The Artix Connect for WCF Beta Experience

A couple of days ago we announced the Artix Connect for WCF product, and posted a beta on our Website. Today I finally got around to downloading it and trying it out with VS 2005. I am very pleased to say that it worked the first time! đŸ˜‰

The kit comes with a sample project that uses two connections: one to a CORBA based application and another to a JMS based application. The CORBA software comes in the kit, and you can use just about any JMS — FUSE Message Broker ( which is a supported version of Apache ActiveMQ) is the default, which is open source and freely available. You can run everything on the same machine, per the instructions, but to use Connect in a multi-machine environment you would just reconfigure the network addresses of the CORBA and JMS software systems.

The way I usually talk about this is that WCF is for connecting to all things Windows, and Artix is for connecting to everything else. More precisely, Artix Connect for WCF is a Java-* interoperability tool that can be used from line of business adapters in Visual Studio 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006. One of the things you can connect to is Artix ESB, which connects to Java and native Tibco, Tuxedo, WebSphere MQ, C++ applications, etc. You can also connect to Artix Mainframe for accessing IMS and CICS based applications. And finally, Artix ESB can also be used to Web service enable all these existing systems and more, so if you are a WCF developer you have a lot of options for connecting to virtually anything non-Windows, while still coding as if you were using WCF.

The user’s guide takes you step by step through how to set up the CORBA and JMS servers, configure the line of business adapter in Visual Studio, uncomment a few lines of C# code, and build and run the project. And there you go. WCF talking to CORBA and JMS. It’s pretty fast, too, once it’s all up and running.

This is pretty exciting. I’ve been briefing reporters about it. I have a lot of friends at Microsoft (including on the WCF team), and have been blogging and talking about the recent interoperabilty announcements from Microsoft. Some folks have taken a “glass half empty” view but I am definitely in the “half full” camp. I think these are very positive changes in direction for Microsoft, and I am very hopeful that Artix Connect will be very positively embraced by the Microsoft community.

Anyway, if you get a chance to try it out, let us know what you think. We have a month or two before GA, so there’s still time to change things (and yes, I know, the EJB connector still needs to be finished). I had a good experience with it, but I am very curious to know what others think.

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