I was asked on the Australian DotNet Mailing List (send "subscribe dotnet" in the body of the email to: if I could provide the CCR posts as a document, to make it easier to print off. Sort of. My host (blogger) doesn't support downloads as far as I can tell, and Windows Live Writer (Beta) has no facility for saving posts as word documents, so it was a cut-and-paste job in the end.

The document can be found on FileCrunch.

It's a little rough and ready, in particular the spacing of the code samples is not all it could be. Any hints or tips on this greatly received.


Innovation book

I've started reading Scott Berkun's 'The Myths of Innovation'. It's an interesting read, exposing the cultural myths that surround ideas, those who have them and those who capitalise on them. It's also an O'Reilly book without an animal on the front!


DSS Optimizations

I was looking at some of the code generated by the dssproxy tool. When you define a service (by specifying types and operations), the dssproxy tool takes your service assembly and generates two associated assemblies, a proxy and a transform.

The proxy is the assembly that clients of the service use to send and receive messages. It contains representations of the service types that can also serialize and deserialize themselves for transmission. I noticed that these representations have a small inefficiency on how they deal with the deserialization of List<T>s. Prior to the state of each T is the count of all Ts in the list. This information is used to determine how many Ts to expect in the stream. It could also be used to construct the list with an initial capacity, to avoid excessive re-allocation and copying for large numbers of T. The generated code doesn't currently do this. Fortunately, you do have the source for the proxies, so you can change it yourself if it really matters.

Incidentally, the transform assembly is used in the same app-domain as the service to transform the proxy types (e.g. the ones that arrive off the wire) into the original types as defined in your service assembly. The transform suffers the same small issue regarding collections.

The other thing I noticed was that DSS maintains tables (of type Dictionary<K,V>) keyed on Type. One place these tables are used is in looking up the correct transform for a proxy instance. Given an object of some proxy type, it calls GetType() and uses the resulting Type object to look up the transform instance.

As Vance Morrison pointed out, in his excellent blog, if all you need is a type look-up then it's more efficient to use a RuntimeTypeHandle. It's a simple struct that just contains an IntPtr, so it consumes less space than a Type reference and as a struct doesn't participate in garbage collection cycles. As he points out later in the article, using the handle instead of the type will reap more benefits still once certain JIT optimizations are released.