C# 5 Async, Part 1: Simplifying Asynchrony – That for which we await

Today’s announcement at PDC of the future directions C# is taking excite me greatly.  The new Visual Studio Async CTP is amazing.  Asynchronous code – code which frustrates and demoralizes even the most advanced of developers, is taking a huge leap forward in terms of usability.  This is handled by building on the Task functionality in .NET 4, as well as the addition of two new keywords being added to the C# language: async and await.

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Parallelism in .NET – Part 20, Using Task with Existing APIs

Although the Task class provides a huge amount of flexibility for handling asynchronous actions, the .NET Framework still contains a large number of APIs that are based on the previous asynchronous programming model.  While Task and Task<T> provide a much nicer syntax as well as extending the flexibility, allowing features such as continuations based on multiple tasks, the existing APIs don’t directly support this workflow.

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Parallelism in .NET – Part 19, TaskContinuationOptions

My introduction to Task continuations demonstrates continuations on the Task class.  In addition, I’ve shown how continuations allow handling of multiple tasks in a clean, concise manner.  Continuations can also be used to handle exceptional situations using a clean, simple syntax.

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Parallelism in .NET – Part 18, Task Continuations with Multiple Tasks

In my introduction to Task continuations I demonstrated how the Task class provides a more expressive alternative to traditional callbacksTask continuations provide a much cleaner syntax to traditional callbacks, but there are other reasons to switch to using continuations…

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Parallelism in .NET – Part 17, Think Continuations, not Callbacks

In traditional asynchronous programming, we’d often use a callback to handle notification of a background task’s completion.  The Task class in the Task Parallel Library introduces a cleaner alternative to the traditional callback: continuation tasks.

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Attached Property port of my Window Close Behavior

Nishant Sivakumar just posted a nice article on The Code Project.  It is a port of the MVVM-friendly Blend Behavior I wrote about in a previous article to WPF using Attached Properties.

While similar to the WindowCloseBehavior code I posted on the Expression Code Gallery, Nishant Sivakumar’s version works in WPF without taking a dependency on the Expression Blend SDK.

I highly recommend reading this article: Handling a Window’s Closed and Closing Events in the View-Model.  It is a very nice alternative approach to this common problem in MVVM.

2010 Visual C# MVP Award

I received a pleasant surprise today.  I was presented this morning with the 2010 Microsoft® MVP Award for Visual C#.  According to the award email, this “award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others.”

I feel honored and proud to receive this award, and hope that I can continue to be a valuable member of the community in the future.  Thank you to everyone who nominated me!

Parallelism in .NET – Part 16, Creating Tasks via a TaskFactory

The Task class in the Task Parallel Library supplies a large set of features.  However, when creating the task, and assigning it to a TaskScheduler, and starting the Task, there are quite a few steps involved.  This gets even more cumbersome when multiple tasks are involved.  Each task must be constructed, duplicating any options required, then started individually, potentially on a specific scheduler.  At first glance, this makes the new Task class seem like more work than ThreadPool.QueueUserWorkItem in .NET 3.5.

In order to simplify this process, and make Tasks simple to use in simple cases, without sacrificing their power and flexibility, the Task Parallel Library added a new class: TaskFactory.

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MEF CompositionInitializer for WPF

The Managed Extensibility Framework is an amazingly useful addition to the .NET Framework.  I was very excited to see System.ComponentModel.Composition added to the core framework.  Personally, I feel that MEF is one tool I’ve always been missing in my .NET development.

Unfortunately, one perfect scenario for MEF tends to fall short of it’s full potential is in Windows Presentation Foundation development.  In particular, there are many times when the XAML parser constructs objects in WPF development, which makes composition of those parts difficult.  The current release of MEF (Preview Release 9) addresses this for Silverlight developers via System.ComponentModel.Composition.CompositionInitializer.  However, there is no equivalent class for WPF developers.

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Parallelism in .NET – Part 15, Making Tasks Run: The TaskScheduler

In my introduction to the Task class, I specifically made mention that the Task class does not directly provide it’s own execution.  In addition, I made a strong point that the Task class itself is not directly related to threads or multithreading.  Rather, the Task class is used to implement our decomposition of tasks

Once we’ve implemented our tasks, we need to execute them.  In the Task Parallel Library, the execution of Tasks is handled via an instance of the TaskScheduler class.

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