Friday, February 13, 2009

putting it altogether

In the last few days, I have been diving into a variety of .NET technologies. This should be no surprise to anyone in this industry if one wishes to stay current and employed. Especially in this economy. So there it goes...

Well, I started dabbling with Silverlight 2.0. Creating XAML pages, simple Silver application which is available once you install the Silverlight 2.o SDK. The place to start is Learn Silverlight. Creating circles and elipses, buttons, stackpanels and grids on usercontrol is cool, but does not help my business. So after reading a few chapters in one certain book and watching a few videos from the official site, I have decided to give it a go.

As it turns out, Silverlight was just the prelude and wetted my appetite to dig deeper. Since I am data oriented, I started creating a SQL Server database in SQL Server express. Created a four-table data model which I will provide details later, but I just want to summarize the work I have done as of this Friday afternoon.

With the database in place, created a Data Access Layer project in Visual Studio, using C# (.NET framework 3.5). According to the feedback and posts I have read, I felt inclined to use Entity Framework. As you may know, Entity Framework is available in Visual Studio 2008 SP1. Setting this object/file up in Visual Studio is pretty easy, but I have ran into a few snags in my data model, especially with the associations. And my version of Visual Studio does not open the modeller at first, but there is a trick which I found out. If I open and close the file with the XML editor, the modeller becomes available.

With the model in place, I wrote data object classes to enable basic CRUD operations. I made sure I created a separate test project/class to run my unit, I mean integrity tests. After the model checked out fine, I moved on the next stage.

Next was creating a WCF service which exposes the above data object. I created separate classes and host the service on the local IIS (running on XP, so IIS is 5.1). Have to remind myself of certain WCF command line utils.

Then I created a WCF client to test the service I hosted on IIS. Used the "svcutil" utility to create a proxy class and included the app.config file. My client was a simple console application, don't include the service client. So far so good.

Then early this afternoon, I watched another video for consuming WCF services using Silverlight. There were a few things I have to do and I have a few gripes about why certain things are done that way, but again will talk about that later. Oh, have I mentioned I am using ASP.NET MVC as my project. So hooking up separate XAML pages (or ) I should, was fun.

I have really worked on each individual component separately and just an hour ago, I was able to put it altogether. I got it working. And of course, there is a lot more work. I will update this post as I find time. Thanks for reading.