. Without JITA in this model, a client has to create the object after each method call. As you might imagine, this can become rather tedious. Because JITA creates the object each time on the client’s behalf, the client does not need to worry whether its reference to the component is still valid. CASTING THE VOTE As you may have guessed, each component gets a vote in the overall outcome of the transaction. The vote is cast by setting the “consistent” flag on the context to true or false. Methods from the ContextUtil object such as SetComplete and EnableCommit set this bit to true. The SetAbort and DisableCommit methods set this bit to false. If the component is in a consistent state, it is able to commit the transaction, so its vote is to commit. Conversely, if the object is in an inconsistent state, the component cannot commit its data, so it votes to abort the transaction. Initially, this bit is set to true. Auto-Done attribute enabled for method GetAuthors Chapter 4: Transactions 53 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 53 The combination of the done bit and the consistent bit for the logical transaction are used to decide whether to commit or abort. Setting the done bit to true forces COM+ to examine the component’s consistency bit. If the done bit is true and the consistent bit is true, the object’s final vote is to commit the transaction. If the done bit is true and the consistent bit it false, the transaction aborts regardless of any other object’s vote in the transaction. In addition to JITA, synchronization is required for transactional compo- nents.Synchronization keeps two clients from calling a method on the same component at the same time. Synchronization is important for transactional components; without synchronization, one client can enter a component another client is using.This violates the ACID rules of atomicity and isolation. UNDERSTANDING A TRANSACTION’S SCOPE Developing transactional components this way is deceptively simple. All you need to do is write your data access logic and business logic, call SetAbort if there is a problem, and otherwise call SetComplete. The complexity is understanding the scope of the transaction. I have been burned by not completely understanding the scope of my transactional components. To understand the scope of a logical trans- action, walk through an example. Assume you have a GUI application that your end user is using to enter sales orders. Typically, sales orders consist of some header information such as the cus- tomer’s name, account number, and so on, as well as line-item data. When the user submits the sales order, the GUI application creates your remote transactional com- ponent and begins to call methods on the component to submit the sales order to the database. Remember that each method call results in four actions: COM+ activates the component. The component’s method is called. The component votes on the transaction. COM+ destroys the object. Here’s the tricky part. If the GUI client is responsible for calling methods on the component, a new transaction starts for each method call because the component is created and destroyed each time. If the first method call succeeds and the second fails, the sales order could be left in an inconsistent state in the database. There are two work arounds for this problem. The first solution is to use the TransactionContext object. This object allows nontransactional clients, such as the GUI application mentioned previously, to control or coordinate the transaction. TransactionContext has methods to commit or abort the transaction and to create 54 Part II: COM+ Core Services 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 54 other objects that must participate in the transaction. However, this approach has a couple of drawbacks: It requires the client to have the Transaction Context library installed. Nontransactional components do not benefit from the automatic transac- tion services of COM+. If nontransactional components fail, the transac- tion may or may not be aborted. The second solution is to create another transactional component that consumes other subtransactional components. This model is preferred because all the work of a transaction can occur within the protection of the COM+ runtime. If we modify the previous example, the GUI client can call one method on the coordinating component and can pass it all the sales-order data at one time. The coordinating component can be responsible for instantiating subcomponents and calling meth- ods to do the database work. This is also a nice way to separate business logic and validation logic from database-access logic. The coordinating component can implement the application’s business rules. Assuming the business rules are met, data can be entered through the subcomponents. If you pass all the data into the coordinating component in one method call, you get the added bonus of reducing the number of network trips needed to complete your transaction.. Now, instead of taking a network performance hit each time you make a method call, you need to take only one hit for the entire transaction. In this scenario, the coordinating component has a Requires or RequiresNew transaction attribute. The coordinating component acts as the root component of the transaction. When the client calls the first method on an instance of this component, the transaction begins. Once the component has set its done bit to true, the logical transaction ends. Physical Transaction Lifecycle In this section, you see what happens behind the scenes during the logical transac- tion and what happens to the physical resources involved in the transaction after the logical transaction ends. AUTOMATIC TRANSACTION ENLISTMENT The physical transaction begins when a transactional component makes a connec- tion to a resource such as a database server or queue manager. In most cases, when a transactional component requests a connection, the connection is dispensed from a resource dispenser. Resource dispensers are responsible for maintaining a pool of volatile resources such as database connections and threads. Resource dispensers are also responsible for registering the connection with the local transaction man- ager. The process of registering a connection with the transaction manager is Automatic Transaction Enlistment. Figure 4-3 illustrates the process that occurs when a transactional component requests one of these resources. Chapter 4: Transactions 55 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 55 Figure 4-3: Automatic Transaction Enlistment For example, when a component uses ADO (or ADO.NET, for that matter) to open a connection to a SQL Server database, the request goes to the resource dispenser implemented inside the OLEDB framework. The resource dispenser looks at the con- nection string passed to ADO to determine if that type of connection exists within the resource dispenser’s pool. If a connection exists in the pool that has the same connection string as the one being requested (for example, the same SQL Server, driver, and user ID), the resource dispenser registers the connection with the local transaction manager and returns the connection to the client. If the connection does not exist, one is created and added to the pool. TRANSACTION MANAGERS Transaction managers are responsible for tracking activities between components and resource managers. Resource managers manage data resources. Resource managers know how to store data to the database and how to rollback their data in the event of a transaction failure. In a typical COM+ transaction, at least two machines are involved: one machine the component runs on and another machine the database runs on. Each machine must have a transaction manager to participate in a COM+ transaction. With Microsoft products, the Distributed Transaction Coordinator service implements transaction managers. Windows 2000 and SQL Server both ship with this service. When the physical transaction starts, the transaction manager running on the same machine as the component is designated as the coordinating transaction manager. The coordinating transaction manager is responsible for initiating the Two-Phase Commit protocol. Machine #1 Local Transaction ManagerCOM+ Runtime Resource Dispenser for MS SQL Server connections Transactional Component 1. Request SQL Server connection 2. Register connection 3. Return connection 56 Part II: COM+ Core Services 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 56 TWO-PHASE COMMIT PROTOCOL Once all of the components in the logical transaction have finished their work and each of their done bits is set to true, COM+ evaluates the transaction to determine if the transaction should commit or abort. If each object’s consistent flag is set to true, COM+ instructs the local transaction manager to commit the physical transaction. The physical transaction is committed through the Two-Phase Commit protocol. In phase I, the coordinating transaction manager asks the subordinate transac- tion managers if they are ready to commit the transaction. Each subordinate trans- action manager responds with a vote to commit or abort the transaction. A vote to commit the transaction is a commitment to the coordinating transaction manager indicating that the resources can be committed and made durable. Any vote the transaction managers make to abort dooms the transaction. In phase II, the coordinating transaction manager tallies the votes from the sub- ordinates. If all subordinates have voted to commit, the coordinating transaction manager sends an instruction to the subordinates to commit their resources. If the transaction is to be aborted, the coordinating transaction manager sends an instruction to the subordinates to rollback the transaction. During this phase, each transaction manager instructs its local resource manager to commit or rollback the transaction. Usually, resource managers maintain some sort of protected log file throughout the transaction to provide this capability. Incidentally, this log allows a transaction to restart in the event of system failure. Figure 4-4 shows the process a coordinating transaction manager undergoes during a Two-Phase Commit protocol. Figure 4-4: Two-Phase Commit protocol Machine #2: MS SQL Server Subordinate Transaction Manager Machine #3: MS Message Queue Subordinate Transaction Manager Machine #1 COM+ Runtime Coordinating Transaction Manager Phase I Are you prepared to commit? Phase I Yes I am prepared Phase I No I am not prepared logical transaction ends and the two-phase commit begins Transactional Component Phase II: Abort transaction Phase II: Abort transaction Chapter 4: Transactions 57 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 57 Writing Transactional Components in C# In this section, you write a transactional component that gets its transaction ID from the ContextUtil class and logs it, along with its class name, into a database. You use attributes that provide component support for synchronization, JITA, and automatic completion of methods. In addition, you learn to register a class into a COM+ application. ServicedComponent Class Throughout this book, you become intimately familiar with the ServicedComponent class. It provides all of the COM+ services such as transactions, object pooling, and automatic registration into COM+ applications. Any C# class that wishes to use COM+ services must inherit from this class. The ServicedComponent class exists in the System namespace. To get access to this namespace from your code, implement a using System statement within your code. Normally, you must make a reference to an assembly containing the name- space you wish to use. The C# compiler is kind enough to include a reference for each component or application automatically because the System namespace is so frequently used. .NET uses namespaces to organize classes, interfaces, methods, and so on that implement similar or complementary functionality. For example, the System.EnterpriseServices namespace implements many attributes, interfaces, and classes you use to interoperate with COM+. Defining a C# class that inherits from the ServicedComponent is relatively simple. Namespace ComTransaction { using System; using System.EnterpriseServices; public class CRoot : ServicedComponent { // add some methods here } } The preceding code consists of four important tasks you must complete to make a C# class a COM+ component: 58 Part II: COM+ Core Services 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 58 Defining the namespace — ComTransaction — for your component Declaring that you are using the System namespace via the using statement Making the class public Inheriting from the ServicedComponent class via : ServicedComponent When this class is installed in a COM+ application, it is available for use from managed and unmanaged components alike. Remember from Chapter 3 that a .NET class must be public if you want to use it from an unmanaged COM-based client. Attribute-based Programming Next, add a method to the component (Listing 4-1). Listing 4-1: Transactional Component Namespace ComTransaction { using System; using System.Data.SQL; using System.EnterpriseServices; [Transaction(TransactionOption.Required)] public class CRoot : ServicedComponent { public void LogTransactionId() { SQLConnection cnn = new SQLConnection(“server=localhost;database=Transactions;uid=sa;pwd=”); SQLCommand cmd = new SQLCommand(); cnn.Open(); cmd.ActiveConnection = cnn; cmd.CommandText = “insert into TransactionId values(‘CWorker1’, ‘“ + ContextUtil.TransactionId + “‘)”; cmd.ExecuteNonQuery(); cnn.Close(); } } } We have added a method called LogTransactionId. This method creates a com- mand and connection object and inserts the class name and the component’s transac- tion ID into the database. The ContextUtil object is used to get the TransactionId of the transaction. Also, we have declared this component to require a transaction through the [Transaction(TransactionOption.Required)] attribute. This attribute model is rather different from the COM+ attribute model. Traditional unmanaged COM+ components do not store their attributes inside their Chapter 4: Transactions 59 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 59 code base. Attributes are stored in the COM+ catalog. This results in a dislocation of the attributes from their corresponding components. The architects of the .NET Framework have altered this model by storing the attributes directly inside the code. At compile time, the attributes are converted into metadata and stored in the assembly. This allows the component and its attributes to be in the same file. Attributes can be applied at the assembly level. Specific to COM+, an assembly can be attributed to affect the name of the COM+ application, the description, and whether the classes are installed in a library or server application. The ApplicationName attribute, the Description attribute, and the ApplicationActivation attribute are all in the System.EnterpriseServices namespace and can be used to specify the name of the COM+ application, its description, and the library or server setting, respectively. COM+ applications can be installed as either library applications or server applications.Library applications run in the same process as their clients,but server applications run in a host process outside of their client’s process.The host process on Windows 2000 is dllhost.exe. Installing a Class into a COM+ Application Now that you have a complete transactional component that does some work, you can install it in a COM+ application. There are two ways to install a C# class in a COM+ application: using lazy registration at runtime or using the Regsvcs com- mand-line tool that ships with the .NET Framework SDK. Lazy registration eliminates the need to install a component manually into an application. When a managed client creates an instance of a class that inherits from ServicedComponent, the .NET runtime is intelligent enough to know that the class must be registered with COM+. Of course, once the class is registered, the runtime does not register it. Lazy registration allows you to skip the administrative burden of creating COM+ applications and installing your components. There are, however, several downsides to this feature: Lazy registration works only for managed clients. Because the class is not registered ahead of time, an unmanaged client is not able to find the class in the registry. Problems registering a component are not caught until runtime. If the component fails to install, the client is out of luck. The process that registers the class must run under administrative privi- leges to create the COM+ application. If the process is running in the security context of the end user, the end user must have administrative privileges. 60 Part II: COM+ Core Services 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 60 The Regsvcs command-line tool registers a ServicedComponent class prior to execution. It takes the name of an assembly file as input and creates the COM+ application. All of these ServicedComponent classes inside the assembly are registered into the same COM+ application. The name of the assembly is used for the name of the COM+ application unless it has been overridden using assembly- level attributes. This tool has a number of arguments that can be passed in. Table 4-2 contains some of the more useful arguments I have used in dealing with this tool. TABLE 4-2 USEFUL REGSVCS ARGUMENTS Argument Description /c Forces the COM+ application to be installed /fc Looks for the application already installed in COM+ /reconfig Reconfigures the application and components. This is similar to right-clicking the components folder in the Component Service console and clicking Refresh. The Regsvcs command-line tool and lazy registration both go through the same four-step process to register the class into an application: 1. Load the assembly. 2. Generate and register a type library (similar to the process described in Chapter 3). 3. Create the COM+ application. 4. Read the class metadata to apply the appropriate attributes. JITA, Synchronization, and AutoComplete You have learned how a class is declared as transactional through the Transaction attribute. The way you declare JustInTimeActivation support, Synchronization support, and AutoComplete support is not much different. All of these attributes are in the System.EnterpriseServices namespace. In Listing 4-2, we attribute the CRoot class and its method with these attributes. Chapter 4: Transactions 61 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 61 Listing 4-2: Transactional Component Using AutoComplete Namespace ComTransaction { using System; using System.Data.SQL; using System.EnterpriseServices; [Transaction(TransactionOption.Required)] [JustInTimeActivation(true)] [Synchronization(SynchronizationOption.Required)] public class CRoot : ServicedComponent { [AutoComplete] public void LogTransactionId() { // database work here } } } The JustInTimeActivation attribute has two constructors. The default con- structor (the one with no parameters) sets the JustInTimeActivation support to true. The second parameter takes a boolean value that can enable or disable JustInTimeActivation support. Notice that this attribute is applied on the class level. The Synchronization attribute is similar to the JustInTimeActivation attribute in that it has two parameters. The default constructor defaults the Synchronization support to Required. The Synchronization attribute also has a parameter that takes a SynchronizationOption enumeration that can be used to set the support to any of the required levels: Disabled, Not Supported, Supported, Required, or RequiresNew. Finally, the AutoComplete attribute is applied at the method level as you would expect. If the method throws an exception, the transaction aborts; otherwise, it votes to commit. When the AutoComplete attribute is applied to a method, the AutoDone attribute is applied in the COM+ catalog. Developing the Root and Worker Objects Previously in this chapter, I recommend a design pattern for transactional compo- nents. The pattern involves a root object that coordinates the work of other sub- components. The root object starts the transaction, and the subcomponents do the work. Let’s extend our preceding example to use this design pattern. Listing 4-3 shows a namespace called ComTransaction that implements the root object and two worker objects. 62 Part II: COM+ Core Services 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 62 Listing 4-3: Root and Worker Classes namespace ComTransaction { using System; using System.Data.SQL; using System.EnterpriseServices; [Transaction(TransactionOption.Required)] public class CRoot : ServicedComponent { public void LogTransactionId() { /* log class name and transaction id to database */ CWorker1 worker1 = new CWorker1(); CWorker2 worker2 = new CWorker2(); worker1.LogTransactionId(); worker2.LogTransactionId(); } } [Transaction(TransactionOption.Supported)] public class CWorker1 : ServicedComponent { public void LogTransactionId() { /* log class name and transaction id to database */ } } [Transaction(TransactionOption.Supported)] public class CWorker2 : ServicedComponent { public void LogTransactionId() { /* log class name and transaction id to database */ } } } For the sake of clarity, I have omitted the database logic. First of all, notice that on the two CWorker1 and CWorker2 objects, I have set the transaction support to TransactionOption.Supported. This allows each worker object to participate in the root’s transaction. The CRoot object uses these two classes as though they are any other class from a namespace. Table 4-2 represents the output made to the database after a client creates the CRoot object and calls its LogTransactionId message. Chapter 4: Transactions 63 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 63 TABLE 4-2 DATABASE OUTPUT ClassName TransactionId CRoot FF208BBB-D785-4c59-9EA1-D3B6379822FB CWorker1 FF208BBB-D785-4c59-9EA1-D3B6379822FB CWorker2 FF208BBB-D785-4c59-9EA1-D3B6379822FB Notice that the transaction IDs are identical for each object. This proves that each object has indeed run in the same transaction. Summary In this chapter, you have learned how the ACID requirements (atomicity, consis- tency, isolation, and durability) drive the transactional features of COM+ and the underlying transaction managers. These requirements force the underlying archi- tecture to lock resources while they are in use. Often, these locks can prove to be a bottleneck for transactional applications if their impacts are not properly under- stood. The basic rule of thumb when designing transactional components is to let them do their work, vote, exit quickly, and release their resources. You have learned some new concepts the .NET Framework has introduced. Attribute-based programming is not new to the COM+ developer, but including attrib- utes directly into source code is. This technique is a convenient way to keep the attrib- utes and their components in one location. This technique also helps to simplify deployment of your components. Finally, you have seen how the ServicedComponent class is used in a C# application through inheritance. The combination of the ServicedComponent class and attributes from the System.EnterpriseServices namespace gives you COM+ support for your C# classes. In Chapter 5, you learn how .NET provides support for the role-based security feature of COM+. 64 Part II: COM+ Core Services 074835-2 Ch04.F 8/31/01 8:12 AM Page 64 Chapter 5 Security IN THIS CHAPTER Understanding Windows security Authenticating over the wire Using COM+ security in C# THE COM+ SECURITY MODEL provides mechanisms for both declarative security and programmatic security. Declarative security allows a component to be configured at the time it is deployed through the use of attributes recorded into the COM+ catalog. At runtime, these attributes affect the accessibility of the component, its interfaces, and its methods. Programmatic security allows a component to control its accessibility at runtime. In fact, declarative security and programmatic security are interrelated. For a component to use programmatic security, the proper attributes must be set in the COM+ catalog. In Chapter 4, you encounter one of the central themes of the .NET development model: attribute-based programming. You see that when you write transactional components in C#, you specify, in code, the COM+ catalog settings you desire for your components. This is a significant shift from the traditional way of developing components for COM+. In the traditional development model, you develop your component, install it into a COM+ application, and set the appropriate attributes. The problem with this development model is that you rely typically on an adminis- trator to set these attributes properly. The .NET development model puts this power (and responsibility) into the hands of the developer. As you see in this chapter, .NET Framework security attributes can be a powerful tool for setting every security- related attribute inside the COM+ catalog. The attribute-based programming model in .NET can help you ensure that your application’s security settings are correctly configured since the security settings are read from the assembly’s metadata at the time they are registered in the COM+ catalog. In this chapter, you encounter various aspects of the COM+ security model: authentication, authorization, and role-based security. Also, you see how the .NET Framework attributes are used in C# to configure your components properly. Along the way, you learn how authentication is performed over the wire from one machine to another. However, before you explore these details, it is important to understand how the security services provided in COM+ are leveraged from the underlying Windows Security Architecture. 65 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 65 Understanding Windows Security If you have ever looked at the Windows Security API or any of its related documentation, you have realized what a complex topic it is. Fortunately, COM+ programmers need only to know the basics. Any security system, no matter how complicated, ultimately comes down to a two-step process: authenticate the user, and authorize his or her access. Authentication is the process a user goes through to prove his or her identity. Authorization verifies that the user has rights to do what he or she is attempting. Authentication When you log on to your computer in a Windows domain, you supply your user ID and password to prove that you are who you say you are. Of course, there are more sophisticated techniques for authentication, such as smart cards and various biometric technologies. The goal, however, is to establish your presence on the network so that you can use various resources. But what happens when a user logs on to his or her computer? Let’s break it down. The logon sequence starts when the user presses Ctrl-Alt-Del. This key sequence sends a message known as the Secure Attention Sequence (SAS) to the Net Logon Service. The Net Logon Service starts a graphical user interface program known as the Graphical Identification and Authentication (GINA). The GINA is responsible for displaying the user ID and password dialog box you see when you log in to your Windows workstation. If, for example, the user is using a smart card, the GINA is responsible for reading data on it. Once the user has entered his or her user ID and password (and optionally the domain to log in to) the GINA passes the credentials to the Local Security Authority (LSA). The LSA is responsible for authenticating the user based on the user ID and password provided. In fact, the LSA hands off the user’s credentials to yet another component called the authentication package. The authentication package verifies the user’s credentials against a database and either authenticates the user or rejects the credentials. If the user is logging in to the workstation by using a Windows user ID and password, the authentication package verifies the credentials against the local Security Accounts Manager (SAM) database. In the case of a domain login, the authentication package looks at the directory database for the domain. Directory databases reside on domain controllers in an Active Directory network. The directory database is conceptually similar to a local computer’s SAM database except that it stores additional data such as configuration data for the topology of the network, and schema data. Schemas act as a sort of template that defines what properties an object such as a user account or computer account will hold in the directory. If the authentication package is able to authenticate the user, it reports its suc- cess to the LSA. At this point, the LSA does two things: generates a logon session and generates an access token. Logon sessions map one-to-one with the particular user currently logged on to the workstation. Generally, a user cannot have two logon sessions running on the same computer. 66 Part II: COM+ Core Services 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 66 The access token is of particular interest here. It defines the user as the user in the system. It is a type of data structure that contains all the information about the user, such as the Security Identifier (SID), which uniquely identifies the user, as well as the SIDs of any groups the user belongs to. The access token also contains an ID that represents a user’s current logon session. Windows security subsystems use SIDs in a similar fashion to the way glob- ally unique identifiers (GUID) are used in COM. Just as a class identifier (CLSID)or type library ID are unique across time and space, so are SIDs. SIDs not only represent a user’s account but represent just about every other entity that can be secured or identified, such as computers and groups. Once the user’s logon session and access token have been established, the oper- ating system starts the Windows shell. As the user launches applications, such as Internet Explorer, the access token is copied from the shell’s process space into the application’s process space. Now there are two access tokens, both pointing back to the user’s logon session. Authorization When a user begins to access secured resources, such as a file or even a component, Windows checks the user’s access token against the Security Descriptor (SD) for the item being accessed. The SD is a list of all the users and groups who have access to the resource. The SD defines which users have which privileges for the resource. The SD is a runtime data structure composed of two items: the System Access Control List (SACL) and the Discretionary Access Control List (DACL). Windows uses the SACL for auditing purposes. The SACL is of little importance to a COM+ developer because it does not play a role in COM+ security. The SACL is used for Windows auditing, not for COM+ programmatic security auditing, which you encounter later in this chapter. The DACL maps a user’s or group’s SID to access rights such as read, execute, delete, and so on. At runtime, Windows examines the SIDs located in the user’s access token and compares them to the SIDs in the DACL. If none of the SIDs in the access token match those in the DACL, the user gets the familiar “Access Denied” message. In the case of COM, this can lead to the E_ACCESSDENIED HRESULT. The DACL maps user and group SIDs to access rights through Access Control Entries (ACEs). Each ACE contains a user or group SID and the corresponding access rights for that user or group. In any DACL, there can be two types of ACEs: an access-allowed ACE and an access-denied ACE. Windows searches the list of ACEs in a DACL to deter- mine the user’s effective rights on the resource. If Windows encounters an access- denied ACE that can be applied against the user’s access token, the user is denied access regardless of any access-allowed ACEs. If no access-denied ACEs are found, the user is granted the sum of all access rights pertaining to all ACEs for the token. Chapter 5: Security 67 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 67 Special Accounts When the Windows operating system is installed, the installer program creates a number of special groups and user accounts. COM+ uses some of these accounts, such as Everyone, Authenticated Users, and the Interactive User, at various times. Other accounts, such as the System account, are utilized by the underlying services and subsystems COM+ benefits from. If you are like me, you have often used the Everyone account to overcome some of those annoying security features of Windows during the development of your applications. But what is this account, really? The Everyone account is a runtime group account that all authenticated users belong to. In fact, when you log on to Windows, the Everyone SID is placed in your access token. Because the Everyone group is a runtime group, no users can be explicitly placed in it. I have often given the Everyone group full access to files during application development to by pass security (temporarily, of course) and to focus on a different issue. But what happens when you give the Everyone group full control on a file? In this situation, the DACL for the file is set to null. I want to make a distinction here between a null DACL and an empty DACL. DACLs are empty if they contain no ACEs. Any user who attempts to access a resource that has an empty DACL is not granted access. On the other hand, if the same user attempts to access a resource that has a null DACL, he or she is granted access. Windows provides another special group called Authenticated Users. This group is similar to the Everyone group in that it is a special runtime group the operating system maintains. Any user who has been authenticated is a member of this group. The key difference between Everyone and Authenticated Users is that Authenticated Users cannot contain guests. Guests are users who cannot be authenticated but who can still access certain resources. The Guest account is disabled by default when Windows is installed. If Guest is enabled, it allows users who cannot be authenticated to access resources. The Interactive User is yet another special runtime account that represents the currently logged-on user. COM+ uses this account as the default identity for server applications. COM+ server applications that run under the Interactive User account inherit the access token of the user currently logged in to the workstation. Usually, this setting works just fine for development purposes, but it can pose a real prob- lem when you move your component into a production environment. In a typical production environment, nobody is logged in to the server hosting your compo- nents. If nobody is logged in, the Interactive User account cannot represent anyone. (Well, this is almost the case.) In a scenario where your component is running “lights out” on a server, a virtual desktop is created when your component is accessed. The Interactive User can take on the rights of this virtual desktop assum- ing that the “Logon as Batch Job” and “Access this Computer from the Network” rights are granted to the Interactive User. The problem with this approach manifests itself in two ways. First, when an administrator logs in to the console, COM+ appli- cations start to run under the rights of the administrator. This is bad for obvious reasons. Second, if someone who does not normally have these rights logs in to the server console, you indirectly give that person these rights. The Interactive User 68 Part II: COM+ Core Services 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 68 account is really intended for COM+ applications that are part of a GUI application running on a user’s workstation. The Interactive User account works in this type of scenario for two reasons: someone is logged in, and you likely want your COM+ application to run under that user’s credentials. Impersonation Up to this point, you have encountered security within the bounds of a single user interacting with secured resources on his or her machine. However, in a distributed computing environment, a user needs to interact with remote resources. For a client to be able to do this, he or she must be able to pass his or her identity (or access token) across the network to the destination machine. At that point, the destination machine must be able to access resources on behalf of the client by using a copy of the client’s access token. This process is impersonation. When a client connects to a remote server process to create a component, for example, part of the negotiation process involves establishing the level at which the server can impersonate the client. The impersonation level can be one of four values, as shown in Table 5-1. TABLE 5-1 IMPERSONATION LEVELS Impersonation Level Description Anonymous The server cannot see the client’s access token. In this case, the server is not able to identify or impersonate the client. Identify The server can read the client’s access token for the purposes of reading its SID and determining its access rights. However, the server cannot impersonate the client. Impersonate The server can impersonate the client and access local resources. The server is not able to access other remote resources by using the client’s credentials. Delegate This includes all of the rights to the token that the Impersonate level grants, plus the bonus of being able to pass on the client’s token to other remote servers. Be aware of a couple of issues regarding these levels. First, the client gets the only say in the impersonation level. It is not a true negotiation, as the server does not get a vote. Second, as you see later in this chapter, an impersonation level can be set on a COM+ package. This setting has no effect on the impersonation level clients use to call into a COM+ application. The impersonation level setting of the COM+ application applies only when a component in the COM+ application acts as a client itself. Chapter 5: Security 69 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 69 Authenticating over the Wire Instantiating a remote component and calling its methods is remoting. Traditionally, the Microsoft remoting model has used Distributed COM (DCOM). DCOM uses the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) protocol as its underlying communication mechanism. There are two limitations in using DCOM, however. First, both client and server must run the COM runtime. Usually, this is ok when parts of your application must talk to each other over the Internet, where you are likely to have a Windows client talking to a Windows server. But this model breaks down when the client is on the Internet. Generally, you cannot be assured that a client on the Internet is configured to use COM. In addition, a client on the Internet may have to communicate back to the server through firewalls and even network routers that perform Network Address Translation (NAT). The details of overcoming DCOM issues through firewalls and NAT tables aren’t necessary here, but these can be particularly nasty problems to overcome, especially if you do not anticipate them in the design of your application. Server farms can provide a hurdle for your components that use DCOM. Server farms, or clusters, combine several identical Web or application servers into a single virtual server. Clients connect to a cluster based on the cluster IP address that is shared across all servers in the cluster. When a request from a client comes into the cluster, one of the available servers processes the request. For DCOM to work over a cluster, the client’s method calls must always return to the original server that instantiates the component. This is known as affinity. Affinity can reduce the potency of a cluster by hampering how evenly the work is distributed across the servers that make up the cluster. Because of these problems with DCOM, the trend Microsoft has taken with remoting is to route method calls through HTTP. Remote Data Services (RDS) was the first Microsoft technology to provide remoting over HTTP. RDS is provided as part of the Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC). With RDS, you can instan- tiate remote components and even make SQL calls from the client to a database. Because RDS goes through the Web server, it can get you over the affinity hump. But you still have client dependencies because the client must have MDAC installed. The current trend in remoting uses a technology called the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). SOAP uses XML to encode method-invocation requests, and it uses HTTP to transport those requests to the component. SOAP gets you around client dependencies because an XML parser and a networking component that can formu- late HTTP requests are the only requirements. The implementation of the XML parser and the HTTP component are completely irrelevant to the SOAP protocol. As you see in Chapter 9, the .NET Remoting architecture uses SOAP extensively. Both SOAP and RDS use endpoints to instantiate a component and call its meth- ods. SOAP typically uses an Active Server Page (or ASP .NET Web Service page) as its endpoint. RDS uses a Web server extension dll as its endpoint. The process is as follows. The client makes a method call on some kind of proxy object. The proxy object is responsible for encoding the method call and submitting the HTTP request to the Web server. Part of the HTTP request is the URL to the endpoint. When the HTTP request reaches the endpoint, the Active Server Page or extension dll acting 70 Part II: COM+ Core Services 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 70 as the endpoint unpacks the call, instantiates the COM+ object, and makes the requested method call. Understanding Authentication in IIS In light of the HTTP remoting trend Microsoft has adopted, it is particularly relevant to discuss how Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) handles authen- tication and how it impersonates the client. IIS is Microsoft’s Web server that ships with Windows 2000. This section explains how IIS and Windows security work together to authenticate a client application making HTTP requests. By default, IIS runs under the System account. Most native operating system ser- vices run as this account by default. When a request for an Active Server Page, or, in our case, a method call for a component, comes into IIS, IIS dispatches a thread to execute the request. In fact, to optimize performance, IIS maintains a pool of worker threads to service requests. Because the System account has so many privileges, IIS does not like to run these worker threads under this account. Instead, it prefers to use either the client’s user account (assuming the client has been authenticated) or the default account created when IIS is installed. The default account is named based on a concatenation of IUSR_ + Server Name. For example, if a Web server is named WWW1, the default user account is named IUSR_WWW1. If each request looks like it is coming from IUSR, this defeats the purpose of using COM+ security. Because COM+ security is derived from Windows security, there must be a way to map a client’s credentials from a remote method call to a COM+ component. The answer lies in securing the endpoint that may be imple- mented. Once the endpoint is secured with the proper user and group accounts and access permissions, IIS prompts the user for his or her credentials. If the user supplies the proper credentials and has access to perform the requested operations against the endpoint, IIS dispatches one of its worker threads to handle the request. The worker thread impersonates the client by using a special access token called an impersonation token. As a COM+ developer, all you really need to know about an impersonation token is that it authenticates against a component as if the impersonation token were the client’s own access token. IIS provides four methods for authenticating a user: Anonymous access Basic authentication Digest authentication Integrated Windows authentication Anonymous access should be used for pages or endpoints that do not need to be secured. In this scenario, IIS impersonates the IUSR account with one of its worker threads. The next step up from Anonymous access is Basic authentication. You can think of this as the default authentication method for HTTP. The big problem with Basic authentication is that the client’s user ID and password are transmitted across Chapter 5: Security 71 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 71 the network in clear text. Digest authentication and Integrated Windows authenti- cation, on the other hand, do not transmit the user’s credentials in clear text. In both of these modes, the client generates a hash based on its credentials. The hash is sent over the network, and analyzed by the server. This technique is more secure than Basic authentication, but it does introduce client dependencies. This may be something you are trying to avoid if you wish to run your application on the Internet. Digest authentication applies only when a Windows 2000 client (work- station or server) needs to talk to another Windows 2000 server. Digest authentica- tion requires a domain server to issue a certificate used during the transmission of data. Integrated Windows authentication is used when at least one party runs Windows NT. Using the COM+ Security Model You learn at the beginning of this chapter that the .NET Framework security attrib- utes put the power of configuring an application into the hands of the developer. As you will see in this section, the .NET Framework provides a corresponding attribute for each of the declarative security attributes defined in the COM+ catalog. Unless otherwise stated, all of the .NET security attributes described in this section can be found in the System.EnterpriseServices namespace. Authentication & Authorization The first step toward configuring security in COM+ is to set the authentication level. Authentication is either turned on or off at the package level. The degree to which the client is authenticated is also set at the package level. Figure 5-1 shows the security tab for a server application. Figure 5-1: Server application security tab 72 Part II: COM+ Core Services 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 72 The first attribute on this tab is Authorization. When checked, this attribute turns on role-based security for all components in the application. For a server application, this attribute has the additional effect of enabling the authentication level to be enforced. The attribute below Authorization is the security level. As you can see from Figure 5-1, the security level is one of two values: process level or process level and component level. The default value for this attribute is to perform authorization at the component and process levels (second bullet in the group). This value must be used if you wish to perform programmatic security in your components. COM+ does not initialize a security context for components in applications that perform only access checks at the process level (first option in the group). The .NET Framework includes an attribute called ApplicationAccessControl. C# applications use this attribute to set the security level of an application. Because the security level is set on an application, the ApplicationAccessControl attribute must be defined for an assembly. The ApplicationAccessControl attribute has several properties that correspond to the various COM+ attributes on the Security tab. To set the security level of a COM+ application, use the AccessChecksLevel property. The code sample that follows shows how to use this property and how to apply the AccessChecksLevel property to an assembly. using System; using System.EnterpriseServices; [assembly: ApplicationAccessControl( AccessChecksLevel = AccessChecksLevelOption.ApplicationComponent ) ] public class SecuredComponent : ServicedComponent { // some method implementations } Notice that I use the assembly keyword inside the attribute tags. This tells the C# compiler that the attribute is assembly level. Inside the attribute declaration, I have set the AccessChecksLevel property to application and component by using the AccessChecksLevelOption enumeration. Performing access checks at the process level ensures that the caller has permis- sion to execute the application. If this is the case, the caller can instantiate and consume any of the components in the application. If your application is a server application, you are relying on dllhost.exe (the COM+ host exe for server applications) to perform access checks. However, if you are developing library applications, you are relying on some other host to perform those checks. This is not likely to be an acceptable scenario if you are using programmatic, role-based secu- rity. If authentication occurs only at the process level, COM+ does not initialize the security context for components. Without a security context, components are not able to see who is trying to access the component and what roles users may be in. The Authentication attribute defines how stringently COM+ verifies the identity of the caller. The caller can be authenticated based on one of six possible values, as in Table 5-2. Chapter 5: Security 73 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 73 TABLE 5-2 AUTHENTICATION LEVELS Authentication Level Description None The client is never authenticated when it calls into a component. Setting the authentication level to none has the same effect as turning off authorization for the application. Connect Authentication is performed when the caller connects to the application. Call Authentication occurs at every method call. Packet Packets are analyzed to ensure that all have arrived and that they have all come from the client. This is the default authentication level. Packet Integrity Packets are analyzed to verify that none have been modified in transit. Packet Private Packets are encrypted for transport over the network. Authentication levels become more stringent, or more protective, the farther you go down the list. For example, Call ensures a higher authentication standard than Connect; Package Packet ensures a higher standard than Call, and so forth. Keep in mind, however, that the higher the level of authentication you choose for your application, the greater the likelihood that performance will be affected. In the .NET Framework, the authentication level is defined at the assembly level by using the ApplicationAccessControl attribute. The property of this attribute that controls the authentication level is called, logically enough, Authentication. The Authentication property uses the AuthenticationOption enumeration to set the property to one of the corresponding authentication levels. I have added this property to the preceding code example. using System; using System.EnterpriseServices; [assembly: ApplicationAccessControl ( AccessChecksLevel = AccessChecksLevelOption.ApplicationComponent Authentication = AuthenticationOption.Connect ) ] public class SecuredComponent : ServicedComponent { // some method implementations } 74 Part II: COM+ Core Services 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 74 The authentication level is negotiated between the caller and the application. Whoever requests the higher authentication level wins. For example, if the caller requests Packet, and the application requests Packet Integrity, the authentica- tion level is Packet Integrity. This behavior allows each party to specify a minimum level of authentication. It is important to understand that this negotia- tion occurs between two processes. Because library applications do not run in their own process but rather in their caller’s process, setting this attribute is not an option for library packages. The discussion about Windows security in this chapter leads us into imperson- ation. Remember that impersonation is the level at which a client allows another process or thread to use its identity. In COM+, impersonation applies when a compo- nent in a server application acts as a client itself. At the bottom of the security tab in Figure 5-1, you can see the impersonation list box. Each of the four impersonation levels is available to a COM+ application. Anonymous Identify Impersonate (default) Delegate If you are developing server applications that use components in other applica- tions implementing role-based security, you must choose an impersonation level other than Anonymous. This setting effectively hides the caller’s identity from the application you are trying to use. Once again, use the ApplicationAccessControl attribute in .NET to determine this level at the time of deployment. The ImpersonationLevel property allows you to specify the impersonation level by assigning one of the values from the ImpersonationLevelOption enumeration. If you add an impersonation level of Delegate to the preceding code, you get the following code snippet. using System; using System.EnterpriseServices; [assembly: ApplicationAccessControl ( AccessChecksLevel=AccessChecksLevelOption.ApplicationComponent, Authentication=AuthenticationOption.Connect, ImpersonationLevel=ImpersonationLevelOption.Delegate ) ] public class SecuredComponent : ServicedComponent { // some method implementations } Chapter 5: Security 75 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 75 Role-based Security Roles are used to group together users and groups that need to perform similar functions within an application. Roles are defined at the application level. Role- based security can be performed on the component, interface, and even the method level. Both server and library applications can implement roles and apply them to their components. Figure 5-2 shows the expanded list of roles for one of the applications on my computer. Notice that I can specify multiple roles within one application. In addi- tion, within each role, I can add multiple users and groups. For instance, in the Authors role, I have added the user Nick and the group HMI Authors. Figure 5-2: Application roles Once you have defined the roles for your application, you can apply them to components, interfaces, and methods. Security in COM+ is inherited downwards. If you define a role for a particular component, that component’s interfaces inherit the role. Figure 5-3 shows the security tab for a component called CAuthors. As you can see, both the Authors and Editors roles are listed. However, access to this component I limited to those users in the Authors role. Because Nick is a member of the authors group, he is able to access the CAuthors component. When a caller accesses a component, COM+ builds an SD from the users and groups in the Authors role. In the example, the security descrip- tor contains Nick’s SID, as well as the SID of the HMI Authors group. If Nick’s SID is in the SD, he is given access; if not, he gets an “Access Denied” error. 