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Introduction to the Enterprise Library

Retired Content

This content is outdated and is no longer being maintained.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 3.1 – May 2007 is a new release of the Microsoft patterns & practices Enterprise Library. The Enterprise Library is a collection of application blocks. These are reusable software components designed to assist developers with common enterprise development challenges. This release of the Enterprise Library includes two new application blocks, a software factory for creating application blocks and providers, and other new features and enhancements.

Benefits

Application blocks help address the common problems that developers face from one project to the next. They are designed to encapsulate the Microsoft recommended best practices for .NET applications. They can be added 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.

Goals

The Enterprise Library is a collection of application blocks 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 the 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.

Audience Requirements

This guidance is intended for software architects and software developers. To get the most benefit from this guidance, you should have an understanding of the following technologies:

  • Microsoft Visual C# or Microsoft Visual Basic .NET
  • Microsoft .NET Framework

System Requirements

To develop applications using the Enterprise Library, you need the following:

  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Vista operating system
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 or 3.0. You need .NET Framework 3.0 for:
    • The Application Block Software Factory
    • The Validation Application Block Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) adapter
    • The Exception Handling Application Block Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) exception shielding functionality
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 development system (any of the following editions):

    Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition

    Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition

    Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Developers

    Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Testers

    Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Architects

    Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite

    Note that the Enterprise Library includes both unit test binaries and source code. You need either Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition or NUnit 2.2 to execute the unit tests. For instructions about how to use the unit tests, see Unit Tests. If you modify the unit test source, you will need to recompile it, which also requires either Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition or NUnit 2.2.

To use the Application Block Software Factory and the Strong-Naming Guidance Package, you need the Microsoft Guidance Automation Extensions (GAX). To modify and compile these guidance packages, you also need the Microsoft Guidance Automation Toolkit (GAT).

  • To use the Data Access Application Block, you need a database server running a database that is supported by a .NET Framework 2.0 data provider. This includes SQL Server 2000 or later, SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition, and Oracle 9i or later. The database server can also run a database that is supported by the .NET Framework 2.0 data providers for OLE DB or ODBC.

Contents of This Release

The Enterprise Library 3.1 – May 2007 contains the following:

  • Binaries. The Enterprise Library includes pre-compiled, strong-named assemblies for all the source code. For more information, see Using the Enterprise Library Binaries.
  • Source code. The Enterprise Library includes the source code for the application blocks, the guidance packages, the configuration tools, the unit tests and the QuickStarts.
  • Unit tests. The Enterprise Library includes the unit tests that were created while the application blocks were being developed. For more information, see Unit Tests.
  • QuickStarts. Enterprise Library QuickStarts are brief, easy-to-understand illustrations of key application block features. Each application block includes one or more QuickStarts.
  • Documentation. Enterprise Library includes documentation that can be viewed with the Visual Studio Help system. The documentation includes guidance about how to use the Enterprise Library, as well as a class library reference.

Migrating from Previous Releases

In general, applications built using Enterprise Library for .NET Framework 2.0 – January 2006 will function with Enterprise Library 3.1 – May 2007, without the need for any code changes. It will be necessary to update the references to refer to the new assemblies, and to update the configuration files to reference the correct version of the assemblies.

Refer to each application block's documentation for additional guidance about migrating from earlier releases of Enterprise Library.

Retired Content

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.
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