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Mono's SWF Now Uses Standard Wine Distribution

Mono developers gather in Boston

This month I'll discuss MonoDevelop, a Gtk#- based, cross-platform version of SharpDevelop; Mono version 0.31 and Portable.NET 0.64; LDAP; and a Mono developer meeting in Boston. Additionally, Mono's System.Windows.Forms (SWF) achieves a major milestone by running with the standard version of Wine.

MonoDevelop SharpDevelop (www.icsharpcode.net/OpenSource/SD/Default.aspx) is an open source IDE similar to Microsoft's Visual Studio (except that it is open source) and Eclipse (except that it is written in C#). Currently, it is a Windows-only application, but both Mono and Portable.NET are working toward supporting it on other platforms. In addition to supporting SharpDevelop itself, Mono is taking advantage of SharpDevelop's modular design to produce MonoDevelop (www.monodevelop.com), a version of SharpDevelop with a Gtk# based GUI module.

One of the goals of the SharpDevelop project was to create a well-designed application. The plan: to use patterns, good object-oriented design, and refactoring to create a first-class application.

Three of the key SharpDevelop coders have written an excellent book, Dissecting a C# Application: Inside SharpDevelop (Wrox). It gives a short history of the project, describes how they use techniques such as patterns and refactoring, and goes into the core of the SharpDevelop application. This book details how the team handled a number of difficult issues, including internalization, syntax highlighting, creating a Windows Forms designer, code completion, and code generation. It also shows by example how to architect a large application.

Using large applications like SharpDevelop as test cases is a big help to the developers working on the Mono C# compiler, runtime, and class libraries; it not only shows where weaknesses and bugs lie, it also sets clear goals to work toward. When Mono worked with SourceGear to get their Vault version-control software working under Mono, it advanced the functionality and robustness of the Mono Web services implementation faster and further than would have been possible otherwise. In the same way, SharpDevelop and MonoDevelop are driving some performance improvements in the Mono C# compiler, resulting in a 30%-40% improvement between version 0.29 and 3.0. Getting SharpDevelop to work cross-platform is a serious challenge for both Mono and Portable.NET's System.Windows. Forms, but a challenge both will meet.

Mono Meeting
Novell hosted a meeting of Mono developers in Boston on March 5-6, which included both volunteers and Novell employees. The meeting was open to the public, but not much of the proceedings have made it online. You can see what was covered at the meeting by looking at the agenda at http://primates.ximian.com/~miguel/mono-meeting-agenda. Ed Dumbill, managing editor of XML.COM, reporting for ONLamp.COM, gives his account of the meeting at www.onlamp.com/pub/a/onlamp/2004/03/11/mono.html. Also, at LinuxFest Northwest, Jackson Harper gave a presentation on the Mono project; you can download it at www.gotmono.com; just click one of the format options on the right of the page. This is really a nice presentation that covers a lot of ground, including a high-level overview of how the JIT compiler works.

Sunil Kumar at Novell has written an excellent article explaining directory services in general, and LDAP in particular, along with giving details on the Novell C# classes for LDAP, and how to use them. The article, "Using the .NET C# LDAP Library," is at www.novell.com/coolsolutions/cooldev/features/a_net_cplus_ldap_library_cdev.html.

SWF Now Uses Standard Wine Distribution
On its march to a version 1.0 release this summer, Mono has released v0.31. In support of this, work continues on cleaning up dependencies and packages. Infrastructure work continues on SWF and System.Drawing. SWF now uses extensions to Wine instead of a special version of "Mono-Wine." As documented last month, this has been a long time coming, and is the result of many improvements contributed by many people over the past year and a half. Mainsoft continues to help with ADO.NET and Web services. Generics are feature complete but will not be part of the main code line until after the 1.0 release. We have a DB2 connector that works on both Windows and Linux (see www.go-mono.com/ibmdb2.html). Support for PPC and SPARC continues to improve.

The release notes with download links are at www.go-mono.com/archive/mono-0.31.html.

Portable.NET 0.6.4
Version 0.6.4 has been released. Most of the improvements are in the C compiler, System.Windows.Forms, and XML. This release also has improved support for mingW32, SharpDevelop, and Xsharp. The source and binary packages are at www.dotgnu.org/pnet-packages.html.

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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