76 Part II: COM+ Core Services 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 76 Figure 5-3: Security tab for CAuthors component Security roles can be defined by your C# classes and assemblies through the SecurityRole attribute. This attribute can be defined on the assembly level just as the ApplicationAccessControl attribute. This attribute can also be applied to a class. When it is applied to a C# class, it has the effect of applying that role to the class. When you use the SecurityRole attribute, you have your choice of two con- structors. The first constructor takes one parameter: the name of the role you wish to create or apply to the class. The default behavior of this constructor places the special Everyone group into this role. The second constructor, which I have chosen to implement, takes the role name (string data type) as the first parameter and boolean parameter to specify whether or not the Everyone group is added to this role. Aside from adding the Everyone group to a role, you must rely on an admin- istrator to add users and groups to your roles by using the Component Services Explorer. The SecurityRole attribute does not enable authorization for the component. For that, you need to use the ComponentAccessControl attribute. This attribute is applied only at the class level. The default constructor (parameterless) enables authorization for the component. Also, there is a constructor for this attribute that takes a boolean parameter. With this parameter, you can either enable authorization (by passing in true) or disable authorization (by passing in false). I have added the SecurityRole attribute and the ComponentAccessControl attribute to our SecuredComponent class. I have added a new role called customers, and I have given the Everyone group access to this component. using System; using System.EnterpriseServices; [assembly: ApplicationAccessControl ( Chapter 5: Security 77 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 77 AccessChecksLevel=AccessChecksLevelOption.ApplicationComponent, Authentication=AuthenticationOption.Connect, ImpersonationLevel=ImpersonationLevelOption.Delegate ) ] [SecurityRole(“customers”, true)] [ComponentAccessControl] public class SecuredComponent : ServicedComponent { // some method implementations } The ComponentAccessControl attribute may look a little peculiar. Notice that I have not included the parenthesis for this attribute. The C# compiler interprets this to mean that I wish to use the default parameterless constructor for this attribute. When this class is compiled and registered with COM+ using the RegSvcs tool, the customers role is created, and the Everyone group is added to this role. Effectively, this means that anyone who can be authenticated is allowed to use this component. Figure 5-4 shows what the security tab for the SecuredComponent class looks like once it has been installed into COM+. Figure 5-4: Security tab for SecuredComponent class Understanding Security Scope You must consider several issues when deploying your components into COM+ applications. You have already encountered several issues. For instance, if your application needs to enforce an authentication level or an impersonation level, you 78 Part II: COM+ Core Services 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 78 are best off deploying your components in a server package. Another issue deals with the chain of calls that can arise when the base client (the user’s process) calls into a component and that component calls another component and so on. COM+ enforces role checking based on the SID of the direct caller. Let’s walk through anexample to see how this may affect deployment decisions. Let’s say our user, Nick, opens his browser and navigates to the URL of one of our secured ASP .NET pages. Because the page is secured, he is prompted for his user ID and password. When Nick successfully authenticates to the page, IIS assigns one of its worker threads to process the page Nick has requested. This thread operates under a copy of Nick’s access token. When the worker thread hits a section of code in the ASP page that creates a new managed COM+ object running in a server package, an instance of dllhost is started (assuming there is not already a running instance). Likely, the instance of dllhost is running under a generic user ID, as we now know the Interactive user is not a good choice for server-based deployment. When Nick’s worker thread tries to access the component, the SIDs in Nick’s access token are compared to the SIDs in the component’s SD. If two matching SIDs are found, Nick is granted access. So far, everything seems ok, right? Well, what happens if the component the Active Server Page is using accesses another component in another COM+ package? The answer is that the SID from the access token for the dllhost process is used for role authentication on the second component. In this scenario, Nick’s access token is not used for authenticating to the second component. Figure 5-5 illustrates this process in detail. Figure 5-5: Call chain security The point of all this is that the direct caller may or may not be the actual user. The list of all user accounts calling components in an application is the call chain. It is important to understand how the call chain affects security because it may Nick's browser 1. URL request 2. Basic authentication challenge 3. Response with user id and password 4. IIS assigns a worker thread to process Nick's page request 5. ASP calls new Component A 7. Component A calls new Component B 8. COM+ enforces roles based on COMUser's access token, not Nick's access token 6. Nick's access token is compared with the security descriptor for the component IIS on Windows 2000 Active Server Page running under Nick's access token Server Package A Component A DIIhost running under generic user account: COMUser Server Package B Component B DIIhost running under generic user account: COMUser Chapter 5: Security 79 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 79 cause you to inadvertently to give or deny a user access to one of your compo- nents. If you get into this scenario in your applications and you wish to enforce security on a user somewhere up in the call chain, you must do it programmatically. Fortunately, .NET provides a collection class that gives you access to each of the users in the call chain. The SecurityCallers class represents each of the users in a call chain. Each item in the SecurityCallers collection represents a SecurityIdentity class. This class contains information such as the user’s account name and impersonation level. To gain access to the SecurityCallers collection, you must call the CurrentCall property of the SecurityCallContext class. The CurentCall property of the SecurityCallContext class is a static property that returns the security-context information for a component. Using this property, you can gain access to the Callers property of SecurityCallContext. The Callers property returns an instance of the SecurityCallers collection. In the code that follows, I have extended the SecuredComponent class from our previous examples to give you a flavor of how these classes are used together. [SecurityRole(“customers”, true)] [ComponentAccessControl] public class SecuredComponent : ServicedComponent { public void ShowCallChain(){ SecurityCallContext sc=SecurityCallContext.CurrentCall; SecurityCallers scs=sc.Callers Foreach (SecurityIdentity si in scs) { Console.WriteLine(si.AccountName); } } } There is one last point I wish to make about the scope of security in COM+. Security is performed on the application boundary. In the preceding scenario, Nick has been denied access to component B because the call chain crossed application boundaries, which forced the direct caller’s (COMUser) role membership to be verified. If component B were in the same COM+ application as component A, Nick would be granted access even though he technically is not in any of the roles assigned to component B. If you encounter this scenario, it may be useful to determine programmatically if the caller is in the role you wish. The SecurityCallContext class implements a method called IsUserInRole. This method takes the name of the role and the user’s account name as input parameters and returns true if the user is in the role or false if the user is not in the role. To get the user’s account name, use the SecurityIdentity class’s AccountName property. [SecurityRole(“customers”, true)] [ComponentAccessControl] public class SecuredComponent : ServicedComponent { public void ShowCallChain(){ SecurityCallContext sc = SecurityCallContext.CurrentCall; 80 Part II: COM+ Core Services 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 80 SecurityCallers scs = sc.Callers; Bool CustomerInCallChain = false; Foreach (SecurityIdentity si in scs) { If (sc.IsUserInRole(si.AccountName, “customers”)) { CustomerInCallChain = true; break; } } if (!CustomerInCallChain) { throw new UnauthorizedAccessException(“no customers found in call chain”); } } } In the preceding example, if you do not find a customer anywhere in the call chain, throw an UnauthorizedAccessException. This is an exception class found in the System namespace. The .NET runtime raises this exception anytime a caller does not have access to a component, interface, or method. Summary Whew! We have certainly covered a lot of ground in this chapter. Security is proba- bly one of the most difficult topics to understand in all of computer science. Understanding how role-based security works in COM+ becomes much easier if you are at least familiar with how Windows security architecture implements those ser- vices. In light of the current trend in remoting, namely the use of HTTP for method calls (Web services), I think it is particularly relevant to discuss how IIS authenticates users and how a user’s access token is used at different points in the call chain. Above all, I hope you have been able to see how the attributes and classes in the .NET Framework help to simplify development and deployment of your components. In Chapter 6, you encounter the COM+ event model. Also, you encounter to the .NET event model and compare the two. Chapter 5: Security 81 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 81 084835-2 Ch05.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 82 Chapter 6 Events IN THIS CHAPTER Understanding the need for LCEs Understanding the LCE Architecture Writing LCE Components in C# EVENT-BASED PROGRAMMING has been the primary development model for graphical user interface applications for many years. In many Windows user interface appli- cations, a button click or a mouse movement triggers an event. When the event is raised, another part of the application can respond and react accordingly. This development model works well when the source of the event, the event itself, and the piece of code responding to the event are all contained in the same application. This type of event model is a Tightly Coupled Event (TCE). As you’ll see in this chapter, this development model does not work so well for distributed applications. Because of the limitations of TCEs for distributed or server-based applications, COM+ supports an event system known as a Loosely Coupled Event (LCE). In this chapter, you delve into the reasons distributed applications need LCEs. You accom- plish this by examining the .NET event model and comparing it to LCEs. Also, you examine the LCE architecture including the limitations and requirements for LCE components. No discussion of a COM+ feature is complete without including the appropriate attributes from the catalog and the framework. Understanding the Need for LCEs TCEs include the .NET event model and the COM Connection Point event model. TCEs are primarily used in user interface-based applications where one application contains the entire life of the event. In a TCE, the source of the event (the publisher) and the method or component that handles the event (the event subscriber) are closely tied together. This model has worked well for user-interface applications, but it falls short when you want to implement it in a distributed environment. TCEs suffer from the following general problems when they are used for distributed applications: Subscribers must be running when the publisher initiates an event. There is no way to filter or intercept events before they reach the subscriber. 83 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 83 Subscribers must have explicit knowledge of the publisher. The publisher has to have a list of all subscribers. To understand each of these points, run through an example of a .NET TCE. .NET Event Architecture The .NET Framework event model shares some similarities with the COM+ event model. The .NET event model has a class that sends events and a class that receives events. The class that sends events can roughly be equated to the publisher in a COM+ event. You can think of the class that receives events as a COM+ event subscriber. The event class must have some mechanism for sending the event notification and associated information to the event receiver class or classes. This is accom- plished through a special type of class called a delegate. Delegates are managed pointers to methods. If you are familiar with function pointers in C or C++, you can think of .NET delegates as their close relatives. As you see in the example that follows, delegates are declared with the C# key- word delegate, followed by the return type, delegate name, and parameters. Delegates are defined outside of the definitions of the event source and receiver classes. They are used to tie, or wire, the event source to the event receiver. The event source defines a member variable of the delegate type. Event receivers that wish to subscribe to the event must implement a method that has the same signa- ture as the corresponding method from the delegate. At runtime, the method the event receiver provides is wiredto the delegate the event source defines. This becomes clearer in a moment. Method signature refers to the return type and the number and data types of a method’s parameters. In the case of .NET events, the method the receiver class implements can be given any legal method name. It is only important for the method’s signature to match with the delegate’s method signature. The typical signature for a delegate is a void return value and two parameters: object type and an event-arguments type. If you develop WinForms or ASP .NET pages, you see that the signature for various event methods such as a button click or mouse movement is a void return value with object type and event arguments type as parameters. The reason for making this a void function is that many receivers might be receiving events from the event source. A return value is pretty useless in this scenario, as the return value represents only the last receiver to be notified. All other return values from other receivers are lost. The first parameter, and object type, represents the instance of the class that has raised the event. Because the type cannot be known necessarily ahead of time, this parameter type is 84 Part II: COM+ Core Services 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 84 System.Object. Usually, the second parameter is a class that contains the event arguments for the event. For example, in a mouse-move event, the event arguments class might contain the x and y axis positions of the mouse. Listing 6-1 shows an example of an event source class named EventSource and an event receiver class named EventReceiver. The event class uses the delegate MyEventHandler to define a delegate event member type called EH. The event key- word is a C# construct used to declare a member of a delegate type. This delegate instance is wired to the corresponding event method of the EventReceiver class named EventMethod. Notice that the signature of the EventMethod class matches that of the delegate class, but the signature is not defined as a delegate type. Listing 6-1: Event source and receiver classes namespace MyNetEvents { using System; public delegate void MyEventHandler(string msg); public class EventSource { public event MyEventHandler EH; private void OnEvent(string msg) { EH(msg); } public void FireEvent() { OnEvent(“hello”); } } public class EventReceiver { public void EventMethod(string msg) { Console.WriteLine(“EventReceiver: “ + msg); } } public class CMain { public static void Main() { // instantiate the event destination class EventReceiver er = new EventReceiver(); Chapter 6: Events 85 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 85 // instantiate a new event source EventSource es = new EventSource(); // wire the event es.EH += new MyEventHandler(er.EventMethod); // fire the event es.FireEvent(); } } } After instantiating instances of the two classes, you are able to wire the er.EventMethod method to the EH delegate by instantiating a new instance of the MyEventHandler class. The .NET runtime provides a single parameter constructor for delegates. As you can see, the constructor takes a reference to a method that has the same signature as the delegate. The new instance of the delegate is wired to the EH instance by using the += operator. Finally, call the FireEvent method on the instance of the event source class. The FireEvent method is pretty straightforward. It does calls the private OnEvent method of the event source. Normally, the OnEvent method is called only if some condition becomes true or if some event happens in the FireEvent method. The OnEvent method is private; normally, you want the event to fire only if some condition becomes true in the event source class. You do not want clients of the event source class firing events. The OnEvent method fires the event by calling the EH delegate. The .NET runtime is responsible for retrieving the list of classes that have wired themselves to the event and for calling their event methods. In your case, the method the runtime calls is er.EventMethod. Comparing TCE Events to COM+ LCE Now that you have an idea of how tightly coupled events work in the .NET Framework, address the points you encounter at the beginning of this section. The first point is that subscribers must be running in a TCE model before the publisher, or event source, initiates the event. In the preceding code example, before you can wire the event receiver’s event method to the delegate and receive events, you must instantiate an instance of the receiver class. In the COM+ event model, classes that receive events (called subscribers) do not need to be activated before the event occurs. The second point is that there is no way to filter events before they are sent to the receiver(s). The .NET runtime manages the list of receivers and calls their event methods. Unfortunately, it does not provide any mechanism to prevent calls from being made to receivers. Later in this chapter, you encounter methods COM+ pro- vides to filter event notifications. 86 Part II: COM+ Core Services 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 86 Essentially, the last two points state that the subscriber and publisher must have explicit knowledge of each other. In the preceding example, the subscriber class is the EventReceiver class, and the publisher is the Main method of the CMain class. The Main method instantiates the event receiver class itself and knows which method must be used to wire the event. This requires explicit knowledge of the receiver’s method(s) and the number and types of receivers. The COM+ event model stores this information in the COM+ catalog, which the COM+ runtime accesses itself when an event is fired. Because of this service, the publisher does not need to know who its subscribers are or which of the methods must be called for an event. The LCE Architecture The COM+ event system is loosely coupled for a number of reasons. First off, the publishers and subscribers do not need to know of each other. Generally, the pub- lisher does not need to know who the subscribers are or how many of them exist. Subscribers can come and go at anytime without breaking the publisher’s applica- tion. Secondly, the subscribers do not need to be active at the time the publisher initiates the event. As you see in a moment, COM+ activates the subscribers on behalf of the publisher when the publisher initiates an event. These features are quite different from the tightly coupled event architecture described in the first sec- tion of this chapter. The COM+ Event system is a Windows 2000 service that propagates events to subscribing components. An application that uses LCEs consists of four entities: publisher event class subscriber(s) event(s) Publishers start the process by activating the event class and calling its methods. Each method the publisher calls represents a single event. When the event class is activated, COM+ queries its catalog for a list of interested subscribers. Once this list is determined, COM+ redirects method calls made on the event class to the sub- scriber classes. Figure 6-1 illustrates this process. Chapter 6: Events 87 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 87 Figure 6-1: Publisher to subscriber call chain As a rule of thumb, publishers cannot determine the order in which subscribers are notified about an event. The COM+ event system makes this determination. Later in this chapter, you see a couple of techniques for influencing the order in which subscribers are notified. Subscribers need to implement the method(s) the publisher calls on the event class in order for all of this to work. The event class does not need to implement the methods to which subscribers choose to subscribe. In fact, even if the methods are implemented, they are not called when the publisher initiates the event. Although the publisher thinks it has a simple reference to an event class, it is talking to the COM+ event system, which, in turn, is making calls to subscribers. For a subscriber to subscribe to an event class’s events (methods), it must imple- ment the interface(s) the event class supports. The subscriber does not need to implement all the interfaces of the event class, only interfaces that contain methods from which the subscriber wishes to receive events. Interface identifiers of the sub- scriber and event class (GUIDs) must also be the identical to each other. Event classes must meet certain criteria to work properly in the LCE system. One of the criteria is that the class cannot contain implementations of any of its meth- ods. An event class’s methods must not contain any output parameters if the event class is to have more than one subscriber. In other words, the event class cannot contain methods that return a value to the publisher as a parameter. If you think about it, this rule makes sense for two reasons. First, if there are multiple sub- scribers, each of whom changes the value of the output parameter before it reaches the publisher, how does the publisher know if the returned value is correct? The publisher cannot know this. Second, if the publisher does not need to know about its subscribers, it does not necessarily care about actions or return values sub- scribers take. An event class must return only success or failure COM HRESULTs. This is not something you need to be terribly concerned about if your application runs entirely Publisher 1. Publisher creates a new instance of event class 2. COM+ queries catalog for the list of subscribers to this event class 3. COM+ instantiates new instances of all subscribers and calls the corresponding method COM+ Runtime Event Class Subscriber Class Subscriber Class Subscriber Class COM+ Catalog 88 Part II: COM+ Core Services 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 88 in managed code. However, you want to know this if you are writing managed event classes unmanaged subscribers use. Understanding Subscriptions COM+ supports two types of subscriptions: persistent and transient. Persistent sub- scriptions remain in the COM+ catalog until they are physically taken out. These types of subscriptions must be added via the Component Services Explorer snap-in for both managed and unmanaged code. The .NET Framework does not provide attributes for adding subscriptions to the COM+ catalog. The COM+ Administration API is COM based and supports programmatic administration of the COM+ catalog. All of the functionality (and much more) of the Component Services snap-in can be reproduced through the Admin API. Transient subscriptions, on the other hand, exist only within the lifetime of the subscriber component. Transient subscriptions cannot survive a restart of the COM+ event system or a reboot of the machine they are running on. They must be added at runtime by using the COM+ Admin API. Unlike persistent subscriptions, which instantiate a new instance of the subscriber, transient subscriptions are added by making a reference to an already instantiated component in the COM+ catalog. Be aware of one other type of subscription. Per User subscriptions allow you to create a subscription when a user logs on to the system. When the user logs off, these subscriptions are disabled. These types of subscriptions work only when the publisher and the subscriber are on the same computer. COM+ Attributes The COM+ attributes for a LCE component application really center on the event class. Subscribers and publishers (if the publisher is a COM+ component) do not need event-specific attributes set in order for the event system to work. You exam- ine the event attributes and their values in this section; in the last part of the chap- ter, you see how these attributes are implemented in the .NET Framework. The COM+ event attributes are as follows: Fire in Parallel Allow in-process subscribers Publisher ID Chapter 6: Events 89 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 89 FIRE IN PARALLEL The Fire in Parallel attribute affects the way in which the event system notifies sub- scribers. Figure 6-2 shows this attribute as checked in the Advanced tab in Component Services Explorer. With this attributed checked, COM+ notifies sub- scribers at the same time. Normally, the event system notifies subscribers in a serial fashion. By default, this attribute is not checked. Figure 6-2: Fire in Parallel attribute in Component Services Explorer This attribute can have a positive effect on the performance of your application because COM+ initiates multiple threads to notify subscribers. If this attribute is not checked, the event system notifies subscribers one by one, and it waits for each subscriber to return before calling the next. ALLOW IN-PROCESS SUBSCRIBERS By default, the Allow in-process attribute is selected. When this attribute is turned off, COM+ does not allow subscribers to run in the same address space of the pub- lisher. Even if the subscriber is configured as a library package, COM+ creates a new process for the subscriber. The reason for this default behavior stems from security concerns. Because the publisher does not necessarily know about sub- scribers, it cannot trust subscribers to behave properly inside its process. If, how- ever, you are writing a publisher application and you feel you can trust the subscribers of your event class, you can enable the Allow in-process subscribers attribute. By checking this option, you are trading stability for performance. This attribute setting can be found on the Advanced tab of the event class’s properties. Refer to Figure 6-2 to see this attribute in Component Services Explorer. 90 Part II: COM+ Core Services 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 90 PUBLISHER ID The Publisher ID attribute (also visible from Figure 6-2) provides another way for a subscriber to subscribe to an event class. You have explored one way for a sub- scriber to subscribe to an event: the CLSID of the event class. Publisher ID allows you to use a more user-friendly method for creating a subscription. Understand that this attribute applies to the event class, not the publisher. The name can be a little misleading, so do not get confused. Controlling Subscriber Notification Order COM+ provides two methods that allow you to influence the order in which sub- scribers are notified of events: publisher filtering and parameter filtering. Publisher filtering is a bit more complicated to implement than parameter filtering, but it allows for a finer degree of control. PUBLISHER FILTERING Publisher filtering is a technique that allows publishers to specify a filter compo- nent that should be used when events are triggered. The filter component is respon- sible for making decisions about which subscribers should be notified about an event and in what order they should be notified. The publisher uses the COM+ Admin API to set the PublisherFilterCLSID property for an event class. This is a read/write property that accepts the CLSID of the filter component. The filter is simply another COM+ component that imple- ments either the IMultiPublisherFilter interface or the IPublisherFilter interface. When the event class is instantiated, the event system looks at the PublisherFilterCLSID property and instantiates the corresponding filter compo- nent. When the publisher fires the event on the event class, the event system passes control to the filter object. The filter object’s responsibility is to forward events to subscribers. The filter component accomplishes this by retrieving a collection of subscribers and firing the event on each subscriber. The filter component, of course, can elect not to fire an event for a particular subscriber. When the filter component fires an event, the event system takes over and initiates the event on subscribers. PARAMETER FILTERING Parameter filtering can be used in conjunction with publisher filtering, or it can be used by itself. The subscriber component, as opposed to the publisher, implements this technique. Through an option in the subscription properties, the subscriber can define criteria that can influence whether the event system fires a method. Figure 6-3 shows the properties dialog box for a subscription for a subscriber component. The Filter Criteria dialog box on the Options tab defines the parameter filter for the subscription. This particular parameter filter defines a rule that enables the subscription if the parameter named Symbol equals “MSFT” and the parameter Price does not equal 60. If the condition defined in the filter criteria evaluates as true, the event is processed for that subscriber. In addition, if you define a filter Chapter 6: Events 91 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 91 criteria and your subscription is for all methods of that interface, the criteria are applied to all methods. For example, if you define a parameter called Symbol and that parameter is not found in one of the interface’s methods, your event fails. You see how this works in the last section of this chapter. Figure 6-3: Filter Criteria dialog box for a subscription The operators for the criteria string are rather simplistic. The operators include equality symbols and logical operators such as AND, OR, and NOT. If you need a more sophisticated strategy, you should consider using publisher filtering. Parameter filtering does not have a direct effect on the order in which sub- scribers are notified. Parameter filtering can be used to determine if an event fires for a particular subscription based on the values of parameters at runtime. This technique can have the side effect of determining which publishers get notified and possibly in which order. Writing LCE Components in C# In the last part of this chapter, you see how to write different event and subscriber classes. The first set of classes is an introduction to writing components that use LCE. This example consists of a subscriber component that uses a static subscrip- tion to the event class. The second and third examples use some of the other fea- tures of COM+, namely object pooling and transactions. For each of the examples, a C# console application is the publisher. 92 Part II: COM+ Core Services 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 92 Your First LCE Component Listing 6-2 shows a single namespace that contains both the subscriber class and the event class. As you can see, the subscriber class is MySubscriberClass; the event class is MyEventClass. Each of these classes implements an interface called IMyEvents. The IMyEvents interface contains one method — PrintName — that prints out the name of the class on which the event is called. In this case, the out- put of this method, or event, is the name of the subscriber class. Listing 6-2: A simple LCE component using System.Reflection; [assembly: AssemblyKeyFile(“mykey.snk”)] namespace MyEvents { using System; using System.EnterpriseServices; [EventClass] public class MyEventClass : ServicedComponent, IMyEvents { public void PrintName() {} } public class MySubscriberClass : ServicedComponent, IMyEvents { public void PrintName() { Console.WriteLine(“MyEvents.MySubscriberClass”); } } public interface IMyEvents { void PrintName(); } } The first two lines should look familiar. They define the AssemblyKeyFile attribute so that you can install this assembly into the Global Assembly Cache (GAC). Although installing these types of assemblies into the GAC is not strictly necessary, it often helps you deploy your applications. Installing assemblies into the GAC makes considerably more sense for LCE components than for other Chapter 6: Events 93 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 93 components, particularly for those assemblies that contain subscriber components. Because the publisher does not necessarily know about the event’s subscribers, it does not make sense to assume that you are able to deploy the subscriber assembly into the same directory as the publisher or event class. Below the declaration of the namespace MyEvents, you can see the definition of the event class. The event class, MyEventClass, is decorated with the System.EnterpriseServices attribute EventClass. The EventClass attribute tells the installation utility that MyEventClass should be installed as an event class, not just as a regular component. The next class I have defined is the subscriber class called MySubscriberClass. This class is simply a normal ServicedComponent type that implements the shared interface, IMyEvents. When this class is compiled and registered, you are able to create a subscription for the event class. Subscriptions for the event class must be created manually; there is no attribute support for adding a subscription to an event. Finally, I have defined an interface called IMyEvents. Both the subscriber and event classes implement the interface. This interface is really the glue that binds the event class and the subscriber. Compile and register this assembly just as you do any other assembly containing ServicedComponents. The Regsvcs.exe tool is smart enough to know, based on the EventClass attribute, that the event class must be installed as an event class, not as a regular COM+ component. Figure 6-4 shows what these classes look like in the Component Services Explorer once they are registered. Notice that the IMyEvents interface is listed under the “Interfaces” folder for each component. Figure 6-4: Interface listing for subscriber and event class 94 Part II: COM+ Core Services 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 94 Figure 6-5 shows the Advanced tab for the event class. I have included this illus- tration to show you that the event class has indeed been installed as an event class. Notice that the Allow in-process subscribers attribute has been set by default. Figure 6-5: MyEventClass LCE properties Creating Subscriptions by Using Component Services Explorer Now that you have an event class and subscriber component, the next step is to create the subscription. In Figure 6-4, both classes have a folder called Subscriptions. To create a subscription, right-click the Subscriptions folder for the subscriber component, and click New Subscription. This starts the COM+ New Subscription Wizard, as seen in Figure 6-6. This figure shows all of the interfaces the subscription class supports. The only interface you are interested in here is IMyEvents. The next step toward creating a subscription is to select the event class. After selecting the interface to be used to subscribe to the event, choose the event class to which you want to subscribe. Figure 6-7 shows the MyEventClass event class listed as the only available event class that supports the IMyEvents interface. Notice that the details box is checked. When you check this box, you are able to see the CLSID and the description for the event class. The last step in adding a subscription is to give the subscription a name and, optionally, enable it. In figure 6-8, I have checked the “Enable this subscription immediately” check box. Unless this box is checked, events are not sent to this sub- scriber component. The name for the subscription is simply a user-friendly name you give it. Chapter 6: Events 95 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 95 Figure 6-6: COM+ New Subscription Wizard Figure 6-7: Selecting the event class Figure 6-8: Enabling the subscription 96 Part II: COM+ Core Services 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 96 Once the subscription is created, you are able to see it listed in the Subscriptions folder. Figure 6-9 shows the new subscription called MySubscription listed in the Subscriptions folder for the subscriber class. Figure 6-9: Subscriptions listing for subscriber component .NET Framework EventClass Attribute Let’s take a closer look at the EventClass attribute. As you learned previously, this attribute comes from the System.EnterpriseServices namespace. Table 6-1 lists the properties this attribute supports. TABLE 6-1 EVENTCLASS ATTRIBUTE PROPERTIES Property Data Type Description AllowInProcSubscribers Bool This property allows or disallows subscribers to run in process with the publisher. FireInParallel Bool Set to true, this property allows the event system to notify subscribers of events in an asynchronous fashion. PublisherFilter string This string consists of the publisher filter class’s globally unique identifier (GUID). Chapter 6: Events 97 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 97 If you take the preceding event class and define these properties, you get some- thing similar to the following code. For the sake of clarity, I have included only the code for the event class. [ EventClass ( AllowInProcSubscribers=true FireInParallel=true ) ] public class MyEventClass : ServicedComponent, IMyEvents { public void PrintName() {} } Once this class is compiled and registered, you can see that the attributes get applied by looking at the Advanced tab for the event class. Figure 6-10 shows the Fire in parallel and Allow in-process subscribers check boxes checked. Figure 6-10: EventClass attribute enables LCE properties Using Transactions with Events In the final section of this chapter, you learn to write a publisher, event class, and subscriber that use transactions. The purpose of this section is to demonstrate how other services of COM+ are used with events. 98 Part II: COM+ Core Services 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 98 To demonstrate how transactions can be used with events, I will modify the pre- ceding code example to include a transactional ServicedComponent class called MyTransactionRoot. This class is in charge of starting the transaction (through the TransactionOption.Required property) and initiating the event by calling the PrintTransactionId method on the event class. This method prints out the trans- action ID for the current transaction. Before the transaction root component starts the event, it prints out its own transaction ID. The definitions of all the classes and the shared interface are shown in Listing 6-3. Listing 6-3: Using transactions with events [EventClass] public class MyEventClass : ServicedComponent, IMyTransactionEvents { public void PrintTransactionId() {} } [Transaction(TransactionOption.Supported)] public class MySubscriberClass : ServicedComponent, IMyTransactionEvents { public void PrintTransactionId() { Console.WriteLine(ContextUtil.TransactionId.ToString()); } } [Transaction(TransactionOption.Required)] public class MyTransactionRoot : ServicedComponent { public void StartTransaction() { Console.WriteLine(ContextUtil.TransactionId.ToString()); MyEventClass ec = new MyEventClass(); ec.PrintTransactionId(); } } public interface IMyTransactionEvents { void PrintTransactionId(); } Chapter 6: Events 99 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 99 In this example, the transaction root component – MyTransactionRoot – acts as the publisher. Because this component is activated always in a transaction, the transaction is propagated to the subscriber components. In fact, if you write a console application that instantiates an instance of the transaction root component and you call the StartTransaction method, you see output similar to the following. 654675f8-8b76-45f8-9d70-d17bc59046ad 654675f8-8b76-45f8-9d70-d17bc59046ad As you can see, the root component and the subscriber component both display the same transaction ID, meaning they are both running in the same transaction. Perhaps the subtlest issue here is the lack of declarative transaction support for the event class. Notice that this class is not declared as transactional. Because the event system — not the event class — forwards events to subscribers, the event sys- tem can propagate the transaction from the root to the subscribers. Of course, all of the other rules such as Just In Time Activation and the behavior of the transaction attribute apply to the publisher and subscriber. Summary In this chapter, you get an introduction to both the .NET event model and the COM+ event model. Trying to understand how events work can be rather tricky, so don’t get discouraged! These two types of events are not competing models but complement each other. In fact, the .NET event model is used heavily throughout .NET user interface appli- cations such as WinForms and ASP .NET pages. There is a time and place for every- thing. This is certainly true in regards to events. Tightly coupled events work well in an application such as a .NET Windows Forms application or an ASP .NET appli- cation. Distributed applications, however, benefit more from the loosely coupled event architecture provided by COM+. In this chapter I compared the COM+ LCE architecture and the TCE architecture used in .NET Windows Forms. I also demon- strated how the attributes and classes of the System.EnterpriseServices name- space provide you with a means to write your own LCE event classes and subscribers. By now, you should know how to implement your own event classes and subscribers and where and when to use them. 100 Part II: COM+ Core Services 094835-2 Ch06.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 100 Chapter 7 Object Pooling IN THIS CHAPTER Understanding object pooling Requirements for object pooling Object pooling in C# WHEN I FIRST HEARD that the .NET Framework was going to support COM+ object pooling, I was excited to say the least. Previously, object pooling was the domain of the C++ programmer. No longer! With the introduction of .NET and the ServicedComponent, object pooling is now in the arsenal of Visual Basic develop- ers and, of course, C# developers. In this chapter, you learn what object pooling is all about and what requirements a poolable object must meet. As you will see, object pooling should not be imple- mented for every object. In some cases, however, object pooling can significantly improve scalability. Understanding Object Pooling Simply stated, an object pool is a collection of preinstantiated objects that share the same CLSID. By preinstantiated, I mean that the objects’ constructors have already been called and are ready for a client to use them. An object pool is homogeneous because each object is a new instance of the same object; thus, each object in the pool has the same CLSID. Figure 7-1 shows the CLSID for a managed component from Component Services Explorer. Incidentally, the Regsvcs registration tool generates CLSIDs automatically for you. Regsvcs generates a CLSID based on a hash of the class’s method signatures, the assembly’s version, and (if available) the assembly’s strong name. It is possible to create and install two unique classes by changing the version of the assembly, as seen in Figure 7-2. 101 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 101 Figure 7-1: CLSID for a ServicedComponent Figure 7-2: Two CLSIDs for a ServicedComponent class Although these two classes differ only by their revision numbers ( and, each gets its own CLSID. Assuming these are pooled components, COM+ maintains two unique pools. It is possible to override automatic CLSID generation. The System.Runtime. InteropServices namespace provides an attribute called GuidAttribute that can be used to decorate a class, assembly, interface, enumeration, structure, or delegate. The code example that follows demonstrates the use of this attribute. using System; using System.EnterpriseServices; 102 Part II: COM+ Core Services 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 102 using System.Runtime.InteropServices [GuidAttribute(“24B7B5C4-CBEA-4668-AF67-1E3D44F87A68”)] public class CPooledObject : ServicedComponent {} This GuidAttribute attribute has one constructor that takes the GUID in the form of a string. Visual Studio comes with a utility called GuidGen.exe that you can use to create your unique GUID. Most of the attributes in the .NET Framework allow you to omit the “Attribute” at the end of the name of each attribute. Generally, this is not a good idea for the GuidAttribute attribute. The System namespace contains a Guid structure. If you are using the System namespace, and you are if you are implementing ServicedComponents, you run into a naming conflict. When to Use Object Pooling So when do you use object pooling? If it improves scalability, shouldn’t you use it for every ServicedComponent? Well, not exactly. Here are a few guidelines that should help you decide when to use object pooling: Use object pooling when your object needs to acquire expensive resources such as database connections. Use object pooling when your method calls do a small amount of work, then exit and deactivate the object (that is, set the done bit = true). Use object pooling when you need to limit the number of concurrent con- nections to resources. Do not use object pooling when your methods take more time to complete than constructing your objects takes. Do not use object pooling for objects that hold client state (after a method call). Object pooling is intended to spread the cost of an object’s initialization across multiple clients. The first client that creates a new object takes a performance hit, but as soon as that client releases the object, the object returns to the pool. Without having to wait for the object to be constructed, the next client that needs an instance of the object gets the instance the first client creates. This is the basis of the first rule in the preceding list. Figure 7-3 demonstrates the concept behind this rule. The second and third rules of the preceding list go hand in hand. If your compo- nent implements only methods that perform a granular amount of work relative to the amount of work performed in constructing the object, your object is a good candidate for pooling. To say it another way, if most of the work a component per- forms is generic to any client, it may make sense to do the client-independent work in the object’s constructor. This allows the component’s methods to do a relatively small amount of work. Also, this gives you the opportunity to spread the client- independent work performed in the constructor across multiple clients. Chapter 7: Object Pooling 103 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 103 Figure 7-3: Sharing the cost of a database connection In some scenarios, it may make sense to use object pooling to limit the number of clients that can concurrently access a given resource (a database, for instance). For example, if you have only a 100 concurrent connection license, you can con- figure your object pool to allow only 100 objects to enter it. The trick here, of course, is to ensure that your clients can get access to the database through the components in your pool only. When you get into the requirements section later in this chapter, you see why the fifth rule of the preceding list is so important. Poolable components that hold state can be dangerous for a number of reasons. Object Pooling Attributes An object pool has three attributes defined by using either the Component Services Explorer or by using the ObjectPooling attribute in the System. EnterpriseServices namespace. The attributes are as follows: MinPoolSize MaxPoolSize CreationTimeout When a COM+ application — be it a library or server application — starts up, COM+ instantiates as many components as the minimum pool size requires. As client requests come in, these initial few objects are served to clients. For example, if the minimum pool size is 2, the first two requests are served from objects in the pool. As additional requests for objects come in, COM+ creates new instances up to the maximum pool size. Once the maximum number of objects has been created, client requests are queued until an object becomes available. (Incidentally, you can use the MaxPoolSize attribute to control how many concurrent connections you have to a database, just as we discussed in the preceding section.) Clients wait for Client 1 1. Create a new PooledServiceComponent 2. Initialize the component and open database connection COM+ Object Pool Client 2 6. Create a new PooledServiceComponent 7. Object instance is returned to Client 2 without requiring that a new object be created 3. Return instance to client PooledServiceComponent (Instance 1)4. Client 1 calls method 5. Object deactivates after method call and returns to the pool 104 Part II: COM+ Core Services 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 104 an object to be returned to them until the creation timeout value has been reached. An object creation request can time out for the following reasons: Object construction time is longer than the creation timeout limit. A client’s request sits in the queue longer than the timeout value does. Figure 7-4 demonstrates how COM+ uses these attributes to control the pool. Figure 7-4: Controlling object pooling Often, determining the optimum level for these settings is a matter of trial and error. It ultimately comes down to how your application works. Here are some things you want to consider when trying to determine the minimum and maximum pool sizes and the creation timeout: How long do my methods take to return? How long does it take to construct my object? How many creation requests can I expect during the busiest times? Are my clients doing other work between calls of my methods? Client 1 Create new CFoo CFoo COM+ Object Pool Max Pool Size = 3 Minimum Pool Size = 2 Creation Timeout = 20 ms COM+ will create 2 new components when the application starts. This is the minimum pool size. COM+ will create an additional component to service Client 3. Now the pool size has reached the max. Client 4 will time out after 20 milliseconds unless one of the other 3 clients releases its objects. Client 2 Create new CFoo CFoo Client 3 Create new CFoo CFoo Client 4 Create new CFoo Chapter 7: Object Pooling 105 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 105 I strongly suggest running some tests to determine how long it takes to construct your objects and how long it takes to run your most expensive method calls. Essentially, you want to set your creation timeout to be at least as long as it takes to construct one of your objects under the worst possible circumstances. You should hope that each client request for an object does not require a new object to be constructed. Most of the time, you should expect requests to be served from objects already constructed and added to the pool. A period of time always exists between your application’s starting up and the pool’s filling to its maximum level. During this time, new objects need to be constructed, and your clients have to wait for this. Bear this in mind as you consider the duration of your creation timeout. The third question in the preceding list should influence your thinking about the maximum pool size. You want enough objects available to be able to satisfy requests during the busiest time. The fourth question also should influence the maximum pool size. If your clients typically do other work between method calls, you can take advantage of JITA. Just-in-time activation allows multiple clients to use your component seemingly simultaneously. You explore just-in-time activation and object pooling in greater depth in the next section. Object pooling represents one of the classic tradeoffs in computer science. When you use object pooling, you are sacrificing memory for performance. The larger your pool size, the more memory you are consuming, and the more clients you can satisfy. At some point, you see the benefits of pooling decrease as you allow your pool to grow. This is why it is so important to stress-test your applications before they go into use. Proper testing gives you a good indication of what your attributes’ setting should be. Object Pooling and Scalability Developers and architects implement object pooling because they hope doing so will give them greater scalability. Unfortunately, scalability is often misused and misunderstood. Take a minute to look at what scalability means. Scalability is the impact that the addition of resources and users has on an appli- cation’s throughput. An application is scalable if you can add resources as user load increases and can have a positive effect on throughput. With COM+ object pooling, you can administratively add components (that is, resources) by increasing the minimum and maximum pool sizes as your user load increases. The more components you allow to be added to your pool, the more clients you can service. Just-in-time activation (JITA) has an interesting effect on scalability for a poolable object. Remember that JITA allows an object to deactivate after a method call and to activate upon the next method call. Because a client does not have con- trol over the component between method calls, the component is freed back into the pool. Once the component goes back to the pool, it becomes available for other clients. Figure 7-5 shows how JITA allows two clients to use the same instance of an object virtually simultaneously. 