Friday, June 20, 2008

CAB/SCSF: View Parameters

CAB/SCSF use the wellknown Model-View-Presenter design pattern for its views. There is, however, a design flaw in its implementation: you cannot pass parameters to the view constructor. As documenten in the SCSF knowledge base, the proven practice is to pass the parameters using the WorkItem State collection.

This proven practice can be improved using generics to become type-safe, while still adhering to the MVP design rules. Add the following new method to the WorkItemController base class in the Infrastructure.Interface project:

public virtual TView ShowViewInWorkspace<TView, TParams>(string viewId, string workspaceName, TParams viewParams)
where TParams : class
string stateKey = StateItemNames.PresenterConstructorParams + typeof(TView).FullName + ":" + typeof(TParams).FullName;
_workItem.State[stateKey] = viewParams;

TView view = ShowViewInWorkspace<TView>(viewId, workspaceName);
return view;

Then add the following new method to the Presenter base class in the Infrastructure.Interface project:

protected TParams ViewParameters<TParams>() where TParams : class
//NOTE: must use typeof(view instance) to get correct run-time type of generic view type
string stateKey = StateItemNames.PresenterConstructorParams + _view.GetType().FullName + ":" + typeof(TParams).FullName;
return (TParams)_workItem.State[stateKey];

Now you can simply pass the parameters from the module controller to the view using ShowViewInWorkspace and then get the parameters in the presenter's OnViewReady event:

_viewParameters = ViewParameters<ViewParameters>();
if (_viewParameters == null)
throw new ArgumentException("Required view parameter error", "ViewParameters", null);

This little design improvement hides the gory details of using the untyped object State collection, e.g. generating shared keys and type casting.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

WCF: Using Shared Types

In WCF you can use shared types from existing assemblies when generating a service proxy. Use the advanced options in VS2008, otherwise use SVCUTIL.EXE with the /reference /r option. Note that you can only use /reference when your WSDL operations, types and messages adheres to the DataContractSerializer rules that I described this spring.

I'm currently trying to research why we are not able to use shared types for our wsdl:fault message parts.

<wsdl:message name="GetCustomerRequest">
<wsdl:part element="tns:GetCustomerRequest" name="parameters" />
<wsdl:message name="GetCustomerResponse">
<wsdl:part element="tns:GetCustomerResponse" name="parameters" />
<wsdl:message name="FaultDetailList">
<wsdl:part element="fault:FaultDetailList" name="detail" />

<wsdl:portType name="CustomerService">
<wsdl:operation name="GetCustomer">
<wsdl:input message="tns:GetCustomerRequest" name="GetCustomerRequest" />
<wsdl:output message="tns:GetCustomerResponse" name="GetCustomerResponse" />
<wsdl:fault message="tns:FaultDetailList" name="FaultDetailList" />

<wsdl:binding name="CustomerServiceSoap11" type="tns:CustomerService">
<soap:binding style="document" transport="" />
<wsdl:operation name="GetCustomer">
<soap:operation soapAction="" />
<wsdl:input name="GetCustomerRequest">
<soap:body use="literal" />
<wsdl:output name="GetCustomerResponse">
<soap:body use="literal" />
<wsdl:fault name="FaultDetailList">
<soap:fault name="FaultDetailList" use="literal" />

Even if the fault details contains only xs:string elements, we get this error when generating the proxy:

Cannot import wsdl:portTypeDetail: An exception was thrown while running a WSDL import extension: System.ServiceModel.Description.DataContractSerializerMessageContractImporterError: Referenced type 'SharedDataContracts.FaultDetailType, MyService, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=null' with data contract name 'FaultDetailType' in namespace '' cannot be used since it does not match imported DataContract. Need to exclude this type from referenced types.

I thought that writing a unit-test to import the WSDL using the underlying SVCUTIL importer directly should help me deduce the cause of the error. You will find all the code that you need to import WSDL using DataContractSerializerMessageContractImporter here at the "nV Framework for Enterprise Integration" project as CodePlex.

Add these lines to enforce the use of /namespace, /reference and /ct from code (note that these switches can be used multiple times):

xsdDataContractImporter.Options.Namespaces. Add(new KeyValuePair<string, string>("*", "MyService"));
xsdDataContractImporter.Options.ReferencedCollectionTypes. Add(typeof(List<>));
xsdDataContractImporter.Options.ReferencedTypes. Add(typeof(SharedDataContracts.FaultDetailList));
xsdDataContractImporter.Options.ReferencedTypes. Add(typeof(SharedDataContracts.FaultDetailType));

Sure enough, I get the exact same exception in my unit-test. Inspecting the imported contract shows that the operation has a fault with a "null" DetailType XML Schema type (watch: contracts[0].Operations[0].Faults[0].DetailType). I suspect that it is the "null" DetailType in the FaultDescription of the imported ServiceDescription for the WSDL that causes the error for the referenced shared types.

As it turns out this is a bug that has been fixed in .NET 3.5 SP1. The workaround for earlier versions of SVCUTIL is to add nillable="true" to all elements that are reference types (strings and complexTypes) in your wsdl:types XSD schemas. Or just drop the /reference switch and cut'n'paste the generated code to use your shared types.