Riverace's ACE News and Tips Newsletter Helping You Make the Most of ACE
February 2007

Welcome to the February 2007 edition of Riverace's ACE News and Tips newsletter. This issue contains an advance look at some of the things coming in ACE 6.0 later this spring.

If, after reading this issue, you'd like to get some new feature into ACE, please let us know! Also be sure to forward this note to other people you work with to be sure they get their input registered as well!

In this issue
  • Featured Book: C++ Network Programming, Volume 1 (C++NPv1)
  • What's Coming in ACE 6.0?
  • New Support Service Levels Offer Access to Everyone

  • What's Coming in ACE 6.0?

    ACE 6.0 is the first major ACE release in nearly 8 years (ACE 5.0 was released July 31, 1999)! Remember those days? The latest Red Hat Linux was version 6 and the tool to use for Microsoft Windows builds was Visual C++ 6. Which brings me to the first item of note for ACE 6: what's going away. In order to bring newer C++ features in, the older stuff has to go. Support for Visual C++ 6 has been removed, as has support for any compiler that can't handle implicit template instantiation, such as Sun Forte 6 and 7. So the first thing to evaluate when considering a transition to ACE 6 is your development environment. For Microsoft builds, VC7.1 (Visual Studio .NET 2003) or VC 8 (Visual Studio .NET 2005) are the recommended compilers. The most recent (or close to it) vendor-supplied compilers are recommended on other platforms. Riverace will continue to support VC6 for ACE 5.5 according to our standard platform support policy. Please feel free to contact us with any questions on compilers or development environments.

    Of course, there are many more improvements and additions than removals, and we'll take a few newsletter issues to describe the more significant ones. All user-visible changes to ACE are described in the ACE_wrappers/NEWS file of each ACE beta as development progresses. You can review that file here.

    In this issue, we'll look at the new added support for multiple independent Service Repositories through configuration contexts called "Gestalt". Full backwards compatibility is maintained through the existing ACE_Service_Config static methods, while direct individual repository access is enabled through instances of the new ACE_Service_Gestalt class. ACE_Service_Config has changed to a specialization of ACE_Service_Gestalt and is responsible, as in prior ACE versions, for the process-wide configuration.

    When is this a good feature to take advantage of? Well, do you have many independent services that can be reused and dynamically configured into your deployments? Do you deploy multiple levels of services in subsystems, or would you like to? If yes, then ACE_Service_Gestalt is a feature you should investigate. You can gain a large measure of flexibility and freedom by separating service records into different, independent subsystems rather than needing to be concerned that two or more of your subsystems may try to load the same service and inadvertantly get an error or introduce some coupling that restricts how your systems can act or be configured.

    Want to try this new feature out for size before ACE 6.0 is released? Grab a copy of the latest ACE beta and try it out! If you get stuck or have questions, our new Whitewater Level of ACE support can help you get going quickly.

    New Support Service Levels Offer Access to Everyone

    Riverace recently completed a survey of the ACE user community (thank you to all who responded!) to get feedback on what you like and don't like as well as what services would help more. One item that we learned was that there needs to be more flexibility in the ways users can get support from Riverace. The "one size fits all" plan we've had for a number of years just isn't flexible enough or accessible enough for everyone. Therefore, Riverace has expanded from the "one size fits all" support model to a matrix of different service levels and price models. There are three different levels of service available to better fit your support needs. In addition to our new service levels, we're also introducing size options in order to make Riverace's world-class expertise available to development groups of all sizes. Smaller groups will now have the ability to buy services per-developer, while larger groups still have the all-inclusive group-wide support option available.

    The new per-developer pricing method is per developer on the project, not per contact that can call for support. All developers can call for support. This has been a point of confusion in the past, so please let us know if you have questions. As an additional budgeting aid for small groups, developer-based purchases can also select between an annual, semi-annual, or monthly support term.

    The new service levels are tiered to allow you to get all the support you need without paying for things you don't need. These new service levels are:

    1. Stream Level, for when you're cruising along without much pressure but want expertise to be available. Free access to all Riverace Fix Kits, and ask all the questions you want via our support customer-only web site! If you encounter a bug, we'll fix it in a future ACE version.
    2. River Level, when there are a few rocks and deep pockets you could use some quick and sure help with. Free access to all Riverace Fix Kits, and all the questions and issues you can report. Plus, you can call us toll free (during normal support hours) to discuss your questions quickly. And, we'll get you any fixes you need patched into the supported ACE version you reported it against, and carry it forward to future ACE versions.
    3. Whitewater Level, when you're working with current ACE development betas and you need expert guidance to successfully navigate the rough stuff. All the features in River Level, PLUS we'll do it all for the regularly supported ACE versions AND the current beta. Whitewater Level also includes up to 10 hours per year of expert development assistance for adding new or enhanced features to the ACE development stream.

    So, you have new service options, price options, and payment options. You can even change between service levels if your needs change. We'll automatically renew your selected term and you can cancel your service at the end of its current term (month, half year, or year). In exchange for selecting a group-wide year term (or, without a group, when there are 5 or more developers on a year term) we commit to keep ACE supported on your platform(s) for the year. We help each other. And that's what Riverace is all about - helping you succeed.

    Featured Book: C++ Network Programming, Volume 1 (C++NPv1)

    Now in its eighth printing, this acclaimed book covers C++ network programming, including an overview and strategies for addressing common development challenges, and an introduction to the ACE Toolkit. With this book and ACE, C++ developers have at their disposal the most complete toolkit available for developing successful, multiplatform, concurrent networked applications with ease and efficiency.

    Buy it now from amazon.com...
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