106 Part II: COM+ Core Services 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 106 Figure 7-5: How JITA allows scalability in an object pool In Figure 7-5, client 1 obtains an instance of class CFoo from the pool and calls one of CFoo’s methods. When the method returns, the object is deactivated and returned to the pool. At this time, client 1 thinks it still has a valid reference to CFoo. Next, client 2 requests an instance of CFoo. Because an instance of this class has been released back to the pool, client 2 gets the same instance of CFoo that client 1 thinks it has. At this exact moment, both clients think they have a valid reference to the same instance of CFoo. This is scalability. By using one object to service multiple clients, you can achieve scalability in your applications. As you add objects to the pool, the client base you can support should increase by some factor greater than the number of objects you are adding. Admittedly, the scenario demonstrated in Figure 7-5 is a rather extreme case. Normally, you do not have only two clients and one object. Also, a client does not necessarily get back the same instance of an object it was previously using. However, the effect of object pooling on scalability remains the same. I should clear up a point in the preceding scenario. In Figure 7-5, you see the COM+ object pool divided into two sections: objects in use and available objects. Essentially, objects in use are objects in which a client is executing code. Available objects represent objects a client can access. The pool size is always the total num- ber of objects in use plus those available for use. The maximum pool size never exceeds this value. Object Pooling and Nondeterministic Finalization Keep in mind that although ServicedComponents take advantage of COM+, they still run inside the Common Language Runtime (CLR). This means that pooled objects are still subject to Garbage Collection, which, as you learn in Chapter 1, can occur at any time. Normally, if a class uses expensive resources (for example, data- base connections, file handles, or network connections), some kind of a Close or Dispose method should be implemented. However, this solution does not fit well with poolable objects. Because the purpose of writing a poolable object is to spread the cost of acquiring these types of resources across multiple clients, it does not make sense to dispose of these resources after each client is done with the object. The only practical option (that I can think of, at least) is to free these resources in the class’s finalizer. Client 1 1. Create new CFoo CFoo COM+ Object Pool Objects In Use CFoo Available Objects Client 2 5. Create new CFoo 3. Client makes method call and object deactivates 2. Instance of CFoo is returned to the client 6. CFoo returned to Client 2 4. When CFoo deactivates, it is returned to the pool Chapter 7: Object Pooling 107 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 107 Requirements for Poolable Objects COM+ insists that poolable objects meet certain requirements. Fortunately, the .NET runtime meets most of these requirements for us. Four requirements all objects must meet if they are to be pooled are the following: They must be stateless. They must support JITA. They must support aggregation. They must not have affinity to any thread. Overall, you understand the first two requirements. Statelessness and support for JITA really go hand in hand. I should point out that these requirements are so not much requirements as they are recommendations (very strong recommendations). It is technically possible to write a pooled component that is not stateless and does not support JITA. However, unless you have very strong reasons for not making your components stateless, you should consider these two recommendations a requirement. All ServicedComponents support aggregation. As such, this is not something you need to implement explicitly in your classes. Aggregation involves an inner component and an outer component morphing together to form one component. From the client’s perspective, the client is dealing only with one component. COM+ provides an outer component that aggregates the inner component, namely, the pooled component. When COM+ aggregates a ServicedComponent, it is aggregat- ing the COM Callable Wrapper (CCW). Remember from Chapter 3 that the CCW is responsible for managing the transition between the COM runtime and the .NET runtime. Figure 7-6 shows what a ServicedComponent looks like from the point of view of aggregation. Figure 7-6: Aggregating the CCW The final requirement for pooled components is that they must not have affinity to any particular thread. Previously in this chapter, you see that multiple clients can use a single component simultaneously. In this scenario, multiple threads are CCW ServicedComponent COM+ Runtime COM+ Aggregate for Poolable Objects .NET Runtime CCW manages the transition between COM+ and .NET 108 Part II: COM+ Core Services 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 108 accessing the component. Because any thread may access the component, the com- ponent should not rely on data, such as thread local storage, specific to any thread. A good example of this is COM+’s Shared Property Manager (SPM). The SPM is a resource dispenser for a thread’s local storage area of memory. Do not use the SPM in your pooled components. Requirements for Transactional Objects In addition to the requirements mentioned previously, transactional objects must meet a few additional requirements to be poolable: They must manually enlist resources. They must turn off automatic enlistment of resource managers. They must implement the IObjectControl interface. In our discussion of transactional objects in Chapter 4, you learn that COM+ provides a service known as Automatic Transaction Enlistment. Automatic Transaction Enlistment enables resources (database connections) to enlist into a DTC transaction automatically. Before a database connection can be manually enlisted into a COM+ transaction, the automatic-enlistment behavior must be dis- abled. This is the basis of the second rule of the preceding list. Transactions are relative to a particular context. When you open a database con- nection in an object’s constructor, there is no active context, and thus no transaction, for the connection to enlist into. However, if a database connection is opened in a particular context that has an associated transaction and the database connection remains open when the object is returned to the pool, the next client that gets that object may be using a connection that has been enlisted in a different transaction. To illustrate this point, consider the following scenario depicted in Figure 7-7. Two clients are transactional (not pooled) ServicedComponents. Each client requires its own COM+ transaction, and each client represents a unique transaction root. In addition, each component uses a pooled component that supports transac- tions. To make the point a little easier to understand, say that your minimum and maximum pool sizes are 1. The pooled component opens a database connection on the first call to Activate and does not release the connection until the component’s finalizer is called. When client 1 calls into the component, the pooled component takes the following actions: 1. It opens the database connection. 2. It enlists the database connection into the first client’s transaction. 3. It performs some work on the database connection. 4. The method call executes and COM+ returns the component back to the pool. 5. The client sees there are no errors and commits the transaction. Chapter 7: Object Pooling 109 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 109 Figure 7-7: Enlisting pooled objects into a transaction At this point, the transaction is committed, but the database connection still thinks the database connection is enlisted in the first client’s transaction. When the second client makes a call into the component, the database connection is not reopened, as it has never been closed in the first place. When the pooled component attempts to do some work on the open connection, an exception is thrown because the database connection is attempting to operate in a transaction that no longer exits. The final rule that a transactional pooled component must follow is to imple- ment the IObjectControl interface. Managed components that inherit from the ServicedComponent class do not need to implement the IObjectControl interface explicitly. A class that inherits from ServicedComponent needs only to override the virtual methods: Activate, Deactivate, and CanBePooled. Activate and Deactivate allow you to perform context-specific activation and cleanup work. It is not strictly necessary to implement these two methods, but it is generally a good idea. The CanBePooled method, on the other hand, must be implemented. If this method is not implemented, COM+ assumes that it returns false. Returning false from CanBePooled dooms a transaction. CanBePooled gives you a good opportu- nity to check the state of your component. If you determine that your object is no longer in a consistent state, you can return false from this method, and the object is not returned to the pool. Before you go on to the next section, consider one additional feature COM+ pro- vides for poolable transactional components. COM+ maintains a subpool for trans- actional components. If a client is involved in a transaction and the client calls into a pooled component that supports transactions, COM+ examines the object pool to determine if a component exists that previously has been part of that client’s trans- action. This feature exists to improve performance. Typically, a transactional com- ponent that uses another pooled transactional component uses that component in rapid succession. Because COM+ remembers what transaction a pooled component previously has been a part of, it can simply return that instance of the component to the client without having to reinitialize the component into the current transac- tion. If a pooled component that matches the current transaction is not found, another component from the pool is returned to the client. Pooled Component Client 1 Transaction ID = 1234 Client 2 Transaction ID = 4321 COM+ Object Pool 2. Pooled component opens database connection with a transaction ID of "1234" 1. Client 1 calls method on pooled component 3. Method call returns and component is returned to the pool 4. Client 2 makes a method call on the pooled component 5. Pooled component uses the previously opened database connection enlisted under the transaction ID of "1234" 6. Pooled component throws an exception, forcing Client 2 to abort its transaction 110 Part II: COM+ Core Services 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 110 Object Pooling in C# In this section, you run an experiment. You write two ServicedComponent classes. One class is a pooled object; the other is a normal JITA-enabled class. Each of these classes contains one method — ExecuteCategoryQuery — that performs a simple select against a database called OfficeMart. You create a console application that measures how long it takes you to create new instances of these components and to call the ExecuteCategoryQuery method. Because you are concerned only with examining the performance benefits that object pooling can provide, don’t worry about getting a result from your query. Discard query results, and assume your query is successful if no exceptions have been thrown. Pooled and Nonpooled Components Begin this discussion by examining the classes in the ObjectPoolLib namespace in Listing 7-1. To help you better understand where each framework attribute and class comes from, each of the following elements contains a fully qualified name- space. Listing 7-1: Pooled and Nonpooled Classes [assembly: System.Reflection.AssemblyVersion(“”)] [assembly: System.Reflection.AssemblyKeyFile(“mykey.snk”)] namespace ObjectPoolLib { using System; using System.Xml; using System.EnterpriseServices; using System.Data; using System.Data.SqlClient; [ System.EnterpriseServices.ObjectPooling ( true, 10, 100, CreationTimeout=1000 ) ] [System.EnterpriseServices.JustInTimeActivation(true)] [ System.EnterpriseServices.Transaction ( Chapter 7: Object Pooling 111 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 111 TransactionOption.NotSupported ) ] public class PooledObject : System.ServicedComponent { private System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection _cnn; private System.Data.SqlClient.SqlCommand _cmd; public PooledObject() { _cnn = new SqlConnection( “server=(local);database=OfficeMart;uid=sa;pwd=” ); _cmd = new SqlCommand(); _cmd.CommandType = System.Data.CommandType.Text; _cmd.Connection = _cnn; _cnn.Open(); } [AutoComplete] public void ExecuteCategoryQuery() { _cmd.CommandText = “select CategoryName, Description from Categories”; _cmd.ExecuteNonQuery(); } // ServicedComponent virtual functions public override void Activate() { // nothing to do here } public override void Deactivate() { // nothing to do here } public override bool CanBePooled() { if (_cnn.State != System.Data.ConnectionState.Open) { return false; } else { return true; 112 Part II: COM+ Core Services 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 112 } } } [System.EnterpriseServices.JustInTimeActivation(true)] [ System.EnterpriseServices.Transaction ( TransactionOption.NotSupported ) ] [ System.EnterpriseServices.ConstructionEnabled ( Default=”server=(local);database=OfficeMart;uid=sa;pwd=” ) ] public class NonPooledObject : ServicedComponent { private string _sConnection; private System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection _cnn; private System.Data.SqlClient.SqlCommand _cmd; public NonPooledObject() { // nothing to do here } [AutoComplete] public void ExecuteCategoryQuery() { _cnn = new SqlConnection(_sConnection); _cmd = new SqlCommand(); _cmd.CommandType = CommandType.Text; _cmd.Connection = _cnn; _cmd.CommandText = “select CategoryName, Description from Categories”; _cnn.Open(); _cmd.ExecuteNonQuery(); _cnn.Close(); _cmd.Dispose(); } // ServicedComponent virtual functions public override void Activate() { Chapter 7: Object Pooling 113 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 113 // nothing to do here } public override void Deactivate() { // nothing to do here } public override bool CanBePooled() { return false; } public override void Construct(string s) { _sConnection = s; } } } The first two lines of Listing 7-1 should look familiar. They define the assembly version and the key file you use to sign the assembly. Remember that you need to add a key file to your assembly so that you can give it a strong name and install it into the Global Assembly Cache. It is not absolutely necessary to sign your assem- bly. I personally prefer to sign my assemblies that run in COM+ server applications. Because server applications run as the dllhost.exe process, the .NET runtime’s assembly resolver looks for the assembly in \winnt\system32, as this is where dllhost.exe has been loaded. Unless you want to install your server application assemblies under \winnt\system32, you need to add them to the Global Assembly Cache or define a location for them in your application configuration file. It is really just a matter of personal preference. The first class defined in the namespace is PooledObject. The first attribute that decorates this class is ObjectPooling. Tables 7-1 and 7-2 list the constructors and properties, respectively, for the ObjectPooling attribute. TABLE 7-1 OBJECTPOOLING ATTRIBUTE CONSTRUCTORS Constructor Signature Arguments Description ObjectPooling() no arguments Enables object pooling. Default minimum and maximum pool sizes are 0 and 1048576, respectively. Default creation timeout is 60000 ms. 114 Part II: COM+ Core Services 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 114 Constructor Signature Arguments Description ObjectPooling(bool) enabled Either enables (true) or disables (false) object pooling. Defaults are the same as the preceding. ObjectPooling minimum, Enables object pooling with the minimum (int, int) maximum pool size and maximum pool sizes. Default creation timeout is 60000 ms. ObjectPooling enabled, minimum, (bool, int, int) maximum Enables or disables object pooling with the minimum and maximum pool sizes. TABLE 7-2 OBJECTPOOLING ATTRIBUTE PROPERTIES Property Name Data Type Description CreationTimeout int Specifies the time in milliseconds a client waits for an object to be returned from a call to the C# keyword new Enabled bool Specifies whether object pooling is enabled MaxPoolSize int Maximum number of objects COM+ allows in the pool MinPoolSize int Minumum number of objects in the pool at any given time When the application first starts, COM+ creates MinPoolSize number of objects. You have examined the next two attributes — JustInTimeActivation and Transaction — in previous chapters, so we don’t need to go into them here. In the constructor for the PooledObject class, I am initializing instances of qlConnection and SqlCommand objects. The types in the System.Data. SqlClient namespace are intended for use with Microsoft SQL Server databases only. If you need to access another database (such as Oracle) that supports Microsoft’s OLE DB specification, you should use types from the System.Data. OleDb namespace. Probably the most important task you perform in the constructor is opening the database connection. This allows you to share the connection with multiple clients. Opening the connection in the constructor is about the only thing that differenti- ates the PooledObject and NonPooledObject classes. Chapter 7: Object Pooling 115 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 115 In Listing 7-1 you see the ExecuteCategoryQuery method defined below the definition of the constructor. This method is decorated with the AutoComplete attribute. You need to set the AutoComplete attribute for this method because you want the object to be deactivated after the method call and returned to the pool. Remember that this attribute automatically sets the object’s done bit to true when a thread enters the method. The implementation of this method sets the command text of the SqlCommand class to your SQL select statement and executes select against the database. Because you are not concerned with getting data back from the database, use the ExecuteNonQuery method, which, in this case, discards query results. The last three methods in this class represent the IObjectControl interface methods. The ServicedComponent class defines these methods as virtual. Because the object inherits from the ServicedComponent class, you do not need to implement IObjectControl. C# supports both the virtual and abstract keywords. These keywords are close cousins of each other, but they do implement slightly different behaviors. The virtual keyword can be used to decorate methods and properties in a class. The abstract keyword, on the other hand, can be used to decorate classes as well.The child class does not necessarily need to implement methods defined as virtual. This is the case for the methods Activate,Deactivate, and CanBePooled in the ServicedComponent class.The child class must implement abstract methods. Because you are not doing any context-specific work in the NonPooledObject class, you have nothing to do in the Activate and Deactivate methods. They are here to show you how they are declared in a ServicedComponent-derived class. The CanBePooled method shows how you can use it to examine the state of the object and to decide whether or not to return it to the pool. In your example, look to see if the connection is still open before returning it to the pool. The NonPooledObject class comes next in the code listing. The work this class performs is essentially the same as the work done in the PooledObject class. You do only two things differently in the NonPooledObject class. First of all, because the NonPooledObject class is not a pooled component, you do not open the connection in the constructor. Instead, you open it in the ExecuteCategoryQuery method. Also notice that this class contains a new attribute: ConstructionEnabled. This attribute allows COM+ to pass in a string when your component is activated. This string can be anything you want, but in your case, you are passing in the connec- tion string for your database. The Default property defines the construction string added to the catalog when you register your component. Figure 7-8 depicts the Activation tab for this component. Notice that the “Enable object construction” check box is checked and the connection string has been added to the text field. 116 Part II: COM+ Core Services 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 116 Figure 7-8: Activation tab for a construction enabled component Override the virtual method, Construct, from the ServicedComponent class so you can get access to the constructor string. Normally, if you are developing a unmanaged component, you have to implement the IObjectConstruct interface to get this functionality. But the ServicedComponent class takes care of that for you. COM+ calls the Construct method before it calls the Activate method. I have not implemented the ConstructionEnabled attribute in the PooledObject class, as you need the connection string to be in the class’s con- structor. Because COM+ constructs the object before any calls to Activate or Construct occur, you are not able to take advantage of this feature. Analyzing the Client The code for your test application is shown in Listing 7-2. Admittedly, this is a rather simplified test, but it helps to demonstrate the benefits of object pooling. Listing 7-2: Object Pooling Client using System; using ObjectPoolLib; static void Main(string[] args) { int i = 0; long lStart; long lEnd; lStart = System.DateTime.Now.Ticks; for (i = 0; i < 1000; i++) Chapter 7: Object Pooling 117 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 117 { ObjectPoolLib.PooledObject po = new ObjectPoolLib.PooledObject(); po.ExecuteCategoryQuery(); } lEnd = System.DateTime.Now.Ticks - lStart; Console.WriteLine(“Results for PooledObject: “ + lEnd.ToString()); lStart = System.DateTime.Now.Ticks; for (i = 0; i < 1000; i++) { ObjectPoolLib.NonPooledObject npo = new ObjectPoolLib.NonPooledObject(); npo.ExecuteCategoryQuery(); } lEnd = System.DateTime.Now.Ticks - lStart; Console.WriteLine(“Results for NonPooledObject: “ + lEnd.ToString()); Console.WriteLine(Console.ReadLine()); } This test application creates 10 instances of each of the pooled and nonpooled classes and determines the elapsed time that occurs when the method is called. The elapsed time is determined by computing the difference between the number of ticks before and after the loop. Incidentally, System.DateTime.Now.Ticks repre- sents the number of hundred-nanosecond intervals that have occurred from January 1, 2001, at 12:00 a.m. When I run this on my machine, I get the following output: Results for PooledObject: 157726800 Results for NonPooledObject: 216110752 The results you get may differ somewhat depending on your system’s configura- tion. The point here is to show how much faster pooled components can be for this type of component. As you can see from the test, object pooling can provide sig- nificant benefits. Summary In this chapter, you have delved into the world of object pooling. You have seen how the ServicedComponent class and the ObjectPooling attribute are used to write a poolable object. No longer do you have to write these classes in C++. 118 Part II: COM+ Core Services 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 118 You have gained some criteria to apply to an object when you try to decide whether it should be pooled or not. Remember that the more generic your object is, the more likely it is a candidate for the object pool. Finally, you have seen how pooled objects compare with nonpooled objects. You have seen a rather dramatic increase in performance for the pooled component. I hope this whets your appetite for pooled components. Chapter 7: Object Pooling 119 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 119 104835-2 Ch07.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 120 Chapter 8 Queued Components IN THIS CHAPTER Making the case for queued components Introducing Microsoft Message Queue Understanding queued components in COM+ Using other COM+ services along with queued components Developing queued components in C# IT HAS OCCURRED TO me over the years that when I need to contact someone, either by phone or e-mail, I go through a process to determine the best way to reach the person. If I cannot proceed with my day without talking to the person, I phone or page him or her. If, however, I can get by without the person’s immediate attention, I usually send an e-mail. For me, at least, the phone provides synchronous commu- nication, but e-mail provides asynchronous communication. In the world of remote method calls, queued components provide a way for a client to send a message that contains method calls to a remote component. Similarly to the way I use e-mail, you can use queued components to provide asyn- chronous communication. In this chapter, you see how queued components stack up against other forms of remote method calls such as Remote Procedure Calls (RPCs) and the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). Also, you encounter some criteria to use when trying to decide between these two method calls. Because Microsoft Message Queue (MSMQ) is the underlying transport mecha- nism behind queued components, you receive an introduction to its features and architecture. This is by no means a complete explanation of the features of MSMQ, but you explore the relevant features as they pertain to queued components. In the last three sections of this chapter, you learn the architecture of queued components and some of the subtle issues that arise when designing these types of components. Some of these design issues come into play when other services of COM+, such as security, must be used. In the final section, you write several queued components. You learn to write a basic queued component by using the .NET Framework and C#. From there, you move forward to more advanced techniques, such as combining queued components with loosely coupled events. It’s fun stuff, so get ready! 121 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 121 Making the Case for Queued Components For years, developers have been using various technologies to transport their method calls across the network to remote components. Some of these technolo- gies, such as RPC DCOM, which uses RPC under the covers, provide synchronous communication. When a client instantiates a component, the instantiation request is made to some form of proxy component on the client, which then forwards the request to the server hosting the component. At the server end, the request is picked up, and the component is instantiated. From that point on, as each method or prop- erty is set on the remote component, the call goes out across the network, and it is picked up on the other end by the component. Each time the client makes a call, it waits for the remote component to respond. The more method calls a client makes, the more network traffic and the slower the application. If you combine a chatty client with a slow network, you are likely to get a frustrated user. Even newer protocols such as SOAP behave in a similar fashion to RPC. SOAP uses HTTP as its transport mechanism. HTTP is, for all purposes, a request-response type of protocol. A SOAP client sends a method call in the form of an HTTP request to some end point on a Web server. The end point can be almost anything, but often it is an Active Server Page or an ISAPI extension DLL. After the client sends its request to the Web server, it blocks as it waits for the Web server’s response. Both of these types of method invocations — RPC and SOAP — have the same inherent limitations: They are unable to guarantee delivery of a method call. The client must wait for each method call across the network to return. If the client makes a method call to a remote component and the server that hosts the component is down, the client has no way to ensure that the call succeeds. In this type of situation, the client has only a couple of options: the client can keep retrying the method call or give up. Either of these options can be rather frustrating for the user. By saying that RPC and SOAP are synchronous protocols, I mean that method calls are made one after the other. Each time the client calls a method, a round trip to the server is required to send parameters and to receive a return value. While all this is occurring, the client must wait for the call to return. If you have a slow or unreliable network, this can greatly slow down your application. Products such as IBM’s MQ Series and MSMQ are designed to alleviate these problems. These products provide two big benefits: asynchronous messaging and guaranteed delivery. Both of these products ship with COM and the procedural API, which developers use to send and receive messages to and from computers. I am not going to demonstrate the use of these APIs in this chapter, but here is a run- down of the tasks you typically need to perform when writing queued applications: 122 Part II: COM+ Core Services 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 122 1. Create a public or private queue (administratively or programmatically). 2. The sender opens the queue, specifying whether to peek at the message, read it, or send it. The share level of the queue is determined at this time. 3. The sender creates the message to be sent on the queue. Properties such as the body of the message and priority are set at this time. 4. Once the message is configured, the sender sends it to the appropriate des- tination queue. 5. The receiver opens the queue. 6. The receiver either peeks at the queue or reads the message. Admittedly, this is an oversimplification of the process, but I think you get the idea of how most queued applications work. This is roughly the same scenario that occurs when you use queued components. However, queued components hide most of this from you. As you might guess, the fact that queued components hide a cer- tain amount of complexity comes at the cost of flexibility. Some tasks, such as peeking at messages in the queue, cannot be performed if you are strictly using queued components. Queued components provide you with the typical features you expect from a message queue, such as guaranteed delivery and asynchronous processing. Also, queued components hide the grungy queue communication work you perform if you are using the MSMQ COM API. Queued components are particularly well suited to provide several benefits over synchronous method calls: Availability and lifetime of the component Scheduling of workload Reliability of method calls Scalability Because the lifetimes of the client and the component do not need to overlap, clients are able to operate independently of the components they are calling. This has benefits if the server hosting the component is unavailable or if the network between the client and component is unavailable. In the event of server down time, calls from the client can be queued and stored until the hosting server is back up and running. This has benefits also for disconnected clients such as laptops and handheld devices. Applications running on these types of devices can continue to function while disconnected from their networks. The fact that the client and component lifetimes do not need to overlap enables you to schedule when the component should do its work. As you see later in this chapter, queued components must be configured as a server application. This server application must be running in order for the component to process method calls. Chapter 8: Queued Components 123 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 123 Queued components allow you to specify when the server application (dllhost.exe) runs. This schedule can be set to run the application during the hosting server’s less busy hours. When queued-component method calls are made across the network, MSMQ uses transactions to deliver the messages. On the component side, messages are read from the queue in a transactional manner. These transactions are not neces- sarily COM+ transactions, but they benefit from many of the same features. If a queued component reads a message from the queue and an error occurs, the read rolls back, and the message returns to the queue. All this adds up to a much more reliable delivery mechanism than you get from nonqueued method calls. The final benefit — scalability — is perhaps the biggest, at least in my mind. First, because the client does not block during each method call, it is able to make many calls in rapid succession and to move on to the next task. The client, and ultimately the user, does not have to wait for method calls to be transported over the network and received by a remote component that may or may not be available. Second, because the server process, dllhost.exe, can be scheduled to process messages during off-peak hours, the server hosting the component can have more resources available during peak times. All of this amounts to the application’s being able to do more work at a faster rate. Introduction to Microsoft Message Queue Understanding how queued components work is hard if you do not understand the basics of MSMQ. It is even harder to diagnose problems when they occur in your applications if you are not at least familiar with the underlying transport mecha- nism. Take a look at the components that make up an MSMQ network. Installing MSMQ Windows 2000 Server provides MSMQ 2.0 as a core component of the operating system. You have the option of installing MSMQ when you install the operating system or anytime thereafter. MSMQ is not installed by default. MSMQ can be installed in either a Windows 2000 workgroup or a Windows 2000 domain. MSMQ is tightly integrated with Windows 2000 Active Directory. If you wish to gain Active Directory support, install MSMQ on a domain controller. MSMQ extends the Active Directory schema to hold queue configuration and status information. The workgroup installation option is somewhat more limiting. For instance, only private queues can be used in a workgroup configuration. In addition, routing servers cannot be used with the workgroup configuration. Integrating with Active Directory allows you to use internal certificates to authenticate messages. Because internal certificates come from Active Directory, this option is not available in the 124 Part II: COM+ Core Services 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 124 workgroup installation. External certificates are the only option for a workgroup installation. External certificates come from an outside certificate authority. Fortunately for queued component developers, you can still use your components in a workgroup installation. Depending on whether you are installing MSMQ on a client, a domain controller, or a member server, you have a number of options to choose from. For servers, you have the option of installing MSMQ as a routing server or as a regular server that has public and private queues. A routing server’s job is to take messages from clients and to move them to their final destination queues. The routing server is not responsible for processing incoming messages unless those messages are for one of its own queues. For performance reasons, Microsoft does not recommend installing a routing server on a domain controller. Routing servers should be installed on member servers. The client can be an independent or dependent installation. To send messages, dependent clients must be connected to the network. Workstations wired to the local network are good candidates for dependent clients. The only exception to this is domain controllers. MSMQ cannot be installed on a domain controller as a dependent client. Independent clients, on the other hand, do not have to be con- nected to the network to send messages. As applications running on independent clients send messages, MSMQ stores those messages locally until the client recon- nects to the network. Once the client reconnects, messages are sent accordingly. Laptops and handheld devices are good candidates for independent clients. These mobile devices are not always connected to the network when they are being used. Independent-client installations allow users to use their applications as if they were connected to the network. The next time users connect to the networks, messages can be sent and their data can be processed. Once MSMQ is installed into a domain, it can be administered by using the Computer Management Console. Figure 8-1 shows where you can find MSMQ under the Services and Applications node. This snap-in is enabled for only MSMQ installations in a domain. Understanding Queues Queues are similar to a mailbox. Just as you use a mailbox to send and receive mail, applications use queues to send and receive messages. In MSMQ, two categories of queues exist — application queues and system queues. Application queues can be any of the following types of queues: Message queues Administration queues Response queues Report queues Chapter 8: Queued Components 125 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 125 Figure 8-1: MSMQ administration snap-in COM+ queued components and their clients use messages queues to send and receive method calls. Message queues can be public or private. Public queues are registered in Active Directory, but private queues are available only if you specify the machine name. When you install queued components in a Windows 2000 domain, COM+ creates a public message queue for the component. When sending applications send messages, they can require a response from MSMQ. The response can be in regard to the message reaching the queue or the message being read from the queue or, if you wish, both actions can generate a response from MSMQ. Response queues are similar to administration queues except that the receiving application generates the response message (back to the sender). Report queues hold messages that MSMQ generates, as messages move from routing server to routing server. By enabling tracing for a message, an application can specify that it wants to use a report queue. MSMQ uses system queues internally. System queues make up the dead letter queue and journal queues. The dead letter queue holds messages that cannot be delivered to their destination queues. Each installation has two dead letter queues. One dead letter queue holds transactional messages, and another holds regular mes- sages. You see a little later in this chapter how queued components use transac- tional dead letter queues. Each time a public or private queue is created, MSMQ creates an associated jour- nal queue. The purpose of the journal queue is to hold copies of messages until they are read from the queue. Journaling is not turned on by default. Journaling can be enabled for a queue by going into the queue properties by using the MSMQ snap-in in the Computer Management Console. Figure 8-2 shows the General tab for a 126 Part II: COM+ Core Services 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 126 public queue called helloworld. This queue is created after the installation of a COM+ queued component. Figure 8-2: Enabling journaling for a queue MSMQ Messages Essentially, messages are composed of a message body and its associated properties, which determine the behavior of the messages as they are routed through the net- work. The body of any message is the actual payload or data. Many properties can be set programmatically by a sending application. Some of the more common prop- erties are the body type, the message priority, the formatter, and the destination queue. The body type property describes the data type contained in the body of the message. Message types can be any number of data types such as integers or strings and even other objects such as DataSets. The message priority gives a higher pri- ority to critical messages as they are routed through the network. By default, mes- sages have priority 0. Messages that have a higher priority number get routed quicker than those that have a lower priority number. Formatters specify the manner in which the message payload is streamed to the body property. By default, .NET streams the payload as XML. Other formatters are the ActiveXMessageFormatter and the BinaryMessageFormatter. Both of these formatters stream data in a binary format. The ActiveXMessageFormatter allows you to stream basic data types such as integers and strings, as well as classes, enu- merations, and anything else that can be converted to a System.Object type. You can set many of the message properties when you use queued components. Although you do not interact directly with the messages sent to queued compo- nents, you can set some properties by using the moniker. You encounter monikers later in this chapter. Chapter 8: Queued Components 127 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 127 Developing MSMQ Applications by Using C# For years, developers have used MSMQ COM components or MSMQ API functions to develop applications that use message queuing. These APIs allow developers to read from queues, write to them, and perform management tasks such as creating them. The .NET Framework provides a similar set of APIs for the C# developer. The System.Messaging namespace (System.Messaging.dll) contains all the classes, interfaces, and enumerations you need to develop .NET applications that take advantage of of MSMQ’s features. This section provides a brief introduction to the System.Messaging namespace and commonly used classes to give you a feel for developing messaging applications without using queued components. The two most commonly used classes in System.Messaging are the MessageQueue class and the Message class. The MessageQueue class is used to read, send, and peek at messages that arive at a particular queue. The queue name and path can be specified when the class is instantiated or by using the path prop- erty. Table 8-1 lists the constructors for the MessageQueue class. TABLE 8-1 MESSAGEQUEUE CONSTRUCTORS Constructor Description Example MessageQueue() Creates new MessageQueue mq = new instance of the MessageQueue(); MessageQueue class which is not bound to a queue MessageQueue(string path) Creates a new MessageQueue mq = new instance of the MessageQueue MessageQueue (“.\queueName”); class and binds it to the queue specified by path MessageQueue(string path, Binds queue MessageQueue mq = new bool sharedModeDenyReceive) specified in path to MessageQueue instanceof the (“.\queueName, true); MessageQueue class and grants exclusive read access to the first application that reads from the queue 128 Part II: COM+ Core Services 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 128 The Message class is used to manipulate the properties of an outgoing or incom- ing MSMQ message. This class contains the body, or payload, of the message. Typically, you create a new Message object, by using one of its three constructors, when you are about to send a message to a queue. The constructors for this class are shown in Table 8-2. TABLE 8-2 MESSAGE CONSTRUCTORS Constructor Description Example Message() Creates an empty message Message m = new class. You must fill in the Message(); desired properties. Message(Object body) Creates a new class, setting MyClass mc = new the payload of the message MyClass() Message m = to the object passed in. Any new Message (mc); class that inherits from the object can be passed. Message(Object body, Sets message body equal to IMessageFormatter formatter) body parameter. The MyClass mc = new formatter specifies how the MyClass() Message m = body is streamed to the new Message( mc, new message. XmlMessageFormatter()); Look at what it takes to send and receive a message from a queue. The code in Listing 8-1 opens a connection to a private queue called OrderQueue, sends a struct called Order, reads the message out of the queue, and prints out the fields of the Order struct. Listing 8-1: Sending and receiving messages from a queue using System; using System.Messaging; namespace OrderMessage { public struct Order { public string CustomerName; public string Sku; Chapter 8: Queued Components 129 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 129 public int Quantity; } public class COrderApp { public static void Main() { // create a new order Order order; order.CustomerName = “Acme, Inc.”; order.Sku = “sku123”; order.Quantity = 100; // open the OrderQueue queue and send the order MessageQueue mq = new MessageQueue (“Server1\\private$\\OrderQueue”); mq.Send(order); // specify the type of formatter we want to use XmlMessageFormatter xmlf = (XmlMessageFormatter) mq.Formatter; // tell the formatter the types we want // to stream from this message xmlf.TargetTypeNames = new string[]{“OrderMessage.Order,OrderMessaging”}; // read the message from the queue Message m = mq.Receive(); Order orderIn = (Order)m.Body; Console.WriteLine(“Customer Name: “ + orderIn.CustomerName); Console.WriteLine(“Sku: “ + orderIn.Sku); Console.WriteLine(“Quantity: “ + orderIn.Quantity); } } } The MessageQueue class is created by using the second constructor in Table 8-1. Notice the path of the queue. The first part of the path, Server1, is the name of the machine hosting the queue. The second part of the path specifies the queue as a pri- vate queue. The final part of the path is the queue name. Once the new MessageQueue instance has been created, you need only to send the Order struct onto the queue. You do not need to define a formatter for this queue, because one has been defined already by default: XmlMessageFormatter. Before you read the message back off the queue, however, you must define the types you want to extract from the body of the message. In your case, transform the body back into an Order struct so you can print the order back to the console. 130 Part II: COM+ Core Services 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 130 xmlf.TargetTypeNames defines the types you want the formatter to stream back to you. The string array assigned to the TargetTypeNames property holds the fully qualified type name of your struct and the assembly that implements it. A fully qualified type name contains the namespace and the type name. Once the formatter knows which types you are going to extract from the mes- sage body, you are free to read the message from the queue. Mq.Receive() reads a message from the queue and returns an instance of a Message class. If multiple messages are on the queue, this call retrieves the first message. If no messages are on the queue, this call blocks (waits) until messages arrive or until the receive time- out has expired. Because this method is overloaded, it can be called by passing in a System.TimeSpan instance, which defines the maximum amount of time the call waits for messages to arrive on the queue. I have to admit that this example makes certain atypical assumptions.First,it is generally good practice to check for the existence of the queue before try- ing to open it and send messages. Second, you do not want to force the client to block by making the client wait for messages for an infinite amount of time.This example is not necessarily intended as a real-world example of messaging. However, it is intended to demonstrate how some of the more common tasks, such as sending and receiving messages and using the XmlMessageFormatter, are accomplished with the System.Messaging namespace. At the end of this chapter, you see examples of how queued components hide much of this work from you. Understanding Queued Components in COM+ Queued components provide you with a mechanism for making method calls across the network to remote machines. As you already know, MSMQ provides the trans- port functionality to make this happen. This section breaks down the pieces of the COM+ queued component architecture, displaying how method calls are packaged into MSMQ messages and how they are unpacked on the component side. Also, this section addresses some of the design considerations you must explore when devel- oping your queued components. Client and Server Requirements It can be hard to understand how queued components work if you do not under- stand what needs to be installed on the client and server. As you have probably guessed already, MSMQ must be installed on the client and server. MSMQ provides the underlying transport mechanism for queued components. Chapter 8: Queued Components 131 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 131 Perhaps the most important requirement, and the one that can easily be over- looked at first, is the fact that the component must be registered on the client as well as on the server. Because you are dealing with COM+ components, it follows that COM+ must be installed also. As you see in a moment, the client does not access the local version of the component. The local version is more of a template that provides information to the client. With the queued component installed locally, the client can consume the queued interfaces of the component. COM+ can use the local copy of the component to determine if an exception class should be used during error conditions. With queued components, you must deploy your components not only on your Web server or application server but on each of your client machines as well. This is not so bad if you have only one client machine and one server, but chances are you have to deploy to multiple client machines. .NET’s deployment model, particu- larly as it applies to COM+ components, excels at this. In the past, if you deployed queued components to client machines, you had to find a way to deploy compo- nents, register them in COM+, and configure the appropriate attributes. COM+ replication can help you with this, but things can get hairy if clients become mis- configured. In this event, an administrator may have to reconfigure the COM+ application. Because ServicedComponents contain their COM+ attributes directly in their assemblies, the assembly needs simply to be re-registered. Recorder, Listener, and Player Figure 8-3 illustrates the architecture of the queued component system. The com- ponents in this system are the client, recorder, listener, player, and, of course, the queued component itself. As you can see in this diagram, both the client side and the server side must have COM+ installed for a client to be able to use a queued component. The recorder, listener, and player are all components of COM+, and COM+ uses them to hide the details of MSMQ programming. Figure 8-3: Queued-component architecture RecorderClient application Client machine Server machine hosting QC component COM+ runtime Listener COM+ runtime Player Queued component 132 Part II: COM+ Core Services 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 132 When the client creates an instance of a queued component, it receives an instance to a special COM+ component called the recorder in return. Once the client has a reference to a recorder, it can call the recorder’s methods as if it were the actual queued component. The recorder accepts the method calls as if it were the queued component and bundles them into an MSMQ message. When the client releases the reference to the recorder, the recorder submits the method calls to the queued component as a single MSMQ message. The message goes to the queued component’s public input queue to await processing by the listener component. At no time is the client communicating directly with the queued component. You may be wondering if nondeterministic finalization and Garbage Collection play a role in the release of the recorder object. After all, in most cases, a managed object is not released until the Garbage Collector collects it.Fortunately,for those of us writing queued components,nondeterministic finalization is not a problem. As you see later in this chapter, you explicitly release your references to queued components (for example, the recorder). At the server, the listener component waits for messages to arrive in the queued component’s public input queue. Figure 8-4 shows the public queue for a COM+ application called queued components. The name of this queue is the same as that of the COM+ application; in your case, it is queued components. Figure 8-4: Public input queue for queued components application Chapter 8: Queued Components 133 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 133 The listener is responsible for taking messages off the application’s queue and instantiating a player object. The listener does not directly instantiate the player component; instead, it instantiates another COM+ component called the ListenerHelper. The ProgId for this component is queued components.ListenerHelper. I mentioned earlier that the recorder, listener, and player are COM+ components. This is true in the sense that they are installed and registered as part of the standard COM+ installation on Windows 2000. However, only the recorder and ListenerHelper are truly configured components. Figure 8-5 shows where the ListenerHelper and recorder can be found in Component Services Explorer. COM+ comes with a library application called COM+ Utilities, which houses these components. Figure 8-5: ListenerHelper and recorder in COM+ utilities application The job of the ListenerHelper component is to create a player component. Each incoming MSMQ message is assigned a player component. The player compo- nent reads the contents of the message (the method calls), creates the actual queued components, and plays back each method call from the client. The player plays back the method calls in the same order in which the client called them. Now that you know a little more about the queued-components architecture, review these concepts by expanding Figure 8-2. Figure 8-6 starts with the client creating an instance of the queued component. In return, the client gets a reference to the queued components.Recorder config- ured component. The client proceeds to make method calls on this reference just as if it were actually using the queued component. Once the client releases its 134 Part II: COM+ Core Services 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 134 reference to the recorder object, COM+ creates an MSMQ message and sends the message to the queued component’s input queue. This entire process represents steps 1 through 5. When the message reaches the component’s public input queue, the listener takes the message off the queue and creates an instance of the player component. The listener uses the queued components.ListenerHelper component to do this (step 7). Then the listener passes the message to the player component, which in turn plays back the method calls contained in the message. At step 9, the player plays the calls back in the same order in which the Recorder component records them. Instantiating Queued Components Until this point in the book, I have been using the C# keyword new to create instances of components. This has served you well, as you have wanted to create and directly access instances of your components. The new keyword leaves you with a couple of limitations when you wish to use queued components. First, in most cases, the client and the component reside on two different computers. You need a way to tell COM+ not only which component you wish to create but also on what computer you wish to create it. The new keyword does not allow you to do this. Second, as I mention in the previous section, what you really want back after instantiating a component is a reference to the recorder, not a reference to the actual component. Figure 8-6: Expanded view of the queued components architecture Recorder MSMQ message MSMQ Client application Client machine Create a new QC MSMQ transmits message to component's input queue Listener takes the message off the queue Get back a reference to the Recorder Call methods on Recorder and release reference Package method calls into an MSMQ message Server machine hosting queued component COM+ runtime MSMQ message MSMQ message MSMQ COM+ runtime Listener Listener Helper 12 3 4 5 6 7 Player QC9 8 Activate ListenerHelper and get reference to the Player Listener passes message to the Player Player "plays back" method calls from client Chapter 8: Queued Components 135 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 135 Monikers are special types of components that allow you to specify which com- puter hosts the queued components you want to use. Monikers, in essence, are fac- tory components. If you are familiar with COM, you may know about the class factory. Class factories in COM exist to create other COM components. Class facto- ries are written