Rockford Lhotka

 Thursday, November 3, 2011

I have put the slides from my DevCon talks online:

The demos I used in these talks are all part of the CSLA 4 version 4.2 download, or the related Samples download. All are on the CSLA download page.

If you would like more information about CSLA .NET, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page, or look at the ebooks and videos available from my store.

Thursday, November 3, 2011 11:13:28 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Monday, October 31, 2011

CSLA 4 version 4.2 beta 2 is now available for download on the CSLA download page.

This beta update includes a small number of bug fixes, and some enhancements:

  1. The Windows Phone projects now build for WP 7.5 "Mango"
  2. Csla.Xaml.PropertyInfo can now be used in a control template
  3. MobileFormatter can now be used for undo/clone operations on .NET
  4. Samples are now built against the 4.2 assemblies
  5. Several WPF/SL samples now use PropertyInfo, and have been styled to look better (thanks Aaron!)

At this point I expect the 4.2 release to occur by the end of November. There may or may not be another beta release depending on your feedback with this beta.

Monday, October 31, 2011 11:32:45 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Friday, October 28, 2011

Do you live in the northeast (in the general Boston area)? Is your focus one of:

  • .NET development
  • Azure
  • SharePoint
  • BizTalk Server
  • Mobile development (iOS/Android/Windows)
  • SQL/BI

We’re hiring and would love to talk to you!

Friday, October 28, 2011 9:29:34 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Based on comments from my previous Windows 8 Development Platform blog post (thank you to Shawn and Slavo in particular), here’s an updated Magenic diagram.


This one adds the Chakra js engine to the WinRT and desktop sides of the diagram, and it expands the detail of WinRT and Win32 to include things like COM, GDI+, and DirectX.

The result is that DirectX and GDI+ are duplicated – they are shown as a presentation technology at the top (which is valid), and as a core part of the OS APIs too (which is also valid). I’m not entirely sure that this adds clarity (or causes confusion?), but it seems like a reasonable addition to me based on Shawn’s comments.

The DirectX/GDI+ addition is directly valuable (I think), because it clearly illustrates that GDI+ is a Win32 thing, and doesn’t exist in the WinRT world.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 10:28:14 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Monday, October 24, 2011

The demos I used for Visual Studio Live! Redmond are online:

Monday, October 24, 2011 2:54:22 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer

I have updated the Magenic Code Mastery Atlanta download to include a MEF example. This is in the CslaNetWithAspMvc sample.

The direct download is

Monday, October 24, 2011 12:30:39 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer

I’ve posted a number of blog entries on Windows 8 and WinRT, and thought it might be worth summarizing them. I suggest reading them in this order:

Win8, Metro, and WinRT terminology – why WinRT != Metro, and when I think each term should be used

Windows 8 Development Platform Clarified – addresses questions about today’s technologies and how they map into Windows 8, includes the Magenic Windows 8 platform diagrams

Updated Windows 8 Dev Platform - revised/improved Windows 8 Development Platform graphic

WinRT and business apps – why I am convinced that WinRT is relevant for business developers (and future business app development)

Silverlight 6 doesn't matter - why the Microsoft product support strategy, and WinRT, mean that Silverlight 6 (whether it exists or not) doesn't matter

Migrating smart clients to WinRT – somewhat CSLA .NET specific discussion on what you can do today to ease migration to WinRT in the future

WinRT and .NET – first thoughts based on the //Build/ conference – a bit rambling, but still generally useful

Why MVVM – technical post discussing why using MVVM in WPF/SL today will help migrate to WinRT in the future

CSLA on WinRT (project start) – initial findings as I started porting CSLA .NET to WinRT

WinRT BackgroundWorker type – technical post showing one way to recreate BackgroundWorker using async/await in WinRT

Monday, October 24, 2011 12:04:36 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer

At Visual Studio Live! last week I used some slides that several of us at Magenic have been working on to provide clarity around the “Windows 8” development platform, based on what we know from //Build/ 2011. I wanted to share some of these slides here.

We’re also working on a related white paper that will be online soon, and I’ll link to that when it is available.

First, is the obligatory Microsoft “boxology” diagram that generated so much controversy due to its over-simplistic design:


Although this diagram is usually found to be lacking, it did set the standard for the green/blue color scheme and overall layout of everyone else’s “boxology” diagrams – including ours.

Magenic Windows 8 Diagram

Here is the Magenic diagram that provides more detail and clarity:


Win32 (blue) is the existing Windows operating system API, and it shouldn’t be surprising that it supports existing technologies.

WinRT (green) is the new Windows operating system API, that I suspect will replace Win32 over a period of many, many years. In my mind this is absolutely necessary. Win32 is more than 16 years old, and just doesn’t provide the capabilities we want in a modern operating system. Hopefully the new WinRT API will provide these capabilities, and will last for another 15+ years.

The idea in the Magenic diagram is to clearly show the WinRT (Metro, green) and Win32 (desktop, blue) sides of the Windows 8 platform, and the various development technology stacks that can be used to build software for each operating system API.

