Santosh Benjamin's Weblog

Adventures with AppFabric, BizTalk & Clouds

MockingBird – The Roadmap

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I’m really chuffed to have not one but 3 new team members on board the MockingBird project. Welcome to Shen Chauhan, my MCS colleague and WPF whizz-kid, Bram Veldhoen and Cormac O’Brien.

So, whats cooking for MockingBird in 2010 ? I have a veritable laundry list of features for the next release(s) but here’s the broad themes we are working towards.

(1) WCF : The first is the port to WCF which is long overdue and Bram has been hard at work in getting this off the ground so I expect to have something to announce soon. We will be implementing a message interceptor / router with a generic contract and from there leverage the simulation framework that is currently available with (hopefully) minimal changes. The challenge will be in the area of bindings since most teams customize bindings heavily so the service will need to support custom bindings.

(2) REST, XML/Http etc: Here we are looking at moving beyond just SOAP based services to plain XML/Http services and even REST based services. Cormac had come across some non SOAP services recently for which he had to manually code a mock, so we will be looking to incorporate such functionality here.  REST is an area that I haven’t paid much attention too so i see  a crash course in REST around the corner. If you have experience with REST and are keen to see support for this in MockingBird and can contribute in some way, do drop me a line.

(3) Generic ‘Action’ processing: For processing requests and building responses, there needs to be a more generic approach. Currently there is support for running an XPATH query on the request and returning a response based on the result of the XPath expression., But this is only one solution. What if we wanted to do a custom evaluation of the request where XPath is not enough? Further for the response, what if we wanted something more dynamic than just pointing to a specific response file? for example, Cormac suggested we dynamically execute an XSLT against the request. So, for this we need to look at the system executing a supplied “IAction” (IRequestAction, IResponseAction) and behaving accordingly. Unity and MEF should help here.

(4) Dynamic Mocking With BizUnit: This would be an API (+ a BizUnit step) which reduces the amount of upfront configuration needed. I envisage being able to say “For this endpoint, at the next request, return “X” response (and extend it to say, “do that for the next 10 calls or forever etc). We should then be able to “assert” that the system did indeed send the response. This would require surfacing the configuration file management code so that a config file could be written on the fly by the API/ Test step.

(5) .NET 4, AppFabric and Workflow Service: This is probably a longer term (MockingBird v3) where I am considering implementing the handler as a dynamic workflow service and using XAML. Now with this approach all the header parsing, IAction components etc would all  become custom workflow activities and it would be possible to dynamically compose specialized handlers on the fly. The message interceptor component would move to the official WCF Router.

So these are the big ticket items. For all of them I would appreciate your feedback as to what would give you the most value. We would also welcome more participation and contribution of ideas/code.  Looking forwad to your feedback.

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Written by santoshbenjamin

January 18, 2010 at 11:20 AM

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