specifically for a component. Because of this, they can have special knowledge of the components they create. Monikers are similar to COM class facto- ries; they exist to create other components. Monikers can get you around specify- ing a computer name because they can take input parameters during object initialization. I should point out that you do not create monikers directly. Monikers are not created in the way you normally create classes or components by using the new keyword. Monikers are created indirectly by passing a string to a method on some class. The string specifies the name of the moniker and, optionally, its para- meters. The moniker is created under the covers for you. This becomes clearer in the next few paragraphs. To create a queued component, use a particular moniker component called the queue moniker. The queue moniker knows how to create the recorder component (this solves the second limitation of new). One of the parameters you can pass to the queue moniker is the name of the computer hosting the queued component. Also, you can specify several parameters that affect the behavior of the message once it is placed on the queue. I am not going to list all of the parameters the queue moniker can take, but a few of them are: the message priority level; the destination queue name; time to reach the queue; whether or not to generate tracing messages as the message is routed; and the journal level for the queue. I think you get the idea. You can reference the MSDN documentation on queued components for the complete list of queue-moniker parameters. When a COM developer wishes to use monikers, he or she does not use the nor- mal CoCreateInstance (C/C++) or the Visual Basic command CreateObject. Instead, monikers have been created with a similar call such as GetObject in Visual Basic or CoGetObject in C/C++. C# developers have a similar means to instantiate components with monikers. The Framework’s System.Runtime.InteropServices namespace contains a class called Marshal that you use to create monikers. The Marshal class contains many methods used to manage the interaction between the Common Language Runtime (CLR) and the unmanaged runtime of Windows, par- ticularly the COM runtime. Many of these methods deal with memory management between the two runtimes. In this chapter, I will focus on two of the Marshal class’s methods only: BindToMoniker and ReleaseComObject. Both of these methods are static, which means you do not need to create an instance of the Marshal class to use them. You use the BindToMoniker method to create the moniker and, ultimately, the recorder. This method takes one parameter, a string, which represents the name of the moniker and its parameters, if any. Take a look at a few lines of code to make this concept clearer: 136 Part II: COM+ Core Services 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 136 IQC iqc; iqc = (IQC) Marshal.BindToMoniker(“queue:/new:queued componentsNamespace.queued components”); iqc.SomeMethod(); In the preceding code, the Marshal.BindToMoniker creates an instance of a queued component called QCNamespace.QC. The string parameter specifies the name of the moniker — queue — and the name of the queued component, QCNamespace.QC. In this string, I am using two monikers. The second moniker is the new moniker specified with /new:. These two monikers are used in conjunction to create an instance of the queued components or, more specifically, the COM+ recorder. I leave the explanation of the rest of the code until later in the chapter. The iqc variable is your reference to the recorder object, which you treat as a ref- erence to the actual queued component. So that takes care of creating an instance of the queued component or, more pre- cisely, gaining a reference to the recorder. Previously in this chapter, I stated that I have a way of overcoming the problems Garbage Collection introduces to queued components. The problem stems from the fact that you need to release your refer- ence to the recorder to get COM+ to create the MSMQ message and to send it to the queued component’s input queue. If you rely on Garbage Collection to release this reference, you are not certain when your message will be submitted to the compo- nent’s input queue. Fortunately, the Marshal.ReleaseComObject method call allows you to release your reference explicitly. This method takes one parameter: the reference you gain from the BindToMoniker call. Remember that because the recorder is an unmanaged, configured component, your access to it goes through COM Interop. When you make a call to ReleaseComObject, you are releasing your reference to the runtime callable wrapper, which in turn decrements the recorder’s reference count. Once the reference count reaches zero, the recorder is released, and the message is submitted to the queue. Exception Handling Although queued components provide a robust environment for distributed appli- cations, problems can still arise. For example, a client may not have sufficient rights to send a message to a component’s input queue. In other situations, a com- ponent may not be able to process a message that has reached its queue. The sec- ond scenario can be particularly nasty because it can lead to a poison message. To handle client errors and server-side errors, COM+ provides a way for you to specify an exception-handling class when these problems arise. Before you get into that, examine what happens when clients and servers have trouble processing messages. SERVER-SIDE ERROR HANDLING As you know, when a message reaches a component’s input queue, the listener server picks up the message and hands it to the player. Even after the message has reached the input queue, problems can arise. For some reason, the message can be Chapter 8: Queued Components 137 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 137 unreadable. A more likely scenario might be that the method calls inside the mes- sage contain data that the component cannot process. A poison message occurs when the player attempts to play back the method calls on the component and one or all of the method calls fail. If the component returns a failed HRESULT or raises an exception, the player aborts the process and puts the message back on the queue. As the message goes back on the queue, the listener picks it up again and passes it to the player, and the whole process starts again. If there is no mechanism in place to handle the error, the message can loop through the listener and player continuously. Figure 8-7 illustrates this process. Figure 8-7: Poison messages in queued components Messages the component cannot process are put on several retry queues. The first time a message fails, it is put on the first retry queue. The first retry queue is ApplicationName_0, where ApplicationName is the name of the COM+ applica- tion hosting the queued component. After one minute, the listener takes the mes- sage off the first input queue and tries to process it again. The message is tried three times once it has been taken off the first retry queue. If, after these attempts, the message still cannot be processed, it is placed on the second retry queue: ApplicationName_1. Once the message is placed on the second retry queue, the lis- tener waits two minutes before it tries the message again. Assuming the message continues to fail, it is placed on each of the five retry queues. The duration the mes- sage sits on each queue becomes longer each time the message falls to another queue. Just as with the first and second retry queues, the message is tried three times on each queue. Table 8-3 lists each of the retry queues, the number of retries for each, and the length of time the message sits on the queue. COM+ runtime Message Listener Listener takes the message from the queue Listener returns the message to the queue and the process repeats itself Player aborts the playback Queued component returns a failure HRESULT or raises an exception Listener hands off the message to the Player Player plays back the method calls from the client Player Queued component 138 Part II: COM+ Core Services 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 138 TABLE 8-3 QUEUE TIMEOUTS AND RETRY ATTEMPTS Queue Name Number of Retries Time to Wait on Queue (Minutes) ApplicationName_0 31 ApplicationName_2 32 ApplicationName_3 34 ApplicationName_4 38 ApplicationName_5 316 ApplicationName_DeadQueue 0 Indeterminate The last queue in Table 8-3 is the component’s final resting queue. A message goes into this queue if it cannot be processed during the other retry attempts. Messages in this queue remain here until they are manually removed with MSMQ Explorer. Once a message is placed in this queue, the listener does not attempt to retrieve it. The final resting queue and each of the retry queues are private and are created when the COM+ application is marked as queued. If you do not want a message to be retried this many times or to take as long to reach the final resting queue, you have the option of deleting any or all of the retry queues. If you delete all of the queues, a poison message goes directly to the final resting queue. If you delete only a few of the retry queues, the other queues below the ones you delete are moved up in priority. For instance, if you delete the third queue, the fourth queue behaves like the third. In this case, the fourth queue is tried after the second queue fails. Accordingly, messages wait on the fourth queue for eight minutes. CLIENT-SIDE ERROR HANDLING For a number of reasons, a client may have problems sending a message to the component’s input queue. For example, a client may not have sufficient privileges to submit the message. COM+ handles these types of errors in a similar fashion to the way it handles errors on the component’s end. This becomes clearer in the next section. Unlike the server component, a client does not have retry queues. When a mes- sage is determined to be undeliverable, it is moved to the client’s Xact dead letter queue. A client has one chance to reuse the message once the message has fallen into the dead letter queue. As a final effort to reclaim the message, COM+ supports the use of a special configured class called an exception class. Chapter 8: Queued Components 139 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 139 EXCEPTION CLASSES Exception classes are special kinds of COM+ components. They are specified through a COM+ attribute called Queued Exception Class. Figure 8-8 shows the Advanced tab for a queued component called QCMarshal.MarshalClass. In Figure 8-8, I have specified an exception class called QCMarshal.QC. Figure 8-8: Exception class in Component Services Explorer COM+ uses this exception class in a similar way for both server errors and client errors. This component must implement the IPlaybackControl interface. Before COM+ places a message on the component’s final resting queue, it looks to see if the component has defined an exception class. If an exception class is present, COM+ calls the IPlaybackControl.FinalServerRetry method. This method allows the exception class to try to determine what has gone wrong and to report errors to the developer. For client-side errors, a similar process exists. Before a mes- sage goes onto the dead letter queue, COM+ calls the IPlaybackControl. FinalClientRetry method. This method is used similarly to the way the IPlaybackControl.FinalServerRetry method is used on the server side. In addition to supporting the IPlaybackControl interface, the exception class must implement the queued component’s queued interface. After COM+ calls one of the methods on the IPlaybackControl interface, it replays method calls on the exception class. At this point, the exception class has one chance to make the trans- action happen. If the exception class throws an error, the message is put in the dead letter queue or the final resting queue, depending on which side (server or client) the error has occurred. 140 Part II: COM+ Core Services 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 140 Queued Component Design Considerations Using queued components and components that use loosely coupled events requires specific design considerations. Remember from Chapter 6 that when you design loosely coupled events, you have to keep in mind that method calls go only one way: from the publisher to subscribers. The same is true for queued compo- nents. Queued components are perhaps an even more extreme case of one-way pro- cessing, as the lifetimes of the client and component do not necessarily overlap. Keeping this central concept in mind helps you understand why queued compo- nents must meet the requirements stated in this section. Before you get into the requirements that components must meet in order to be queued, examine some questions you should ask yourself when trying to decide if you should use queued components. Do my clients and components need to talk to each other in real time? Do my clients even need a response from the component? Must my method calls be guaranteed to make it across the network? Can a time lag exist between when the method calls are made and when the component processes them? These questions are intended to drive your thinking about the differences between synchronous calls and calls made by using MSMQ messages. For instance, in the first question, if your clients do not need access to components in real time, you might consider using queued components. As a general rule, queued compo- nents do not respond to their clients about the success or failure of a method call. If your clients are content to make a few method calls and then proceed with other processing, queued components may work for you. The third question deals with guaranteed delivery of MSMQ messages. Because queued components use MSMQ as their transport, method calls can be guaranteed to reach the component. MSMQ provides a more robust delivery mechanism than other techniques such as remote procedure calls. The final question should drive your thinking regarding batch-processing your method calls. If your clients are comfortable with the fact that the component may not process their method calls in a timely manner, you may be able to use queued components to batch-process your method calls. Think of an order-entry scenario in which users are entering orders all day into an order-entry application. At the end of the day, everyone goes home, and computers are idle. What if those orders can be processed at night — in a type of batch mode — while everyone is gone, instead of being processed as users are entering them? Queued components are an excellent fit for this type of processing. Because the COM+ server application must be running to listen for incoming messages, you can schedule the application to start during off hours. Until that time, messages from the clients sit in the compo- nent’s input queue. Chapter 8: Queued Components 141 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 141 In addition to the questions mentioned previously, queued components must meet certain requirements before they can be installed as queued components. First and foremost, method calls must not contain output parameters or return values. Remember that return values from a method call in C# are converted to [out, retval] parameters in the component’s type library. In other words, methods in ServicedComponent classes that return values are no good for queued components. C# supports two keywords, ref and out, that are illegal in queued components. Both of these keywords affect the behavior of method parameters. The ref keyword forces a method parameter to be passed in by reference. Parameters passed in with the ref keyword must be initialized before the method is called. During method execution, the method can modify the parameter value, and the new value is returned to the client. The out keyword behaves in a similar way, except that the client does not have to initialize parameters before they are passed in. You cannot queue your interfaces if they contain methods that use either of these keywords. In fact, the Regsvcs utility does not install your component if it sees methods that have these keywords (assuming you are installing queued components). C# classes, even those derived from ServicedComponent, cannot be passed as parameters to methods. Because the lifetimes of the client and component cannot overlap, a copy of the class must be made as it is sent to the component. Components passed to a queued component’s method parameters must be mar- shaled into an MSMQ message before they can be sent to the component. ServicedComponent classes do not support this functionality by default. If you wish to pass your managed components as method parameters, they must derive from a COM interface called IPersistStream. This interface enables the recorder to marshal the object into a message and enables the player to unmarshal the com- ponent from the incoming message. Using Other COM+ Services with Queued Components Other COM+ services such as transactions, security, and loosely coupled events can be used in combination with queued components. Some services, such as loosely coupled events, provide a nice complement to queued components. Other services, such as role-based security, introduce limitations. This section does not address all of the services of COM+ but hits upon the most noteworthy services. Role-Based Security COM+ role-based security is supported for queued components even though the lifetimes of the client and component do not overlap. When the recorder packages method calls into an MSMQ message, the client’s security context is also included 142 Part II: COM+ Core Services 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 142 in the message. When the message reaches the component, the player unpacks the client’s security context. As the player begins to play back the method calls, the queued component sees the calls as if they were coming directly from the client. Because of this, the queued component can define roles and allow or deny access to its interfaces based on those roles. In addition, calls such as ContextUtil. IsCallerInRole are based on the context of the original caller, the client. Transactions Transactions are an integral part of queued components. COM+ transactions occur on the client side when the recorder is invoked and on the server side when the ListenerHelper returns the unconfigured player object. For your server-side objects, this means that they are invoked in the ListenerHelper’s transaction if they sup- port or require a transaction. If your component runs in the ListenerHelper’s transaction and it calls ContextUtil.SetAbort or ContextUtil.Disable Commit(), the message goes back on the queue and is retried. This can lead to a poison message that ends up on the component’s final resting queue if the compo- nent consistently aborts the transaction. The recorder is configured to require a transaction. Clients that run in transac- tions include the recorder in their transactions when they invoke the queued com- ponent through the moniker. If the client aborts the transaction, the message is not delivered to the queued component’s input queue. These messages can be taken off the queue during a failed transaction because of MSMQ’s support for COM+ trans- actions. MSMQ provides a resource manager that participates in DTC transactions. Loosely Coupled Events Of all the services COM+ offers, loosely coupled events implement the closest development model to queued components. Like queued components, loosely cou- pled events provide one-way processing of client calls to components. Queued components can be used to provide asynchronous notification of events. There are a couple of ways queued components can be used with events. Your first option is to make the event class a queued component. In this scenario, publishers use the Marshal class and queue moniker to instantiate the queued event class. Method calls are generated and inserted into an MSMQ message as normal. When the messages reach the event class, the recorder plays the methods, and the events fire to subscribers. Your second option is to queue the interfaces of subscribers. In this option, pub- lishers consume the event class as they normally do but without MSMQ interaction. As events fire, the event system passes method calls to the recorder, and MSMQ delivers messages to subscribers. Chapter 8: Queued Components 143 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 143 Developing Queued Components in C# This section shows you how to write three implementations of queued components: A HelloWorld queued component A queued subscribers class in a loosely coupled event A queued component implementing an exception class You will see how .NET supports the development of queued components through attributes from the System.EnterpriseServices namespace. Unless I specify oth- erwise, all of these attributes are in this namespace. HelloWorld Queued Component In this example, the client and component are implemented in the same namespace. This may not be your typical implementation, but it serves to demonstrate how the client and component interact. The client in this example is a console application implemented in the MyApp class. Before you get into the code, examine the COM+ attributes and development model for queued components. Figure 8-9 shows the properties dialog for a COM+ application that holds queued components. Two queuing attributes are set at the application level: Queued and Listen. If the Queued attribute is set, the public application queue and the private retry queues are created (at installation). The Queued attribute allows the application to receive MSMQ messages. The Listen attribute tells COM+ that it should process messages once the application starts. Figure 8-9: Application-level attributes 144 Part II: COM+ Core Services 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 144 The next level down from the application is the queued component itself. The only attribute specified on the component is the exception class. In Figure 8-10, the Advanced tab displays an exception class I have configured called QCNamespace.QCException. The exception class attribute can be a ProgID or CLSID. Figure 8-10: Exception class attribute For the component’s interfaces, the final attribute related to queued components is Queued. In Figure 8-11, you can see that the Queued attribute has been checked on the Queuing tab for the IQC interface. When this attribute is enabled, clients can use it to record method calls. Figure 8-11: Queued attribute for IQC interface Chapter 8: Queued Components 145 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 145 Take a look now at the HelloWorld application. To specify the application-level attributes, use the .NET Framework ApplicationQueuing attribute. The constructor for this attribute sets the attribute’s properties to their default values, which means the application is marked as Queued but is not marked to listen for incoming messages. To enable listening, the QueueListenerEnabled property must be set to true. When the assembly is installed, this property enables the Listen attribute you saw in Figure 8-9. The ApplicationQueuing attribute has one other property called Enabled. Enabled is a Boolean property that specifies whether or not the application is queued. Using the default constructor sets this property to true and enables queu- ing for the application. In the code in Listing 8-2, I have set the QueueListenerEnabled and Enabled properties to true. Listing 8-2: Hello World Queued Component using System.Reflection; using System.EnterpriseServices; [assembly: AssemblyKeyFile(“QCKey.snk”)] [assembly: ApplicationActivation(ActivationOption.Server)] [ assembly: ApplicationQueuing(Enabled=true,QueueListenerEnabled=true) ] namespace HelloWorld { using System; using System.EnterpriseServices; using System.Runtime.InteropServices; using System.Windows.Forms; [InterfaceQueuing] public interface IQC { void SayHello(string msg); } public class QC : ServicedComponent, IQC { public void SayHello(string msg) { MessageBox.Show(“HelloWorld.QC: “ + msg); } 146 Part II: COM+ Core Services 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 146 } public class MyApp { public static void Main() { IQC iqc; iqc = (IQC) Marshal.BindToMoniker(“queue:/new:HelloWorld.QC”); iqc.SayHello(“Hello!”); Marshal.ReleaseComObject(iqc); } } } The development of queued components revolves around the interface you define as queued. Interfaces act as the glue between the client and component. Interfaces provide a mechanism that allows the client and component to agree on how they interact with each other. In your example, I have created an interface called IQC. This interface has only one method defined: SayHello. SayHello takes a string parameter. Notice that this method is void; it does not return a value. This is in keeping with the rules for queued components I stated earlier in this chapter. The InterfaceQueuing attribute marks this interface as queued when the compo- nent is registered. This attribute maps directly to the COM+ attribute you saw in Figure 8-11. The queued component class is defined below the definition of the IQC interface. This class, like all other COM+ classes written in C#, inherits from the ServicedComponent class. This class also implements the IQC interface. The imple- mentation of the ICQ.SayHello method for this class shows the msg variable in a message box. So far, this should be pretty straightforward. This model of interface-based pro- gramming should look pretty familiar. In Chapter 6, you write your components in a similar fashion. Things get a little trickier in the console application. I start off by defining an interface variable: iqc. This variable holds a reference to the queued component the moniker returns. To invoke the moniker and create the component, use the Marshal.BindToMoniker class. The return value for this method is always a System.Object class, regardless of the type the moniker is creating. To be able to call methods on this object, cast it to an IQC type. The (IQC) between the method call and the assignment operator (equal sign) accomplishes this. Once you have a valid reference to the queued component (specifically, to the recorder) and you have converted the queued component to a type you can use, you can call its methods and release the reference. When you are done with the object, call Marshal.ReleaseComObject to release the reference. At this point, the recorder creates the MSMQ message and attempts to place it on the component’s input queue. Chapter 8: Queued Components 147 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 147 Loosely Coupled Events and Queued Components You can extend the preceding HelloWorld example to support loosely coupled events. In the next example, I convert the preceding queued components class into an event class by setting the EventClass attribute. Because the queued compo- nents class is now an event class, I can remove the message box function from the SayHello method, as it will not be called anyway. When these components are installed and registered, the queued component is configured as an event class, and its IQC interface is marked as queued. The QC class still acts as a queued component. After the client calls the SayHello method and releases the object reference, the method calls are packaged into a message and sent to the application. On the server side, the player reads the message and plays back the method calls. At this point, the COM+ event system engages and notifies sub- scribers (in your case, the QCSubscriber class). Listing 8-3: Combining Events with a Queued Component using System.Reflection; using System.EnterpriseServices; [assembly: AssemblyKeyFile(“QCKey.snk”)] [assembly: ApplicationActivation(ActivationOption.Server)] [ assembly: ApplicationQueuing(Enabled=true,QueueListenerEnabled=true) ] namespace HelloWorld { using System; using System.EnterpriseServices; using System.Runtime.InteropServices; using System.Windows.Forms; [InterfaceQueuing] public interface IQC { void SayHello(string msg); } [EventClass] public class QC : ServicedComponent, IQC { public void SayHello(string msg) { } 148 Part II: COM+ Core Services 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 148 } public class QCSubscriber : ServicedComponent, IQC { public void SayHello(string msg) { MessageBox.Show(“HelloWorld.QCSubscriber: “ + msg); } } public class MyApp { public static void Main() { Iqueued components iqc; iqc = (IQC) Marshal.BindToMoniker(“queue:/new:HelloWorld.QC”); iqc.SayHello(“Hello!”); Marshal.ReleaseComObject(iqc); } } } Exception Classes In this final example, you extend the queued components class from Listing 8-2 to define an exception class. The ExceptionClass attribute defines an exception class ProgID or CLSID for a queued component. This attribute has one constructor that takes a string representing the exception class’s ProgID or CLSID. If you specify the exception class’s CLSID, you need to define one by using the System.Runtime.InteropServices.GuidAttribute attribute. If you do not define this attribute, one is defined for you when you register the class with COM+. Listing 8-4: Implementing an Exception Class using System.Reflection; using System.EnterpriseServices; [assembly: AssemblyKeyFile(“QCKey.snk”)] [assembly: ApplicationActivation(ActivationOption.Server)] [ assembly: ApplicationQueuing(Enabled=true,QueueListenerEnabled=true) ] Chapter 8: Queued Components 149 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 149 namespace HelloWorld { using System; using System.EnterpriseServices; using System.Runtime.InteropServices; using System.Windows.Forms; using COMSVCSLib; [InterfaceQueuing] public interface IQC { void SayHello(string msg); } [ExceptionClass(“HelloWorld.QCException”)] public class QC : ServicedComponent, IQC { public void SayHello(string msg) { MessageBox.Show(“HelloWorld.QC: “ + msg); } } public class QCExceptionClass : ServicedComponent, IPlaybackControl, IQC { // method from IQC Interface public void SayHello(string msg) { MessageBox.Show(“HelloWorld.QCExceptionClass: “ & msg); } // method from IPlaybackControl interface public void FinalClientRetry() { // prepare for the final retry of the message MessageBox.Show(“HelloWorld.QCExceptionClass: FinalClientRetry”); } // method from IPlaybackControl interface public void FinalServerRetry() { // prepare for the final retry of the message MessageBox.Show(“HelloWorld.QCExceptionClass: FinalServerRetry”); } } 150 Part II: COM+ Core Services 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 150 public class MyApp { public static void Main() { IQC iqc; iqc = (IQC) Marshal.BindToMoniker(“queue:/new:HelloWorld.QC”); iqc.SayHello(“Hello!”); Marshal.ReleaseComObject(iqc); } } } Remember that exception classes must implement not only the queued interface but also the IPlaybackControl interface. IPlaybackControl comes from the COM+ services type library (comsvcs.dll). To gain access to this interface from the assembly, use the Type Library Importer utility (tlbimp.exe). The COM+ services type library carries over as the COMSVCSLib namespace. Normally in the FinalClientRetry and FinalServerRetry methods, you prepare for the queued interface methods to be called. Here, I am just showing a message box on screen that contains the name of the component and the name of the method being called. Summary If you retain anything from reading this chapter, I hope you understand how queued components can help you leverage the asynchronous computing benefits of MSMQ. Queued components — when used in the right places — can greatly help you scale your applications. As you go forward and develop .NET applications, ask yourself if your clients need an immediate response from their components. If the answer is no, queued components may be a good solution for you. Chapter 8: Queued Components 151 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 151 114835-2 Ch08.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 152 Advanced COM+ Computing CHAPTER 9 Remoting CHAPTER 10 The Future of COM+ and .NET Part III 124835-2 Pt3.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 153 124835-2 Pt3.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 154 Chapter 9 Remoting IN THIS CHAPTER The .NET Remoting Framework Introduction to SOAP Remoting ServicedComponents REMOTING INVOLVES TWO APPLICATIONS talking to each other across a network or some other boundary. Prior to using .NET, developers used remoting architectures such as DCOM. DCOM enabled developers to call other COM components across the net- work or across a Win32 process boundary. Generally, this worked fine if developers were making calls inside their Intranets. However, as the Internet gained popularity, weaknesses appeared in the DCOM computing model. Often, when an Internet appli- cation using DCOM needed to make calls across the Internet, it had to go through firewalls, proxy servers, or routers performing Network Address Translation (NAT). All of this added up to a veritable minefield for DCOM applications. One of the more recent evolutions in remoting is Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). SOAP is a wire protocol that allows you to send and receive method calls across the network. SOAP uses XML to encode method calls and HTTP to transport those calls to their destinations. SOAP solves many of the problems that arise when DCOM is used for Internet applications. Because SOAP uses HTTP, SOAP method calls and normal HTTP requests from a Web browser look virtually the same to a firewall or proxy server. Nearly seamlessly, the .NET Remoting Framework supports SOAP. In addition, it supports remoting by using other transports and encoders, such as TCP/IP and binary encoders (also called formatters). The beauty of the .NET Remoting Framework is that it allows you to mix and match transport protocols and format- ters. You can also develop your own classes to handle the networking and format- ting of method calls. You may be wondering what .NET remoting has to do with COM+. It just so hap- pens that all classes derived from ServicedComponent can be plugged into the .NET Remoting Framework. All ServicedComponent-derived classes inherit from System.ContextBoundObject, which inherits from System.MarhsalByRefObject. ContextBoundObject and MarshalByRefObject ensure that a derived ServicedComponent is transported safely across a network or application-domain boundary. 155 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 155 .NET Remoting Framework The .NET Remoting Framework is a complicated subject. I am sure entire books will be written on the topic. In this chapter, I am not trying to cover everything you can do with the .NET Remoting Framework. You can extend the framework quite a bit by implementing your own channels, ObjRef’s, formatters (these terms become clearer later), and so on. This chapter provides an introduction to the pieces of the remoting architecture and framework that apply to most .NET types, such as ServicedComponents. The terms Marshal, endpoint, and well-known object are used over and over in this chapter. It can be difficult to jump into any topic as complicated as remoting without understanding at least some of the common terms. Before you go on, review what these terms mean in .NET remoting. Marshaling Defined When a client creates an instance of a component, it essentially receives a pointer to a memory address where the instance resides. These pointers make sense to the application creating the instance. These pointers, however, cannot be passed out- side of their original application domain without a little help. Marshaling addresses this issue by converting references to memory locations that make sense in one application domain into addresses that make sense in another application domain. However, marshaling involves a little more than just converting memory address A to memory address B. Marshaling is responsible for transferring a method’s call stack from the client to the server. For the purposes of this discussion, think of the call stack as the block of memory that defines a method call as it is executing. A call stack consists of the following: Parameter types and current values Executable code of the method Return values Any exceptions the method throws Marshaling takes a method call and transforms it into some format that can be sent across the wire (or application boundary) so the receiving application can pick up the message and re-create the object reference and the method call. The frame- work performs marshaling in the other direction: from the server back to the client. Often, methods contain out parameters, ref parameters, or return values that need to be marshaled back to the client. 156 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 156 Endpoint Defined Endpoints are common in any remoting discussion. If you are familiar with HTTP URLs, you should comprehend end points quite easily. In HTTP, a URL looks some- thing like this: http://www.hungryminds.com/mandtbooks/index.html A URL defines an endpoint of sorts to a Web server. Here, the http:// identifies the protocol being used. For a Web request, the protocol is, naturally, HTTP. Immediately following the protocol definition is the name of Web server. In the pre- ceding URL, the Web server is www.hungryminds.com. Following the name of the Web server is the folder and page being requested. In this example, we are request- ing index.html in the mandtbooks folder. The folder and the name of the page tell the Web server at what path the requested resource can be found. Together, the pro- tocol, Web server name, and path define an endpoint. In the .NET Remoting Framework, endpoints are defined in a similar manner. A client that wishes to invoke a method of a remote component must define an end- point. As with an HTTP URL, the client must specify an endpoint by providing the protocol, server name, and name of the resource. For example, if you have a Web service on a server called www.someserver.com that you want to access from a client application, you can define the endpoint as such: http://www.someserver.com/myappfolder/mywebservice.aspx This should look very familiar. Again, define the protocol, Web server, and path to the resource you are trying to consume. In this example, the Web server hosts the remote component you are trying to access. Once the client connects to the Web server, the mywebservice.aspx page instantiates the component and makes the requested method call. However, to access remote components, the .NET Framework allows you to use other protocols, such as TCP. As you can see in the “Channels” section of this chap- ter, remote components can be hosted in Windows services. Any Windows service that hosts .NET components for the purpose of remoting must listen on some TCP/IP port for incoming requests. In this scenario, the client must specify the port number when it provides the endpoint to the remoting framework. For example, if you have a client that wishes to connect to a remote component on a Windows ser- vice listening to port 9000, the endpoint might look something like this: tcp://www.someserver.com:9000/RemoteComponentName In this example, I specify the protocol as TCP. The server name is still www.some- server.com, but this time I have added the port number, 9000. When the client instantiates an instance of the remote component, the remoting framework is intel- ligent enough to know that you are requesting a component called RemoteComponentName. Chapter 9: Remoting 157 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 157 Well-known Objects Well-known objects have been registered with the remoting runtime. These are objects in which type information in the form of metadata is available. These objects are considered to be well known because both the client and server are aware of their existence and how they are to be processed. You see in the next sec- tion that remotable objects fall into two broad categories: client activated and server activated. Both of these types of objects are considered well known. In fact, all of the COM+ components you write in this chapter are considered well known. In the preceding discussion regarding endpoints, I give you a TCP example of an endpoint. The last section of the endpoint defines the name of the remote object. This is the name of the well-known object that the hosting application on the server registers. Marshaling by Reference Versus Marshaling by Value One of the first things you should think about when designing a remote class is whether you want the client to get its own local copy of the class or whether you want the class to stay on its original server and have clients access the component remotely. The framework considers classes that follow the former scenario to be MarshalByVal (marshal by value) types. When a client accesses these kinds of classes, the framework makes a copy of the running instance of the class and trans- ports it across the network to the client. Classes that fall into the latter scenario are called MarshalByRef (marshal by reference). ServicedComponent-derived classes fall into this category. MARSHALING BY VALUE MarshalByVal classes are copied in their entirety whenever they are referenced. By nature, class references can be made to MarshalByVal types (or to any other type) in any of the following ways: Instantiating a new instance of the class Passing a class as a parameter to a method call Returning an instance of a class as a method’s return value Accessing a property or field of another class Classes marshaled by value must implement the System.Runtime. Serialization.ISerialiable interface or be decorated with the System. Serializable attribute. The ISerializable interface and the Serializable attribute are used during the marshaling process to convert the in-memory repre- sentation of the class into a format that can be transmitted across the net- work. ISerializable gives you greater control over how the class is serial- ized. This interface defines one method: GetObjectData (SerializationInfo, 158 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 158 StreamingContext). The first parameter of this method, System.Runtime. Serialization.SerializationInfo, is a class that allows you to define the types and their values that will be serialized. The second parameter, System.Runtime. Serialization.StreamingContext, is a structure that allows you to define source or destination contexts of the class. The context can be specified as originating from another application domain or from a different computer, among other places. It is important to note that MarshalByVal classes need not implement these two options directly. It is sufficient to inherit, either directly or indirectly, from an ancestor class that implements ISerializable or is attributed with the Serializable attribute. Decorating a class with the System.Serializable attribute is a little less involved than implementing the ISerializable interface. If you choose to go this route, you gain simplicity and ease of implementation, but you lose a certain amount of flexibility. In other words, you pretty much get what the runtime hands you. In a class that has been marked with this attribute, all fields are marshaled into the destination-application domain, with one exception. The System. NonSerializable attribute is used for fields (of a class marked with Serializable) not to be serialized. As the runtime serializes a class, it skips fields marked with NonSerializable. MARSHALING BY REFERENCE MarshalByRef classes stay in the application domain in which they are created. As clients instantiate new instances or reference existing ones, MarshalByRef objects stay put. For the remoting runtime to marshal a class by reference, the class must inherit from System.MarshalByRefObject or from a derived class such as System. ContextBoundObject. As you know by now, all classes that wish to utilize COM+ services derive from the ServicedComponent class. The ServicedComponent class inherits from the ContextBoundObject class, which inherits from MarshalByRefObject. This means that all ServicedComponent-derived classes can be marshaled by reference. Figure 9-1 depicts the class hierarchy for a ServicedComponent-derived class. The MarshalByRefObject and ContextBoundObject classes are defined as abstract-base classes. Abstract-base classes such as these cannot be instantiated directly. They are intended to be used solely as base classes for other components. For classes such as ServicedComponent that inherit directly from base classes, the child must implement all methods the class defines. Incidentally, because ContextBoundObject is an abstract class, it does not have to implement the meth- ods of MarshalByRefObject. DECIDING BETWEEN MARSHALBYVAL AND MARSHALBYREF If you are implementing ServicedComponent-derived classes, choosing between MarshalByRef and MarshalByVal is moot. Because ServicedComponent inherits from ContextBoundObject, you know that all of your COM+ components are mar- shaled by reference. But how do you decide which to use if other parts of your Chapter 9: Remoting 159 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 159 application need to be remoted without the help of ServicedComponent? Let me give you some criteria to help make that decision. Figure 9-1: Class hierarchy for ServicedComponent Objects whose complete state can be moved across the network with a minimal performance impact are often good candidates for being marshaled by value. As an object becomes larger, the performance impact from making a copy of it and trans- ferring it across the network can become prohibitive. Usually, objects that maintain state specific to a particular machine cannot be marshaled by value; thus, marshaling by reference becomes your only option. System.ContextBoundObject System.MarshalByRefObject System.Object Classes that inherit from this class are marshaled by reference. Since this is an abstract base class, you cannot create an instance of this class directly. Classes that inherit from this are not only marshaled by reference but also bound to the context in which they were created. Like MarshalByRefObject, this class is abstract. Since ServicedComponent inherits from ContextBoundObject and MarshalByRefObject (indirectly), any COM+ component you create can be remoted by reference. YourNamespace. YourComponentName System.EnterpriseServices ServicedComponent 160 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 160 Consider a class that wraps access to a file on a particular machine. Unless the entire file itself can be copied to each client, it is not feasible to marshal this class by value. Many applications that extensively use COM+ services such as object pooling and transactions are deployed on a server farm that has multiple servers. Usually, these servers are much more powerful than your typical client machine. Often, they are configured to perform a specific task. Marshaling these components by refer- ence makes sense in this situation, as you want the component to do its work on the server farm. CONTEXT-BOUND OBJECTS Before I go on, I want to explain what a ContextBoundObject derived class is and why ServicedComponent inherits from this class. A context in .NET remoting is very similar to a context in COM+ (discussed in Chapter 4). Contexts can be viewed from two angles. One way to think of a context is as a property bag for a class. The property bag might contain properties that tell the remoting runtime that access to this class must be serialized or that this class is performing transactional work. A context can also be thought of as a subdivision of an application domain. Remember that an application domain in .NET is a logical process. A Win32 process can have multiple application domains running inside of it. Following that, an application domain can have multiple contexts within itself. Figure 9-2 shows the breakdown of Win32 processes, application domains, and contexts for a remoting application. Each application domain has at least one context. This is called the default con- text. When a class such as ServicedComponent is instantiated inside an application domain, a new context may be created. When types from one context access types in another context, calls are made through a proxy object, unknown to the type originating the call. ServicedComponent derives from ContextBoundObject because all COM+ components, and thus all ServicedComponent-derived classes, are created either in their own contexts or in the context of their creators. The remoting runtime must be able to bind a ServicedComponent-derived class to its context to ensure that none of the access rules such as access serialization are violated. Activating a Remote Object To call methods on any kind of class, you must create an instance of the class. When it comes to instantiation, remotable components fall into two categories: client-activated objects and server-activated objects. In both cases, clients continue to use some form of object creation API, such as new. Client-activated objects are created when the client creates a new instance of the object using the C# keyword new. Server-activated objects, on the other hand, are activated when the client calls a method. Chapter 9: Remoting 161 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 161 Figure 9-2: Contexts, application domains, and Win32 processes CLIENT-ACTIVATED OBJECTS In client-activated objects, the client controls when the object is created. When the client makes an API call to create an instance of the component, the remoting architecture creates the remote component and returns a reference to the client. Each instantiation the client makes creates a new component on the server. Remember that the client controls when a client-activated object is created. The server, on the other end of the remoting architecture, does not differentiate between a client-activated object and a server-activated object. The client decides when the component is instantiated by using specific APIs. Client-activated objects, unlike server-activated objects, allow you to create instances of remote objects by using parameterized constructors. Using the new keyword is probably the most straightforward way to use parameterized Physical machine boundary Context Boundary from ContextBoundObject Common Language Runtime Application Domain Boundary Windows 32-bit process boundary ServicedComponent derived class 162 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 162 constructors. Another way to use parameterized constructors is with the Activator.CreateInstance method. The Activator class comes from the System namespace. CreateInstance is an overloaded method that can be used to pass in an object [] array. The array contains the parameters for the object’s constructor. SERVER-ACTIVATED OBJECTS Server-activated objects fall into two categories: Singleton and SingleCall. Instead of the client, the remoting runtime running on a server creates the instances. Both of these types of objects are created when the client calls a method on the object. The first time the client calls a method, an object-creation request appears in the network transmission. The .NET Remoting Framework does not sup- port the creation of server-activated objects by using parameterized constructors. SingleCall objects are very similar to JIT components in COM+. The remoting runtime instantiates an instance of a SingleCall object each time the client calls a method (Figure 9-3). Remember that if a component is marked to enable Just In Time Activation (JITA), COM+ automatically creates an instance of the component just before a method call occurs; in addition, COM+ destroys the instance after the call returns. SingleCall objects work in the same way. A new instance of the remote object services each method call coming from the client. The Singleton object is alive only for the duration of a method call. Figure 9-3: SingleCall object with multiple clients Singleton objects are created when the client makes a method call. The first client to make a method call takes whatever hit is associated with the creation of the object. Subsequent calls from the client, or calls from other clients, are serviced Client 1 Method call results in a new instance CLR Application Domain (remote machine) SingleCall object SingleCall object SingleCall object Client 2 Method call results in a new instance Client 3 Method call results in a new instance Chapter 9: Remoting 163 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 163 from the original instance of the object (Figure 9-4). In other words, Singleton objects service all client requests from one instance. A lease determines the lifetime of a Singleton object when the object is instantiated. The lease has a default expi- ration associated with it. Once the remoting runtime has determined that the lease has expired, the runtime deactivates the object. Once this happens, the object becomes eligible for Garbage Collection. Figure 9-4: Singleton object with multiple clients It is important to understand state issues when dealing with both types of server- activated objects. Both of these types of objects are stateless. If you understand how JIT components in COM+ become stateless, you are well on your way to under- standing how SingleCall objects are stateless. The concept is the same for both development models. Because a SingleCall object is destroyed after each method call, there is no way for the object to hold any state — at least not any client state. Technically speaking, a Singleton object can hold client state, but this is a bad idea for a couple of reasons. First of all, if one of these types of objects holds client state, at some point it might contain state from multiple clients. If the object were to update a database by using properties previously set by a number of clients, the database might become corrupted. Another reason to avoid holding state in a Singleton object is that the object’s lease can expire at any time without the client’s knowledge. If this happens, no exception can be raised for the client to detect. The original object is disconnected from the remoting runtime. A new instance of the object is created when the next method call is made. The state the original object holds is lost when the object is destroyed. Client 1 CLR Application Domain (remote machine) SingleCall objectClient 2 Method call is serviced from one instance Method call is serviced from one instance Method call is serviced from one instance Client 3 164 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 164 If you need to maintain state in your remote objects, client activation is your best route. Because a new instance services each client, these types of objects can safely hold state. Keep in mind, however, that many of the rules related to non- deterministic finalization apply here. If the object holds expensive resources, it should implement some sort of close method or dispose method. If the network goes down before the client can call one of these methods, the resource may be released only when the remote object becomes unreachable (by going out of scope) and Garbage Collection occurs. The object does not go out of scope until the lease has expired and the remoting runtime has released the object. Proxies When the client instantiates an instance of a remote component, it is able to call methods on the component as if it were running within its own application domain. Once you figure