To provide even more clarity, we have a series of highlight diagrams for various technology stacks.

The Desktop (blue)

I’ll start by walking through all the technology stacks on the desktop (blue) side of the master diagram:

  • Silverlight
  • WPF
  • Web sites with plugins
  • Web sites with pure HTML/js
  • Windows Forms
  • C++, MFC, ATL

Each technology maps directly from today into Windows 8.



Silverlight runs in Win8 in the desktop browser, and out of browser, just like it does today on Win7.



WPF runs in the Win8 desktop just like it does today in Win7.

Web sites with plugin support


Today’s web sites that use HTML, js, Flash, Silverlight, ActiveX, and other common web technologies all run in the desktop web browser. This is the same as web sites work today in Win7.

Web sites with pure HTML/js


If a web site only uses HTML, CSS, and js, then it can run in the WinRT and desktop browsers interchangeably. Microsoft clearly expects this type of web site to become more common over time, though it is interesting that a large number of existing Microsoft web sites are really only useful in the desktop browser.

Windows Forms


Windows Forms continues to run in Windows 8 on the desktop, just like it does in Win7. This isn’t surprising, given that Windows Forms is almost certainly still the dominant technology for building Windows smart client applications, even though the technology hasn’t had anything beyond bug fixes since 2005. It goes to show how stability in a platform is important, and attracts widespread use for business development.



Although little business development is done with C++ anymore, this technology remains relevant for game developers, OS and device driver developers, and every now and then I encounter someone using it for business development. From my perspective, the important thing about C++ support is that my favorite games will probably continue to run on Win8 in the desktop.

WinRT (green)

Next, I’ll walk through the three technologies that support the WinRT API:

  • WinRT .NET
  • WinRT HTML 5
  • WinRT C++

Each technology draws from existing technologies by the same names, but in each case there’s a little “twist” as you move from the Win32 to the WinRT platform.



I expect this to be the most widely used technology stack for building WinRT applications. The .NET available to WinRT applications is (I think) best thought of as being like .NET on the Windows Phone. It is basically the Silverlight subset of .NET, plus a bunch of WinRT-specific features and capabilities. The differences between Silverlight and WinRT are a bit more dramatic than with WP7, but the analogy remains quite accurate.

The XAML is very close to Silverlight and WPF, and the types of code you can write using C# and VB are very comparable to what you can write today using Silverlight.

As a preview: the white paper we’re creating at Magenic ultimately concludes that using Silverlight today provides the easiest transition to WinRT in the future. Not seamless or trivial, but practical. We also conclude that WPF can enable a WinRT transition too – especially if you limit your use of WPF and .NET to the Silverlight subset of behaviors and features.



Microsoft has made much of the HTML 5 technology stack for building WinRT applications. In no way are we talking about web sites, web pages, or web applications here. This is smart client development done using technologies that were previously web-focused.

For a .NET developer, the technologies map like this:

  • HTML instead of XAML
  • JavaScript instead of C#
  • WinJS instead of the .NET BCL

In my conversations with traditional web developers, it is a brain-bending moment when I point out that there is no web server involved, and so no server-side code at all here. All the stuff that is done in ASP.NET or PHP is now done in JavaScript. From an architecture, design, and application functionality perspective, a WinRT HTML 5 app is almost, but not completely, unlike a web app.

On the positive side, if a web developer can learn and embrace the smart client architectural model, their skills with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript will carry over to this new platform. Some HTML and CSS assets, and perhaps some js assets, will carry from web development into this type of smart client development as well.

WinRT C++


Finally, C++ remains relevant on WinRT as well. This should come as no surprise, given that the Windows OS developers primarily use C++, and there’ll hopefully be games and other applications that are traditionally created using this technology.

I also suspect that Objective C apps will port to WinRT more directly through C++ than with C# or js, and (at least for my part) I hope that some of the existing iPad/iPhone apps quickly make their way onto WinRT so I can enjoy them.


Through this series of diagrams, we clearly show how today’s technologies map directly into the Win8 desktop world, still running on the Win32 API. And we show the three technology stacks that enable development of applications on the new WinRT API.

From everything we know today, it seems clear that migrating to WinRT will require effort, regardless of the technology used today, or in the Win8 desktop. Of all existing technologies, Silverlight and then WPF appear to offer the easiest migration. HTML 5, css, and js skills, along with some code assets will also migrate, but there’s a non-trivial architectural difference between web development and smart client development that shouldn’t be overlooked.

As Microsoft releases updates to the Win8 preview and moves into a beta process, I’m sure that we’ll learn more about the platform and how existing technologies map into the future. It will be interesting to see how we need to update these diagrams as Microsoft provides more information over time.

Windows 8 is exciting, and the new WinRT platform is long-overdue. I look forward to building WinRT applications in the not-to-distant future!

