Alois Kraus


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The Enterprise Library 4 CTP and the feature list can be found at the Codeplex Home page.

General Features of Entlib 4 (Excerpt from Release Notes)

· Enterprise Library 4.0 takes advantage of the improved features in the .NET WMI 2.0 API to provide update capability for configuration exposed through the Manageable Configuration Source. Objects defined in the Enterprise Library configuration, such as databases, trace listeners, and cache backing stores, are exposed through WMI as a set of classes that you can query and update. Providing that you have the relevant Windows permission to update WMI values, any changes you make to the properties of these classes are reflected back through the Manageable Configuration Source and update the configuration information exposed to your application. Changes do not affect the original configuration file contents and may be overridden by Group Policy.

· In version 4.0, Enterprise Library has the Allow Partially-Trusted Caller attribute (APTCA) on all assemblies. This means that you can call the methods of Enterprise Library and the application blocks from an application running in a partial trust environment. You can do this with the signed assemblies provided with Enterprise Library. There is no longer any requirement, as there was in version 3.x, to recompile the source code and the source code for Object Builder then either use the unsigned binaries or strong-name them yourself.

That is good news for all medium trust ASP.NET web developers and Active Directory administrators that want to have an easy way to configure the application blocks in a central way.

New Logging Application Features (Excerpt from Release Notes)

· The application block now allows you to specify a value for the Filter property of each of the Trace Listeners. This property applies a filter that selects the level of message that it will detect. The valid values are All, Off, Critical, Error, Warning, Information, Verbose, and Activity Tracing. The setting effectively means "the specified level and everything more important." For example, the Warning setting will detect warnings, errors, and critical events. The default is All, which means that the behavior of the listener is the same as in previous versions of Enterprise Library if a value is not specified in the configuration.

· The application block now allows you to specify that the RollingFlatFileTraceListener will start a new file at midnight every day. To use this behavior, set the value of the RollInterval property of the RollingFlatFileTraceListener to Midnight.

· The application block contains performance improvements that include the following:

◦ Delayed gathering of context information until actually requested (except in distributed scenarios where context information is gathered even if not used).

◦ Automatic flushing is now configurable. However, the default is to flush always, which means that the behavior of the listener is the same as in previous versions of Enterprise Library if a value is not specified in the configuration. To disable automatic flushing, set the AutoFlush property of the Log Source to True. It is then your responsibility to ensure that all entries are flushed to the target, especially if an exception or failure occurs in the application. Otherwise, you will lose any cached logging information not yet written to the target.

· Log file names now support the use of environment variables. You can include environment variables such as %WINDIR%, %TEMP%, and %USERPROFILE% in the Filename property of the Flat File Trace Listener, Rolling Flat File Trace Listener, and XML Trace Listener.

The application block implements several new performance counters that you can use to monitor performance and operations. The new counters are Total Logging Events Raised, Total Trace Listener Entries Written, and Total Trace Operations Started.

First Impressions

The startup performance improvements with Unity (which is already released) are not done yet but I hope that this will help to make the usage of the application blocks nearly invisible. The new dependency injection mechanism which uses reflection like ObjectBuilder (slow) but uses dynamically generated IL code to call the actual constructors/getter/setter methods. That increases the object creation performance dramatically. I hope that this will make a noticeable difference in a real world application.

After doing a quick diff I found some improvements in the Logging Application Block. They do mainly concern the configuration via WMI and group policies with ADM templates. That enables to query and deploy logging configuration via an Active Directory without changing a physical file on the target machines. That is a nice feature but I have to yet to see if that does work in all scenarios. Low privileged users do not always have full WMI access which could hinder the usage of the new feature in low trust environments.

Writing to a log file seems to be very easy but it did take over three years (Jan. 2005 was the first release) to support environment variables in file names. The delivered code quality was always very good but why on earth did it take so long? Working agile with a very strict timeline does enable the P&P team to deliver top features on time but low priority features such as this one have been dropped. That is no problem since the community did deliver very quickly the missing features such as the Rolling File Trace Listener from Erwyn van der Meer which is in my opinion still the one of the cleanest implementations of a Rolling File Trace Listener. What I really miss is a backflow of great community extensions to the Enterprise Library main code base.

A really nifty feature of the new Rolling File Trace Listener is the roll interval Midnight to enable to start a new log file at every day. Although one should not expect a roll over exactly at midnight since the roll over is only performed when the next log call arrives after the time span has elapsed.


Logging Application Block Performance

The creation of LogEntry objects has become dramatically faster since the current values are only read when needed. That is good but not perfect (yet). The main observations I did make


  • LogEntry: Process Id, Process Name and AppDomain Name will never change during the lifetime of an application. They could be read only once and copied from static variables to the actual instance variables on demand.
  • LogEntry: The native and managed thread id is fetched on demand which could be too late if the output destination does asynchronous operations (queuing?).
  • Formatters: There is no progress in the text formatter performance. That is surprising to say the least since delayed LogEntry variable expansion does not help much if you use a TextFormatter with the default template to format your LogEntry. I whish so much I could check out the sources for TextFormatter ....


The Good/The Whishes/The Summary for Entlib 4


  • Many new features (central configuration, unity integration, ...)
  • Performance Improvements


  • High quality community extensions should be included in the main code base.
  • Do NOT Authenticode sign the strong named binaries again. I really hate the 15s startup delays of non Internet connected machines! Yes I know with .NET 3.5 there is a way to turn Authenticode verification off in the App.config file but .NET 2.0 users will suffer from this.
  • Do include the pdb's for Release and Debug for all shipped binaries (ObjectBuilder too).

The next release of the Enterprise Library does deliver cool features such as Unity and support for group policy based configuration. Finally the Patterns & Practices team has found the time to fix some minor quirks which have been annoying but not mission critical. Since the new release seems to be API compatible with the previous versions you should definitely consider to upgrade as soon as possible. Have a look at the blog of Grigori Melnik for latest announcements about the upcoming release of Entlib 4.

posted on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 1:20 PM


# re: Enterprise Library 4 CTP - Improvements/Logging Application Block 9/15/2009 11:12 AM AD
Is it possible to dynamically/programatically change the filename property in a FlatFileTraceListener? I have to write the flat file log per user and I get the path per user from an extension.

Any ideas?

# re: Enterprise Library 4 CTP - Improvements/Logging Application Block 9/18/2009 12:37 AM Alois Kraus
Yes you can pass environment variable strings to to the file listeners starting with Entlib4. This way you can specify a file name like

To store logs in the temp directory of the users profile with the user name in its file name.

Alois Kraus

# re: Enterprise Library 4 CTP - Improvements/Logging Application Block 5/3/2011 10:55 AM Doug de la Torre
"The application block now allows you to specify a value for the Filter property of each of the Trace Listeners"

This is a nice step, but I'd like this to go even further. I'd like the ability to add filters to the Trace Listeners, so that if I want only "Information" messages to go to a particular log file, I can do that (not just Information or higher). Or if I want the last 100 messages to be dumped to a file, but only after a "Warning" occurs, I can do that too.

The current architecture of Filters assumes they are only there to weed out messages in-bulk, while it would be really nice to have some routing capabilities, to vector only specific messages into certain Trace Listeners.

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