out how to instantiate a component in the manner you like, you are free to use the instance as if it were any other type within your application. Proxies fool the client into thinking it is dealing with an actual instance of the remote object. In reality, the proxy is forwarding method calls to the remoting framework, which, in turn, connects to the remote machine and delivers the method call to the remote component. The remoting framework implements two proxies that work together to provide this functionality: the transparent proxy and the real proxy. THE TRANSPARENT PROXY The transparent proxy intercepts calls from the client and forwards them to the real proxy object. When the client creates an instance of a remote object, regardless of the object’s activation type (server activated or client activated), the remoting run- time returns a transparent proxy. As the client calls methods, the transparent proxy verifies that the methods (and their parameters) are consistent with the type being used. In other words, if the client instantiates a class called CFoo and calls one of CFoo’s methods, such as CFoo.DoSomething, the transparent proxy intercepts the call to DoSomething and explores several questions: Does CFoo have a DoSomething method? Are the method parameters the correct type? Is this a public method? Does CFoo live in another application domain? The transparent proxy uses the client’s local copy of the remote object’s assem- bly to verify the method call. Take a look at Figure 9-5 to clear this up. Chapter 9: Remoting 165 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 165 Figure 9-5: The transparent proxy intercepts method calls. In Figure 9-5, you see a console application creating a new instance of the CFoo class. Assume that this is a client-activated object and that CFoo inherits from MarshalByRefObject. When the client’s call to new CFoo (step 1) returns, the client gets an instance of the transparent proxy, although it thinks the proxy is CFoo. When the call to DoSomething is made, the transparent proxy intercepts the call and verifies it against the type information in the client’s local assembly. This assembly contains the definition for CFoo. Assuming the parameters for DoSomething are correct, the transparent proxy forwards the call to the next step in the remoting process: the real proxy. The transparent proxy is responsible for transforming a client’s method call into a message that can be handed off to the real proxy. The message contains all of the method’s parameters and their values. The transparent proxy takes a snapshot of the method call at runtime and converts it to a message-class object. The message object must implement the System.Runtime.Remoting.Messaging.IMessage interface. I discuss messages later in this chapter. For now, understand that the transparent proxy is responsible for constructing the message and forwarding it to the real proxy. The transparent proxy is an internal class the remoting framework implements. You never create an instance of the transparent proxy yourself. However, some- times it is useful to know if you are dealing with a remote proxy or an actual instance. RemotingServices.IsTransparentProxy is a static method you can use to determine if the instance of a class is a transparent proxy or a real object instance. This method takes a System.Object parameter. In the preceding example, if the variable holding your instance of CFoo were called foo, this call would be RemotingServices.IsTransparentProxy (foo). CFoo Client's Application Domain call DoSomething against transparent proxy call new CFoo Client's Main() method inside console app Remote Object Application Domain CFoo (transparent proxy) Local copy of assembly for CFoo 1 Return transparent proxy2 3 call DoSomething() and verify against local assembly 4 166 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 166 THE REAL PROXY AND OBJECT REFERENCES The real proxy is responsible for communication between the transparent proxy and the rest of the remoting runtime. I mentioned previously that the transparent proxy forwards method calls in the form of an IMessage interface to the real proxy. The real proxy takes the message and forwards it the appropriate channel. I discuss channels in the next section. For now, think of a channel as the piece of the remot- ing framework that knows how to send and receive data from the wire. The transparent proxy forwards a message to the real proxy through the real proxy’s Invoke method. The Invoke method takes one parameter, an object that implements the IMessage interface. The real proxy class is defined in the System.Runtime.Remoting.Proxies namespace. The real proxy class is yet another abstract class that a client cannot instantiate directly. Just as the transpar- ent proxy is implemented for you, so is the real proxy. However, unlike the trans- parent proxy, the real proxy can be extended if it needs to be. The real proxy handles communication coming from the remote object. When a remote object is instantiated, the real proxy forwards the activation request to the remote object and waits for a response. If the remote object is to be marshaled by reference, the response that comes back is in the form of an object reference, called an ObjRef. The ObjRef is a class that contains the following information about the remote object: The remote object’s strong name The remote object’s class hierarchy The remote object’s supported interfaces The remote object’s URI The remote object’s list of channels registered on the server The real proxy uses the information in ObjRef to create an instance of a trans- parent proxy. To understand how all of this works, take a look at Figure 9-6 to see what happens when a client (through client activation) instantiates an instance of a remote MarshalByRef object. In Figure 9-6, the client’s activation request goes out to the remote object’s application domain when the client creates a new CFoo instance by using the new keyword. Once the remote object is created, the remoting runtime returns a refer- ence to it in the form of an ObjRef. In stage 2, the remoting runtime on the client sees that a response has come back from the server and creates an instance of System.Runtime.Remoting.Proxies.RealProxy. The real proxy reads the infor- mation about the remote object from ObjRef and creates an instance of the trans- parent proxy (stage 3). Once stage 3 is complete, the client is free to make method calls on the remote object. Chapter 9: Remoting 167 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 167 Figure 9-6: Client activation of marshal by reference object Channels Channels are the part of the remoting framework that takes a message and sends it across the network to the destination machine. They know how to communicate by using various network protocols: HTTP, TCP/IP, SMTP (used for e-mail), and even MSMQ. The only two protocols the .NET Framework supports out of the gate are HTTP and TCP/IP. To use the preceding protocols, or any other, for that matter, you have to implement your own channel. All of the types needed to work with chan- nels are in the following namespaces: System.Runtime.Remoting.Channels System.Runtime.Remoting.Channels.Tcp System.Runtime.Remoting.Channels.Http The Channels namespace contains classes needed to register channels and inter- faces needed to implement custom channels. A channel is registered for an entire application domain. If a client or object wishes to communicate remotely, at least one channel must be registered in the application domain. Multiple channels can be registered with multiple application domains in a process. client Client Application Domain Client calls new CFoo Stage 1 Remote Application Domain Remoting runtime creates a new instance of CFoo CFoo client Client Application Domain Remoting runtime returns an ObjRef Stage 2 Remote Application Domain CFooReal proxy client Client Application Domain Stage 3 Transparent proxy is returned to the client Real proxy reads info from ObjRef and creates the transparent proxy Transparent proxy Real proxy ObjRef 168 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 168 Two channels cannot be registered to listen on the same TCP/IP port. To under- stand this limitation, take a step back and consider the TCP/IP protocol. Note that when I mention TCP/IP here, I am not talking about the TCP channel but the net- working protocol itself. TCP/IP defines a remote application as an IP address plus a port. TCP/IP maps a port to a Win32 process. The IP address specifies the machine. Together, the IP address and the port number define an endpoint in TCP/IP. One of the rules of TCP/IP is that no two processes can be listening for traffic on the same port. When I say that no two channels in .NET can be registered on the same port, I do so because it is a requirement in TCP/IP. Channels fall into three categories: Client-side channels Server-side channels Channels that are both client side and server side Client-side channels implement the IChannelSender interface from the Channels namespace. Client-side channels can send only messages going from the client to the server. Server-side channels listen for incoming messages from the client. Server-side channels must implement the Channels.IChannelReceiver interface. Channels that wish to send and receive message must implement both interfaces. I mentioned previously that the remoting framework supports two channels for the HTTP and TCP/IP protocols. As you can guess, the HTTP channel uses a Web server to host remote objects. Both client and server HTTP channels use types from the System.Net namespace to communicate to and from the Web server. If you choose the HTTP channel, the remoting framework encodes messages in XML by default. The XML takes the form of SOAP messages. The TCP channel encodes mes- sages into a special binary format before it transfers the message over the wire. Server-side TCP channels are commonly hosted in Windows services. Of the two channels, TCP offers better performance for applications. Messages that go through the TCP channel do not have to go through the Web server before they can be processed, and they do not have to be read in by an XML parser. The HTTP chan- nel, however, does offer greater interoperability with the Internet. Because HTTP uses well-known ports such as port 80, it is more firewall friendly than the TCP channel. In addition, HTTP can be proxied easily if clients are accessing the Internet through proxy servers. Remote Object Lifetime In the good ol’ days of COM, an internal reference count determined object life- times. As clients passed around references to components, the reference count increased. As clients released their references, the component’s reference count decreased. When the last client released its hold on a component, the reference count went to zero, and the component deleted itself from memory. Problems arose Chapter 9: Remoting 169 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 169 when COM components were remoted across the network. If a client was discon- nected from the network before it could release its reference to the component, the reference count could not reach zero, and the component could not delete itself. The .NET remoting infrastructure takes a slightly different approach to object life- time. When a client instantiates an instance of a marshal by reference class, a lease is created for that class. The lease determines the lifetime of the remote class. If the lease expires and the remoting runtime cannot renew the lease, the class is de- referenced and becomes eligible for Garbage Collection. Leases are types that implement the ILease interface. ILease comes from the System.Runtime.Remoting.Lifetime namespace. This interface contains proper- ties that define a number of aspects of the lease: The time remaining in the lease The current state of the lease The initial lifetime of the lease The timeout for trying to connect to a sponsor The amount of time for which the lease is renewed when called Essentially, the time remaining in the lease is the time that the remote object has left to live before it is disconnected from the remoting runtime and marked for Garbage Collection. A lease can be in any of the following states: Active Expired Initialized but not activated Not initialized Currently renewing The fourth property of the preceding list (Not initialized) is the initial length of time for which the lease is valid. Once this period has expired, the remote object is released, assuming the lease has not been renewed. If this property is set to null, the lease does not time out. In this case, the remote object attached to the lease is not freed until the application domain is torn down. A sponsor is a class that can renew the lease. The sponsorship timeout value of the lease determines how long the remoting runtime waits while it tries to connect to one of the specified sponsors. If the lease is about to expire and a sponsor cannot be reached to renew the lease within the time the sponsorship timeout specifies, the lease expires, and the remote object is released. The final property of the preceding list (Currently renewing) is the amount of time by which the lease increases when the lease is renewed. Leases can be renewed in a number of ways: 170 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 170 The client specifically calls the lease’s Renew method. The remoting runtime contacts a sponsor to renew the lease. A client calls a method on the remote object. For the lease to be renewed when a client calls a method, the lease’s RenewOnCallTime property must be set. The ILease interface defines methods that can be used for the following: Registering a sponsor for the lease Renewing the lease Removing a sponsor from the lease A sponsor is registered with the Register method. This is an overloaded method that takes an ISponsor interface as one of its parameters. The ISponsor interface can also be found in the System.Runtime.Remoting.Lifetime namespace. The overloaded Register method takes a TimeSpan instance in addition to an ISponsor interface implementer. The TimeSpan maps to the RenewOnCallTime property. The lease is renewed through the ILease.Renew method. This method takes a TimeSpan instance used to increase the lifetime of the lease. The TimeSpan passed to this method is added to the CurrentLeaseTime property to increase the lease’s lifetime. The runtime holds a list of sponsors for any particular lease. When a sponsor is to be removed from the lease, the UnRegister method is called. UnRegister takes an instance of ISponsor to unregister the sponsor. This instance is one of the classes used in a call to Register. Implementers of the MarshalByRefObject class initialize leases. MarshalByRefObject contains two methods — GetLifeTimeService and InitializeLifetimeService — used to initialize and return classes that imple- ment the ILease interface. GetLifetimeService returns an instance of type object. A caller of this method is expecting a type that implements the ILease interface. Any MarhalByRefObject implementer should ensure that an object this method returns implements the ILease interface. The IntializeLifetimeService method initializes a new lease and returns it to the caller. By implementing this method, implementers of MarshalByRefObject can initialize the lease properties such as the sponsorship timeout and the initial lifetime. Introduction to SOAP Certainly, you have heard a lot of noise about SOAP, specifically noise related to Web services. SOAP is an acronym for Simple Object Access Protocol. SOAP is a specification. It establishes a format that remote method calls can take when they Chapter 9: Remoting 171 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 171 are transferred across the network. SOAP uses XML to describe the data involved with a method call. The SOAP 1.1 specification, fully supported in .NET remoting, allows any transport protocol to be used to carry SOAP messages across the wire. The most common transport protocol used with SOAP is HTTP, but others can be used as well: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Message Queuing (MSMQ or IBM MQ Series) Remote Procedure Call (RPC) This is by no means an extensive list of protocols that can be used in conjunc- tion with SOAP, but I hope the list gives you an idea of how extensible SOAP can be. For the purposes of this discussion, focus on using HTTP with SOAP, as this is the most common implementation. HTTP Header To make a method call using SOAP and HTTP, the client must know how to formu- late a proper HTTP request header. Take a look at an HTTP header you might see in a typical SOAP request: POST /MyApp/MyPage.aspx HTTP 1.1 Host: www.myserver.com Content: text/xml Content-Length: 100 {crlf} << post data here >> The first line of the request header specifies three pieces of information: The HTTP request method The path to the requested resource The version of HTTP being used The request method can be any valid HTTP request method. The two most com- mon are Get and Post. When you open your browser and type a URL or click a link on a Web page, you are using the Get method. Often, but not always, when you fill in a form on the Web and submit it, you are using the Post method. The Post method is favored when dealing with SOAP for a couple of reasons. First, the Post method allows you to send more data than a Get method allows you to send. Second, when you pass information with a Get request, that information must be appended to the end of the path via a question mark. This can become rather cum- bersome if you are trying to send a lot of information with the request. The second 172 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 172 line of the request represents the Web server for which the request is intended. Usually, this is the fully qualified domain name, but it can be a NetBios name or TCP/IP address. The third and fourth lines of the request represent the type and length of the content, respectively. For SOAP requests, the content type is text/xml, meaning that the following data is XML. The Content-Length tells the Web server how many bytes of data it can expect in the request. Here, I set the con- tent length to 100 bytes. The carriage return, line feed combination ({crlf}) after the content length signifies the end of the HTTP header and the beginning of the request payload. In my example, the line that reads << post data here >> is intended to represent the request payload. For SOAP requests, this represents the SOAP message. I talk about the SOAP message in the next section. SOAP Message A SOAP message is an XML document that consists of two parts: the SOAP header and the SOAP body. The header and body of the message are put inside the top- level XML element known as the SOAP envelope. Conceptually, a SOAP message looks like Figure 9-7. Figure 9-7: SOAP message logical structure SOAP header SOAP Envelope HTTP request payload HTTP header HTTP request SOAP body Chapter 9: Remoting 173 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 173 Usually, the SOAP envelope element looks something like this: The first line of this code listing specifies the element name. The SOAP envelope element is named, logically enough, Envelope. The Envelope element must be pre- sent in every message. The SOAP-ENV part is a namespace alias. The SOAP-ENV alias is used to provide an easier handle to the namespace defined in the second line. xmlns is an XML attribute used to specify a schema. For the SOAP envelope, the schema is defined at the URL: http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/. The envelope schema contains information that defines the header and body ele- ments, as well as other attributes that affect the processing of the message. I describe other attributes in a moment. The last line of the code listing specifies a schema to be used for the encoding of the method call. The encoding schema defines the data types that can be used with SOAP. Some of the data types are the following: Doubles Strings Boolean values Floats Arrays Dates The SOAP header is an optional element. If the header is present, the SOAP spec- ification says that the header must be the first child of the Envelope element. A SOAP header can be used for a number of purposes, each related to customizing the SOAP message: Custom authentication Transaction processing Associating this message with other messages Routing the message Implementing a custom authentication scheme is probably the first thing people think of when they look at implementing SOAP headers. In this scenario, a receiv- ing application can read the header information and authenticate the client before processing the rest of the message. The rest of the scenarios mentioned previously 174 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 174 work in a similar fashion. The purpose of the header is to allow the remoting frame- work to extend the message in whatever way it sees fit. I want to back up for a moment and talk about the attributes from the SOAP-ENV namespace I mentioned previously. This namespace defines two global attributes that affect the header: actor and mustUnderstand. The actor attribute defines a recipient (in the form of a URI) for which a particular header element is intended. A SOAP message may not go directly from the sender to the ultimate receiver of the message; somewhere along the way, other applications may need to read the mes- sage and perform some processing on it before sending it on. The actor attribute indicates what header elements are intended for what receivers. Once a receiver reads a header element, it must either remote the element or replace it with another intended for the next recipient. The second attribute defined in the SOAP-ENV namespace is mustUnderstand. This attribute is boolean (set it to 0 or 1). If it is set to 1, the receiver of the message must either process the header element or completely reject the SOAP message and return an error to the sender. This tag ensures that the processor of the message at least attempts to process the element and does not just skip it. To get a feel for how these attributes are applied to a SOAP header, I have given you a sample header in Listing 9-1. For readability, I have not included the top-level Envelope element. Listing 9-1: Example of a SOAP Header MyAuthenticationMethod Following the header is the mandatory Body element. The Body element can include any of three types of child elements: Method call Method response Error response (fault) A method call contains the name of the method, the name of the parameters, and their values. The current version of the SOAP specification supports only one method call per message. Suppose a client makes a call that looks like the following on a method named PlaceOrder: Chapter 9: Remoting 175 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 175 // method signature: PlaceOrder(string Sku, int CustomerNumber, int Qty) int OrderNumber = someobj.PlaceOrder(“sku123”, 1009, 3) In this method call, the client is placing an order for customer 1009 and for 3 units for product number sku123. The body of the SOAP message for this call looks like Listing 9-2. Listing 9-2: Example of a SOAP Body sku123 1009 3 In Listing 9-2, the method parameter names and their values are converted to elements beneath the method name element: PlaceOrder. When the server suc- cessfully processes this request, it sends the response back in the form of a method- response message. Method-response messages return method-return values and out parameters to the sender. In the example, the PlaceOrder method returns an inte- ger but no out parameters. The resulting SOAP message looks something like this: 988 The naming convention for a method call response is to add the word Response to the end of the method name. A similar convention is used with the return value. Instead of Response, Result is used to name the element that contains the return value of the method call. If you have out parameters in the method call, they show up as sibling elements to the result. A fault message is the last child element that can be found in a body section. A fault message is sent as the result of some sort of error that has occurred on the receiver side of the transmission or as the result of some status information that needs to be displayed. A SOAP fault element defines four subelements that make up the fault message: 176 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 176 faultcode faultstring faultfactor detail The faultcode is an error code conceptually similar to the response code in the HTTP protocol. The client or other software should use the faultcode to determine the reason for the error programmatically. The faultstring is similar to the error messages you may have seen from HTTP from time to time. This element provides a human-readable error message for the user or developer to view. The faultfactor identifies the source of the error. This takes the form of a URI. If the header element of the request message has specified an actor and the actor has produced the error, the faultfactor points to the URI of the actor. The detail element contains information specific to the processing of the body of the message. If this element is not present, the receiver of the fault message can assume that the body of the original request has not been processed. The following is an example of a fault message: SOAP-ENV:VersionMismatch invalid namespace for SOAP Envelope Remoting ServicedComponents I mention previously that ServicedComponent-derived classes are automatically remotable by virtue of being indirect children of the MarshalByRefObject class. This means that any ServicedComponent-derived class can be marshaled by refer- ence across the network. In this section, you develop three kinds of ServicedComponent classes: A SingleCall component using SOAP and the HTTP channel A SingleCall component using the TCP channel A client-activated ServicedComponent Chapter 9: Remoting 177 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 177 SingleCall Component Using SOAP and HTTP Start with a SingleCall ServicedComponent called CFoo. The code for this com- ponent is shown in Listing 9-3. Listing 9-3: SingleCall Component Using SOAP Namespace RemoteComponent { using System.EnterpriseServices; public class CFoo : ServicedComponent { public int PlaceOrder(string Sku, int CustomerNumber, int Qty) { // do some database work here to add the order // return the order number return OrderNumber; } } } As you can see, nothing is special about the CFoo class. The resulting assembly name for this namespace is RemoteComponent. Things get interesting when this component needs to be hosted. For this example, I use the Web server to host the component. Because I am using the Web server, I also choose the HTTP channel and the SOAP formatter. To host this component, a virtual directory must be created. Virtual directories can be created by using the Internet Services Manager snap-in. Assume that a virtual directory has been created on a server called www.myserver.com. The name of the virtual directory is RemoteComponent. There must be a directory called bin under the RemoteComponent directory. When a client tries to access this component on the Web server, the remoting runtime looks in the bin directory to find the assembly dll file. The last thing needed is the web.config file. This configuration file is used by many applications such as ASP.NET pages. For this example, the web.config file tells the remoting runtime what type of server activation (SingleCall or Singleton) you want to use for this component. The web.config file that I use for this example is shown in Listing 9-4. Listing 9-4: Using web.config for Remoting The real information conveyed here is in the wellknown element and its attrib- utes. The mode attribute specifies the server-activation mode (in this example, SingleCall). The type attribute specifies the fully qualified type name (namespace + class name) and the name of the assembly. Both the assembly name and the namespace of the component are called RemoteComponent. The final attribute is the objectUri. The RemoteComponent.soap file at the end of the URI does not exist. When the Web server sees a request for a file with a .soap extension, it invokes a handler. The handler for a .soap extension forwards the request to the remoting runtime. This is pretty much all it takes to host a component in Internet Information Services. Notice that I do not specify a channel or a formatter. Because I am host- ing the component in the Web server, the HTTP channel and the SOAP formatter are assumed by the remoting runtime. The code in Listing 9-5 is for the client of the RemoteComponent class. Listing 9-5: RemoteComponent Class Client using System; using System.Runtime.Remoting; using System.Runtime.Remoting.Channels; using System.Runtime.Remoting.Channels.Http; using RemoteComponent; Public class ClientApp { public static void Main() { HttpChannel http = new HttpChannel(); ChannelServices.RegisterChannel(http); Type trc = typeof(RemoteComponent); RemoteComponent rc = Activator.GetObject(trc, “http://www.myserver.com/RemoteComponent/RemoteComponent.soap”); int OrderNumber = Rc.PlaceOrder(“sku123”, 1009, 3); Console.WriteLine(OrderNumber.ToString()); } } Chapter 9: Remoting 179 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 179 Essentially, the client goes through a three-step process: 1. Create and register an HttpChannel. 2. Create a new instance of the RemoteComponent. 3. Use the RemoteComponent by calling the PlaceOrder method. The Activator class is a static class from the System namespace. It can be used to create objects that are either inside or outside of the current application domain. The GetObject method defines the type of remote component created and the com- ponent’s endpoint. The typeof() statement is a C# keyword that returns an object of type System.Type. With the type information specified in the local copy of the RemoteComponent assembly and the endpoint, the remoting runtime is able to find and consume the remote component. Notice that the endpoint the client specifies is the same path as that specified in the web.config file on the server. The remoting runtime uses the path information on the client and server to match the request to the RemoteComponent component. Because this is a server-activated component, the component is not instantiated until the PlaceOrder method is called. In Listing 9-5, the client specifies the endpoint and channel information in code. You can include this information in a configuration file. In Listing 9-6, I have taken this information out of the client’s code and placed it in a configuration file called ClientApp.config. Listing 9-6: ClientApp.config Configuration File // filename: ClientApp.config In this configuration file, I have created a well-known type: RemoteComponent.CFoo. When the client starts, it instructs the remoting frame- work to load the configuration file and to register CFoo as a well-known type on the client. Because I have specified the HTTP channel, the remoting runtime 180 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 180 forwards requests to http://www.myserver.com/RemoteComponent/ RemoteComponent.soap over this channel. The new client code, shown in Listing 9-7, is greatly simplified. Listing 9-7: Using ClientApp.config in the Client using System; using System.Runtime.Remoting; using RemoteComponent; Public class ClientApp { public static void Main() { RemotingConfiguration.Configure(“ClientApp.Config”); CFoo foo = new CFoo(); int OrderNumber = foo.PlaceOrder(“sku123”, 1009, 3); Console.WriteLine(OrderNumber.ToString()); } } The RemotingConfiguration class is used to configure the remoting framework on behalf of the client. Once the configuration file is loaded, you are free to use the remote class as if it were local. SingleCall Component Using Binary Formatter and TCP Using the TCP channel on the client and server is not much more difficult than using the HTTP channel. If you use the TCP channel, however, you must find a host other than the Web server to host the component. For this example, I use a console application to host the component. Usually, you want to host the component in a Windows service so that someone does not need to be logged on to the server con- sole, but for this example a console application adequately demonstrates the TCP channel. You can use a configuration file on the component end to configure the remoting framework. The configuration file for this process looks similar to the web.config file I use earlier and is registered in a similar manner similar to the way the client registers ClientApp.config file. Because I have already covered how to use the web.config file, I do not repeat these steps in the next example. Instead, I register a well-known type through code. The code for the console appli- cation that hosts the component is shown in Listing 9-8. Chapter 9: Remoting 181 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 181 Listing 9-8: Console Application for RemoteComponent Using System; Using System.Runtime.Remoting; Using RemoteComponent; public class ComponentApp { public static void Main() { TcpChannel tcp = new TcpChannel(8000); Type t = typeof(RemoteComponent.CFoo); string uri = “tcp://www.myserver.com/RemoteComponent/”; RemotingConfiguration.RegisterWellKnownServiceType( t, uri, WellKnownObjectMode.SingleCall); Console.WriteLine(“Listening for Requests on port 8000 ...”); Console.ReadLine(); } } The port I have chosen for this example is 8000. The remoting framework listens for requests coming in on this port. The call to RegisterWellKnownServiceType registers the RemoteComponent as a SingleCall object. I place the last two lines in the Main method so the application does not exit as soon as I register CFoo. If the console application is not running, it cannot listen for requests. If I continue with the previous client, ClientApp, I do not have to change any of its code. To use the correct endpoint, channel, and port, I need to change only the configuration file, as shown in Listing 9-9. Listing 9-9: Using the TCP Channel from ClientApp.config // filename: ClientApp.config 182 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 182 The modifications to the configuration file change the URL of the component to use the TCP protocol on port 8000 and the channel listing to a TcpChannel instead of an HttpChannel. The fact that I do not break the original client code is one of the benefits of using a configuration file to configure the remoting framework. Notice that neither of these examples specifies a formatter. It is possible to mix and match formatters and channels by using the remoting framework. When I spec- ify a channel such as HttpChannel, the remoting framework associates a default formatter. The default formatter for the HttpChannel is SOAP; the default format- ter for the TcpChannel is the Binary formatter. Client-Activated ServicedComponent The CFoo class can be activated upon a client’s request. This is accomplished either through a call to new or by using the Activator.CreateInstance method. For this example, I choose the Activator.CreateInstance method. The server-side code can remain untouched. You can host the component in any number of hosts such as the Web server, a console application, or a Windows service. For this example, assume you are hosting the component by using the Web server. The code for the client is shown in Listing 9-10. Listing 9-10: Client-Activated ServicedComponent Class using System; using System.Runtime.Remoting; using System.Runtime.Channels; using System.Runtime.Channels.Http; using RemoteComponent; Public class ClientApp { public static void Main() { RemotingConfiguration.Configure(“ClientApp.Config”); CFoo foo = (CFoo) Activator.CreateInstance(Typeof(CFoo)); int OrderNumber = foo.PlaceOrder(“sku123”, 1009, 3); Console.WriteLine(OrderNumber.ToString()); } } In Listing 9-10, the client loads the configuration file and calls one of the over- loaded CreateInstance methods. When this method is executed, the creation request goes to the remote component. The remote component’s constructor is Chapter 9: Remoting 183 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 183 called, and an ObjRef is passed to the client. When the remoting runtime on the client receives the ObjRef, it creates the RealProxy, which, in turn, creates the transparent proxy. Once the RealProxy creates the transparent proxy, it returns the transparent proxy reference to the client. CreateInstance has eight overloaded methods in all. Some of these overloads allow you to create instances of the component without having to make a reference to the assembly. In this case, the method returns an instance of a System.Runtime.Remoting.ObjectHandle class. This class can be used for pass- ing a reference to the RemoteComponent to application domains other than the client’s application domain. Yet another overload of this method allows you to specify arguments to a remote component’s constructor. For instance, if the RemoteComponent class has a constructor other than the default, you can pass a System.Object array to one of the overloads. Each element in the array represents an argument to the component’s constructor. Summary The .NET Remoting Framework is a vast topic. A single chapter is really not enough to cover all the ground. In this chapter, I have tried to give you an overview of the basic components of the framework as well as related technologies such as SOAP. As a COM+ developer using the .NET Framework, you have a number of options for remoting your components. Because ServicedComponent-derived classes can be made visible from COM clients, you have the option of using DCOM. As you see in the Chapter 8, you have the option of using queued components to transport method calls via MSMQ. As you see in this chapter, the .NET Remoting Framework offers a third option for remoting your components. The .NET Remoting Framework is much more extensible than either of the previous options. Less experienced developers can get up and running faster by using the framework’s default func- tionality, although more experienced developers can get down to the metal and write their own formatters and channels. 184 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 134835-2 Ch09.F 8/31/01 8:10 AM Page 184 Chapter 10 The Future of COM+ and .NET IN THIS CHAPTER New features of COM+ 1.5 New features of IIS 6.0 New features of MSMQ SO FAR IN THIS BOOK, I have covered every major feature of COM+ in Windows 2000. I thought it might be fun for you to get a sneak peak at the new features of COM+ in the next version of Windows 2000 Server, called Windows 2002 Server. At the time of this writing, the next version of COM+ on Windows 2002 server is code- named COM+ 1.5, although this name is likely to change before it goes out to the public. In addition to covering the new features of COM+ 1.5, I give you the low- down on the new features of IIS 6.0 and MSMQ. As you’ll see in this chapter, many of these features center on improving the robustness of your Web applications. Before I go on, I should point out to you that the information in this chapter comes from the beta 2 version of Windows 2002. Some of the features described in this chapter may not make it into the final version of the product. Conversely, some fea- tures not mentioned in this chapter may appear in the product’s final release. New Features of COM+ 1.5 As MTS and COM+ have matured, we have seen features added to the services pro- vided for serviced components. COM+ 1.5 continues this trend. Many of its new features provide a more reliable environment for applications. Some of its features help you version and deploy your applications. Even as this chapter is being writ- ten, Microsoft has included nine new features in beta 2 alone: COM+ applications as Windows NT Services Application partitions Application process dump Component aliasing 185 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 185 Configurable isolation levels Low-memory activation gates Process recycling Public and private components Application pooling COM+ Applications as Services Windows 2000 offers such operating-system services as IIS, the COM+ Event System, and the Computer Browser services. Even the COM+ System package in Windows 2002 has been configured to run as a service. Services can be configured to start automatically (when Windows starts) or to start manually. COM+ 1.5 offers a new activation option that allows a COM+ application to become a Windows service application. Figure 10-1 shows the new options for this feature in a COM+ application. Figure 10-1: New service activation options An application must be configured as a server application before it can be run as a service. In Figure 10-1, I have checked the Run Application as NT Service option to enable this application to run as a service. Once this change has been applied, I can configure the service just as I configure other services in Windows. When you click the Setup New Service button, you get the Service Setup dialog box, shown in Figure 10-2. Here you can configure any of the usual service options: 186 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 186 Service name Startup type (manual or automatic) Error handling User account to run the service as Any dependencies on other services Figure 10-2: The Service Setup dialog box The service name is simply the name that shows up in the Services MMC snap- in. If the service’s startup type is set to automatic, the service starts when the oper- ating system starts. If the manual option is checked, on the other hand, an administrator must go into the Services snap-in and start the service. The Error Handling option is used to specify a level of severity should the service not start up. Various actions can be taken to remedy the situation, based upon a level of sever- ity. The user account that the service runs under can also be configured in this step. Just as with any other service, you can choose to run the service as the local system account or as another local-user account or domain-user account. At the bottom of the dialog box shown in Figure 10-2, you have the option of specifying other ser- vices on which the application depends. For instance, if your application is accessed through IIS, you can specify that IIS is a dependency. Once the application has been configured to run as a service, you are able to see it in the Services snap-in. Figure 10-3 shows the NtServices application listed in the Services snap-in. Although you cannot see the full description, this field is carried over from the description field in the application. Chapter 10: The Future of COM+ and .NET 187 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 187 Figure 10-3: NtServices application as a Windows service So when might this feature be useful? Your application may benefit from this feature in a couple of scenarios. At some point, you may want an application to run under the identity of the local system account. Although this may not always be wise for security reasons, it may be something you need for other reasons. You may want the application to start when the operating system starts. It’s wise to reboot your servers when users are not trying to use them. This feature allows you to start the application before user requests start coming in. This way, the first user to request a component out of the application won’t be subject to the performance hit of starting a server package. Along this line, you may want server applications that contain pooled components to be configured as services. If the application starts as a service, the component pool is populated (to the minimum value, of course) and is ready for use. Again, the first user does not take a performance hit when the server application starts and populates the component pool. Application Partitions Application partitions allow multiple versions of an application (server or library) to be installed on one computer. Installing various versions of an application on a computer allows you to configure various aspects of the package, such as security settings and roles. If the application being partitioned is a server application, it can be configured to run under various user accounts. Figure 10-4 shows the logical relationship between an application and two application partitions. In this figure, Application A is configured in Partitions A and B. 188 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 188 Figure 10-4: One application in two partitions You should understand that the application is essentially copied from one parti- tion to another. The components that reside inside the application do not change. It is not necessary for you to change your components in any way when you create an application partition. Depending on the client’s security credentials, COM+ will service a component request from any one of the permitted application partitions. You set up an application partition by first creating a partition inside the COM+ Application Partitions folder. The first step in creating a new partition is to give the partition a name. In Figure 10-5, I call my new partition SalesAccounting. During this step, a Partition ID is automatically assigned to the partition. The Partition ID is a GUID like those assigned to any application, interface, or component. In addi- tion to the Partition ID, a partition has four attributes similar in function to those in an application. The partition attributes are the following: Partition name Partition ID Description Disable Deletion Disable Changes COM+ Computer Application Partition A Application A Application Partition B Application A Chapter 10: The Future of COM+ and .NET 189 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 189 Figure 10-5: Creating a new application partition Once the application partition is created, it is listed in the COM+ Partitions folder. In Figure 10-6, you can see the new SalesAccounting partition listed in the COM+ Partitions folder. Figure 10-6: The new SalesAccounting partition 190 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 190 Applications can be created inside partitions just as any normal application is created. Once an application has been created in a partition, it can be copied to another partition. Different application partitions can be mapped to different users. Users can be either local machine users or domain users. You may have noticed in Figure 10-6 the Base Application partition. This acts as a default partition for applications not assigned to a particular partition. Partitions themselves can be organized into partition sets. Partition sets can be created for local machine users or domain users. A partition set created on a domain controller can be made available to domain users and groups. In an Active Directory domain, users are mapped into Organizational Units (OUs). You can define access to a partition set by using OUs. When a domain user requests an application that is part of a partition set, the user’s OU is mapped to a partition set. If the user’s OU cannot be mapped to a partition set, the user has access to applica- tions in the Base Application partition only. A user’s domain identity also helps COM+ determine the partition where an application is located. Incidentally, the Base Application partition is part of every partition set by default. Application Process Dump A COM+ application can be configured to dump an image of its process upon appli- cation failure. An administrator can manually dump a running application. The dump is a snapshot of an application’s memory space at runtime. This infor- mation can be used later to diagnose problems such as memory exceptions associ- ated with the application. Figure 10-7 shows the Dump tab in an application’s property dialog box. By default, COM+ dumps an application’s memory state to the %systemroot%\system32\com\dmp folder. The number of dump images can be configured in the Dump tab. An application can be dumped at runtime. Here an administrator can take a non- intrusive snapshot of a running application. A developer can view the dump at a later point by using a tool such as the Windows debugger in the Platform SDK. Component Aliasing Component aliasing allows you to install multiple instances of a component in an application or in multiple applications. When a component is aliased, it is given a new ProgID and a new CLSID. An administrator or developer can optionally spec- ify the new ProgID and CLSID, but the Component Services snap-in provides default values. Figure 10-8 shows the Alias Component dialog box. Using this dia- log box, you can specify the application in which the component is aliased. Chapter 10: The Future of COM+ and .NET 191 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 191 Figure 10-7: Application Dump tab Figure 10-8: Alias Component dialog box With component aliasing, a developer can alias a component in order to specify multiple constructor strings, perhaps for use with different databases. Any compo- nent property (for example, transaction support, activation characteristics, and the level of concurrency) can be changed for an aliased component. Configurable Isolation Levels In Chapter 4, I talk about isolation levels in terms of COM+ transactions. The isola- tion level determines the level of locking of resources during a transaction. The higher the isolation level, the more restrictive the locking scheme. The highest iso- lation level is Serialized. This is the only isolation level supported in COM+ on Windows 2000. 192 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 192 The next version of COM+, on the other hand, allows the isolation level to be configured to any of the following values: Any Read uncommitted Read committed Repeatable read Serialized Choosing an isolation level lower than Serialized improves the performance and throughput of applications. Be aware that choosing an isolation level other than Serialized, however, may allow other readers of your data to see it in an inconsis- tent state. A component must have a transaction attribute of Supported or higher before the isolation level can be set. Low-Memory Activation Gates The purpose of the low-memory activation gate feature is to prevent components from being created during low-memory conditions. When components are created under low-memory conditions, problems can occur later in the application. If the application has a memory leak, the leak can exhaust all available memory. When this occurs, the application becomes unresponsive and must be shut down. COM+ prevents low-memory activation for components by checking an applica- tion’s virtual-memory usage against a threshold value. If the available virtual memory falls below the threshold value, COM+ fails the client’s creation request. COM+ predetermines the threshold value for all applications. The client cannot change the value of the threshold. Process Recycling I have experienced countless applications that have become unresponsive. When an application becomes unresponsive, the only thing you can do is go into the Component Services Explorer and shut it down. An application can become unre- sponsive for a number of reasons. Unless you are collecting runtime information from the application as this is happening, it can be impossible to determine the problem. Running your applications in a managed environment such as .NET can reduce some of these problems. But face it; if someone writes bad code — managed or not — his or her application is going to fail, and someone is going to have to shut down the application periodically. Microsoft understands that the need to shut down an application from time to time is a reality. Process recycling can be used to shut down an application that has become unresponsive. An administrator or developer can use a number of criteria to determine when an application should be shut down: Chapter 10: The Future of COM+ and .NET 193 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 193 Lifetime limit Memory limit Expiration timeout Call limit Activation limit The lifetime limit specifies a timeout (in minutes) for an application. When an application starts, COM+ starts the timeout. As soon as the application has run for the allotted time specified by the lifetime timeout, COM+ shuts it down. The next client instantiation request starts the application, and the process restarts. Applications whose memory usage exceeds the memory-limit criteria are also shutdown. The application is shut down if its memory usage exceeds the limit for more than one minute. The memory limit can be set to any value between 0 and 1,048,576 kb. COM+ uses the expiration timeout value to determine when a process that has been recycled should be shut down. The expiration timeout value differs from the lifetime limit in that the former applies to a recycled process whereas the latter applies to a process that has not been recycled yet. The call limit determines the number of calls an application services before being shutdown. Calls can be instantiation requests for a component, or they can be method calls. The activation limit specifies the number of component creations the application can serve before being shut down. Components that use JITA may need a higher limit than components that service multiple method calls with the same component instance. To accommodate this new feature, Microsoft has added a tab in the Application Properties dialog box. Figure 10-9 displays the new Pooling & Recycling tab in Component Services Explorer. In the Application Recycling section, the recycling criteria are set to their default values. Application Pooling You may in Figure 10-9 another section called Application Pooling. This feature allows multiple Windows processes to act as one application. When an application starts, COM+ creates as many instances of the dllhost.exe process as the pool size defines. As client requests come in, they are equally distributed across these instances of dllhost.exe. Figure 10-10 demonstrates how requests from three clients are serviced from four instances of dllhost.exe — together acting as a sin- gle application. In this illustration, any instance of dllhost.exe can service any client request. 