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Mono 1.1.9 Is Released

Web and drawing capabilities see big improvements

It looks to me like that the 1.1.9 release of Mono is the biggest since Version 1.0. Many components went through major changes. 118 developers received credit for work done since version 1.1.8.

For display-related code such as System.Windows.Forms (SWF), System.Drawing, and GDI+, the big change is the switch from Cairo 0.3 to Cairo 1.0. In the September edition of Monkey Business (.NETDJ Vol: 3, iss 9), I noted that GTK+, the base library used by System.Drawing, had been updated to use Cairo as its drawing engine. Cairo is becoming the base technology for a lot of open source graphics and GUIs. The Cairo upgrade improves Mono's display speed and stability, with some benchmarks running 30 to 50 percent faster. Memory leaks have been fixed, as have many small bugs. These add up to noticeable improvements in applications running under Mono. Functionality in SWF continues to increase. In the April edition of Monkey Business (.NETDJ Vol: 3, iss 4), 40 of the 69 controls in SWF were complete, 18 were in development, and 11 had no one working on them. By the June issue (.NETDJ Vol: 3, iss 6), only one more had been completed (41), 24 were being worked on, and only four had not been started. Now, as of early October, 51 are complete and 14 are being worked on. The four that still have not been started are the help provider, and three print dialogs. Currently 98 percent of the SWF members (methods, properties, etc.) have been implemented. SWF also now sports a snazzy new theme called "nice" in addition to the "classic" Win32 theme. There are screen shots on the MWF blog (Managed.Windows.Forms, Mono's version of SWF) at http://svn.myrealbox.com/blog/index.php under the August 30 entry. One entry above that one shows the current status of the rich text box, and one entry below shows you how Mono's SWF use of resources are coming along. Another entry down you can see a screen shot of the Nexxtia instant messenger client from Nureality Networks. Earlier this year, Ed Dumbhill listed seven cool applications that ran on Mono (see Monkey Business December 2004, Vol: 2, iss: 12) - now that list would fill pages. One of my favorites is Second Life (http://secondlife.com), a virtual reality world powered by Mono, where "residents" can add to the world using scripts (current only LSL, a special scripting language, is supported, but support for any CLR-compliant scripting language is planned). SWF is really maturing.

Web-related code also received a lot of attention in this release. ASP.NET received a major rewrite, starting with 67,700 lines of test code, including NUnit tests for about half the controls, extensive stand-alone tests, and JSUnit tests. JSUnit is a new unit-testing framework based on JScript (note that with this release, Mono's JScript passes 4,586 out of 5,994, or 76 percent, of the Mozilla ECMAScript test suit). Much of this came from the Google Summer of Code. Performance is greatly increased by the use of unmanaged buffers for uploads and content creation; this eliminates a lot of garbage collection, and copying between buffers. Mono's ASP.NET now uses TCP Cork to combines TCP headers and content in a single buffer, the sendfile API to have the OS transfer static pages directly, and the AppDomain now owns the socket to eliminate round trips and application domain crossings. All of these can have a big impact on performance. HttpClientCertificate is now supported on the XSP server, and will soon be supported on Apache, and the implementation of System.Configuration is nearing completion.

Reflecting the renewed emphasis on testing, ADO.NET has a new NUnit and Mono.Data-based testing framework for the System.Data namespace. OdbcComandBuilder, OracleCommandBuilder, and SybaseCommandBuilder have been implemented, although SybaseCommandBuilder will not be useful until the SybaseDataReader supports SchemaInfo command behavior. SqlCommandBuilder has also been improved. Mono.Data.Sqlite now supports named parameters, multiple semicolon delimited commands, and has a number of bugs fixed. Npgsql (Postgress) now supports refcursor type arguments, and has better support for metadata. Firebird (the open source version of the Borland Interbase) has also seen improvements.

The Nemerle (a superset of C#) programming language (http://nemerle.org/Main_Page) continues to push improvements in generic support in the Mono runtime. Most of the new things in the first draft of C# 3.0 (VS2005 is based on C# 2.0) have been in Nemerle since its inception last year. Because Nemerle still has some neat features not in the C# 3.0, the Nemerle project is (jokingly) referring to itself as C# 4.0. Mono's C# now includes support for the Namespace Alias Qualifier, and parts have been rewritten to improve anonymous methods, iterators, and partial classes, based on feedback after these features started getting used by developers. Only external alias and friend assemblies are needed for full C# 2.0 support. There are no plans to work on C# 3.0 features until Mono 1.2 is released, but don't be surprised if someone starts early.

After adding some symlinks for handle-case sensitivity in filenames and fixing some makefile issues, Mono now passes all Iron Python 0.9 regression test.

Code Access Security (CAS) and the VB.NET compiler and run time have also been the target of much work.

More Stories By Dennis Hayes

Dennis Hayes is a programmer at Georgia Tech in Atlanta Georgia where he writes software for the Adult Cognition Lab in the Psychology Department. He has been involved with the Mono project for over six years, and has been writing the Monkey Business column for over five years.

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SYS-CON Brazil News Desk 12/12/05 10:46:00 AM EST

Mono 1.1.9 Is Released. It looks to me like that the 1.1.9 release of Mono is the biggest since Version 1.0. Many components went through major changes. 118 developers received credit for work done since version 1.1.8.

.NET News Desk 12/12/05 10:23:58 AM EST

Mono 1.1.9 Is Released. It looks to me like that the 1.1.9 release of Mono is the biggest since Version 1.0. Many components went through major changes. 118 developers received credit for work done since version 1.1.8.

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