The Near Future of PostSharp

by Gael Fraiteur on 22 Jul 2008

PostSharp 1.0

Most people think of PostSharp as a new product, but PostSharp is actually near to 4 years old. The first bits were indeed developed in September 2004. It took roughly 2 years to develop the product and 2 years to stabilize days. Attentive users have maybe noticed the last RC of PostSharp has the full version number 10 means that it is the 10th release of the 1.0 branch. 403 is the revision number of the root of that branch in source control.

Today the 1.0 branch is very stable. There has been no major change and so significant feature addition for one year. It is being downloaded more than one thousand times per month (still quite a modest number). So the future of the 1.0 branch is clear: fix bugs and declare the branch stable. More a marketing operation than a technical one.

The 1.0 branch will remain a legacy one. Bugs will continue to be fixed, support will be provided. So it is definitively a product you can rely on.

PostSharp 1.5

In October 2007, I forked the 1.0 branch into 1.1. Unfortunately, I had to interrupt the work, principally because much work was still required on 1.0, and on the web site. Good news is that I resumed work around last April and made good progresses.

Since this new branch contains major new features, I chose to number it 1.5.

The objectives of this branch are triple:

  1. Enlarge supported platforms to Mono, Compact Framework and Silverlight 2 [CTP 1, July 2008].
  2. Implement frequently asked feature [CPT 2, August-Sep 2008]
  3. Allow aspects to be inherited (for instance, if you apply an aspect on an interface, the aspect will be applied to all types implementing it) [CPT 3, Sep-Oct 2008].

After the cycles of CTP, there will be a cycle of Beta releases during which features will be added according to the feedback got during CTP. Then release candidates and hopefully RTM.

A characteristic of 1.5 is that it won't be fully compatible with 1.0. End users (those writing aspects using PostSharp Laos) should not see a big difference and most of their existing code should still work, but some minor changes are to be expected for Core developers. Not a big deal, but it's better to know it.

Design by Contract

PostSharp 1.5 will provide the basic bricks necessary to build a real design-by-contract (tm, I know) framework. I still don't know exactly what it will contain, but you can obviously expect the non-nullable references and similar value constraints, including a mean to do your own validators without the burden of PostSharp Laos. But the framework should be more ambitious than just value checking. Invariant checks and defense (eventually in a multithreaded context) are on the wish list.

A first version will be available in November 2008.

I have no plan for 2009, but I guess it will be determined by your feedback on these new features.

Happy PostSharping!