194 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 194 Figure 10-9: Pooling & Recycling tab in Component Services New Features of IIS 6.0 It seems that every application today uses a Web server in one way or another. Many COM+ applications use IIS to make components available to users on the Internet or on a company Intranet. The features of IIS and COM+ are closely related. In fact, some of the features in IIS come directly from COM+. Because such tight integration exists between IIS and COM+, it is particularly relevant to cover the new features of IIS 6.0. IIS 6.0 offers many enhancements that administrators and developers can lever- age. Often, features targeted toward administrators are of interest to developers as well. Although I do not cover all of the new features of IIS, I do cover those that developers are most interested in. The features discussed here can help you increase the performance, scalability, and reliability of your applications. New server architecture Application pools and Web gardens Server modes Worker-process management ASP template cache tuning XML support for the metabase Chapter 10: The Future of COM+ and .NET 195 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 195 Figure 10-10: Application pooling New Server Architecture In IIS 5 (Windows 2000 version), the core functionality of the Web server resides in a service called W3SVC. In IIS 6.0, the architecture of the W3SVC service has been modified. The new Web-server architecture consists of four new or modified components: New kernel mode driver: http.sys Web Administration Service (WAS) Client Client Client COM+ Application Pooling COM+ Application Pool Size = 4 dllhost.exe dllhost.exe dllhost.exe dllhost.exe 196 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 196 XML metabase Worker processes for applications Figure 10-11 illustrates the order in which these components are used to service a request. When a request comes in for a URI, http.sys sees the request and passes it up to the Web Administration Service (WAS). WAS uses data from its XML metabase to apply rules or settings to the request. WAS then passes the request to the Web application. The Web application can be run from a separate worker process. Figure 10-11: IIS 6.0 W3SVC architecture Worker Process Web Administration Service (WAS) In Memory XML Metabase Client Http Request Http.sys Chapter 10: The Future of COM+ and .NET 197 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 197 One of the more exciting (at least to me) enhancements to IIS is the use of a ker- nel mode driver called http.sys. This file sits directly on top of the TCP/IP stack, which means it can handle requests much faster than older versions of IIS. http.sys has several responsibilities. Taking HTTP requests off the wire and passing them through the Web server Throttling bandwidths of HTTP requests Logging texts http.sys implements a response-caching mechanism. When a request for a par- ticular URI comes in, http.sys checks its own internal cache to see if it has already sent a response for that URI. If the requested URI is found in the cache, http.sys services the request from cache without forwarding the request to the Web applica- tion. This results in a much faster response time, as IIS does not have to switch from kernel mode to user mode to process the request. This enhancement even allows output from Active Server Pages to be cached in this manner. Figure 10-12 shows two clients requesting the same resource (http://myserver.com/someApp/ default.asp). Assume for the purposes of this discussion that Client A’s request finishes before Client B’s request reaches the Web server. When Client B’s request comes in, http.sys already has output from default.asp in its cache. Client B’s request is serviced from cache. If Clients C, D, and F exist, each requesting the same default.asp page, their requests are serviced from cache as well. This allows the cost of Client A’s request to be spread among all clients, resulting in greater scalability. http.sys implements a request-queuing mechanism as well. Requests are queued if IIS cannot process older requests before new ones come in. As requests pile up, http.sys queues them into application-specific pools. IIS returns an HTTP error to the user once a request queue fills for an application. In Figure 10-13, requests from Clients A, B, C, and D fill the request queue for an application called someApp. Because Client D fills the queue, Client E’s request cannot be serviced. As a result, Client F receives an error. Web Administration Service (WAS) is the other major component of the W3SVC service. Like http.sys, WAS runs in kernel mode, which means it can process requests faster than if it were running in user mode. WAS is responsible for config- uring both http.sys and application-worker processes. WAS gets its information from the IIS metabase. Previous versions of IIS stored the metabase in a binary file. The metabase contains most of the configuration information for the Web server and its applications. For instance, the metabase contains information such as whether or not an application should be run out of process and how many worker threads to use to process client requests. In IIS 6.0, the metabase is stored in an XML file that can be edited with Notepad or any other text editor. 198 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 198 Figure 10-12: http.sys response cache The worker process appears at the top of Figure 10-11. Worker processes are the workhorses of the Web server. They run the ASP or ISAPI applications. In the pre- vious examples, the someApp application can be configured to run inside a worker process. The code for default.asp or any other page is executed inside this process. Because IIS separates Web applications from the core server process, it is able to provide a much more stable environment than if it were running user code in its own processes. Although this model provides better stability, it decreases per- formance because of the process switch that must occur between the Web server and the worker process. Worker Process: someApp Cache After (contains default.asp) Cache Before (no default.asp) ClientA ClientB Http.sys Response populates cache Chapter 10: The Future of COM+ and .NET 199 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 199 Figure 10-13: http.sys request queue Application Pools and Web Gardens In IIS 4 on Windows NT, Web applications can run either in process (with the Web server) or out of process in an instance of mtx.exe. IIS 5 on Windows 2000 extends that concept by allowing applications to be pooled in an instance of dllhost.exe. In IIS 5, only one pool exists. Applications can run in process, out of process, or in the sole application pool. The advent of IIS 6 provides for multiple application pools. Figure 10-14 shows how multiple applications can be run within an applica- tion pool. An application pool can run one or more applications. someApp Request Pool Client A Client B Client C Request for default.asp Request for default.asp Request for default.asp Request for default.asp Request for default.asp Client D Client F request rejected Http.sys Request Queue Client A's Request Client B's Request Client C's Request Client D's Request 200 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 200 Figure 10-14: Application pools and Web applications Application pooling is a compromise between stability, performance, and scala- bility. One of the best ways to help a Web server become stable is to run Web appli- cations out of process. If something in a Web application goes terribly wrong, only the process running the application needs to be shut down — not the entire Web server. As with any compromise, however, the approach has its drawbacks. When a request is made to an out-of-process Web application, that request must cross process boundaries. This can be an expensive endeavor. On some occasions, the Web server must start a worker process to handle a request. This can be even more expensive in terms of performance. Running too many applications out of process can also degrade scalability. As more worker processes start, the operating system must commit resources (CPU time and memory) to handle each process. Pooling provides a middle ground by enabling applications to run out of process while still reducing the number of worker processes needed to handle requests. Because one worker process can service requests for multiple applications, the Web server does not need to create as many processes as it does if each application runs in its own process. Application Pool Web Application Web Application Application Pool Web Application Application Pool Web Application Web Application Web Application Web Application Chapter 10: The Future of COM+ and .NET 201 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 201 Some of my colleagues have said that pooling simply moves the problem from the Web server to another process. The argument goes as follows: If a bad Web application can take down the Web server, it can take down the pool’s process and, in turn, take down all the other applications in the pool. This is certainly a com- pelling argument. However, this argument misses two important points about pool- ing. First, Web servers do not serve up just applications. They also serve up static pages. Static pages rarely take down a Web server. As such, static pages can safely be served in process. Given the choice, I think most administrators would rather be able to serve static pages than none at all. Second, in IIS 6.0, there can be multiple pools. One bad application does not have to take down the Web server or other application pools. If applications are pooled correctly, the only applications taken down when a pool goes down are those dependent on the failing application. IIS 6.0 extends the concept of pooling even further by introducing a feature called Web gardens. A Web garden is an application pool that multiple worker processes ser- vice. Web gardens provide fault tolerance for application pools. If an application causes a worker process to halt, other worker processes in the garden can pick up the extra requests. Figure 10-15 shows the relationship between worker processes and Web gardens. A worker process inside a Web garden can service any client request. Figure 10-15: Worker processes and Web gardens IIS 6.0 offers an additional feature that applies to application pools. This feature is known as Rapid Fail Protection. When worker processes in a pool fail repeatedly, IIS disables the application. Once an application has failed and IIS has disabled it, http.sys returns an error message. The error is an HTTP 503 error response which tells the client that the requested service is unavailable. The feature is useful because it prevents a failing application from consuming too many resources. Worker process Worker process Worker process Worker process Web Garden 202 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 202 Server Modes IIS 6.0 can be configured to run in two modes: standard and dedicated application. Standard mode is intended to be used for Web servers that must provide backward compatibility for applications that have been migrated from IIS 5. Some applica- tions, such as ISAPI (Internet Server API) filters, which read raw data coming in from the client, must be run on a standard mode IIS 6.0 server. In dedicated-application mode, all applications run out of process. Each applica- tion and site runs in an application pool. Because isolation can be achieved through the use of pools, IIS 6.0 can provide better scalability than earlier versions of IIS while still providing stability. Worker-Process Management You should be getting the picture now that worker processes are one of the most important components of IIS 6.0. IIS 6.0 offers a number of features aimed at improving the stability of worker processes. Some of the more significant features are the following: Worker-process recycling Worker-process identity Health monitoring Idle timeout On-demand start Processor affinity Worker-process recycling behaves the same as process recycling in COM+. IIS worker processes can be configured to restart based on a number of criteria: Elapsed time Number of requests served Predetermined schedule Response to a ping Virtual memory usage (think COM+ memory gate) When IIS determines that a worker process must be recycled, it allows the failing process to finish serving the requests on which it is currently working. No new requests are submitted to the worker process at this time. While IIS is waiting for the worker process to finish processing requests, it starts a new worker process to replace the old one. Once the old worker process is finished processing, it is destroyed. In some situations, the worker process may not be able to finish Chapter 10: The Future of COM+ and .NET 203 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 203 processing its requests. In this situation, IIS waits a configurable amount of time before it destroys the process. Shutting down the worker process and starting a new process is referred to as restarting. Web applications can be configured to run under a specific user identity, just as COM+ applications can. In previous versions of IIS, a Web application either ran as the local system account (or whatever account IIS was running as) or a default user account (IUSR_MachineName or IWAM_MachineName). This feature can be used to provide more or less access for an application, depending on your needs. The ping mentioned previously is a service of WAS. It enables WAS to provide health-monitoring capabilities to worker processes. WAS keeps an open communi- cation channel to each worker process on the server. Periodically, WAS checks to see if the communication channel is open. If WAS determines that the worker process has dropped the channel, it assumes that the worker process can no longer service requests. When this happens, the worker process restarts. Worker processes not doing any work consume server resources needlessly. A worker process can be configured to shut down after a configurable period of inac- tivity. This is a feature known as the idle timeout. Incidentally, this is also a feature that COM+ (on Windows 2000) supports for applications. The on-demand start feature of IIS 6.0 allows worker processes to start when the first request comes in from a client. The alternative is for each worker process to start when the Web server or operating system starts. This can an inefficient use of resources if extra worker processes are sitting around waiting to time out. The first client to request a resource from a worker process takes a significant performance hit. The initial hit is due to the worker process starting up. The cost of this hit can be justified, as it can be spread across multiple client requests. Worker processes can be configured to run on a specific processor and on that processor only. This is known as processor affinity. Processors have an internal cache to store data. An application can get a performance boost if the CPU it is run- ning on can get its data from this cache rather than going to memory or disk. Binding a worker process to a CPU increases the chances that the CPU will use data from the cache rather than from memory. ASP Template Cache Tuning The ASP template caching feature pertains to traditional ASP, not ASP.NET pages. When a request for an Active Server Page is made, the ASP engine must be invoked to compile the page, run the code, and produce the output. All of this can be a rather expensive endeavor, especially if you are dealing with an ASP that has lots of code. The ASP template caching feature saves the compiled output of an ASP to disk. As with on-demand start, the first client to request a page takes an initial per- formance hit while the page is compiled. However, as long as the page does not change, IIS services subsequent requests from the precompiled page. 204 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 204 XML Support for the Metabase Usually, when a developer gets excited and starts talking about new features of a product, the last thing he or she talks about is something such as the metabase. The metabase is really more the realm of an administrator. However, a developer who understands what the metabase can do for applications is much better off than one who lets metabase issues slide. The metabase contains most of the configuration information for the Web server and its applications. In earlier versions of IIS, the metabase was stored in a binary file that could be read only with a tool such as MetaEdit (Platform SDK) or by writ- ing an application that used the IIS administration library. To make life a little eas- ier, IIS 6.0 stores its metabase in an XML file. XML, as you probably know, can be saved as a simple text file that can be read with any text editor, such as Notepad. Several new features have popped up in IIS 6.0 to support the XML version of the metabase: Editing the metabase while IIS is running Metabase history Backing up the metabase Server-independent metabase backups As noted previously, the WAS uses the metabase to configure http.sys and Web applications. It does this by reading the most current copy of the metabase and cre- ating an in-memory representation of it. If an administrator edits the metabase while IIS is running, a feature of the operating system notifies IIS that the file has changed. When this happens, WAS re-reads the metabase and applies the new changes. The benefit of this feature is that the Web server does not need to restart in order for changes to be applied. This can help reduce the Web server’s down time. Each time an administrator modifies the metabase file, IIS increases the version number of the file and copies the old version to a history folder. Each file in the his- tory folder is also marked with a version number so that the administrator can go back to a previous version of the metabase if needed. This feature provides a safe- guard to accidental corruption or misconfiguration of the metabase. Three methods exist for backing up a metabase in IIS 6.0: Secure backup Insecure backup Legacy backup A secure backup can be secured with a password. The password is needed to restore the metabase, should the need arise. An insecure backup does not require a password. At the time of this writing, a legacy backup can be done only program- matically. Backups can also be made server independent. A server-independent Chapter 10: The Future of COM+ and .NET 205 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 205 metabase can be useful for restoring IIS configuration information to a newly installed operating system. An administrator can restore the backup metabase, rather than configure all the settings by hand. New Features of MSMQ In Chapter 8, you see how MSMQ provides the underlying transport mechanism for queued components. The version of MSMQ you deal with in that chapter is 2.0. Windows 2002 will ship with a new version of MSMQ — 3.0. This version has a number of enhancements of interest to developers and administrators: LDAP support Distribution lists Queue aliases Message triggers The LDAP support in MSMQ 3.0 allows an MSMQ client to query a domain con- troller for MSMQ-related information. In MSMQ 2.0, MSMQ had to be installed on a domain controller to support integration with Active Directory. In an Active Directory installation, a MSMQ client talked to the MSMQ server installation on the domain controller to query for public queues and the like. By using LDAP, an MSMQ 3.0 client can query a domain controller for public queues without having to go through an MSMQ server on the domain controller. Distribution lists allow a message to be sent to a list of message queues or other distribution lists. A distribution list in this sense is not like a distribution list for e-mail. A distribution list in this sense can contain only public queues, aliases, and other distribution lists. A queue alias is a pointer inside Active Directory to another public or private queue. In Chapter 8, I state that public queues are published or advertised in Active Directory, but private queues are not. Private queues are accessible only if you know the queue name and the name of the machine that owns the queue. The new queue alias feature of MSMQ allows a private queue to be advertised inside Active Directory and included in distribution lists. The message triggers feature enables a developer or administrator to associate an action with a set of criteria for an incoming message. The action can be launching another application or even creating a component and calling a method. Together, the action and the message criteria form a rule. If a trigger is associated with a queue, every message that comes in on the queue causes the trigger to fire. The action is taken only if a message meets the trigger’s criteria. Previously, triggers were available only as add-ons in the Platform SDK. 206 Part III: Advanced COM+ Computing 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 206 Summary If this chapter has whetted your appetite for Windows 2002, you are not alone. I want many of the features, such as process recycling and pinging. You may have noticed that many of the features in IIS and COM+ are quite similar, as IIS gets many of it features from COM+. These two technologies have been interlinked for several versions now. Chances are that some of these features will not make it into the final release of the product. Other features, such as support for the .NET Common Language Runtime, not covered in this chapter, may be added before the final release. Chapter 10: The Future of COM+ and .NET 207 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 207 144835-2 Ch10.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 208 Appendix A What’s on the CD-ROM? THIS APPENDIX PROVIDES YOU with information on the contents of the CD-ROM that accompanies this book. The CD-ROM contains all of the source code from the book as well as a demon- stration application called OfficeMart. OfficeMart demonstrates several COM+ tech- nologies covered in the book. An electronic, searchable version of the book that can be viewed with Adobe Acrobat Reader is also included on the CD-ROM. System Requirements Make sure that your computer meets the minimum system requirements listed in this section. If your computer doesn’t match up to most of these requirements, you may have a problem using the contents of the CD. For Windows 2000, Windows XP Beta 2, or Windows NT 4.0: PC with a Pentium II processor running at 450 MHz or faster (600 MHz recommended) At least 96MB of RAM for Windows 2000 Professional (128MB recom- mended), 192MB for Windows 2000 Server (256MB recommended) 500MB Disk Space on system drive, 2.5GB on installation drive Operating System: Windows 2000, Windows XP Beta 2, or Windows NT 4.0 Video: 800 × 600, 256 colors (high-color 16-bit recommended) Mouse: Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device A CD-ROM drive — double-speed (2x) or faster In addition to the requirements listed above, you will need 1MB of additional hard disk space to install the code examples from the chapters and appendices as well as the OfficeMart application from the CR-ROM. 209 4835-2 AppA.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 209 Using the CD with Microsoft Windows To install the items from the CD to your hard drive, follow these steps: 1. Insert the CD into your computer’s CD-ROM drive. 2. Open Windows Explorer (explorer.exe). 3. Copy the OfficeMartWeb folder to your Web server’s root folder. 4. Right click on the OfficeMartWeb folder. If the “Read-Only” check box in the attributes section is checked then uncheck it. 5. When you click the OK button, you will be asked if you want to apply the changes to the OfficeMartWeb folder only or if you want apply the changes to the OfficeMartWeb folder and all subfolders and files. Choose the “Apply changes to this folder, subfolders and files” option. 6. In Windows Explorer, navigate to OfficeMartWeb\bin and run RegOfficeMart.bat. What’s on the CD The CD-ROM contains source code examples, applications, and an electronic ver- sion of the book. Following is a summary of the contents of the CD-ROM arranged by category. Source code Every program in any listing in the book is on the CD in the folder named BookExamples. OfficeMart Demo Application The OfficeMart demo application demonstrates the use of several COM+ technologies: Queued Components Distributed Transactions Loosely Coupled Events Just In Time Activation Component Construction Object Pooling 210 Appendixes 4835-2 AppA.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 210 Other technologies used by OfficeMart (not included on the CD-ROM): Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Active Server Pages .NET OfficeMart is an imaginary office supply company with a business-to-consumer site on the Internet. This application allows customers on the Internet to order office supplies. Customers navigate to the order entry ASP .NET page and enter their customer IDs, the SKU number of the product they wish to purchase, and the quantity. This application focuses strictly on how COM+ services can be used in interesting ways in order to solve the problem of taking the customers’order, apply- ing some business logic, and then either processing or rejecting the order. In order to focus on the COM+ technology, I have eliminated the typical things you would find in a B2C Web site: Authorization and Authentication Mechanism Product Catalog OFFICEMART ARCHITECTURE The architecture of the OfficeMart application has been kept simple so that you and I can focus on the COM+ technologies used by the application. Aside from a few Active Server Pages .NET pages, the OfficeMart architecture consists of two pieces: the Microsoft SQL Server database, and the COM+ Library. Both of the pieces of the OfficeMart architecture are explained below. Database: There are two databases in the OfficeMart application: Inventory, and OfficeMart. The Inventory database contains a single table called Products. This table holds the product data for every product sold on the Web site. The OfficeMart database holds the customer information and the orders information. For readability, no user-defined stored proce- dures have been added to the database. All SQL code is in-line with the application so you can tell more readily what is going on. COM+ Library: The OfficeMartLib project contains the OfficeMartLib namespace, which holds all of the COM+ components used in the application. Orders class: This class contains one method that allows the ASP .NET page to submit an order. Orders is a Queued Component. The idea is that the Orders class would run on an application server separate from the Web server hosting the Web site. The Queued Component architec- ture allows orders to be submitted asynchronously. This provides better scalability as mentioned in Chapter 8. Appendix A: What’s on the CD-ROM? 211 4835-2 AppA.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 211 Customers and Products classes: The Customers and Products classes contain methods to update the customer’s credit and adjust the product inventory levels (respectively) during the purchase process. These are transactional components that operate inside of the Orders class’s transaction. VerifyCustomer and VerifyProduct classes: These classes verify that the customer exists, the product has enough available quantity, and so on. These are not ServicedComponent classes. It may be tempting to move their logic into their respective ServicedComponent classes. The logic contained in these classes is not transactional in nature. If the Verify classes were consolidated with their respective customers and Products classes, no transactional work would incur the overhead of the distributed transactions. Not only would object creation time be longer, database locks would also be heavier. InventoryConn and OfficeMartConn classes: These classes are pooled components that manage a connection to one of the two application databases. These classes are used by the Verify classes in order to improve performance. I am making the assumption that I can open a database connection within 100 ms. OrderEvt, CustomerSubscriber, and AdminSubscriber: OrderEvt is a COM+ event class. An event (think method) is raised when an order fails, and when one is successfully submitted into the database. The CustomerSubscriber uses this event to notify the customer (via e-mail) upon the success or failure of the orders. The AdminSubscriber logs a successful order as an informational message in the event log. An unsuccessful order is logged as an error message in the event log. I implemented an event class here to provide an easy way for addi- tional functionality to be plugged in to the application. As different departments throughout the company decide that they want to be notified about orders, all a developer has to do is implement another subscriber. For example, a subscriber could be written to notify the Accounting department when a customer without sufficient credit attempts to purchase items. Electronic version of C# COM+ Programming The complete (and searchable) text of this book is on the CD-ROM in Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF), readable with the Adobe Acrobat Reader (also included). For more information on Adobe Acrobat Reader, go to www.adobe.com. 212 Appendixes 4835-2 AppA.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 212 Troubleshooting If you have difficulty installing or using the CD-ROM programs, try the following solutions: Check location of OfficeMartLib.dll. The OfficeMartLib.dll assem- bly must be located in OfficeMartWeb\bin. The assembly must also be installed in the Global Assembly Cache. Verify that all services are running. The following services must be run- ning in order for the OfficeMart application to work correctly: World Wide Web Publishing Service (IIS), SMTP Service, COM+ Event System, Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC) Service, and SQL Server. Verify that the SQL Scripts ran correctly. If the SQL scripts ran properly, you should see a Products table in the Inventory database. The OfficeMart database should contain a Orders and Customers table. If you still have trouble with the CD, please call the Hungry Minds Customer Service phone number: (800) 762-2974. Outside the United States, call (317) 572-3993. Hungry Minds will provide technical support only for installation and other general quality control items; for technical support on the applications them- selves, consult the program’s vendor or author. Appendix A: What’s on the CD-ROM? 213 4835-2 AppA.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 213 4835-2 AppA.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 214 Appendix B The COM+ Shared Property Manager IN CHAPTER 4, I talk about resource dispensers. I describe resource dispensers as components responsible for maintaining a pool of volatile resources, such as a pool of database connections or threads. That discussion focuses primarily on a resource dispenser’s role in a transaction. The COM+ Shared Property Manager (SPM) is another type of resource dispenser. Instead of managing database connections, the SPM manages memory. Managed memory can be used to store state among com- ponents. The SPM provides protected access memory for multiple components. Until this point, you have manipulated most COM+ services through attribute- based programming. The COM+ SPM is one of the few services that do not use attributes. The object model is strictly API-based. By API-based, I mean you utilize services through System.EnterpriseServices classes and their methods. Before you get into the SPM API, take a look at what life is like without it by examining some of the pitfalls that can occur when two or more threads access the same shared memory. Sharing Memory among Threads In C# applications, memory can be shared among threads by using the static modifier. The examples in this section access global variables that have been declared with the static modifier. To understand the code in this section, you should have a solid understanding of the static modifier. In case you don’t, I give you an introduction to it next. Static Modifier The purpose of the static modifier is to provide a means of global access to a shared region of memory. The static modifier can be applied to any of the follow- ing constructs: Methods Properties 215 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 215 Operators Fields Constructors Static types are not tied to any instance of a class, struct, or other type. A good example of this is the ContextUtil class. The properties and methods of this class are static. Have you ever seen me create an instance of the ContextUtil class? No. Static types need to be accessed through their class or struct name only. In the case of the ContextUtil class, you can get the context ID by calling the static ContextUtil.ContextId property. Figure B-1 shows the relationships among static types and the threads that access them. Any thread within the application can access any type that has been declared static. Figure B-1: Relationships among threads and static types Memory Conflicts and the static Modifier The static modifier is a useful construct that can be perfectly safe to use —assuming you know the pitfalls. In general, the problem with shared memory is that it is not protected from simultaneous access from multiple threads. This is the whole point of the SPM in COM+. To understand the value of the COM+ SPM, look at an example Win32 Process Static types in memory Thread ThreadThread 216 Appendixes 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 216 application that uses static fields of a class to share memory. After I cover the SPM API, I come back to this example and fix its problem by using COM+ shared properties. The code in Listing B-1 uses the Thread class from the System.Threading namespace. This class has one constructor that takes a ThreadStart delegate as an input. The ThreadStart delegate is a pointer to a method with no parameters and a void return type. Delegates are creatable types themselves. In the Thread con- structor, I create a new instance of the ThreadStart delegate, passing in a method name. The method I pass to the ThreadStart constructor is executed when the Thread.Start method starts the thread. Once I have created the two threads (t1 and t2), I am free to start them by calling the Thread.Start method. It is possible that the thread executing the Main method may exit before the two new threads finish their work. In fact, in this code example, it is quite likely. To prevent this, I call Thread.Join on each of the threads. This method forces the caller to block until the thread has finished its work. Listing B-1: Problems with accessing shared memory with multiple threads using System; using System.Threading; namespace StaticProperties { public class CApp { public static void Main() { // create two new thread classes Thread t1 = new Thread(new ThreadStart(Start1)); Thread t2 = new Thread(new ThreadStart(Start2)); // start each thread t1.Start(); t2.Start(); // wait for each thread to finish t1.Join(); t2.Join(); // print the value of iCount Console.WriteLine(CStatic.iCount.ToString()); } public static void Start1() { Continued Appendix B: The COM+ Shared Property Manager 217 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 217 Listing B-1 (Continued) CStatic.iCount = 2; int iSomeValue = 4; // force the thread to sleep so the second thread can // interrupt its work and change the value of iCount Thread.Sleep(500); int iResult = iSomeValue / CStatic.iCount; } public static void Start2() { CStatic.iCount = 0; } } public class CStatic { public static int iCount; } } The two threads — t1 and t2 — try to access the same static integer value: iCount. The integer is a member of a class called CStatic. The first thread (t1) attempts to divide iSomeValue by iCount. The second thread changes the value of iCount to zero before the first thread can make its computation. The call to Thread.Sleep forces the first thread to sleep for half a second. When the first thread goes to sleep, it provides a chance for the second thread to execute and change the value of iCount to zero. In the Main method, once I start each of the threads, I must call Thread.Join for each of them. This forces the thread executing the Main method to wait until both of the other threads have finished their work. The last line in the Main method is never executed. When the first thread goes to sleep, the second thread changes iCount to zero. When the first thread resumes its execution, it tries to divide iSomeValue by zero. This raises an System. DivideByZeroException. I admit that this is a rather contrived example. Indeed, it is written to fail. In practice, these types of problems are not always obvious when you first release an application to a group of users. It may take days or weeks before you see this type of problem occur. However, when it does occur, it may take much longer to resolve. If the first thread is able to lock the iCount field somehow when it starts and to release the lock when it finishes, the second thread is not able to change iCount to zero. Fortunately, the COM+ SPM provides you with such a locking mechanism. But before you can solve this problem, you must learn to use the SPM. 218 Appendixes 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 218 Shared Property Manager API COM+ organizes shared properties into groups. These groups provide a namespace that organizes the properties for a process. In addition, groups help reduce the number of possible naming conflicts among properties. For instance, a group can- not have two properties by the same name, but two different groups can each have a property by the same name. The API for the SPM in .NET consists of three classes and two enumerations (described later). These classes are defined in the System.EnterpriseServices namespace. SharedPropertyGroupManager class SharedPropertyGroup class SharedPropertyClass Figure B-2 illustrates the hierarchy of these classes and their relationships to one another. Figure B-2: Hierarchy of the SPM API SharedPropertyGroupManager Class Groups are created and accessed by using a class called SharedPropertyGroupManager. When it comes to shared properties, this is the only class you instantiate directly. The constructor for this class takes no param- eters. If you instantiate an instance of this class, it probably looks something like the code in Listing B-2. SharedPropertyGroupManager SharedPropertyGroup SharedProperty Appendix B: The COM+ Shared Property Manager 219 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 219 Listing B-2: Instantiating the SharedPropertyGroupManager class using System.EnterpriseServices; public class SomeComponent : ServicedComponent { public void DoSomething() { SharedPropertyGroupManager gm = new SharedPropertyGroupManager(); // do something with the Group Manager ... } } Chances are that most of the time you use this class to create a property group. To do this, you use the CreatePropertyGroupMethod. This method creates a prop- erty group that can be used to create properties. This method’s signature looks like the following: SharedPropertyGroup CreatePropertyGroup ( string name, ref PropertyLockMode dwIsoMode, ref PropertyReleaseMode dwRelMode, out bool fExists ); The first parameter to this method is a string representing the name of the group. If two components must share the properties in this group, they must use the name of the group passed in this parameter. The second parameter is the PropertyLockMode. PropertyLockMode is an enu- meration in the System.EnterpriseServices namespace. This parameter deter- mines how properties are locked in memory when they are accessed. The only two options are PropertyLockMode.Method and PropertyLockMode.SetGet. When you choose PropertyLockMode.Method mode, all properties in this group are locked until the method (of the component) manipulating them returns. The SetGet method, on the other hand, causes only an individual property to be locked when the property is set or read. Locking properties at the method level is useful if you need to perform consistent reads or writes across a number of properties within the group. While you are reading or writing to one property in a group, another thread cannot change another of the group’s properties. This comes at the cost of higher overhead. If the read and write operations of your properties are not interdepen- dent, you should choose the SetGet lock mode. The PropertyReleaseMode is another enumeration from System. EnterpriseServices. The release mode determines when the properties for this group are released from memory. When you set the release mode to PropertyReleaseMode.Process, the memory this group occupies is freed only when 220 Appendixes 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 220 the hosting process terminates. Setting the release mode to PropertyReleaseMode. Standard frees the memory when the last client releases a reference to the group. You may have noticed that both the PropertyLockMode parameter and this parameter are declared by using the C# ref keyword. The reason for this becomes clear in a moment. The final parameter in this method is a boolean flag telling the caller whether or not the group exists. Because this parameter is marked with the out keyword, it does not need to be set before the method is called. I should make clear that this method is used not only to create a property group but also to get a reference to one that exists. This is the reason for the fExists parameter. It is also the reason that the property lock mode and property release mode parameters are passed by reference (C# ref keyword). If a group with the same name exists, the fExists parameter is set to true. The property lock mode and property release mode param- eters are set to the values used when the group is created. If the group exists, any values passed in to these parameters are ignored. Generally speaking, if you are not sure that the group you want to use exists, you should use this method. Using this method can be a little tricky if you are not familiar with enumera- tions. The key to working with enumerations is to think of them as just another data type. If I extend the preceding SomeComponent class to make a call to CreatePropertyGroup, it looks like the code in Listing B-3. Listing B-3: Creating a property group using System.EnterpriseServices; public class SomeComponent : ServicedComponent { public void DoSomething() { bool bGroupExists; // declare the property lock mode PropertyLockMode lm = PropertyLockMode.SetGet; // declare the property release mode enum PropertyReleaseMode rm = PropertyReleaseMode.Process; SharedPropertyGroupManager gm = new SharedPropertyGroupManager(); SharedPropertyGroup pg; pg = gm.CreatePropertyGroup( “myGroup”, ref lm, ref rm, out bGroupExists; ); // use pg to create properties ... } } Appendix B: The COM+ Shared Property Manager 221 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 221 In Listing B-3, I define the property lock mode as SetGet and the release mode as process. When this call returns, bGroupExists is false, as the group does not already exist. The return value for this group is an instance of a SharedPropertyGroup. If you know that the group you are trying to access exists, you can use the SharedPropertyGroupManager.Group method. This method’s signature is the following: Public SharedPropertyGroup Group (string name); As you can see, this is much less involved than the CreatePropertyGroup method. This method takes the name of the group as its sole parameter and returns the group in the form of a SharedPropertyGroup class. Listing B-3 can be modi- fied to use this method; see Listing B-4. Listing B-4: Using the Group method using System.EnterpriseServices; public class SomeComponent : ServicedComponent { public void DoSomething() { SharedPropertyGroupManager gm = new SharedPropertyGroupManager(); SharedPropertyGroup pg; pg = gm.Group(“myGroup”); // use pg to create properties ... } } Instead of passing in the property lock and release modes and trying to figure out if the property exists, I pass in the name of the group to which I want access. This method can simplify your code and make it more readable if you know that the property group exists. SharedPropertyGroup Class In Listings B-3 and B-4, you see how the methods of the SharedPropertyGroupManager class create and grant access to property groups. These groups are returned as instances of the SharedPropertyGroup class. Unlike the SharedPropertyGroupManager class, you do not directly create instances of the SharedPropertyGroup class. The purpose of the SharedPropertyGroup class is to create properties. It imple- ments a number of methods that can be used to create properties by name or by posi- tion relative to other properties in the group. Start with the most common method: 222 Appendixes 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 222 public SharedProperty CreateProperty ( string name, out bool fExists ); The format of this method should look somewhat familiar. It takes a string rep- resenting the name of the property as input and returns a bool as an output param- eter. Just as with the CreatePropertyGroup method, this boolean flag indicates whether or not the property has existed. Because this is an out parameter, any value of fExists set before the method call is ignored. The return value of this method is a SharedProperty class. As you see in the next section, the SharedProperty class represents a single property from a shared property group. In Listing B-5, I have extended the SomeComponent.DoSomething method to include the creation of a SharedProperty by using the SharedPropertyGroup. CreateProperty method. Listing B-5: Creating a SharedProperty using System.EnterpriseServices; public class SomeComponent : ServicedComponent { public void DoSomething() { bool bGroupExists; bool bPropertyExists; // declare the property lock mode PropertyLockMode lm = PropertyLockMode.SetGet; // declare the property release mode enum PropertyReleaseMode rm = PropertyReleaseMode.Process; SharedPropertyGroupManager gm = new SharedPropertyGroupManager(); SharedPropertyGroup pg; pg = gm.CreatePropertyGroup( “myGroup”, ref lm, ref rm, out bGroupExists; ); SharedProperty sp = pg.CreateProperty( “myProp”, bPropertyExists); } } Appendix B: The COM+ Shared Property Manager 223 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 223 The SharedPropertyGroup class can create groups by position. The method used to do this is the following: Public SharedProperty CreatePropertyByPosition( int position, out bool fExists ); In this method, the position number replaces the property name. The position can be any valid integer value, including positive and negative numbers. I should point out that a property created with one method cannot be accessed by another method. For example, if you create a property by using the CreateProperty method, you cannot later access it by using the CreatePropertyByPosition number. Each of these property-creation methods has a corresponding property-retrieval method. If a property is created by using CreateProperty, it can be accessed later by using only either CreateProperty again or by using the Property method. The Property method takes a string as an input parameter and returns a SharedProperty. The Property method is useful only if the property has already been created. The PropertyByPosition method can be used when properties are created with the CreatePropertyByPosition method. Unlike the Property method, the PropertyByPostion method takes an integer as an input parameter instead of a string representing the property name. Assuming a property exists, the PropertyByPosition number can be used as shown in Listing B-6. Listing B-6: Catching exceptions from the Shared Property Manager using System.EnterpriseServices; public class SomeComponent : ServicedComponent { public void DoSomething() { bool bGroupExists; bool bPropertyExists; // declare the property lock mode PropertyLockMode lm = PropertyLockMode.SetGet; // declare the property release mode enum PropertyReleaseMode rm = PropertyReleaseMode.Process; SharedPropertyGroupManager gm = new SharedPropertyGroupManager(); SharedPropertyGroup pg; pg = gm.CreatePropertyGroup( “myGroup”, 224 Appendixes 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 224 ref lm, ref rm, out bGroupExists; ); SharedProperty sp = pg.CreatePropertyByPosition( 5, bPropertyExists); } public string DoSomethingElse() { SharedPropertyGroupManager gm = new SharedPropertyGroupManager(); SharedPropertyGroup pg = null; SharedProperty sp; try { pg = gm.Group(“myGroup”); } catch (ArgumentException ae) { Console.WriteLine(ae.Message); } try { sp = pg.PropertyByPosition(5); } catch (ArgumentException ae) { Console.WriteLine(ae.Message); } catch (NullReferenceException nre) { Console.WriteLine(nre.Message); } return “”; } } In Listing B-6, I have added a method to the component: DoSomethingElse. In this method, I assume that the property group and the property have been created. I do not, however, completely trust that the group and property have been created. If a client calls the DoSomething method before calling the DoSomethingElse method, DoSomethingElse should not trap any errors. Of course, another compo- nent within the process can create the group and property also. In case this does not happen, I have added some error handling around my method calls. In the first try-catch block, I attempt to catch a System.ArgumentException. If an invalid Appendix B: The COM+ Shared Property Manager 225 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 225 group name is passed in to the SharedPropertyGroupManager.Group method, this exception is raised. In the second try-catch block, I attempt to access the property in position 5. Notice that I use a position number of 0 or 1. Properties created by position number do not need to be created in sequence as you might think. You may number them in any order you wish. If I try to access the property in position 5 and it does not exist, a System.ArgumentException is raised. This exception is raised only if I obtain a reference to the group named myGroup. In my code exam- ple, a System.NullReferenceException is raised if myGroup does not exist when I call the Group method. In all likelihood, you want to do a little more than just print out the error to the screen, but this serves instructional purposes. SharedProperty Class The work I have done so far in this appendix has led us to access to the shared property itself. The shared property is accessed through a class called (surprise) SharedProperty. Shared properties are stored in the form of an object instance. object is a C# keyword that represents the System.Object class. This makes the shared property rather versatile in terms of what types it can hold, as you learn in a moment. To access the System.Object instance in the SharedProperty class, use the Value property. The Value property can be read from or written to. The Shared Property Manager locks both read access and write access to this property. The code in Listing B-7 shows how to use the SharedProperty class to read a string value from the property. Once again, I have extended the DoSomething method from the earlier component. Listing B-7: Using the SharedProperty class using System.EnterpriseServices; public class SomeComponent : ServicedComponent { public void DoSomething() { bool bGroupExists; bool bPropertyExists; // declare the property lock mode PropertyLockMode lm = PropertyLockMode.SetGet; // declare the property release mode enum PropertyReleaseMode rm = PropertyReleaseMode.Process; SharedPropertyGroupManager gm = new SharedPropertyGroupManager(); SharedPropertyGroup pg; pg = gm.CreatePropertyGroup( 226 Appendixes 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 226 “myGroup”, ref lm, ref rm, out bGroupExists; ); SharedProperty sp = pg.CreateProperty( “myProp”, bPropertyExists); if (bPropertyExists) { Console.WriteLine((string)sp.Value); } else { sp.Value = “some interesting string”; } } } Once I get access to the SharedProperty, I am free to assign values to it or read values from it. In my example, if the property exists, I write its value to the console. If the DoSomething method has created the property, I assign a string to the value. An interesting thing happens here. Notice that if the property exists, I must convert the object type to a string type. This is known as boxing. To refresh your mem- ory, here is a brief review of boxing. Boxing converts a value type such as an integer or string to a reference type such as an object. Unboxing is the opposite of boxing; unboxing converts a reference type such as an object to a value type. In Listing B-7, if the property exists, I unbox the value to a string and print the string to the console. If the property does not exist, I simply give it a string value. Although it may not be obvious by looking at the code, the string, some interesting string, is boxed into the Value property. This is called an implicit boxing conversion. The C# compiler is smart enough to know that I want the string converted into an object type. If I really want to be clear to other readers of my code, I can do something similar to the code that follows. else { sp.Value = (object)”some interesting string”; } Here I explicitly convert the string to an object type. Although this is not tech- nically necessary to convert the string to an object, it can help less experienced developers understand what is going on. Reference types such as classes can also be stored as shared properties. When a reference type is read from or written to, either an explicit or implicit reference conversion occurs. In an explicit reference conversion, the desired reference type Appendix B: The COM+ Shared Property Manager 227 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 227 must be coded into the application. An implicit reference conversion, on the other hand, does not require the declaration of a desired type. Usually, this is because the C# compiler can determine the type you are trying to reference. To clear this con- cept up, I have modified the DoSomething method. This method adds an instance of a class called CName as a shared property. Listing B-8: Storing a class instance in the Shared Property Manager using System.EnterpriseServices; public class SomeComponent : ServicedComponent { public void DoSomething() { bool bGroupExists; bool bPropertyExists; // declare the property lock mode PropertyLockMode lm = PropertyLockMode.SetGet; // declare the property release mode enum PropertyReleaseMode rm = PropertyReleaseMode.Process; SharedPropertyGroupManager gm = new SharedPropertyGroupManager(); SharedPropertyGroup pg; pg = gm.CreatePropertyGroup( “myGroup”, ref lm, ref rm, out bGroupExists; ); SharedProperty sp = pg.CreateProperty( “myProp”, bPropertyExists); // create a new instance of CName and add it as a property CName name = new CName(“David”, “Roth”, “Lee”); // this is an implicit reference conversion sp.Value = name; // this is an explicit reference conversion name = (CName) sp.Value } 228 Appendixes 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 228 // this is the class we will instantiate and add to the SPM public class CName { public string FirstName; public string LastName; public string MiddleName; public CName(string sFirst, string sLast, string sMiddle) { FirstName = sFirst; LastName = sLast; MiddleName = sMiddle; } Once I create an instance of the CName class, I assign it to the Value property of the SharedProperty. When this assignment is made, the C# compiler performs an implicit reference conversion from a CName reference type to an object reference type. In the next line of code, I convert the object type (sp.Value) to a CName type. This is an explicit reference conversion. Solving the Static Problem Now that I have covered the Shared Property Manager API, we can solve the shared-memory problem from earlier in the appendix. At the end of the first sec- tion, I come to the conclusion that if I can lock the iCount static field so that another thread cannot modify it before the first thread is finished, I do not get a DivideByZeroException. To solve this problem, I put the iCount variable in a protected shared property by using the Shared Property Manager API. The code for this example is shown in Listing B-9. Listing B-9: Fixing shared memory problems using System; using System.Reflection; using System.EnterpriseServices; using System.Threading; [assembly: AssemblyKeyFile(“C:\\crypto\\key.snk”)] namespace SharedProperties { public class SC : ServicedComponent { Continued Appendix B: The COM+ Shared Property Manager 229 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 229 Listing B-9 (Continued) public void Start1() { PropertyReleaseMode rm = PropertyReleaseMode.Process; PropertyLockMode lm = PropertyLockMode.Method; bool bPropertyExists; bool bGroupExists; SharedPropertyGroupManager gm = new SharedPropertyGroupManager(); SharedPropertyGroup pg = gm.CreatePropertyGroup( “CounterGroup”, ref lm, ref rm, out bGroupExists); SharedProperty prop = pg.CreateProperty( “Counter”, out bPropertyExists); prop.Value = 2; int iSomeValue = 4; Thread.Sleep(500); int iResult = iSomeValue / (int) prop.Value; } public void Start2() { PropertyReleaseMode rm = PropertyReleaseMode.Process; PropertyLockMode lm = PropertyLockMode.Method; bool bPropertyExists; bool bGroupExists; SharedPropertyGroupManager gm = new SharedPropertyGroupManager(); SharedPropertyGroup pg = gm.CreatePropertyGroup( “CounterGroup”, ref lm, ref rm, out bGroupExists); SharedProperty prop = pg.CreateProperty( “Counter”, out bPropertyExists); 230 Appendixes 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 230 prop.Value = 0; } } public class CApp { public static void Main() { Thread t1 = new Thread(new ThreadStart(Start1)); Thread t2 = new Thread(new ThreadStart(Start2)); t1.Start(); t2.Start(); t1.Join(); t2.Join(); Console.WriteLine(“Done”); } public static void Start1() { SC sc = new SC(); sc.Start1(); } public static void Start2() { SC sc = new SC(); sc.Start2(); } } } The Main method should look very familiar. Once again, I create two threads, start them, and wait for each to finish. This time, instead of doing the math inside the thread methods, I let the component do all the work. Each thread creates an instance of the SC component. The first thread calls SC.Start1. SC.Start1 con- tains the same code as the previous example, except for the fact that I get the count from a shared property called Counter instead of from a static variable. Because I want the Counter property to be locked during the entire duration of the SC.Start1 method call, I set the PropertyLockMode to Method. If I set it to SetGet, it is locked only while either thread is reading from or writing to it. This means that the second thread is still able to change the property if I set the PropertyReleaseMode to SetGet. Appendix B: The COM+ Shared Property Manager 231 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 231 The second thread calls the SC.Start2() method. In SC.Start2, it is tempting to avoid creating the group and property all over again. It is quicker to code if I just assume that the group and property are created and if I use the SharedPropertyGroupManager.Group and SharedPropertyGroup.Property methods to get the group and Counter property. The problem with this approach comes from the fact that, as a developer, I do not know when the operating system is going to schedule a thread. The first thread, for example, can be switched out after it creates the group and before it creates the property. This is bad if the second thread is scheduled and tries to access a property that is not there. When this application is run, thread one and thread two start and call their respective methods on the SC class. Just as before, thread one goes to sleep, which gives thread two a chance to change the Counter property. Because SC.Start1 has not finished yet, the Shared Property Manager still locks the Counter property. As a result, the second thread cannot change the counter to zero. The second thread blocks while it is waiting for the Counter property lock to be released. When the second thread blocks, the first thread is scheduled again. This provides a chance for the SC.Start1 method to finish and release the lock on the Counter property. When COM+ releases the lock, the second thread can change the property value to zero and exit. When this code is run, I no longer get a DivideByZeroException. My problem has been solved! Now you can see some of the problems that shared memory can cause for multi- threaded applications. The Shared Property Manager provides you with a conve- nient way to protect your components’ shared memory. Armed with the lessons learned from this appendix, you can now write more robust applications. 