The Microsoft Enterprise Library

I recently downloaded and installed the Microsoft Enterprise Library and I must say it's an amazing piece of technology. I've been using several of the separate Application Blocks in the past and they have saved me a lot of development time.

But somehow the new Enterprise Library slipped from my attention. I knew it was released, and what it contained, but I didn't really bother trying to use or implement it.

However, I recently visited the Dutch Dev Days 2005 in Den Haag where two guys from Avenade gave a presentation about the Enterprise Library, or actually about ACA.NET, a superset of the functionality found in the Enterprise Library. Although I found the presentation a bit messy, it did convince me to download the Enterprise Library and toy around with it a bit.

If you have worked with one of the previous Application Blocks, you'll find a lot of familiar stuff. Blocks like the Caching and the Data Access Application Blocks are still there. You'll also find that a lot of stuff has changed. No more calling static methods on the SqlHelpers class in the Data Access Application Block, for example. However, the code you need to use now is pretty similar and even more straight forward.
This new release also comes with quite extensive documentation that includes introductionary overviews, key scenario descriptions, walk throughs and tons of examples.

But what really makes this new release shine is the graphical Configuration Console. No more messing around with config files directly; now you get a nice config application that allows you to visually configure your applications, making development and deployment with the Enterprise Library even easier.

I'm doing some more testing with the functionality and performance of the Enterprise Library in the near future, after which I'll make it a mandatory asset in my team's toolkit. Using the Enterprise Library can really prevent us from writing the same (and boring) code over and over again, allowing us to focus on the business problem, rather than on the technical plumbing of our enterprise applications.

I won't be writing much about the Enterprise Library on this because you can already find lots of good information about them. For example, check out these sites:

Do yourself a favor and download the Enterprise Library today. They can really cut down your development and deployment times.....

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