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Kent Brown Keepin It Real

There have been a lot of threads lately on various discussion lists and blogs, such as this one,  grappling with the future of Remoting with WCF coming down the pike.

To explain my position, I first have to tell you my rule of software projects - “Every project sucks, except the one you are about to start.”  We usually start projects with enthusiasm, eager to learn new technologies, convinced that this time we'll get the methodology and project management right and and the project will be written up as a case study and many awards and bonuses will be handed out. Somewhere after a few weeks or months the honeymoon phase ends and we get bogged down in the reality that software development is real hard work and not always fun.  But that next gig always shines brightly on the horizon.

When it comes to distributed computing technologies, the rule is “Every distributed computing technology sucks, except the one Microsoft is shipping next year.”  COM/DCOM was the greatest thing known to man.  That is until its replacement, .NET Remoting, was in the works. Since .NET Remoting was going to solve all our problems it was then OK to admit the warts on the old platform.

Now, just a few years later, we are being told that Remoting sucks and WCF will solve all the problems.  Only a dufus would deploy something on .NET Remoting.

Well, I am usually an early adopter and I generally agree that progress is being made with each wave, so I'll be eating and breathing WCF when it releases and singing its praises too.  But we just have to remember that in designing something as complex as a platform for distributed computing, lots of compromises have to be made.  Depending on the system you are building, and to an extent on your personal style and value judgments, there will be things about WCF that we will all hate in a few years and I dare say some of us will long for the days of .NET Remoting.  And in some future stack that Microsoft releases, there will be a mix of features from all preceding platforms mixed in with a new paradigm and a new set of compromises.  And then it will be OK to admit that WCF sucks too.

Posted on Monday, May 22, 2006 7:05 PM Development Methodology , Rant , Windows Communication Foundation | Back to top

Comments on this post: Is Remoting Dead?

# re: Is Remoting Dead?
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Great post. I wouldn't say remoting is dead, but in my opinion it's done. Just like COM and things before it (which I'm too young to know about.)
Left by Bryan Corazza on Sep 01, 2006 4:09 PM

# re: Is Remoting Dead?
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Hey Kent.

Appreciate your thoughts here, but I am more than a little surprised to see that you say "there will be things about WCF that we will all hate in a few years and I dare say some of us will long for the days of .NET Remoting".

Can I ask if you've actually explored WCF and compared it with your Remoting experiences? 99% of the customers who we've been working with over the last 3 years have told us that they MUCH prefer WCF to practically every other distributed systems technology we've ever shipped ... and much more than many other vendor's technologies too!
Left by Rich Turner on Sep 21, 2006 11:12 AM

# re: Is Remoting Dead?
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I agree to Kent.
Left by Kajal Sinha on Feb 06, 2007 11:34 AM

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