PostSharp 3 marks a huge evolution from previous versions. Designed to deliver more value with less learning, PostSharp 3 is now much more than an awesome framework: using simple smart tags in the Visual Studio code editor, you can add to your code ready-made implementations of some of the most common design patterns. Other improvements include first-class support for Windows Store, Windows Phone and Silverlight apps.
Improved Visual Studio Integration
The single most striking feature of PostSharp 3 is its deeper integration with Visual Studio.
For instance, move the caret to the name of a class or a method. Visual Studio will display a smart tag proposing actions that make sense in the current context: apply a threading model, add logging, implement INotifyPropertyChanged, …
A wizard then guides you through the configuration of the aspect.
The wizard installs all required NuGet packages and generates the code for you – so you don’t have to study documentation to figure out how it works.
Of course, you can still add aspects to your code the old good way.
Ready-Made Pattern Implementations
While talking to customers, we figured out that the Pareto law also applies to our product: 80% of customers use the same top 20% aspects. We thought we would provide more value to our customers by providing ready-made implementations for the most common patterns. The results are our three first pattern libraries:
- Model Pattern Library: INotifyPropertyChanged, Code Contracts (Not Null, Positive, …)
- Diagnostics Pattern Library: Logging to log4net, nlog, Enterprise Library
- Threading Pattern Library: Thread dispatching, actor threading model, reader-writer synchronized threading model, verification of thread-unsafe objects
Windows Store, Windows Phone and Silverlight
In previous versions of PostSharp, support for alien .NET platforms was quite limited. The raise of Windows Phone and Windows Store stressed the importance of supporting new trends, so we decided to invest in providing first-class support for Windows Store, Windows Store and Silverlight.
I’m very pleased that we could this through Portable Class Libraries.
The first challenge was to develop a portable alternative to the system BinaryFormatter and its [Serializable] attribute. The result is the PortableFormatter class and its [PSerializable] attribute – an interesting piece of software in itself.
Deployment through NuGet and Visual Studio Gallery
When PostSharp 1 was released seven years ago, it seemed mandatory to have a setup program. Over the years, source control and build servers have conquered the world, changing requirements on deployment of development tools.
Despites important limitations, Microsoft’s NuGet and Visual Studio Gallery are becoming the de-facto standards for deployment of development components and their user interface, so we decide to get aligned with Microsoft’s lead.
We are aware of some negative consequences and will be happy to work with customers who may be affected by this choice.
Subscription-Based Maintenance Model
PostSharp 3 marks also the move from a per-version to a per-year maintenance model, as described in a previous blog post. A maintenance subscription is now included as a mandatory part of the product fee. The maintenance subscription not only gives right to major versions, but also to bug fixes.
We believe that part of our failure to deliver support for Visual Studio 2012 in time was due to our per-version revenue model. The new revenue model will allow us to release features as soon as they are needed, irrespective of the current major version number.
Tip: Upgrade Before Summer
PostSharp 3 is now stable and it’s a good time to upgrade. During the next 2 months, the team will be ready to answer your questions and address support issues, without any other big project in the pipeline. We may be a bit slower during the vacation period, so it’s a good idea not to delay the upgrade if you can do it now.
PostSharp 3 is a big turn for our company, and so far we are very happy with the feedback and the businesses we received.