232 Appendixes 4835-2 AppB.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 232 Appendix C Introduction to C# C# IS THE MOST RECENT addition to the Visual Studio family. The syntax of this lan- guage shares many similarities with C++ and even Java. C# is an excellent choice for .NET programming in general and for COM+ programming specifically, as C# is designed to work seamlessly with the .NET Framework. In addition, C# provides the object-oriented language features that lend themselves so well to component-based programming. If you are just learning about .NET and are not quite familiar with C#, this appendix is an excellent place to start. You learn the features of the C# language in this appendix. Also, you learn some of the common tasks a developer performs in any programming language. Namespaces Every component written in this book is contained within a namespace. Namespaces are not strictly necessary for doing COM+ component development, but they do provide a number of benefits. First, a namespace provides a way to organize code. Types of a similar nature or function can be grouped in a single namespace. Other developers who may need to use your classes find them easier to understand if they are grouped in one or more namespaces. Second, namespaces provide a means to resolve naming conflicts among types in your code. To under- stand this second point, take a look at the following code example. Namespace NsOne { class CFoo { } } Namespace NsTwo { class CFoo { } } 233 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 233 The preceding code contains two classes, both named CFoo. Usually, two classes of the same name cannot exist within the same assembly. A namespace allows you to define two CFoo classes within the same assembly. When you reference the first CFoo class, you must also use the namespace name. For instance, to create a new instance of the first CFoo class, write something like NsOne.CFoo = new NsOne. CFoo(). Usually, when you write .NET applications, you do not have to use the name of the namespace when referencing types. Because you have a naming con- flict in the preceding example, however, you must use the namespace name to ref- erence the first instance of CFoo. Notice that dot notation is used here to reference CFoo. In C#, almost everything is referenced using a period. Namespaces are no different. In fact, namespace names can also contain a period. You see this quite frequently in the .NET Framework. For instance, the NsOne namespace in the code example above can be changed to MyApplication.NsOne and can still be a legal namespace. Namespaces can also contain other namespaces. For instance, you can put the two preceding namespaces in a singe namespace called MyApplication. Namespace MyApplication { Namespace NsOne { class CFoo { } } Namespace NsTwo { class CFoo { } } } A client can still access the NsOne.CFoo class by adding the MyApplication namespace as MyApplication.NsOne.CFoo. Somehow, you have to be able to tell the C# compiler what namespaces you are going to use in your application. The C# keyword using serves this purpose. This keyword lets the C# compiler know where to look to resolve types when you refer- ence them in your code. A client who wishes to use one of the CFoo preceding classes may have a using statement at the top of his or her code, as follows. For those of you who have developed applications in C or C++, the using keyword is similar to the #include compiler directive that includes header files in your C or C++ application. Using MyApplication.NsOne; 234 Appendixes 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 234 Some namespace names in the .NET Framework can be rather long. If you get into the habit of using the namespace name to reference types, this can become rather tedious for long namespace names. Fortunately, C# allows you to alias a namespace name. An alias is a short name for a namespace. Once it is defined, an alias can be used to reference types just as a full namespace name can. If you decide that the MyApplication.NsOne namespace is too long to write out each time you need one of its types, you can do something like this: Using NS1 = MyApplication.NsOne; Now, whenever the client needs to reference a type in the namespace, it simply uses the NS1 namespace: Using NS1 = MyApplication.NsOne; NS1.CFoo = NS1.CFoo(); Flow-Control Statements C# has a number of statements you can use in code to control the flow of your application’s execution. In this section, you learn some basic statements such as if-else statements and switches. In addition, you learn the jump statements that allow you to jump to different places in your code. You may notice a strong resem- blance in these statements to Java and C++. This resemblance is part of the reason why C# is often compared to those two languages. if-else Statements I once heard a programmer say that he could program in any language that had an if statement. If you have coded in more than one language, or if you have even seen code from different languages, you probably have noticed that most if-else statements are quite similar. C# is not much different in this respect. In C#, the con- dition to be tested is in parentheses. The action carried out if the condition is true is in braces. The followed code illustrates a simple if statement in C#. If (iVar == 10) { // do something here } As with most languages, C# supports an else statement. If the condition in the if statement evaluates to false, the code in the else statement is executed. Appendix C: Introduction to C# 235 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 235 If (iVar == 10) { // do something here } else { // do something else } It may be necessary to specify an additional condition in case the first condition evaluates to false. C# supports the else if statement for this purpose. If (iVar == 10) { // do something here } else if (iVar == 20) { // do something else } else { // iVar does not equal 10 or 20 } if statements can also be nested, as in the following example. If (iVar == 10) { if (name == “fred”) { // do something here } } switch Statements switch statements allow you to evaluate an expression against multiple constants. A switch statement provides a clean alternative to multiple if-else statements. A typical switch statement looks like the following. switch(iVar) { case 1: Console.WriteLine(“one”); 236 Appendixes 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 236 break; case 2: Console.WriteLine(“two”); break; case 10: Console.WriteLine(“ten”); break; } The statement that precedes tests the iVar variable against the possible values of 1, 2, and 10. In this statement, iVar is the expression. Each case statement con- tains a constant that is tested against the expression. Notice that at the end of each case statement, you must add a break statement. case statements in C# must end with some kind of jump statement such as break or goto. Most of the time, the break statement is used. C# does not support fall-through case statements like C++ does. Instead, once C# finds a case statement that matches the expression, it exe- cutes the case statement and exits the switch statement. Strings and integral types are the only data types supported in a case statement. Integral types can be any of the following types from the System namespace. Int16 Int32 Int64 When the preceding statement is executed, the value of iVar is compared to each of the constants in the case statements. If one of the constants equals iVar, that case statement is executed. Once the case statement has executed, control passes outside of the switch statement. If none of the parameters matches, a default statement can be executed. switch(iVar) { case 1: Console.WriteLine(“one”); break; case 2: Console.WriteLine(“two”); break; case 10: Console.WriteLine(“ten”); break; case default: Console.WriteLine(“Could not find a match!”); Break; } Appendix C: Introduction to C# 237 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 237 In this example, if iVar does not equal any of the values in the case statements, the default statement is executed. Jump Statements Jump statements allow you to move to various places in your code. You have already seen one of C#’s jump statements: break. break can be used in loops or switch statements. for (int j = 0; j < 10; j++) { if (j == 7) break; EvtLog.WriteEntry(j.ToString()); } Console.WriteLine(“finished”); When j equals 7, the loop exits and the Console.WriteLine executes. In this case, j is never incremented past 7. The continue statement can also be used within loops. continue works simi- larly to break, except that a loop does not exit if it encounters a continue state- ment. Modify the for loop to use a continue statement instead. for (int j = 0; j < 10; j++) { if (j == 7) continue; EvtLog.WriteEntry(j.ToString()); } Here, when j equals 7, control is passed back to the top of the loop. The EvtLog.WriteEntry method does not execute during this time. When j is incre- mented past 7, the EvtLog.WriteEntry method continues to execute. The goto statement has received a lot of negative attention over the years. Like many things, if it is overused, it can lead to sloppy code. Typically, goto is used to jump to a label inside your code, as in the following example. if (SomeValue == true) { goto MyLabel; } // some other program code MyLabel: // this code will execute 238 Appendixes 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 238 goto can also be used to jump to case statements inside a switch statement, as follows. switch(iVar) { case 1: Console.WriteLine(“one”); break; case 2: Console.WriteLine(“two”); break; case 3: goto case 2; case 10: Console.WriteLine(“ten”); break; case default: Console.WriteLine(“Could not find a match!”); break; } If iVar evaluates to 3, the goto statement passes control to the second case statement. Even though the second case statement does not evaluate to true, it still executes, as you have passed control to it by using the goto statement. The return statement is used inside method calls to return control to the caller. For methods that return values, the return statement is used to return those values. Void methods do not necessarily have to use the return statement. int GetId() { int i; return i; } Exception Handling Many classes in the .NET Framework throw exceptions at one time or another. C# supports an exception-handling mechanism for these situations. Exception han- dling in C# is executed by using try-catch blocks. The basic idea is to put code that may cause an exception inside of a try block. The catch statement catches errors that using code inside the catch block may throw. Appendix C: Introduction to C# 239 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 239 try { DatabaseObject.Open(); } catch (DBException dbe) { // log the error or report something to the user } If the preceding database connection cannot be opened, it may throw an excep- tion. The catch statement allows you to catch the error before it reaches the user. In some cases, your code may throw more than one kind of error. For example, when the preceding database is opened, it may not throw an exception of type DBException; rather, it may throw a regular Exception. To catch each possible exception, multiple exception statements can be combined. try { DatabaseObject.Open(); } catch (DBException dbe) { // log the error or report something to the user } catch (Exception e) { // log the error or report something to the user } The finally statement can be used at the end of a try-catch block. Code inside a finally block is executed regardless of the exception thrown. Even if no excep- tion is thrown, code in the finally block is executed. try { DatabaseObject.Open(); } catch (DBException dbe) { // log the error or report something to the user } 240 Appendixes 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 240 catch (Exception e) { // log the error or report something to the user } finally { Console.WriteLine(“executing finally statement”); } Writing Loops in C# C# supports several loop mechanisms, such as those seen in C++ and Visual Basic. The for loop is used to demonstrate the break statement. The for loop takes three expressions: the initializer, the expression to be evaluated, and the interator. The initializer initializes the loop variable and, optionally, declares it. When the expres- sion in the loop evaluates to false, the loop exits. The iterator increments the loop counter. Usually in a for loop, a loop counter is used during the evaluation of the expression. for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) { // do something interesting } In this for loop, the integer i is declared and initialized to zero. With each iter- ation of the loop, i is incremented by a value of 1. Once i is incremented to 10, the expression evaluates to false, and the loop exits. A for loop can also be used to count backward. for (int i = 10; i > 0; i--) { // do something interesting } In the preceding loop, i is initialized to 10. Each iteration of the loop decrements i by one. Once i reaches 0, the loop exists. A do loop and a while loop are similar. Both statements execute a block of code until a condition evaluates to false. The expression in a do loop is set at the bottom of the loop. Unlike a while loop, a do loop executes at least once regardless of how the expression evaluates. Appendix C: Introduction to C# 241 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 241 do { i++; } while (i < 10); Even if i is initialized to 10, this loop executes one time. The condition in a while loop, on the other hand, is evaluated before the loop is executed. A while loop also places its condition at the top of the loop. while (i < 10); { i++; } Foreach loops can be used with collection classes or arrays. These loops iterate through each item in a collection or array until they reach the end of the items. ClerkMonitor cm = new ClerkMonitor(); foreach (ClerkInfo ci in cm) { Console.WriteLine(ci.Description); } In this loop, ClerkMonitor is a collection class that contains items of type ClerkInfo. Each iteration of the loop populates the variable ci with an instance of ClerkInfo. In this type of loop, the element type (in your case, ClerkInfo) must be declared inside the loop expression. Method Parameters Method parameters can be decorated with special statements that affect the behav- ior of parameters. These statements are used in a couple of places in this book, so you may want to pay particular attention to this section. The ref statement allows you to pass in a parameter by reference. When the method executes, it sees the value the parameter has been set to in the code before the method has been called. If the method changes the value of the parameter, the new value is visible when the method returns. In the code listed below, notice that the ChangeValue method decorates the j parameter with the ref keyword. public class SomeClass { 242 Appendixes 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 242 public void ChangeValue(ref j); } The code listed below demonstrates the use of the ChangeValue method. Since j is a ref parameter, I must create my own integer instance in order to pass j to ChangeValue. If the j parameter was not a ref parameter, I could simply call sc.ChangeValue(1). After all, passing the value of 1 to ChangeValue would make the code more readable. I cannot do that with a ref parameter, however. If I were to pass a constant value such as the number 1 to ChangeValue, then the ChangeValue method would not be able to change the value of the constant (remember that constants cannot be changed once they are assigned a value). The C# compiler would not even compile the example below if I were to pass ChangeValue the constant 1. int j = 1; SomeClass sc = new SomeClass(); sc.ChangeValue(ref j); Console.WriteLine(j.ToString()); If the ChangeValue method changes the value of j to 2, 2 is displayed when the method returns. Because j is set to 1 before the method is called, ChangeValue sees j as equal to 1 when the method is called. Methods that define ref parameters can be a little tricky to deal with. You must remember to use the ref statement both when you define the method and when you call the method. Ref parameters must also be initialized before they are passed to a method. The out parameter works similarly to the ref parameter, but, with the out param- eter, types passed in as parameters do not need to be initialized before they are passed. A method assigns the parameter a value before it returns control to the caller. out parameters work well in situations where the method must return mul- tiple values. ResourcePool rp; SomeClass sc = new SomeClass(); sc.GetCount(out rp); Console.WriteLine(rp.ToString()); In the preceding example, the rp variable isn’t initialized. To call the method, declare the rp variable, and pass it in to the method call. Just as with the ref state- ment, the out statement must be used when calling a method. Arrays Dealing with arrays in C# can be a bit awkward, especially if you are coming from a C++ or Visual Basic background. In C#, arrays can be single dimensional, Appendix C: Introduction to C# 243 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 243 multidimensional, or jagged. Arrays can also be of any reference or value type (System.Object, int, double, bool, and strings, to name a few). All arrays, regardless of their types, inherit from System.Array. The Array class contains a number of methods and properties that help you work with arrays. This class allows you to perform binary searches, copy arrays, and sort arrays. Look at how an integer array is declared. int[] iAry = new int[10]; In C#, arrays are declared by using square brackets (as opposed to parentheses in Visual Basic). Instead of brackets’ going behind the variable name, as in many lan- guages, they go after the data type. The array is created by using the new keyword. Once the array is created, it is not possible to modify its dimensions. The dimensions of an array must be declared by using a literal value, such as 10 in the preceding example, or a constant variable. The C# compiler does not allow arrays to be declared with variable expressions. In other words, the following code example is illegal in C#. int i = 10; int[] iAry = new int[i]; // illegal! Array elements are accessed by using square brackets. C# array elements start at position 0. This is akin to the C++ way of handling arrays. The following code uses square brackets to access the element in the first position of the array. iAry[0] = 100; Arrays can also be initialized when they are created. int[] iAry = new int[10] {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10}; To initialize an array, the initial values must be enclosed inside braces. As I state previously, arrays can be multidimensional. Multidimensional arrays contain elements in two or more dimensions. A two-dimensional array can be declared as follows. int[,] iAry = new int[3,2]; When I work with arrays with two or more dimensions, I like to think of them in terms of a table or matrix. The preceding two-dimensional array is laid out in mem- ory very much like Figure C-1. 244 Appendixes 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 244 Figure C-1: Two-dimensional array A comma is used to denote that there are two dimensions to this array. The array is 3-elements long and 2-elements wide. Adding commas and specifying the lengths of their elements can extend array dimensions. The following code creates an array that is 4-elements long, 3-elements wide, and 2-elements deep. int[, ,] iAry = new int[4,3,2]; Multidimensional arrays can be initialized when they are declared. The two- dimensional array that precedes can be initialized as follows. int[,] iAry = new int[3,2] {{12,3}, {4,23}, {99,0}}; If you continue with the table concept, the array, when it is initialized, looks something like Figure C-2. 3 Elements Long 2 Elements Wide N N NN N N Appendix C: Introduction to C# 245 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 245 Figure C-2: Initializing a two-dimensional array Basic Data Types I refer to basic data types as integers, characters, strings, doubles and floats, and so on. C# has keywords that act as aliases for these kinds of types. Keywords in C# refer to structures from the System namespace. For instance, int is the keyword that refers to a System.Int32 structure. Table C-1 lists the data type keywords in C# and their associated structures from the System namespace. TABLE C-1 BASIC DATA TYPES IN C# C# Keyword System structure Size (bits) Value Range Sbyte System.SByte 8 -128 to 127 Byte System.Byte 8 0 to 255 Short System.Int16 16 -32768 to 32767 Ushort System.UInt16 16 0 to 65535 iAry [2,0] iAry [1,1] iAry[3,2] = {{12,3}, {4,23}, {99,0}} 12 4 99 0 23 3 246 Appendixes 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 246 C# Keyword System structure Size (bits) Value Range Int System.Int32 32 -2147483648 to 2147483647 Uint System.UInt32 32 0 to 4294967295 Long System.Int64 64 -9223372036854775808 to 9223372036854775807 Ulong System.UInt64 64 0 to 18446744073709551615 Char System.Char 16 0 to 65535 Float System.Single 7 digits 1.5 × 10-45 to 3.4 × 1038 double System.Double 15-16 digits 5.0 × 10-324 to 1.7 × 10308 boolSystem.Boolean 8 true or false decimalSystem.Decimal 128 1.0 × 10-28 to approximately 7.9 × 1028 Enumerations are a special kind of data type. Enumerations contain a list of named constants. They can make code more readable, as they allow you to reference con- stants by using a name instead of the literal value. In C#, enumerations are declared by using the enum keyword. Enumerations can be declared as byte, sbyte, short, ushort, int, uint, long, and ulong. By default, enumerations are defined as int. enum Animal { Dog, Cat, Fish, Bird } A comma must separate each member in the enumeration. If values for the enu- meration members are not explicitly defined, the first member defaults to 0. In the Animal example, the Dog member equates to 0; the Cat equates to 1, and so on. Members can be initialized to constant values if needed. enum Animal { Dog = 3, Cat, Fish , Bird } Appendix C: Introduction to C# 247 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 247 Here, members are initialized starting at 3. Cat equals 4 and so on. In reality, each member can be initialized to any constant expression. The two preceding examples do not define an underlying type for the enumera- tion. Animal, in this case, defaults to an integer enumeration. Animal can be defined as a long, as in the following example. enum Animal : long { Dog = 3, Cat, Fish , Bird } Structures A structure — also called a struct — is a data type that can contain other data types (int, char, double, and so on), constructors, methods, and fields. Structs are value types, which means a couple of things to a developer. First, memory for a value type is allocated from a thread’s stack. Allocating memory from the thread’s stack can provide a performance increase over allocating memory from an application’s heap. Second, when dealing with structs, you are dealing directly with the struct itself, as opposed to a reference to the struct. This has implications when passing structs around in a program to different methods. When a struct is passed to a method, a copy of the struct is passed instead of a pointer or reference to the struct. You see in the next section that this differs from classes, as classes are passed by reference. Structs work well in situations where multiple values represent a single concept or entity. For instance, a struct works well if you need to represent map coordinates in an application. A struct representing map coordinates might contain integers representing longitude and latitude and a string representing location. In the previous section, you see how each of the data-type keywords in C# aliases a structure from the System namespace. As a developer, you can define your own structs by using the struct keyword. struct Location { int longitude; int latitude; string location; } The preceding is a structure called location that contains a map coordinate and a description of the location. In an application, you can declare an instance of this struct and set the values of the fields. 248 Appendixes 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 248 Location Detroit; Detroit.longitude = 1000; Detroit.latitude = 99; Detroit.location = “Joe Louis Arena”; In this example, I initialize the fields of the struct myself. There may be occa- sions, however, when you want the struct to initialize its fields instead. To do this, the struct must implement a constructor. Constructors are methods called when a struct is initialized. Constructors can contain parameters that can be used to initial- ize fields. A struct may implement multiple constructors. If you want to initialize fields of the location struct, you can implement a con- structor that takes the longitude, latitude, and location as parameters to the constructor. struct Location { int longitude; int latitude; string location; Location(int iLongitude, int iLatidude, string sLocation) { longitude = iLongitude; latitude = iLatitude; location = sLocation; } } To use this new constructor, the client code must be changed also. A client must use the new keyword when instantiating structs with parameterized constructors. Location Detroit = new Location(1000, 99, “Joe Louis Arena”); Structs can also implement methods. For example, the Location struct might need a method to move from one location to another. struct Location { int longitude; int latitude; string location; Location(int iLongitude, int iLatidude, string sLocation) { longitude = iLongitude; latitude = iLatitude; Appendix C: Introduction to C# 249 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 249 location = sLocation; } void Move(int iLongitude, int iLatitude, string sLocation) { longitude = iLongitude; latitude = iLatitude; location = sLocation; } } When you are working with structs, you must remember these rules: Structs cannot declare parameterless constructors. Instance fields cannot be initialized in structs. Structs cannot support inheritance. The C# compiler generates a parameterless constructor (also known as a default constructor) on your behalf. The default constructor is used to initialize the struct’s fields to their default values. For integer types, this means they are initialized to 0; strings are initialized to an empty string (""). The compiler barks out an error if you try to implement your own default constructor. Under most circumstances in C#, you can initialize a field to some value. This is not legal in structs. For instance, it is illegal to initialize the longitude field when you are declaring it in the struct. struct Location { int longitude = 1000; // illegal statement for a struct!! int latitude; string location; } The final rule to remember about structs is that they do not support inheritance. Inheritance allows you to derive functionality from another class by inheriting its properties, methods, and so on. If you need inheritance, you must use a class. You learn more about classes in the next section. Classes Classes are quite similar to structs. The main difference between classes and structs is that classes are reference types but structs are value types. When a class is passed to a method as a parameter, a reference to the class is passed instead of the actual bits that make up the class. A reference, in this sense, is the location in memory 250 Appendixes 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 250 where the class resides. When a class is initialized, memory is allocated from the managed heap, as opposed to the threads stack. (Chapter 1 provides more informa- tion about .NET’s managed heap.) Like structs, classes can contain fields, methods, and constructors. The example that follows converts the Location struct from the previous section into a class. class Location { int longitude; int latitude; string location; Location(int iLongitude, int iLatidude, string sLocation) { longitude = iLongitude; latitude = iLatitude; location = sLocation; } void Move(int iLongitude, int iLatitude, string sLocation) { longitude = iLongitude; latitude = iLatitude; location = sLocation; } } The only difference between this class and the Location struct is the use of the class keyword. This C# keyword is used to declare a class. As I stated previously, C# classes can support inheritance. Inheritance is com- monly used when there is a parent-child relationship between classes. For instance, a class called Dog might have properties related to common characteristics of a mammal, such as fur and teeth. The Dog class might also have methods such as Bark() and Sit(). Another class such as Labrador might be able to use the func- tionality of the Dog class and extend upon it with methods such as retrieve(). class Dog { string Fur; int Teeth; Bark() { ... } Sit() { ... ) } class Labrador : Dog { Retrieve() { ... } } Appendix C: Introduction to C# 251 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 251 The Labrador class inherits the fields and methods of the Dog class by declaring the Dog class in its own definition (: Dog). When a client creates an instance of the Labrador class, it is able to access the Fur and Teeth properties and call the Bark() and Sit() methods. The client is also able to call the retrieve() method that the Labrador class implements. For example, the following client code is legal in C#. Labrador lab = new Labrador(); lab.Bark(); Some languages allow a class to inherit from multiple base classes. A base class is any parent class a child class inherits. C# (or any .NET language, for that matter) does not support multiple inheritance. Some classes in .NET act strictly as base classes. C# provides the abstract key- word to support this need. Abstract classes cannot be instantiated directly. The Dog class can be converted to an abstract class quite easily by adding the abstract keyword to the declaration of the class. abstract class Dog { string Fur; int Teeth; Bark() { ... } Sit() { ... ) } Methods inside classes can also be declared abstract without making the entire class abstract. Classes that inherit from base classes with abstract methods must implement the abstract methods of the parent. In addition, the parent must not pro- vide an implementation of a method it defines as abstract. As you can see in the Bark() method in the following example, methods are declared abstract by adding the abstract keyword to the declaration of the method. class Dog { string Fur; int Teeth; abstract Bark() { ... } Sit() { ... ) } Sealed classes can be thought of as the opposite of abstract classes. Another class cannot inherit a sealed class. If, in this example, the Dog class is marked sealed instead of abstract, the Labrador class cannot inherit from the Dog class. 252 Appendixes 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 252 sealed class Dog { string Fur; int Teeth; Bark() { ... } Sit() { ... ) } class Labrador : Dog // this is an error! { Retreive() { ... } } A field or method of a class can declare one of several modifiers that affect the accessibility of the member. Modifiers can be any of the following: public protected private internal protected internal Public members can be accessed from any client or child class. Only child classes can access protected members. Only the class implementing the member can access private members. Only other types within the same project can access internal members. Only child classes within the same project can access protected internal members. Some of these modifiers can be applied to the class itself. A class defined inside a namespace can be marked either public or internal. Classes that are members of other classes, however, can be marked with any of the access modifiers. Properties Properties are similar to fields in that they represent a type that is a member of a class or. struct. Properties wrap access to a field. They allow you to validate data a client is attempting to assign to a field. They can also be used to retrieve values upon a client’s request. From the client’s perspective, a property looks just like any other field. Just like fields, properties are declared with data types. The following class implements a property called EngineSize. Appendix C: Introduction to C# 253 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 253 class Car { private string m_EngineSize; public string EngineSize { get { return m_EngineSize; } set { m_EngineSize = value; } } } The EngineSize property is implemented with get and set methods. These methods are called accessors. The get accessor is called whenever the property appears on the left side of an equation or whenever the client needs to read the property value. The set accessor is used whenever the client assigns a value to the property. The client can use the property as if it were a field of the class. Car car = new Car(); MessageBox.Show(car.EngineSize); Inside of the set accessor, the variable on the right-hand side of the equation is called a value. This is a special keyword that represents the value the client is pass- ing in. Regardless of the property’s data type, the value keyword can always be used. Properties can be made read-only or write-only depending on which accessor is implemented. For example, if you want to make the EngineSize property write- only, simply omit the get accessor. class Car { private string m_EngineSize; public string EngineSize { set { m_EngineSize = value; } } } If the client tries to read the value of the property, the compiler generates an error. 254 Appendixes 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 254 Indexers Indexers are a rather neat feature of C#. They allow a class to be treated as if it were an array. The elements of the class can be iterated through as if they were elements of a normal array. Just like arrays, indexers are accessed by using square brackets and an index number. Indexers use accessors in the same way as properties do. class CIndexer { string[] names = new string[3] (“bob”, “joe”, “ralf”); public string this [int index] { get { return names[index]; } set { names[index] = value; } } This class implements an indexer that wraps an array of names. I try to keep things simple here, but usually you want to perform some logic to determine if the client has given you an index number that is out of range. In the declaration of the indexer, the this keyword is used. Classes use the this keyword to reference their own currently running instance. Next, inside the brackets, the index variable is defined. The class uses this variable to determine which element in the index the client wishes to access. A client uses this indexer in the following manner. Notice how the client uses the class as if it were an array. // client code CIndexer indexer = new CIndexer(); for (int i = 0; i < 2; i++) { Console.WriteLine(indexer[i]); } Unsafe Code One of the most notable differences between C# and Visual Basic is that C# allows the use of pointers. Pointers run in an unsafe context. When the .NET runtime sees Appendix C: Introduction to C# 255 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 255 code that has been declared in an unsafe context, it does not verify that the code is type-safe. Although the memory to which pointers point is allocated from managed memory (see Chapter 1 for more information on managed memory and the Garbage Collector), the Garbage Collector does not see the pointer on the heap. Because the Garbage Collector does not know about pointers, special precautions must be taken to protect an application’s pointers. public unsafe static void Main() { int I = 12; int* pI = &I; int J = *pI; Console.WriteLine(J.ToString()); } The Main() method that precedes is declared by using the unsafe keyword. This keyword tells the C# compiler that the following block of code may contain point- ers. Applications that use the unsafe keyword must be compiled with the /unsafe compiler option. This option can be specified when you use the command line com- piler or the IDE. The pI pointer is declared with using the * operator. The ampersand (&) operator returns the memory location of the I variable. In C#, the * and the & work the same way they do in C++. The * operator is used for pointers only. Do not confuse this with the multiplication operator in C#, although both use the same symbol. The * operator is used to return the value contained in the pointer’s memory address. The & operator, on the other hand, returns the memory address of a type. In the dec- laration of the pI pointer, the memory location of I is stored in pI. Although the code below compiles and runs, there is a potential problem. If the integer, I, were a field of a class, the application could run into problems if a Garbage Collection were to run just after the assignment of the pointer. public unsafe static void Main() { SomeClass sc = new SomeClass(); int* pI = &sc.I; // this could cause problems!! int J = *pI; Console.WriteLine(J.ToString()); } A Garbage Collection can run after the assignment of the pointer. If this occurs, the memory location of sc and its I field might change. This renders the pointer invalid, as the pointer is pointing to a memory location that is null or is occupied by another type. To avoid this problem, the fixed statement can be used to pin the sc instance in memory. By pinning a class in memory, you can prevent the Garbage Collector from changing the class’s location. 256 Appendixes 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 256 public unsafe static void Main() { SomeClass sc = new SomeClass(); int J; fixed (int* pI = &sc.I) { J = *pI; } Console.WriteLine(J.ToString()); } In a fixed statement, the declaration of a pointer and its assignment can be written inside parentheses. Any code that must be run using the pointer can be put in the code block that follows the fixed statement. You can see from this appendix that C# is a fully featured language that con- tains many of the features (such as support for flow-control statements, loops, arrays, etc.) you have come to expect from a modern programming language. The purpose of this appendix was not to teach you the entire ins and outs of C# but rather to introduce you to the language and point out some of the language fea- tures that are used throughout this book. Now that you have read this appendix, perhaps the language features of C# and some of its quirks will not look so foreign to you as you make your way through the rest of the book. Appendix C: Introduction to C# 257 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 257 4835-2 AppC.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 258 Appendix D Compensating Resource Managers A COMPENSATING RESOURCE MANAGER (CRM) performs duties similar to a resource manager that I discussed in chapter 4. Resource managers are a crucial piece of a distributed transaction. They provide protected access to managed resources such as message queues and databases. CRMs provide you with a means to develop a pair of COM+ components that provide most of the services of a resource manager, without undergoing much of the effort required to develop a full-scale resource manager. Unlike a full-scale resource manager, a CRM does not provide isolation of data. (Isolation is one of the ACID rules from Chapter 4) Isolation hides changes to data from other clients while the data is being altered. CRMs provide the commit and rollback functionality of a full-scale resource manager. The most common use of a CRM is to provide protected access to the file system. Applications must often access the file system to write data and to move or delete files. CRMs also provide a good way to manage XML text documents. As XML becomes more widely adopted, it is likely that XML documents will contain busi- ness data that must be managed within a transaction. Because there is no resource manager for the Windows file system, CRMs help fill this void by allowing you to protect access to files within a COM+ transaction. CRMs also allow you to stay within the familiar transactional-development model of COM+. The classes you need to write a CRM in C# are in the System. EnterpriseServices.CompensatingResourceManager namespace. In this sec- tion, you learn to write a CRM by using classes from this namespace. Also, you learn about the CRM architecture and requirements CRM components and applica- tions must meet. If you have not read Chapter 4 before reading this appendix, I highly recommend that you do so. Chapter 4 gives you the background you need to understand the concepts and terminology in this appendix. 259 4835-2 AppD.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 259 Introducing the Compensating Resource Manager A CRM consists of three components: Worker Compensator Clerk The worker component is the part of the CRM visible to clients. Worker compo- nents implement business or data logic of the CRM. For all intents and purposes, worker components are regular COM+ components that are CRM aware. The worker component is a transactional component whose transactional attribute — ideally — is set to Required. Required ensures that the worker runs in the client’s transaction. Also, Required ensures that the component runs within a transaction if the client does not have one. If the worker does not run in a transac- tion, this pretty much defeats the whole purpose of a CRM. CRMs are intended to be used in situations in which the client is another component running in a transac- tion. If the client aborts its transaction, the work of the CRM can be rolled back. The worker component must write entries to a log file. Later, the compensator uses these entries to either rollback the work of the worker or to make it permanent. Log entries should be made before the worker performs its work. This concept is known as write ahead. To understand why write ahead is so important, consider the following scenario. A worker component executes five lines of code, each modify- ing data in some way. On the sixth line, the worker writes an entry to the log file. One day, while the worker is running, someone trips over the server’s power cord and unplugs the server just as the third line of code is being executed. The power failure causes the entire system to shutdown (I know an Uninterruptible Power Supply prevents this). At this point, data is in an inconsistent state. Because the worker has not written anything to the log, you have no way to determine what data has been updated and what data has not. The worker can prevent this scenario by writing records to the log before it performs its work. This is not a guarantee that a catastrophic failure will not cause problems, but it does help you guard against these types of problems. Write ahead introduces another problem, however. If a worker uses write ahead and something like a power failure occurs immediately after, log records may appear for things that have not happened. The compensator must have enough savvy to know how to handle these situations. Later in this appendix, you learn a technique for handling this condition. The compensator component either commits the work of the worker or undoes its work, depending on the outcome of the transaction. If the worker’s transaction commits, the COM+ runtime invokes the compensator to commit the transaction. The compensator is notified (via a method call) of every log the worker has written. At this time, the compensator may look at each log record and use that information to make the worker’s actions permanent. 260 Appendixes 4835-2 AppD.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 260 In the event the transaction is aborted, the compensator must undo any work the worker component has performed. The compensator is notified of every log record the worker writes. This gives the compensator an opportunity to undo any work the worker has performed. A compensator might be notified multiple times of a transaction’s outcome (commit or abort). This may happen if failures occur during the final phase of the transaction. For this reason, a compensator’s work must result in the same outcome each time the compensator is called. If a compensator is written in this fashion, it is said to be idempotent. For example, if a compensator opens an XML file and adds some elements, this is not considered idempotent. If the compensator is called multi- ple times, multiple elements may be added to the XML file. If, on the other hand, the compensator opens an XML file and changes an attribute on an element, this might be considered idempotent. Changing the value of an XML element multiple times does not result in different outcomes, assuming the attributes value is set to the same value each time. In reality, idempotency is a hard thing to accomplish without a little help. In most cases, it is sufficient to implement enough logic to make the compen- sator’s action idempotent. If, for instance, you have to add an element to an XML file, you can implement logic to determine if the element exists. If the element does not exist, you can add it. By checking for the existence of the element, you are, in effect, making the action idempotent. This rule should make you aware of the fact that the compensator can be called multiple times during final phases of a transaction. Be clear that the client never uses the compensator component. Instead, the COM+ runtime instantiates and consumes the compensator at the appropriate times. As a CRM developer, you develop both the worker and compensator components. The clerk component has two responsibilities: it registers the compensator with the Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC) and writes records to the log file. The compensator must be registered with the DTC so that the DTC knows which compo- nent to invoke once the worker’s transaction has ended. The worker object uses the clerk to perform this action. In the .NET Framework, the worker registers the com- pensator component when the clerk class’s constructor is called. Other options, such as what phases (transaction abort, transaction success, and so on) the com- pensator should be notified of, are also defined at this time. You go into these options in more detail in the next section. The main job of the clerk is to write records to the log file. Log records are writ- ten to a memory buffer before they go to disk. This improves performance, as it minimizes disk access. As log records are written, they go to memory. Once the buffer is full, they are written to disk. This does present a problem, however. If the worker’s log entries are not stored on disk but rather held in a volatile memory buffer, log records can be lost if an application problem exists that causes the appli- cation to crash. To prevent this, the clerk has a method that forces records held in memory to be written to disk. It is highly recommended that worker components use this method before they begin their work. Later, you learn how this is done. Figure D-1 shows how all of these components fit together within the scope of a transaction and within the logical scope of the CRM. In Figure D-1, you can see that the worker component runs within the transaction of the client. You see also that the worker, compensator, and the clerk work together to form the CRM. Appendix D: Compensating Resource Managers 261 4835-2 AppD.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 261 Figure D-1: Components of a CRM application COM+ creates the log file when an application containing CRM components starts. The log file is located in the %systemroot%\system32\dtclog directory. This is the same directory that stores the log file for the Distributed Transaction Coordinator. COM+ creates a log file for each server application that contains a CRM. The log file is named by using the application ID of the log file with a .crmlog extension. Remember that the application ID is a GUID used to identify an application uniquely inside COM+. A CRM log file in this directory might look something like {57206245- EAA4-4324-92CD-0DBAB17605D5}.crmlog (including the curly braces). Unfortunately for us developers, the CRM log file is a binary file that cannot be easily viewed with Notepad or another text editor. As you know, each COM+ server application must run under a configured identity. By default, this is the Interactive user account. Server packages can also be configured to run under a user account other than Interactive user. If an application is configured to run under an account other than Interactive user, the log file for that application is secured so that only that user can access the file. However, if the application is configured to run as the Interactive user, the log file inherits permissions from its parent directory (dtclog). Incidentally, the dtclog folder inherits permissions from the system32 folder by default. So why bother to secure the CRM log files? The log files can contain sensi- tive information, such as account numbers or whatever else you decide to put in the log. You should be aware that if the identity of the application changes, an admin- istrator has to change the security settings on the log file. COM+ does not change this for you automatically. Application Log File Compensator Registered with DTC Compensating Resource Manager Transaction Boundary Distributed Transaction Coordinator Worker uses clerk to register Compensator with DTC CompensatorWorker Clerk Client (Transactional Component) COM+ Runtime 262 Appendixes 4835-2 AppD.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 262 COM+ provides support for CRMs by creating and ultimately managing the CRM log file and by invoking the compensator when the transaction completes. To gain this support, a COM+ server application package must have the Enable Compensating Resource Managers attribute checked. Figure D-2 shows where this attribute is located on the application’s Advanced settings tab. Figure D-2: Enabling CRM support Without this setting, COM+ does not provide any of the services I have men- tioned. In addition, the clerk component cannot be instantiated unless this attribute is enabled. COM+ supports a recovery phase for CRMs. The recovery phase occurs if an application stops due to either an operating-system crash or some unrecoverable error inside the application itself. When the application starts again, COM+ reads the application’s log file to determine if a transaction is pending completion. If a pending transaction exists, COM+ contacts the DTC service to determine the out- come of the transaction. The application does not start on its own. It starts when a component in the application is invoked. This may not be the optimal time to per- form a recovery on a CRM. I suggest looking into the COM Administration API doc- umentation for ways to start a CRM application when the system boots or during nonbusy times of operation. This way, you can avoid a potentially costly recovery while clients are trying to access your components. Appendix D: Compensating Resource Managers 263 4835-2 AppD.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 263 Developing Compensating Resource Managers with C# As I mention in the beginning of this appendix, CRMs are developed using classes from the System.EnterpriseServices.CompensatingResourceManager name- space. Unless specifically noted, all classes mentioned in this section are from this namespace. Before you get into the nitty-gritty of this namespace, write a simple CRM appli- cation so you can get a feel for how the classes in this namespace interact. In this example, a console application acts as the client. The console client calls the worker component to move a directory from one location to another. If the transaction succeeds, the directory is moved from its temporary location in c:\temp to its final destination. If the transaction fails, it is moved from the temporary directory to its original location. The compensator component is responsible for moving the direc- tory from the temporary location to the source or destination directory. For the compensator to know what source and destination directories it should use, the worker logs both directories to the log file. The code for this application is in listing D-1. Listing D-1: CRM sample application: moving directories using System; using System.IO; using System.Reflection; using System.EnterpriseServices; using System.EnterpriseServices.CompensatingResourceManager; [assembly: AssemblyKeyFile(“C:\\crypto\\key.snk”)] [assembly: ApplicationActivation(ActivationOption.Server)] [assembly: ApplicationCrmEnabled] namespace XCopy { [Transaction(TransactionOption.Required)] public class CWorker : ServicedComponent { private Clerk clerk; public override void Activate() { clerk = new Clerk(typeof(XCopy.CCompensator), “Compensator for XCOPY”, CompensatorOptions.AllPhases); } 264 Appendixes 4835-2 AppD.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 264 public void MoveDirectory(string sSourcePath, string sDestinationPath) { clerk.WriteLogRecord(sSourcePath + “;” + sDestinationPath); clerk.ForceLog(); int iPos; string sTempPath; iPos = sSourcePath.LastIndexOf(“\\”) + 1; sTempPath = sSourcePath.Substring(iPos, sSourcePath.Length - iPos); Directory.Move(sSourcePath, “c:\\temp\\” + sTempPath); } } public class CCompensator : Compensator { public override bool CommitRecord(LogRecord rec) { string sSourcePath; string sDestPath; string sTemp; int iPos; GetPaths((string)rec.Record, out sSourcePath, out sDestPath); iPos = sSourcePath.IndexOf(“\\”); sTemp = sSourcePath.Substring(iPos, sSourcePath.Length - iPos); Directory.Move(“C:\\temp\\” + sTemp, sDestPath); return false; } public override bool AbortRecord(LogRecord rec) { string sSourcePath; string sDestPath; string sTemp; int iPos; GetPaths((string)rec.Record, out sSourcePath, out sDestPath); iPos = sSourcePath.IndexOf(“\\”); sTemp = sSourcePath.Substring(iPos, Continued Appendix D: Compensating Resource Managers 265 4835-2 AppD.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 265 Listing D-1 (Continued) sSourcePath.Length - iPos); Directory.Move(“C:\\temp\\” + sTemp, sSourcePath); return false; } private void GetPaths(string sPath, out string sSourcePath, out string sDestination) { int iPos; iPos = sPath.IndexOf(“;”); sSourcePath = sPath.Substring(0, iPos); iPos++; sDestination = sPath.Substring(iPos, sPath.Length - iPos); } } public class CClient { static void Main(string[] args) { CWorker worker = new CWorker(); worker.MoveDirectory(“c:\\dir1”, “c:\\dir2”); } } } Take a look at this code from the top down. First, declare the namespaces you want to use. Because this application performs work on the file system, you must declare the System.IO namespace. This namespace contains the Directory class you use to move the directories around the file system. The final using statement declares the CompensatingResourceManager namespace. This should be the only other name- space that is new to you. All of the other namespaces should look familiar, as you have seen them in almost every other ServicedComponent class in this book. In the assembly-attribute section, define the COM+ application to run as a server package, as this is one of the requirements for a CRM. Also, notice a new attribute called ApplicationCrmEnabled. This attribute enables CRM support for the appli- cation. It also causes the Enable Compensating Resource Managers check box from Figure D-2 to be checked when the application is registered in COM+. The first class defined in the XCopy namespace is the worker component: CWorker. This component inherits from the ServicedComponent class, just as any other COM+ component does. This class requires a transaction. 266 Appendixes 4835-2 AppD.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 266 Every time the CWorker class is activated, it creates a new instance of the Clerk class. (Remember that activation and instantiation are two different things in COM+. COM+ activates a component when the COM+ runtime calls the Activate method that the component overrides from the ServicedComponent class. COM+ instantiates a component when the client of the component calls the C# keyword new.) The Clerk class constructor registers the compensator component within the COM+ runtime. Clerk defines two constructors, which differ by their first parame- ter. The preceding example involves the constructor that takes a System.Type class as the first parameter. The typeof() keyword appears in other chapters of this book. Just to refresh your memory, the typeof() keyword is a C# keyword that returns the System.Type class for a given type. In this example, you pass in the name of the Compensator class. The System.Type class is the starting point for applications that use reflec- tion. Reflection is a technique that allows a developer to determine the various characteristics of a type. With reflection, a developer can determine what attributes a class is decorated with, how many constructors a class supports, and each method and property the type supports, among other things.In the case of the Clerk class,the type the typeof() keyword returns allows the .NET runtime to determine what methods the class supports. The second parameter in the Clerk constructor is a description field that can be used for monitoring the CRM. The last parameter is an enumeration that tells the .NET runtime and COM+ what phases of the transaction you want to be notified of. In your case, you want to be notified of all the phases of the transaction, so pass CompensatorOptions.AllPhases. There may be occasions on which you want to be notified only of the commit or abort phases of the transaction. By passing a dif- ferent value for this enumeration, you can be notified of only those phases. The MoveDirectory method of the CWorker class performs the business-related work for this CRM. Before the worker component does any real work, it must first record what it is going to do in the CRM log file. Logging its actions before it does any work, the worker component is practicing the write-ahead technique I mention previously. In my example, I write a single record to the log file. This record contains the source and destination directories. The instance of the Clerk class is used to write the log entry. Notice that I combine the source and destination directories into one log entry. I do not want to write two entries to the log (one for the source directory and another for the destination directory) because this results in two notifications of the compensator component when the transaction commits. If this is the case, the compensator becomes confused, as it gets only the source or destination directories upon each notification. The WriteLogRecord method does not force the record to be written to the log. Instead, it writes its data to the memory buffer I mention previ- ously. To write the record to the log permanently, I must call the ForceLog method. Appendix D: Compensating Resource Managers 267 4835-2 AppD.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 267 Once I write the log entry and force it to the log file, I am free to go about with the work of the worker component. I move the source directory to a temporary location in c:\temp. I do not want to move the directory to the destination, as I do not know if the transaction will commit or abort. Based on the outcome of the transaction, I let the compensator decide if the directory should be moved to the destination or back to the source directory. Next, the compensator is defined in the source code. The compensator compo- nent inherits from the Compensator class. This class derives from the ServicedComponent class. When the application is registered in COM+, both the worker and compensator show up as serviced components. The Compensator class provides many virtual methods used for all phases of the transaction. To keep things simple for this first example, I implement only the CommitRecord and AbortRecord methods. COM+ calls these methods when the transaction commits or aborts, respectively. If the transaction commits, I read the log record to determine the destination directory. I have to do a little string manipulation here to parse out the paths for each directory. Once I get the destination directory, I move the directory from its temporary location to the destination directory. If the transaction aborts, I move the directory back to the source directory. The client for the worker component is a simple console application. It creates a new instance of the worker component and calls the MoveDirectory method, pass- ing in the source and destination directories. In a real-world application, the client is most likely another transactional component, but a console application works fine for our purposes. If everything goes right within the MoveDirectory method, the transaction commits. Once the MoveDirectory method returns, the transaction ends and COM+ invokes the compensator component, calling the CommitRecord method. Of course, things do not always happen as we expect. For example, the source directory may not exist. In this case, an exception is thrown, which dooms the transaction. This can cause problems down the line for the compensator in its AbortRecord method. If the source directory does not exist, the worker is not able to move the directory to the temporary location. If the transaction aborts, the com- pensator tries to move a directory in the temporary location that does not exist. To correct this situation, add a little logic to the compensator and worker to make sure they do not try to access directories that do not exist. The code in Listing D-2 shows a more robust MoveDirectory method. Similar logic can be placed in the compen- sator’s CommitRecord and AbortRecord methods. Listing D-2: Robust MoveDirectory method public void MoveDirectory(string sSourcePath, string sDestinationPath) { clerk.WriteLogRecord(sSourcePath + “;” + sDestinationPath); clerk.ForceLog(); 268 Appendixes 4835-2 AppD.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 268 int iPos; string sTempPath; iPos = sSourcePath.LastIndexOf(“\\”) + 1; sTempPath = sSourcePath.Substring(iPos, sSourcePath.Length - iPos); if (Directory.Exists(sSourcePath)) { Directory.Move(sSourcePath, “c:\\temp\\” + sTempPath); } } Now the directory is moved only if the source directory exists on the file system. This prevents the transaction from aborting, as you are not trying to move a direc- tory that does not exist. Granted, most applications require more sophisticated logic than this. For exam- ple, you may want the transaction to abort if the client does not have proper access rights to move the directory. The code in Listing D-3 moves the directory only if the user has the correct privileges. If the client does not have the rights to move the directory, the transaction is aborted. Listing D-3: Revised MoveDirectory checking for access rights public void MoveDirectory(string sSourcePath, string sDestinationPath) { clerk.WriteLogRecord(sSourcePath + “;” + sDestinationPath); clerk.ForceLog(); int iPos; string sTempPath; iPos = sSourcePath.LastIndexOf(“\\”) + 1; sTempPath = sSourcePath.Substring(iPos, sSourcePath.Length - iPos); if (Directory.Exists(sSourcePath)) { try { Directory.Move(sSourcePath, “c:\\temp\\” + sTempPath); } catch (SecurityException se) { Continued Appendix D: Compensating Resource Managers 269 4835-2 AppD.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 269 Listing D-3 (Continued) clerk.ForceTransactionToAbort(); } } } In this version of MoveDirectory, I catch the System.Security. SecurityException exception. This exception is raised if the client does not have rights to move the directory. For this example, you can assume that the server application that hosts the CRM is running as the Interactive-user account. The Interactive-user account allows the application to run under the security context of the direct caller. A more sophisticated implementation of this practice is to check the call chain by using COM+ role-based security and to verify that each user in the call chain has rights to move the directory. However, simply catching the error suf- fices for this example. The ForceTransactionToAbort method is the important thing to focus on here. As the name suggests, this method forces the transaction to abort. This allows you to implement logic that determines if the transaction should be aborted, rather than just relying on an error to be thrown or throwing one yourself. The CommitRecord and AbortRecord methods are not the only methods COM+ calls when the transaction completes. A compensator can also be notified during the first phase of the physical transaction (see Chapter 4). During this phase, the following three methods are called (in the following order) on the compensator. 1. BeginPrepare 2. PrepareRecord 3. EndPrepare All three of these methods are virtual. They are called only if you decide you need them in your application. It is not strictly necessary for you implement these methods. These methods are not called during the recovery phase of a CRM trans- action. The intent of these methods is to allow the compensator to prepare its resources with the expectation that the transaction is going to commit. If the trans- action is not going to commit, there is little point in preparing resources. Because of this reasoning, these methods are not called if the transaction has aborted. After the methods of the prepare phase are called, the commit methods are called in the following order. 1. BeginCommit 2. CommitRecord 3. EndCommit 270 Appendixes 4835-2 AppD.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 270 BeginCommit passes a boolean flag to the compensator. This flag indicates whether or not the compensator is being called during the recovery phase. If the value of the parameter is true, the compensator is being called during the recovery phase. You have seen the CommitRecord method. This is the method the compen- sator should use to commit the work of the worker component. The EndCommit method notifies the compensator that it has received all log notifications. A compensator is notified of an aborted transaction in a manner similar to the way in which it is notified when the transaction commits (minus the prepare phase, of course). The methods that follow are called in order during an aborted transaction. 1. BeginAbort 2. AbortRecord 3. EndAbort Just as with the BeginCommit method, the BeginAbort method is called with a flag indicating whether the compensator is being called from normal operation or from the recovery of the application. The final technique I want to show you is the monitor support built into the classes of the CompensatingResourceManager namespace. The ClerkMonitor class is a collection class that contains a list of ClerkInfo classes. The ClerkInfo class gives you access to properties relating to all of the compensators currently running within an application. The ClerkInfo class supports the following list of properties. ActivityID of the compensator Instance of the Clerk used to register the compensator Compensator class instance Description specified when the compensator is registered InstanceID Transaction Unit of Work In the code that follows, I have added another class to the XCopy namespace. public class CMonitor : ServicedComponent { public void ListCompensators() { ClerkMonitor cm = new ClerkMonitor(); cm.Populate(); Appendix D: Compensating Resource Managers 271 4835-2 AppD.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 271 ClerkInfo ci = cm[0]; Console.WriteLine(ci.Description); } } Once I create the ClerkMonitor, I must call the Populate method to fill the col- lection with the known compensators and related CRM information. The Description field that is printed out to the screen is the same Description field used when the worker component registers the compensator. Because this applica- tion has one worker and one compensator component only, I need to access only the first index of this collection. If more workers and compensators exist, I can loop through the collection with a foreach loop. 272 Appendixes 4835-2 AppD.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 272 Symbols & Numbers , (comma), 245, 247 [ ] (square brackets), 244 503 error message, 202 A AbortRecord method, 268, 270, 271 abstract keyword, 116, 252 Access Control Entries (ACEs), 67 AccessChecksLevel property, 73 accessors, 25 AccountName property, 80 ACEs. See Access Control Entries (ACEs) ACID requirements, 47–50, 54, 259 Acrobat Reader (Adobe), 212 Activate method, 110, 116, 117, 267 activation. See also Activate method; Just In Time Activation (JITA) gates, 186, 193 limits, 194 Activator class, 163, 180 Active Data Objects (ADO), 56 Active Directory, 124–125, 206 Active Server Pages (ASPs), 39, 199 cache tuning and, 204 IIS and, 198 OfficeMart demo application and, 211 queued components and, 122 security and, 70–71, 79 Active state, 170 ActiveXMessageFormatter, 127 AddRef() function, 28 Administration API, 89, 91 administration queues, 125–126 AdminSubscriber class, 212 ADO. See Active Data Objects (ADO) Adobe Acrobat Reader, 212 Advanced settings tab, 263 Advanced tab, 95 affinity, basic description of, 70 aggregation, 108 Alias Component dialog box, 191–192 aliases, 185, 191–192 AllowInProSubscribers property, 97–98 AND operator, 92 Any isolation level, 193 apartments, 30–32 APIs. See Application Program Interfaces (APIs) application(s). See also Application Program Interfaces (APIs) domains, 18 IDs, 262 installing classes in, 60–61 MSMQ, developing, 128–131 partitions, 185, 188–191 pooling, 186, 194–195, 200–203 process dump, 185, 191–192 as services, 186–188 Application Dump tab, 191–192 Application Program Interfaces (APIs). See also specific APIs activation lifecycles and, 41 CRM (Compensation Resource Manager) and, 263 error handling and, 1 models based on, 215 queued components and, 122 SPM and, 215, 219–229 Application Properties dialog box, 194 ApplicationAccessControl attribute, 73, 74, 75, 77 ApplicationActivation attribute, 60 ApplicationCrmEnabled attribute, 266 ApplicationName attribute, 60 ApplicationQueuing attribute, 146 arrays basic description of, 243–246 compilers and, 244 273 Index 4835-2 Index.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 273 ASPs. See Active Server Pages (ASPs) assemblies. See also Global Assembly Cache (GAC) basic description of, 12–18 Global Assembly Cache and, 14–15 locating, 15–18 manifest and, 12–13 registering, 33–38 shared names and, 14 versioning and, 13–14 Assemblies collection, 16 Assembly Registration Tool basic description of, 33–38 parameters, 33–34 AssemblyKeyFile attribute, 93 atomic rule, 47–48. See also ACID requirements attribute(s) attribute-based programming, 59–60, 65 events and, 89–91 authentication. See also security Basic, 70–71 configuring, 72–75 digest, 70–71 IIS and, 71–72 integrated Windows, 70–71 levels, list of, 74 over the wire, 70–72 overview of, 66–67 remoting and, 174 security scope and, 78–79 Authentication property, 74 authorization. See also security basic description of, 67 configuring, 72–75 Authorization attribute, 73 AutoComplete attribute, 53, 61–62, 116 AutoDone attribute, 52–53 autolayout option, 6 Automatic Transaction Enlistment, 55–56, 109 B backups, metabase, 205–206 bandwidth, 198 Bark() method, 251–252 Base Application partition, 191 batch processing, 141 BeginAbort method, 271 BeginCommit method, 270, 271 BeginPrepare method, 270 BinaryMessageFormatter, 127 BindToMoniker method, 136–137, 147 black-box functionality, 11 Boolean property, 146 boot keyword, 247 boxing, 19, 227 break statement, 237 Breed property, 24–25 Byte keyword, 246 C C++ (high-level language), 7, 25 Common Type System and, 19 loops and, 241 call authentication level, 74 chain security, 79–80 limits, 194 stacks, 156 Callers property, 80 CanBePooled method, 110, 116 case statement, 237, 238, 239 catch statement, 239–240 CAuthors component, 76–77 CCW. See COM Callable Wrapper (CCW) CD (C# COM+ Programming) files on, basic description of, 210–212 installing items from, 210 problems with, troubleshooting, 213 technical support for, 213 system requirements for, 209 using, with Microsoft Windows, 210 CDog class, 24, 35–38 CFoo class, 7, 107, 165–166, 168, 178, 180–182 ChangeValue method, 242–243 channels, 168–169 Char keyword, 247 CHelloWorld class, 23 class(es). See also class identifiers (CLSIDs) basic description of, 250–253 child, 116 factories, 42, 136 indexers and, 255 274 Index 4835-2 Index.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 274 installing, 60–61 instances, storing, 228–229 methods inside, 252 class identifiers (CLSIDs), 41, 67 component aliasing and, 191 events and, 91, 95 object pooling and, 101–102 queued components and, 145, 149 class keyword, 251 Class Loader, 5–7, 42 Class_Terminate event, 10 Clerk class, 267 clerk component, 260–262 Clerk constructor, 267 ClerkInfo class, 271 ClerkMonitor class, 242, 271–272 client(s). See also servers analyzing, 117–118 client-activated ServicedComponent class, 183–184 client-side error handling, 139–140 object pooling and, 117–118 queued components and, 131–132, 139 requirements, 131–132 Close method, 10, 44 CLR. See Common Runtime Language (CLR) CLSIDs. See class identifiers (CLSIDs) CName class, 228–229 CoCreateInstance API, 42 code executing, inside the CLR, 4–12 loading code, inside the CLR, 4–12 managed, basic description of, 3–4 unsafe, 255–257 CodeBase attribute, 16 COM Callable Wrapper (CCW) activation lifecycles and, 41–42 basic description of, 38–44 marshalling method calls and, 40–41 object pooling and, 108 preserving object identity and, 39 proxying interfaces and, 40 standard COM interfaces and, 39–40 ComAliasName attribute, 26 comma (,), 245, 247 commit protocol, two-phase, 57 CommitRecord method, 268, 270, 271 Common Runtime Language (CLR) application domains and, 18 assemblies and, 12–18 automatic memory management and, 7–12 basic description of, 1 executing code inside, 4–12 Global Assembly Cache and, 14–15 loading code inside, 4–12 manifest and, 12–13 object pooling and, 107–108 portability and, 5 shared names and, 14 versioning and, 13–14 Common Type System, 18–19 Compensation Resource Manager (CRM) basic description of, 259–272 log files and, 262–263, 267–268 XML and, 259, 261 Compensator class, 267, 268 compensator component, 260–262 compiler(s). See also Just In Time (JIT) Compiler arrays and, 244 directives, 234 metadata and, 5 component(s). See also queued components aliasing, 191–192 attribute-based programming and, 59–60 design considerations for, 43–44, 141–142 disabling, 51 LCE, 92–100 lifetimes, 123 nonpooled, 111–117 pooled, 111–117 public/private, 186 registering, 60–61 transaction, writing, 58–64 Component Services Explorer, 52–53, 89, 90, 94–97 Component Services snap-in, 191 ComponentAccessControl attribute, 77–78 Index 275Index 275 4835-2 Index.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 275 Computer Browser services, 186 Computer Management Console, 126–127 ComTransaction namespace, 62 ComVisible attribute, 36 Connect authentication level, 74 consistent rule, 48. See also ACID requirements Construct method, 117 ConstructionEnabled attribute, 116 constructors basic description of, 249 Clerk constructor, 267 client code and, 249 parameterized, 162–163 parameterless, 250 context(s) transactions and, 50–51 use of the term, 31 ContextBoundObject class, 159 ContextID property, 216 ContextUtil class, 51–53, 58, 60, 143, 216 continue statement, 238 converting assemblies, 33–37 enums, 25–27 exceptions, 43 modules, 25–27 type libraries, 21–27 Counter property, 232 counters loading, 11–12 JIT Compilation, 11 CreateInstance method, 42–43, 163, 183–184 CreateProperty method, 223–224 CreatePropertyByPosition method, 224 CreatePropertyGroup method, 220, 222, 223 CreationTimeout attribute, 104–106, 115 CRM. See Compensation Resource Manager (CRM) CRoot class, 63–64 cryptography, 14. See also security CStatic class, 218 CurrentCall property, 80 Currently renewing state, 170 Customers class, 212 CustomerSubscriber class, 212 CWorker component, 266–267 CWorker1 class, 63–64 CWorker2 class, 63–64 D DACL. See Discretionary Access Control List (DACL) data types basic description of, 246–248 Common Type System and, 18–19 events and, 97 marshalling process and, 41 SOAP and, 174 standard, importance of using, 44 DCOM. See Distributed COM (DCOM) Deactivate method, 110, 116 debuggers, 191. See also errors decimal keyword, 247 dedicated-application mode, 203 Default property, 116 delegate keyword, 84 Description attribute, 60 Description field, 272 design issues, for components, 43–44, 141–142 directories, moving, 264–272 Directory class, 266 DisableCommit class, 52–53 Disabled attribute, 51, 62 disabled components, 51 Discretionary Access Control List (DACL), 67, 68 disk drive(s) installing items from the CD to, 210 requirements, for the CD, 209 Dispose method, 10, 44 Distributed COM (DCOM), 70, 122, 155 Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC), 56, 261–263 distribution lists, 206 DivideByZeroException, 229, 232 dllhost.exe, 60, 73, 114, 194, 200 do loops, 241 Dog class, 251, 252–253 DoSomething method, 165–166, 223, 225–228 DoSomethingElse method, 225 double keyword, 247 276 Index 4835-2 Index.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 276 DTC. See Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC) dtclog folder, 262 durable rule, 49–50. See also ACID requirements E else statement, 235–236 EnableCommit class, 52 Enabled property, 115, 146 EndAbort method, 271 endpoints, basic description of, 157 EndPrepare method, 270 EngineSize property, 253–254 EnterpriseServices namespace, 60–61, 72, 97 enums, converting, 25–27 error(s). See also debuggers; exceptions handling, 1, 187 HTTP 503 message, 202 IIS and, 202 remoting and, 176–177 event(s). See also Loosely Coupled Events (LCEs); Tightly Coupled Events (TCEs) basic description of, 83 classes, 87 queued components and, 143, 148–149 subscriptions and, 89–92, 95–97 using transactions with, 98–100 event keyword, 85 Event System, 186 EventClass attribute, 94, 97–98, 148 EventReceiver class, 85, 87 EventSource class, 85 Everyone group, 68, 77–78 exception(s). See also errors ArgumentException, 225–226 catching, 224–226 classes, 140, 145, 149–151 DivideByZeroException, 218, 229, 232 handling, 137–140, 239–241 SPM (Shared Property Manager) and, 224–225 throwing, 43 UnauthorizedAccessException, 81 ExceptionClass attribute, 149 ExecuteCategoryQuery method, 111, 116 ExecuteNoQuery method, 116 executing, code inside the CLR, 4–12 expiration timeout, 194 Expired state, 170 explicit layout option, 6 eXtensible Markup Language (XML) assemblies and, 15 Class Loader and, 6 CRM (Compensation Resource Manager) and, 259, 261 metabase and, 197–198, 205–206 queued components and, 127, 130–131 remoting and, 155, 169, 172–173 security and, 70 strings, passing, 43 F fExists parameter, 221, 223 File Transfer Protocol (FTP), 172 files on the CD, basic description of, 210–212 on the CD, installing, 210 Filter Criteria dialog box, 91–92 filtering parameters, 91–92 publishers, 91, 97 finalClientRetry method, 140, 151 finalization, nondeterministic, 10, 107, 133 Finalize method, 10–11, 28 finally statement, 240 FinalServerRetry method, 140, 151 Fire in Parallel attribute, 90, 98 FireEvent method, 86 FireInParallel property, 97 fixed statement, 256–257 Float keyword, 247 flow-control statements, 235–241 for loop, 241 ForceLog method, 267 ForceTransactionToAbort method, 270 foreach loop, 242, 272 formatters, 127 FTP. See File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Index 277 4835-2 Index.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 277 G GAC. See Global Assembly Cache (GAC) Garbage Collection, 3–4, 165, 170 basic description of, 8–12 generational, 9–10 memory management and, 8–9 object lifetimes and, 28 object pooling and, 107 queued components and, 133 unsafe code and, 256–257 GC class, 28 Get method, 172, 254 GetLifeTimeService method, 171 GetObjectData method, 158–159 GetTypeInfoCount() function, 44 GINA. See Graphical Identification Authentication (GINA) Global Assembly Cache (GAC), 14–15, 17–18, 213. See also assemblies events and, 93–94 object pooling and, 114 placing assemblies in, 24 Globally Unique Identifiers (GUIDs) application partitions and, 189 CRM (Compensation Resource Manager) and, 262 events and, 88 object pooling and, 102–103 queued components and, 149 Goto method, 42 goto statement, 237, 238–239 graphical user interfaces (GUIs) security and, 69 transactions and, 54–55 Graphical Identification Authentication (GINA), 65 Guest accounts, 68 GuidAttribute attribute, 102–103, 149 GUIDs. See Globally Unique Identifiers (GUIDs) GUIs. See graphical user interfaces (GUIs) H hard drive(s) installing items from the CD on, 210 requirements, for the CD, 209 health monitoring, 203 heap. See also memory counters, 12 memory management and, 8–9 pointers, 8 Hello method, 23 HelloWorld component, 22–23, 144–147 HTTP. See HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) http.sys, 198, 199–200 Hungry Minds Customer Service, 213 HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) 503 error message, 202 headers, 172–173 IIS and, 198, 199–202 queued components and, 122 security and, 70–72 remoting and, 155, 157, 168–169, 172–173, 177–181 SingleCall component using, 177–181 I IBM. See International Business Machines (IBM) IChannelReceiver interface, 169 IChannelSender interface, 169 IConnectionPoint interface, 30 IConnectionPointContainer interface, 30 iCount field, 218 iCount variable, 229 idempotent compensators, 261 IDispatch interface, 30, 39–40, 44 idle timeouts, 203–204 IErrorInfo interface, 30 if statement, 235–236 if-else statement, 235–236 IIS. See Internet Information Server (IIS) ILease interface, 170 IList interface, 42 278 Index 4835-2 Index.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 278 IMessage interface, 166, 167–168 impersonation, 69, 71 levels, 75 security scope and, 78–79 IMultiPublisherFilter interface, 91 IMyEvents interface, 93, 94, 95 indexers, basic description of, 255 index.html, 157 Initialized but not activated state, 170 InitializeLifetimeService method, 171 insecure backups, 205 installing classes, 60–61 files from the CD, 210 Microsoft Message Queue (MSMQ), 124–125 Int keyword, 247 integer data type, 247, 248, 250 Interactive Users, 68–69 interface(s). See also specific interfaces proxying, 29–30, 40 standard, 39–40 InterfaceQueuing attribute, 147 internal members, 253 International Business Machines (IBM), 122 Internet Information Server (IIS) kernel mode driver, 196–198 modes, 203 new features of, 195–206 service applications and, 186–187 understanding authentication in, 71–72 XML metabase and, 205–206 Internet Server API (ISAPI), 122, 199, 203 Interop boundary, 43 InventoryConn class, 212 Invoke method, 167 IObjectControl interface, 109, 110, 116 IPersistStream interface, 142 IPlaybackControl interface, 140, 151 IPublisherFilter interface, 91 IQC interface, 145, 148 ISAPI. See Internet Server API (ISAPI) IsCallerInRole() function, 143 ISerializable interface, 158–159 isolated rule, 48–49, 259. See also ACID requirements; isolation levels isolation levels, 186, 192–193 ISponsor interface, 171 ISupportErrorInfo interface, 30 IsUserInRole method, 80 iterators, 241 IUnknown interface, 27–28, 29, 39–40, 42 iVar variable, 237–239 J JIT Compiler. See Just In Time (JIT) Compiler JITA. See Just In Time Activation (JITA) Joint Photographics Experts Group (JPEG) files, 12 JPEG files. See Joint Photographics Experts Group (JPEG) files jump statement, 237, 238–239 Just In Time Activation (JITA), 52–53, 61–62, 115. See also activation object pooling and, 106–107, 111 remoting and, 163 Just In Time (JIT) Compiler, 4, 5. See also compilers basic description of, 7 Compilation Counters, 11–12 Garbage Collection and, 9 Global Assembly Cache and, 15 invocation of, by stubs, 7 remoting and, 163, 164 JustInTimeActivation attribute, 61–62, 115 K kernel mode driver, 196–198 L layoutsequential option, 6 lazy registration, 60 LCEs. See Loosely Coupled Events (LCEs) legacy backups, 205 Index 279 4835-2 Index.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 279 lifecycle(s) activation, 41–43 logical, 50–51 physical, 55–57 transaction, 50–51, 55–56 lifetime limit, 194 of objects, maintaining, 28–29 Listen attribute, 144, 146 listener, 132–135 ListenerHelper component, 134–135, 143 loading, code inside the CLR, 4–12 Local Security Authority (LSA), 65 locking isolation levels and, 186, 192–193 modes, 220–222 SPM (Shared Property Manager) and, 218, 220–222 tables, 48–49 log files, 262–263, 267–268 logon, 66–67. See also authentication LogTransactionID method, 59 Long keyword, 247 longitude field, 250 loops, writing, 241–242 Loosely Coupled Events (LCEs), 143, 148–149. See also events architecture for, 89–90 attributes and, 89–91 comparing TCE events to, 86–87 components for, writing, 92–100 need for, 83–87 low-memory activation gates, 186, 193 LSA. See Local Security Authority (LSA) M Main method, 218, 231 managed code, basic description of, 3–4 manifest, 12–13 Marshal class, 136, 143 MarshalByRefObject class, 159, 177 marshaling by reference, 158–159 method calls, 30 remoting and, 156 by value, 158–161 MaxPoolSize attribute, 104–106 MaxPoolSize property, 115 MDAC. See Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) memory. See also Shared Property Manager (SPA) activation gates, 186, 193 application process dumps, 185, 191 classes and, 6, 250–251 Common Type System and, 19 conflicts, 216–218 counters, 11–12 CRM (Compensation Resource Manager) and, 267–268 JIT and, 7 limits, 194 low, 186, 193 management, automatic, 7–12 pointers, 255–257 release modes and, 220–221 remoting and, 156 requirements, for the CD, 209 sharing, among threads, 215–218 unsafe code and, 256–257 message(s) message-passing architecture, 43 poison, 137–138 priority, 127 properties, 127 triggers, 206 Message class, 128–131 MessageQueue class, 128–131 metabase(s) backups, 205–206 basic description of, 205–206 metadata Common Type System and, 18 MSIL and, 4–5 transactions and, 61 method(s) calls, marshalling, 30, 40 inside classes, 252 parameters, 242–243 signatures, 84–85 virtual, 116 280 Index 4835-2 Index.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 280 Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASPs), 39, 199 cache tuning, 204 IIS and, 198 OfficeMart demo application and, 211 queued components and, 122 security and, 70–71, 79 Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC), 70 Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL) Disassembler, 22–23 JIT and, 7 metadata and, 4–5 portability and, 5 Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS). See also servers kernel mode driver, 196–198 modes, 203 new features of, 195–206 service applications and, 186–187 understanding authentication in, 71–72 XML metabase and, 205–206 Microsoft Message Queue (MSMQ). See also queued components administration snap-in, 126 API, 123, 128 applications, developing, 128–131 basic description of, 124–131 installing, 124–125 LDAP support in, 206 listeners and, 132–135 new features of, 206 players and, 132–135 queue categories, 125–128 recorders and, 132–135, 143 remoting and, 168, 172 transport mechanisms, 131–132 Microsoft SQL Server, 49, 56 object pooling and, 115 OfficeMart demo application and, 211 Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS), 185–186 Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), 39 arrays and, 243–244 assemblies and, 12 COM interfaces and, 39 loops and, 241 memory management and, 7 transactions and, 51 typedefs and, 25 Type Library Importer and, 22–27 Microsoft Visual Studio, 1, 4 Microsoft Windows Security Architecture, 65 Shell extension, 14 using the CD with, 210 MinPoolSize attribute, 104–106, 115 Mode attribute, 16 modifiers, 253 modules assemblies and, 13 basic description of, 13 converting, 25–27 monikers, 136 MoveDirectory method, 267, 268–270 MoveFirst method, 42 MoveLast method, 42 MQ Series (IBM), 122 MSIL. See Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL) MSMQ. See Microsoft Message Queue (MSMQ) MTAs. See MTA Multi-Threaded Apartment (MTAs) MTS. See Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) mtx.exe, 200 Multi-Threaded Apartment (MTAs), 31–32 My Computer, 14–15 MyApplication namespace, 234 MyEventClass class, 93, 94, 95 MySubscriberClass class, 93, 94 MyTransactionRoot class, 99–100 N namespaces basic description of, 233–235 converting type libraries to, 21–27 MSIL Disassembler and, 23 namespaces within, 234 NAT. See Network Address Translation (NAT) Index 281 4835-2 Index.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 281 .NET Framework components, 21–32, 33–44 event architecture, 84–86 the future of COM+ and, 185–208 namespaces, converting type libraries to, 21–27 Software Development Kit (SDK), 11, 13–14, 60, 191, 206 threading issues and, 30–32 understanding, 3–4 NetBios names, 173 Network Address Translation (NAT), 70 new keyword, 7, 11, 135–136, 249 New Subscription Wizard, 96 nondeterministic finalization, 10, 107, 133 None authentication level, 74 NonPooledObject class, 115, 116 NonSerializable attribute, 159 Not initialized state, 170 NOT operator, 92 Not Supported attribute, 51, 62 Notepad, 198 O object(s). See also object pooling client-activated, 161, 162–163 context-bound, 161 developing, 62–63 lifetime of, 28–29, 169–171 memory management and, 7–8 preserving the identity of, 27, 39 requirements for, 108–110 root, 62–63 server-activated, 161, 163–165 stateless, 108 transactional, 109–110 well-known, 158 worker, 62–63 Object Linking and Embedding (OLE), 56, 115 object pooling attributes, 104–106 basic description of, 101–110 clients, 117–118 components, 111–117 nondeterministic finalization and, 107 scalability and, 106–107 transactions and, 109–110 when to use, 103–104 ObjectPooling attribute, 114–115 ObjectPoolLib namespace, 111 ObjRef class, 167 OfficeMart application architecture of, 211–212 basic description of, 210–212 problems with, troubleshooting, 213 OfficeMartLib.dll, 212 OLE. See Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) on-demand start, 203–204 OnEvent method, 86 operators, 92, 256 Options tab, 91 OR operator, 92 OrderEvt class, 212 Orders class, 211 Organizational Units (OUs), 191 Originator attribute, 17 OUs. See Organizational Units (OUs) P Pack Integrity authentication level, 74, 75 Packet authentication level, 74, 75 Packet Private authentication level, 74 parameter filtering, 91–92 parameterized constructors, 162–163 partition(s) attributes, 189–190 IDs, 189 names, 189 setting up, 185, 188–191 Partitions folder, 190 passwords. See also security basic authentication and, 71–72 security scope and, 79 ping, 203–204 PlaceOrder method, 176, 180 players, 132–135 pointers, 255–257 poison messages, 137 PooledObject class, 115 PooledObject namespace, 114 282 Index 4835-2 Index.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 282 pooling applications, 186, 194–195, 200–203 objects, 101–110 Pooling & Recycling tab, 194, 195 Populate method, 272 portability, 5 Post method, 172 power outages, 49–50 PrepareRecord method, 270 PrintTransactionId method, 99–100 private members, 253 process(es) affinity, 203–204 recycling, 186, 193–194 restarting, 204 worker, 203–204 IIS and, 204 JIT and, 7 memory management and, 8 requirements for the CD, 209 Products class, 212 ProgIDs, 37, 145 component aliasing and, 191 queued components and, 149 properties basic description of, 253–254 creating, 222–226 grouping, 221–222 locking, 220–222 release modes for, 220–222 Property method, 224 PropertyByPosition method, 224 PropertyLockMode parameter, 220–221 PropertyReleaseMode parameter, 220–221 protected internal members, 253 protected members, 253 proxies. See proxying interfaces real, 167–168 remoting and, 165–168 transport, 165–166 proxying interfaces, 29–31, 40. See proxies public key cryptography, 14 public members, 253 Publisher ID attribute, 91 PublisherFilter property, 97 PublisherFilterCLSID property, 91 publishers basic description of, 87–88 filtering, 91, 97 Q QC class, 148 QCSubscriber class, 148 QFE. See Quick Fix Engineering (QFE) QueryInterface() function, 27 Queued attribute, 144, 145 queued components. See also components; Microsoft Message Queue (MSMQ) basic description of, 121–151 client and server requirements for, 131–132 design considerations for, 141–142 developing, 144–151 exception handling and, 137–140 instantiating, 135–137 loosely coupled events and, 143, 148–149 making the case for, 122–124 samples of, on the CD, 210, 211 transactions and, 143 using other services with, 142–143 QueueListenerEnabled property, 146 Quick Fix Engineering (QFE), 14–17 R Rapid Fail Protection, 202 RCW. See Runtime Callable Wrapper (RCW) RDS. See Remote Data Services (RDS) read committed isolation level, 193 committed level, 49 locks, 48 uncommitted isolation level, 193 unconmitted level, 49 /write properties, 91 recorders, 132–135, 143 ref keyword, 142, 221, 242 ref statement, 242 reference types, 18–19 reflection, 1, 267 Index 283 4835-2 Index.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 283 Register method, 171 Registry, 5, 41 registering assemblies in, 33–38 registering components in, 60–61 Regsvcs, 60, 61, 78, 100–102 Release() function, 28, 39 release modes, 220–222 ReleaseComObject method, 29, 136, 137, 147 reliability, 123, 195 Remote Data Services (RDS), 70 Remote Procedure Call (RPC) protocol, 70, 121, 122, 172 RemoteComponent class, 178–181, 184 RemoteComponentName component, 157 remoting activating remote objects, 161–165 basic description of, 155–184 channels and, 168–169 context-bound objects and, 161 proxies and, 165–168 remote object lifetime and, 169–171 well-known objects and, 158 RemotingConfiguration class, 181 Renew method, 171 RenewOnCallTime property, 171 repeatable read isolation level, 193 repeatable read level, 49 report queues, 125–126 Required attribute, 51, 52, 62, 55 RequiresNew attribute, 51, 52, 55, 62 response queues, 125–126 retrieve() method, 251–252 return statement, 239 role-based security, 76–78, 142–143 RPC (Remote Procedure Call) protocol. See Remote Procedure Call (RPC) protocol Run Application as NT Service option, 186 Runtime Callable Wrapper (RCW) basic description of, 27–30 maintaining object lifetimes and, 28–29 marshalling method calls and, 30 preserving object identity and, 27 proxying interfaces and, 29–30 threading issues and, 30–32 S SACL. See System Access Control List (SACL) SAM. See Security Accounts Manager (SAM) SAS. See Secure Attention Sequence (SAS) SayHello method, 148 Sbyte keyword, 246 scalability basic description of, 106 IIS and, 195, 201 JIT and, 7 object pooling and, 106–107 queued components and, 123 scheduling workloads, 123 schemas, basic description of, 65 scope, 54–55, 78–81 Secure Attention Sequence (SAS), 66 SecuredComponent class, 77–78 security. See also authentication authorization, 72–75 backups and, 205 cryptography, 14 impersonation and, 69, 71, 75, 78–79 model, 65, 72–78 module, 26–27 passwords, 71–72, 79 role-based, 76–68, 142–143 scope, 78–81 special accounts and, 68–69 Security Accounts Manager (SAM), 65 Security Identifiers (SIDs), 67, 79 Security tab, 72–73 SecurityCallContext class, 80 SecurityCallers class, 80 SecurityIdentity class, 80 select statement, 116 serializable level, 49 Serialized isolation level, 192–193 server(s). See also Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS); Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) modes, 203 queued components and, 131–132, 137–139 284 Index 4835-2 Index.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 284 requirements, 131–132 server-side error handling, 137–139 service applications, 186–188 Service Setup dialog box, 186–187 ServicedComponent class, 58–61, 94, 99, 142, 147 client-activated, 183–184 object pooling and, 103, 107–118 remoting and, 155, 158–161, 177–174, 183–184 Services MMC snap-in, 187 set method, 254 SetAbort method, 53, 54 SetComplete method, 54 SetupAbort() function, 143 shared names, basic description of, 14 Shared Property Manager (SPM), 109, 215–232 API, 219–229 memory conflicts and, 216–218 solving static problems and, 229–232 SharedProperty class, 223–224, 226–229 SharedPropertyGroup class, 222–226 SharedPropertyGroupManager class, 219–222 Short keyword, 246 SIDs. See Security Identifiers (SIDs) Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), 172, 168 Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), 70, 155, 169 introduction to, 171–177 queued components and, 121, 122 SingleCall component using, 177–181 Single Threaded Apartments (STAs), 31–32 SingleCall component, 163, 164, 177–183 Singleton objects, 163–164 Sit() method, 251–252 SMTP. See Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) SOAP. See Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) Software Development Kit (.NET Framework), 11, 13, 191, 206 Global Assembly Cache and, 14 transactions and, 60 SomeComponent class, 221 special accounts, 68–69 SPM. See Shared Property Manager (SPM) SQL Server (Microsoft), 49, 56 object pooling and, 115 OfficeMart application and, 211 square brackets ([]), 244 STAs. See Single Threaded Apartments (STAs) Standard mode, 203 StartTransaction method, 100 static modifier, 215–216 static problems, solving, 229–232 struct keyword, 248 structures. See also specific structures basic description of, 248–250 classes and, 251 stub(s) basic description of, 7 code, 22 creating of, 7 subscribers. See also subscriptions basic description of, 87–88 in-process, allowing, 90 notification order for, 91–92 subscriptions. See also subscribers basic description of, 89 creating, 95–97 Supported attribute, 51, 52, 62 switch statements, 236–239 synchronization basic description of, 54 transactions and, 54, 61–62 Synchronization attribute, 61–62 System Access Control List (SACL), 67 System namespace, 58–59, 81, 180, 237 data types and, 246 structures and, 248 System package, 186 system requirements, for the CD, 209 system32 folder, 262 System.Int32 structure, 246 Index 285 4835-2 Index.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 285 T tables, locking, 48–49 TargetTypeName property, 131 TCEs. See Tightly Coupled Events (TCEs) TCP. See Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) TCP/IP. See Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) technical support, for the CD, 213 text editors, 198 this keyword, 255 thread(s) affinity to particular, 108–109 object pooling and, 108–109 sharing memory among, 215–217 Thread class, 217 Threading namespace, 217 Tightly Coupled Events (TCEs). See also events basic description of, 83–87 LCEs and, comparison of, 86–87 timeouts, 194, 203–204 ToString() function, 7 transaction(s) ACID requirements and, 47–50, 54 attribute-based programming and, 59–60 AutoComplete and, 61–62 automatic enlistment of, 55–56 basic description of, 47–64 casting votes and, 53–54 components, writing, 58–64 declarative, 51 division of, into two parts, 50 just in time activation and, 52–53, 61–62 lifecycles, 50–51, 55–56 managers, 50, 56 object pooling and, 109–110 process, understanding, 50–57 queued components and, 143 remoting and, 174 scope of, 54–55 synchronization and, 61–62 two-phase commit protocol and, 57 using, with events, 98–100 Transaction attribute, 61 TransactionContext class, 54–55 Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) IIS and, 198 remoting and, 155, 157, 168–169, 173, 181–183 System.Net.Sockets namespace and, 5 Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), 157, 181–183 transport proxies, 165–166 troubleshooting, problems with the CD, 213 try-catch blocks, 239–240 two-phase commit protocol, 57 type attribute, 179 type libraries converting assemblies to, 33–37 importing, 21–27, 33 Type Library Importer, 21–27, 33 typedefs, converting, 25–27 typeof keyword, 267 typeof statement, 180 U Uint keyword, 247 Ulong keyword, 247 UnauthorizedAccessException, 81 unboxing, 227 Uniform Resource Indicators (URIs), 168, 198 Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) endpoints and, 157 remoting and, 172, 173, 175, 177, 183 UnRegister method, 171 unsafe code, 255–257 unsafe keyword, 256–257 URI. See Uniform Resource Indicators (URIs) URLs. See Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) Ushort keyword, 246 using keyword, 234 V Value property, 226, 227, 229 VerifyCustomer class, 212 VerifyProduct class, 212 286 Index 4835-2 Index.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 286 versioning, basic description of, 13–14 Virtual Function Tables (VTables), 30, 42 virtual keyword, 116 virtual methods, 116 Visual Basic (Microsoft) for Applications (VBA), 39 arrays and, 243–244 assemblies and, 12 COM interfaces and, 39 loops and, 241 memory management and, 7 transactions and, 51 typedefs and, 25 Type Library Importer and, 22–27 Visual Studio (Microsoft), 1, 4 votes, casting, 53–54 VTables (Virtual Function Tables). See Virtual Function Tables (VTables) W WaitForPendingFinalizers() function, 28 WAS (Web Administration Service). See Web Administration Service (WAS) Web Administration Service (WAS), 196–197, 205 Web gardens, 200–202 web.config file, 178–179, 181 while loops, 241–242 Win32 applications, 18, 155, 169 worker components, 260–262, 267 objects, 62–63 processes, 197, 203–204 write ahead, concept of, 260 write locks, 48 WriteEntry method, 238 WriteLogRecord method, 267 X XCopy namespace, 266, 271 XML (eXtensible Markup Language). See eXtensible Markup Language (XML) XmlMessageFormatter, 130–131 Index 287 4835-2 Index.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 287 Hungry Minds, Inc. End-User License Agreement READ THIS. You should carefully read these terms and conditions before open- ing the software packet(s) included with this book (“Book”). This is a license agree- ment (“Agreement”) between you and Hungry Minds, Inc. (“HMI”). By opening the accompanying software packet(s), you acknowledge that you have read and accept the following terms and conditions. If you do not agree and do not want to be bound by such terms and conditions, promptly return the Book and the unopened software packet(s) to the place you obtained them for a full refund. 1. License Grant. HMI grants to you (either an individual or entity) a nonexclusive license to use one copy of the enclosed software program(s) (collectively, the “Software”) solely for your own personal or business purposes on a single computer (whether a standard computer or a work- station component of a multi-user network). The Software is in use on a computer when it is loaded into temporary memory (RAM) or installed into permanent memory (hard disk, CD-ROM, or other storage device). HMI reserves all rights not expressly granted herein. 2. Ownership. HMI is the owner of all right, title, and interest, including copyright, in and to the compilation of the Software recorded on the disk(s) or CD-ROM (“Software Media”). Copyright to the individual -programs recorded on the Software Media is owned by the author or other authorized copyright owner of each program. Ownership of the Software and all proprietary rights relating thereto remain with HMI and its licensers. 3. Restrictions On Use and Transfer. (a) You may only (i) make one copy of the Software for backup or archival purposes, or (ii) transfer the Software to a single hard disk, provided that you keep the original for backup or archival purposes. You may not (i) rent or lease the Software, (ii) copy or reproduce the Software through a LAN or other network system or through any computer sub- scriber system or bulletin-board system, or (iii) modify, adapt, or create derivative works based on the Software. (b) You may not reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the Software. You may transfer the Software and user documentation on a perma- nent basis, provided that the transferee agrees to accept the terms and conditions of this Agreement and you retain no copies. If the Software is an update or has been updated, any transfer must include the most recent update and all prior versions. 54835-2 EULA.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 288 4. Restrictions on Use of Individual Programs. You must follow the individ- ual requirements and restrictions detailed for each individual program in Appendix A of this Book. These limitations are also contained in the individual license agreements recorded on the Software Media. These limitations may include a requirement that after using the program for a specified period of time, the user must pay a registration fee or discon- tinue use. By opening the Software packet(s), you will be agreeing to abide by the licenses and restrictions for these individual programs that are detailed in Appendix A and on the Software Media. 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Any replacement Software Media will be warranted for the remainder of the original warranty period or thirty (30) days, whichever is longer. 54835-2 EULA.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 289 (b) In no event shall HMI or the author be liable for any damages whatsoever (including without limitation damages for loss of business profits, business interruption, loss of business information, or any other pecuniary loss) arising from the use of or inability to use the Book or the Software, even if HMI has been advised of the possibility of such damages. (c) Because some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability for consequential or incidental damages, the above limitation or exclusion may not apply to you. 7. U.S. Government Restricted Rights. Use, duplication, or disclosure of the Software for or on behalf of the United States of America, its agencies and/or instrumentalities (the “U.S. Government”) is subject to restrictions as stated in paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of the Rights in Technical Data and Computer Software clause of DFARS 252.227-7013, or subparagraphs (c) (1) and (2) of the Commercial Computer Software - Restricted Rights clause at FAR 52.227-19, and in similar clauses in the NASA FAR supple- ment, as applicable. 8. General. This Agreement constitutes the entire understanding of the parties and revokes and supersedes all prior agreements, oral or written, between them and may not be modified or amended except in a writing signed by both parties hereto that specifically refers to this Agreement. This Agreement shall take precedence over any other documents that may be in conflict herewith. If any one or more provisions contained in this Agreement are held by any court or tribunal to be invalid, illegal, or otherwise unenforceable, each and every other provision shall remain in full force and effect. 54835-2 EULA.F 8/31/01 8:11 AM Page 290




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