Monday, October 24, 2011 11:08:54 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Magenic sent a team to Microsoft’s recent //build/ conference to learn about the new Windows 8 and WinRT platform. You can now watch a series of interviews with several of Magenic’s thought leaders to get an insight into the first impressions about Windows 8:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 3:34:17 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Friday, October 14, 2011

With all the new terminology and conceptual surface area that comes with the OS code-named “Windows 8”, I’ve been struggling to come up with clarity as I discuss the technology. In the absence of true clarity from Microsoft, we’re left to interpret that they’ve said and come up with our own consistent terminology.

Here’s my current thinking:

  • Windows 8 – the new operating system that runs in a “dual mode”: Desktop (Win32) and WinRT
  • Win32 – the OS API that supports today’s applications in Win8
  • WinRT – the new OS API that supports future applications
  • Metro – a user experience design language often used when building WinRT applications

If I’m right, this is important, because people will ultimately be building business applications on WinRT. Those apps may or may not be strictly “Metro”, but by running on WinRT they’ll gain the benefits of the new runtime API, services, and application model.

People talk about “Metro apps”, but even in the Microsoft samples there are apps running on WinRT that violate those standards left and right. So it is extremely clear that WinRT apps might or might not be “Metro”.

Additionally, it seems pretty reasonable to think about building Silverlight or WPF apps, even today, following the Metro standards. Some of that might require a lot of work (at least until third party control vendors create some new components for us), but it is surely possible.

So you could argue that "Metro apps” might transcend WinRT. In fact, Metro is also used to describe Windows Phone apps, and they are mostly written in Silverlight.

So I think there are “WinRT apps”, and this includes any/all apps written on the WinRT API.

Then there are “Metro apps” that are probably a WinRT app, that also follows the Metro user experience guidelines.

This terminology helps a lot when talking about .NET, present and future.

Right now, today, we have some flavors of .NET:

  • .NET Full profile
  • .NET Client profile
  • Silverlight
  • Windows Phone

It seems to me that Windows 8 just adds a new option:

  • .NET WinRT profile

As I think about the future of CSLA .NET, for example, this is how I approach the issue. We’ve already put in a lot of work to make the framework support the existing flavors of .NET (plus mono, mono for iOS, and mono for Android). Much of that effort lays the necessary groundwork for also supporting this new WinRT flavor of .NET.

Friday, October 14, 2011 9:04:37 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Wednesday, October 12, 2011

This past weekend Magenic hosted a CSLA .NET Code Mastery event. A full day of free training on CSLA 4. It was a great time, and we had a room full of wonderful attendees. The content from the event is now online:

Watch for more Magenic events in the future! (

Agenda from this past event:

1. CSLA .NET intro - Rocky Lhotka

Topic will give attendees a high level overview of CSLA as an application framework. Key moving parts of CSLA will be covered, along with answering the most important question: Why use CSLA? Roles of business objects, data portal, rules, authentication and authorization will be covered in principal.

2. Business object design - Eric Blackwell

Session will concentrate of best practices for designing business objects. Single responsibility principal and maintainability will be covered in light of using CSLA. Key aspects of good CSLA business layer will be covered in detail, including properties, rules, data portal, data access, business method and validation. Particular attention will be paid to structuring classes and relationship between classes. Designing based on use cases will be an important aspect of the session.

3. Business, validation, and authorization rules - Tim Price-Williams

This session will be a deep dive into the world or rules. Topics such as validation rules, user authentication and authorization will be covered. Distinction between validation and business rules be drawn. Important key scenarios will be covered, such as synchronous and asynchronous rules, client / server rules, object creation and save scenario from rules perspective. Custom and built-in rules be covered in detail. A pattern for typical business rule/methods will be illuminated.

4. Data portal and n-tier architecture - Rocky Lhotka

This topic will cover in details all possibilities that CSLA provides when abstracting communication channels between client and server components. Difference between local and remote data portal will be discussed. Various configuration patterns will be highlighted along with usage scenarios for each one. Multi-tier deployment as it relates to data portals will be covered, as well as using external data sources instead of CSLA data portal in client only scenarios.

5. Data access - Travis Brown

This session is all about data access technologies and how they relate to CSLA data portal access. The topic will include patterns for abstracting data access for business objects to promote maintainability. Discussion of Microsoft technologies for data access will take place as well.

6. XAML and MVVM - Sergey Barskiy

This session will concentrate on using CSLA as business layer in XAML based user interfaces. Taking Silverlight as an example, session will highlight how CSLA base classes can be used to facilitate communication between UI and business objects. Adaptability of CSLA business layer to seamlessly alter user interface based on rules be will covered. Patterns for wiring business objects for Silverlight environment will be part of the discussion.

7. ASP.NET MVC - Mitch Gordon

This session will concentrate on using CSLA as business layer in ASP.NET MVC based user interfaces. The discussion will include CSLA provided base classes that will allow developers write less code. The session will illuminate patters for maintaining authentication and authorization rules between server calls. Patterns for adapting UI based on user rights will be discussed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 7:38:17 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer