A Component Plug-in Architecture for the .NET Platform

Reinhard Wolfinger, Deepak Dhungana
Herbert Prähofer, Hanspeter Mössenböck
Christian Doppler Laboratory for Automated Software Engineering


Plug-in architectures and platforms represent a promising approach for building software systems which are extensible and customizable to the particular needs of the individual user. For example, the Eclipse platform, as the most prominent representative of plug-in systems, is based on a unique plug-in and extensibility concept and has succeeded in establishing itself as the leading platform for the development of tool environments.

This paper introduces a new plug-in architecture for the .NET platform which shows much resemblance to Eclipse. However, whereas Eclipse is a Java-based system and uses XML to describe extensions, our architecture relies on .NET concepts such as custom attributes and metadata to specify relevant information directly in the source code of an application. We argue that this approach is more readable and easier to maintain. As a case study for our plug-in architecture we present a new plug-in platform for implementation of rich client applications in .NET.

This work has been conducted in cooperation with BMD Systemhaus GmbH, Austria, and has been supported by the Christian Doppler Forschungsgesellschaft, Austria.

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© Springer-Verlag, 2006. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution.
Published in the Proceedings of the Joint Modular Languages Conference 2006, Oxford, UK, September 2006, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 4228, pp. 287-305. Springer-Verlag, 2006.