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Improved .NET Remoting, Part 1: Same-Box Communication

  • July 18, 2005
  • By Mark Strawmyer
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.NET remoting enables application communication. It is a generic system that different applications can use to communicate with one another. By exposing its objects to remote processes, .NET allows interprocess communication. The applications can be located on the same computer, different computers on the same network, or even computers across separate networks. Versions 1.0 and 1.1 of the .NET Framework provided TcpChannel and HttpChannel for communication. These channels required network communication regardless of where the applications were actually located relative to each other.

 

The Windows operating system features an interprocess communication system (commonly referred to as IPC). This communication method is designed for applications on the same computer to communicate and does not use network communication. Since IPC does not use network communication, the IPC channel is significantly faster than the TCP and HTTP channels for communication between app domains on the same computer. The System.Runtime.Remoting.Channels.Ipc is a new namespace in the pending release of the .NET Framework 2.0 that contains classes designed to use the IPC channel.

 

The remainder of this article covers the process of remoting and walks through the following example.

  1. Creating a remotable object
  2. Creating a server to expose the remotable object
  3. Creating a client to connect to the server and consume the object

All you need to follow along is a familiarity with remoting, which you can acquire by referring to a prior article on the topic.

Create a Remotable Object

A remotable object is an object that inherits from MarshalByRefObject. The following sample demonstrates a simple class to expose the omnipresent "hello world". This object exposes a single method (HelloWorld) that will return a string. Anything that is serializable can be returned from the method call.

 

Create a new C# class library project. Add a class called SampleObject and put in the following code:

 

using System;

 

namespace CodeGuru.RemotingSample

{

  /// <remarks>

  /// Sample object to demonstrate the use of .NET remoting and IPC.

  /// </remarks>

  public class SampleObject : MarshalByRefObject

  {

      /// <summary>

      /// Constructor

      /// </summary>

      public SampleObject()

      {

      }

 

      /// <summary>

      /// Return a hello message

      /// </summary>

      /// <returns>Hello world message</returns>

      public string HelloWorld()

      {

        return "Hello World!";

      }

  }

}

 

Compile the class to make sure you have everything correct.

Create a Server to Expose the Remotable Object via IPC

You need to create a server object that will act as a listener to accept remote object requests. If you were using the TCP or HTTP channels, you'd have to register the listener on a specific port number, but not so for IPC. You create an instance of the channel and then register it for use by clients through the ChannelServices, and then give it a name. The service can be registered as WellKnownObjectMode.SingleCall, which results in a new instance of the object for each client, or as WellKnownObjectMode.Singleton, which results in one instance of the object used for all clients.

 

Create a new C# console application project. Add a class called SampleRemotingServer and paste in the following code:

 

using System;

using System.Runtime.Remoting;

using System.Runtime.Remoting.Channels;

using System.Runtime.Remoting.Channels.Ipc;

 

namespace CodeGuru.RemotingSample

{

  /// <remarks>

  /// Sample server to demonstrate the use of .NET remoting and IPC.

  /// </remarks>

  public class SampleRemotingServer

  {

      public static void Main()

      {

        // Create an instance of a channel

        IpcServerChannel serverChannel = new IpcServerChannel("hello");

        ChannelServices.RegisterChannel(serverChannel);

                 

        // Register as an available service with the name HelloWorld

        RemotingConfiguration.RegisterWellKnownServiceType(

typeof(SampleObject),   

            "HelloWorld",

WellKnownObjectMode.Singleton );

 

        Console.WriteLine("Listening on {0}", serverChannel.GetChannelUri());

  Console.WriteLine("Press the enter key to exit...");

        Console.ReadLine();

      }

  }

}

 

Add a reference to System.Runtime.Remoting in the project, otherwise the IpcChannel and other related classes will not be found. In addition, add a reference to the project containing the SampleObject, otherwise the code will not compile because it won't know how to find a reference to SampleObject.





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