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Since its inception, PostSharp had always allowed making Aspect-Oriented Programming in .NET easy, allowing developers to produce cleaner code, encapsulating infrastructure code behind reusable modules.

We are pleased to announce today that we are making this even easier – with PostSharp Toolkits!

What are PostSharp Toolkits?

PostSharp Toolkits are a collection of ready-made solutions for adding common infrastructure code, such as logging, exception handling and performance monitoring to your application with no changes to your source code! Powered by PostSharp, the most complete AOP solution for .NET, the PostSharp Toolkits build upon the raw power of Aspect-Oriented Programming to seamlessly apply those solutions throughout your application.

Sounds interesting, how does it work?

We have great examples on how to add things like logging, tracing, and exception handling to your code. We’ve built upon this knowledge, and added things like XML-configuration, so no changes in the source code are required! Simply grab the toolkit from NuGet, and you’re all set!

What toolkits currently exist?

With the first release, we’re introducing the PostSharp Diagnostics Toolkit – an instrumentation toolkit that adds diagnostics features, such as logging, exception handling, performance counters and feature tracking to your application. The PostSharp Diagnostics Toolkit includes pluggable support for the leading logging frameworks, such as NLog. Support for additional frameworks is coming soon!

Note: As this is a work in progress, the PostSharp Diagnostics Toolkit currently only has logging support, with a very limited feature set. In the following releases, we will introduce additional configuration options, support for popular frameworks and other cool stuff!

The source code for the PostSharp Toolkits is available on GitHub, and we’re going to introduce new features based on your feedback in short release cycles.

Getting started

Here is how to add logging to your application without changing a single line of code:

Starting with a simple project:

  • Step 1: Add the PostSharp Diagnostics Toolkit from NuGet to the assembly you wish to instrument. It downloads PostSharp automatically as a dependency (please note that you need PostSharp 2.1 SP1 or higher for the PostSharp Toolkits).

  • Step 2: Rebuild your application

When you now run your application, this is what is printed in the output:

How did this happen?

The NuGet installation creates a .psproj file named after the current project in the source tree. This is an XML file, containing the configuration, which is processed by PostSharp during compilation.

The details about the XML configuration will be posted on GitHub. For now, just note that in the <Data> section there is a definition of LogAttribute. This is equivalent of placing the LogAttribute (part of the toolkit) on an assembly level in the source code, via:

[assembly: LogAttribute]

By default, it will be applied to all methods of the application. You can use the Filtering Properties to limit the multicasting. Please refer to the Online Documentation for details.

If we take a look at the compiled assembly in our favorite decompiler, we can see that the output lines were added directly in the method bodies, and no reference to PostSharp.dll is required!

What about writing the output to a file?

Glad you asked! The PostSharp Diagnostics Toolkit for NLog is exactly the solution for writing the output to NLog. Install it from NuGet, it will download all the required dependencies automatically. You will then need to configure NLog (either manually, or by downloading a NuGet package NLog.Configuration, which contains a sample configuration file for NLog). Then simply rebuild your application, and NLog will be automatically added to it!

Few notes:

The PostSharp Toolkits project is built using the PostSharp SDK. The PostSharp SDK is completely unsupported and undocumented, for the reasons detailed in this blog post. While the source code is available on GitHub, any questions pertaining to the PostSharp SDK will go unanswered.

The PostSharp Toolkits is an ongoing project, we are aiming at short (2-week) release cycles, bringing you more features based on your feedback!

Questions? Suggestions? Bugs?

Please visit our dedicated PostSharp Toolkits Support Forum to let us know what you think!

Happy PostSharping!

-Igal

I’m happy we finally refreshed our front-page download and released PostSharp 2.1 SP 1, featuring 48 bug fixes and user stories.

All fixes were already available under the “download” section, so it’s not that anyone had to wait so long to get a solution.

This service packs solves virtually all defects that have been reported to us, most notably:

  • compatibility with Code Analysis (FxCop) – the infamous file locking issue
  • compatibility with Code Contracts (issues with debugging symbols)
  • compatibility with Silverlight 5
  • issues in PostSharp HQ when upgrading PostSharp

This makes this release a very stable one. For a list of all fixes, see the release notes.

The SP 1 contains the following new enhancements:

  • View source code enhanced by PostSharp from Visual Studio using your favorite decompiler.
  • Example code migrated to Visual Studio 2010 and cleaned up, licensing under BSD 2.0.
  • Refresh (actually, revival) of the XML project system:
    • Unification of plug-in configuration (psplugin) and project configuration (psproj).
    • Support for services that do not refer to PostSharp.Sdk.dll.
    • Support for data islands inside XML project files.
  • Adding aspects (actually, MulticastAttribute) to an XML project file – so without changing anything to source code.

The last few enhancements can appear a little cryptic to you, but they open the way to a new line of features we’ll blob about from next weeks: PostSharp Toolkits. They will make it easier to use the power of PostSharp without the difficulty of learning aspect-oriented programming.

Happy PostSharping!

-gael

Scott Hanselman knows tools.

As a Principle Program Manager at Microsoft, and one of the most sought-after developer speakers on the planet, Scott has his finger planted firmly on the pulse of the .NET community. Luckily for all of us, he only uses his powers for good by entertaining and educating the community about software development across a variety of channels including podcasts, presentation and speaking tips, books, and more.

Since his first ultimate tools list in 2003, the popularity and length of Scott’s annual lists have grown considerably. This year’s list includes categories such as “The Big Ten Life and Work-Changing Utilities,” “Rocking Sweet Windows 7 Specific Stuff,” and “A (.NET) Developer's Life,” to name a few.

We’re thrilled and honored to see PostSharp included in Scott’s 2011 ultimate tools list alongside so many other great tools. We know we wouldn’t have made the list without the help of our customers, MVPs, and partners. Thank you, all.

The ultimate tools list wasn’t our first run-in with Scott in 2011. Gael sat down with him in September as part of his startup podcast series, to discuss the challenges of taking PostSharp from open source to commercial business. The two talked about aspect-oriented programming and Scott rightly pointed out that AOP is another kind of abstraction, which is the whole point of what computers are supposed to do for us, work that’s not fun like logging and transactions.

Since the beginning of 2011 we’ve focused on spreading the word about the benefits of aspect oriented programming for .NET with in-office trainings, user group and conference presentations, podcasts and screencasts, white paper and blog posts.

It seems to be working.

In September, the same month as the Hanselminutes podcast, we announced a rising trend in AOP adoption among developers in large organizations, especially those in the Fortune 500, and created case studies showing how two big companies, Siemens Audiology and Thales Information Systems, are succeeding with PostSharp.

There’s more to come in 2012, and we look forward to speaking with more of you about your experience with PostSharp. Special thanks goes out to Scott Hanselman for his seemingly tireless commitment to the community and his never-ending quest to find the ultimate tools for .NET.

Happy PostSharping!

-Britt