Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud

Microsoft Cloud: Article

Cross-Platform .NET Development

Using Mono, Portable.NET, and Microsoft .NET

What is required for true cross platform development using .NET? On one hand, not much; on the other hand, a great deal. Because Rotor, Pnet, Mono and (the Microsoft implementation of) .NET, are all based on the ECMA standard, getting a basic C# program running on all four platforms is typically just a matter of copying the .exe file to the machine and executing it (assuming a .NET framework is already on the machine). But what about remoting, serializing and deserializing classes, interoperability, using native code, and non-ECMA classes such as System.Data and System.Windows.Forms (SWF)? This book covers those questions in detail with good practical advice; but that is not the best part of this book. In order to fully understand how cross platform .NET works and does not work, you need to understand the architecture and implementation of the different .NET frameworks; that is where this book really shines. It is full of block diagrams, UML diagrams, and class and code hierarchies. There are some good books on the .NET architecture, but most of these books are too academic and heavy in details for many programmers. This book covers architecture and implantation details from the point of making programs work in different environments, putting it in a nice middle ground; it is an easy to read book, but one that will leave most with a much deeper understanding of .NET interworkings.

The book starts with a brief overview of .NET (including a comparison with Java and the JVM), and a description of how they set up their laboratory for cross-platform testing, then in "Cross-Platform Pitfalls," it covers differences in the intermediate code generated by the three main .NET platforms, Microsoft, Mono, and Pnet. Due to Rotor's license, and its lack of support for anything other than the barest for the .NET framework classes, Rotor is not generally discussed in this book. Chapter 4 looks at the .NET framework classes from the point of what will likely be compatible across the .NET implementations, what will have limitations, and what is just not likely to work. It does this by looking at what operating system calls are made by each namespace in the .NET framework.

In chapter 5 the book looks at making GUI applications cross-platform; this is the area where the most programs are likely to run into cross-platform troubles. This chapter looks at how Microsoft, Mono, and PNET implement System.Drawing and SWF. The book does a good job of describing how Mono implements System.Drawing using gdiplus on windows, and cario on other platforms. This book has been out for a while, so its description of how SWF was implanted using GTK# and WINE are no longer applicable, but is still worth reading for educational purposes. The good news is that SWF is now implemented the same way as System.Drawing, so simply applying that section to SWF brings the book up to date on this issue. This chapter also covers several GUI toolkits (SWF, GTK#, QT#, TickleSharp, #WT, wx.NET) that can be used to build cross-platform applications, compares their capabilities, and finally shows a way to write GUI toolkit independent code using the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern. When reading this chapter, one also needs to consider that when this book was written, the implementation of SWF was just starting; it is now nearing completion.

Chapter 6 starts to cover distributed applications by showing how to access the different backend databases available. It goes on to create an application that can run under application servers such as IIS, Mono's own XSP server, or as a mod_mono module under Apache, and closes with a overview of Web services.

Chapter 7 covers the ins and outs of calling native code on different OSs including security, path resolution, marshaling, calling conventions, and invoking C++ code from .NET using the Simplified Wrapper and interface Generator tool, SWIG.

Chapter 8 opens with a discussion of interoperability between 24 different .NET languages, including how to run Java programs under .NET using IKVM, an open source Java Virtual Machine written in .NET that runs under both the Mono and Microsoft runtimes. It then covers the remoting architecture and channels including a cross-platform logging application. It finishes with a long section on interoperating with CORBA and cross-platform COM.

The book closes with cross-platform building using NAnt, and cross-platform testing using NUnit; it also looks at the future (some of which is now) including .NET 2.0, VS2005, and Longhorn, and tries to peer into the future of Mono and PNet.

This book is one of my favorites, and I think every .NET developer should have a copy of this book, even if they are not interested in cross platform development. Its approachable discussion of what .NET is, and how it works, is unique in all the .NET books I have read.

SIDEBAR

Title: Cross-Platform .NET Development
Author: M.J. Easton and Jason King
Publisher: Apress
ISBN #: 1-59059-330-8
Price: US $49.99

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.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...