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Introduction to Enterprise Library

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This content is outdated and is no longer being maintained. It is provided as a courtesy for individuals who are still using these technologies. This page may contain URLs that were valid when originally published, but now link to sites or pages that no longer exist.

The latest Enterprise Library information can be found at the Enterprise Library site.

Enterprise Library 4.1 — October 2008 is a new release of the Microsoft patterns & practices Enterprise Library. Enterprise Library consists of a collection of application blocks and a set of core features such as object generation and configuration mechanisms. All of these are reusable software components designed to assist developers with common enterprise development challenges. This release of the Enterprise Library provides support for a variety of new features and enhancements.

Application blocks help address the common problems that developers face from one project to the next. Their design encapsulates the Microsoft recommended best practices for .NET applications; developers can add them to .NET applications quickly and easily. For example, the Data Access Application Block provides access to the most frequently used features of ADO.NET, exposing them through easily used classes. In some cases, application blocks also add related functionality not directly supported by the underlying class libraries.

Enterprise Library is a collection of application blocks and services intended for use by developers who build complex, enterprise-level applications. These applications are typically deployed widely and have interdependencies with other application and systems. In addition, they generally have strict security, reliability, and performance requirements.

The goals of Enterprise Library are the following:

  • Consistency. All Enterprise Library application blocks feature consistent design patterns and implementation approaches.
  • Extensibility. All application blocks include defined extensibility points that allow developers to customize the behavior of the application blocks by adding their own code.
  • Ease of use. Enterprise Library offers numerous usability improvements, including a graphical configuration tool, a simpler installation procedure, and clearer and more complete documentation and samples.
  • Integration. Enterprise Library application blocks are designed to work well together and are tested to make sure that they do. It is also possible to use the application blocks individually.

This section contains the following topics that will help you to understand this release of Enterprise Library and how you use it alongside earlier versions or to migrate your applications to this version. This section includes the following topics:

The remaining sections of this guidance describe the ways that you can use Enterprise Library and the individual application blocks in your applications, how you can extend and modify the blocks, and an API reference. The following are the remaining sections of this guidance:


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