On Castle Windsor and open generic component arity

In the previous post I said there’s one more new feature in Windsor 3.2 related to open generic components.

Take the following class for example:

public class Foo<T, T2> : IFoo<T>

Notice it has arity of 2 (two generic parameters, T and T2) and the interface it implements has arity of 1.
If we have a generic component for this class what should be supplied for T2 when we want to use it as IFoo<Bar>?

By default, if we just register the component and then try to use it we’ll be greeted with an exception like the following:

Requested type GenericsAndWindsor.IFoo`1[GenericsAndWindsor.Bar] has 1 generic parameter(s), whereas component implementation type GenericsAndWindsor.Foo`2[T,T2] requires 2.
This means that Windsor does not have enough information to properly create that component for you.
You can instruct Windsor which types it should use to close this generic component by supplying an implementation of IGenericImplementationMatchingStrategy.
Please consut the documentation for examples of how to do that.

Specifying implementation generic arguments: IGenericImplementationMatchingStrategy

The IGenericImplementationMatchingStrategy interface allows you to plug in your own logic telling Windsor how to close the implementation type for a given requested service. The following trivial implementation simply uses string for the other argument, therefore allowing the component to be successfully constructed.

public class UseStringGenericStrategy : IGenericImplementationMatchingStrategy
	public Type[] GetGenericArguments(ComponentModel model, CreationContext context)
		return new[]
			typeof (string)

The contract is quite simple, given a ComponentModel and CreationContext (which will tell you what the requested closed type is) you return the right types to use for generic arguments when closing the implementation type of the model.

You hook it up in exactly the same way as IGenericServiceStrategy (and yes, there’s an overload that allows you to specify both).

container.Register(Component.For(typeof (IFoo<>))
	.ImplementedBy(typeof (Foo<,>), new UseStringGenericStrategy())

Now the service will resolve successfully.
Generic component resolved

On Castle Windsor and open generic components

While Windsor supported open generics components since pretty much forever, there’s been some improvements in version 3.2 that I haven’t blogged about yet, but which can be pretty useful in some advanced scenarios. I’ll cover them in this and future blogpost.

Just so we’re clear – what are open generic components?

So what are open generic components? Components based on a generic type where we don’t specify the generic arguments. Like the following:

// register
container.Register(Component.For(typeof (IFoo<>))
	.ImplementedBy(typeof (Foo<>))

// will provide IFoo<Bar>, IFoo<Baz>, IFoo<any_valid_type>

In this case we say that the component provides IFoo<> closed over Bar, Baz etc

Being picky about what we’re closing over: IGenericServiceStrategy

Sometimes we want to restrict the types we want our components to support. C# language allows us to use generic constraints to specify that, and Windsor will obviously respect that, but sometimes we need to go beyond what language provides.

One realistic example might be restricting to specific types from a given assembly, like in this StackOverflow question.

Windsor 3.2 has a new hook point for just that – IGenericServiceStrategy, which allows you to plug custom logic to specify whether you want a component to support a given closed version of it’s open generic service.

Here’s a sample implementation limiting to types from a single assembly:

public class OnlyFromAssemblyStrategy : IGenericServiceStrategy
	private readonly Assembly assembly;

	public OnlyFromAssemblyStrategy(Assembly assembly)
		this.assembly = assembly;

	public bool Supports(Type service, ComponentModel component)
		return service.GetGenericArguments().Single().Assembly == assembly;

To hook the strategy:

container.Register(Component.For(typeof (IFoo<>))
	.ImplementedBy(typeof (Foo<>), new OnlyFromAssemblyStrategy(someAsembly))

Now when you need IFoo<SomeTypeFromWrongAssembly> either another component will need to supply it, or the dependency will not be satisfied (which, if the dependency is not optional, will result in exception).
Component Not Found exception

On Windsor 3.2 release

Windsor 3.2 release is now live on nuget and sourceforge.

This release is mostly about bugfixes and incremental improvements and while some breaking changes were made, for vast majority of users this will be a drop-in update.

The highlights of the release are in the documentation, so I won’t repeat them here.

End of an era

It is the last release to support .NET 3.5 and Silverlight.

Also, I’m thinking of sunsetting (such a nice word) Remoting facility, Factory Support facility (the one that allows you to specify factory method via XML, not to be confused with Typed Factory facility), Event Wiring facility and Synchronize facility.

Obviously, Windsor being a community driven project, if someone wants to step in and take over any of these facilities we’ll keep updating them. Otherwise this will likely be their last release.

IoC concepts: Service

As part of preparing for release of Windsor 3.1 I decided to revisit parts of Windsor’s documentation and try to make it more approachable to some completely new to IoC. This and few following posts are excerpts from that new documentation. As such I would appreciate any feedback, especially around how clearly the concepts in question are explained for someone who had no prior exposure to them.

As every technology, Windsor has certain basic concepts that you need to understand in order to be able to properly use it. Fear not – they may have scary and complicated names and abstract definitions but they are quite simple to grasp.


First concept that you’ll see over and over in the documentation and in Windsor’s API is service. Actual definition goes somewhat like this: “service is an abstract contract describing some cohesive unit of functionality”.

Service in Windsor and WCF service
The term service is extremely overloaded and has become even more so in recent years. Services as used in this documentation are a broader term than for example WCF services.

Now in plain language, let’s imagine you enter a coffee shop you’ve never been to. You talk to the barista, order your coffee, pay, wait and enjoy your cup of perfect Cappuccino. Now, let’s look at the interactions you went through:

  • specify the coffee you want
  • pay
  • get the coffee

They are the same for pretty much every coffee shop on the planet. They are the coffee shop service. Does it start making a bit more sense now? The coffee shop has clearly defined, cohesive functionality it exposes – it makes coffee. The contract is pretty abstract and high level. It doesn’t concern itself with “implementation details”; what sort of coffee-machine and beans does the coffee shop have, how big it is, and what’s the name of the barista, and color of her shirt. You, as a user don’t care about those things, you only care about getting your cappuccino, so all the things that don’t directly impact you getting your coffee do not belong as part of the service.

Hopefully you’re getting a better picture of what it’s all about, and what makes a good service. Now back in .NET land we might define a coffee shop as an interface (since interfaces are by definition abstract and have no implementation details you’ll often find that your services will be defined as interfaces).

public interface ICoffeeShop
   Coffee GetCoffee(CoffeeRequest request);

The actual details obviously can vary, but it has all the important aspects. The service defined by our ICoffeeShop is high level. It defines all the aspects required to successfully order a coffee, and yet it doesn’t leak any details on who, how or where prepares the coffee.

If coffee is not your thing, you can find examples of good contracts in many areas of your codebase. IController in ASP.NET MVC, which defines all the details required by ASP.NET MVC framework to successfully plug your controller into its processing pipeline, yet gives you all the flexibility you need to implement the controller, whether you’re building a social networking site, or e-commerce application.

If that’s all clear and simple now, let’s move to the next important concept (in the next post).

Castle Windsor 3.0 is released

Castle Windsor

After successful beta and RC releases final version of Castle Windsor (as well as Castle Core, and a whole set of facilities) has now been released. There are no major changes between final version and RC. The difference is some minor bug fixes, improved exception messages and some small improvements all over the place.


The packages are available now, on Nuget (with symbols), and via standard .zip download.


Last but not least – thank you to everyone who downloaded beta and release candidate and provided feedback. You guys rock.

Windsor 3 beta 1 – dozen of Nuget packages and SymbolSource.org support

As promised, I released Nuget packages for beta 1 of Windsor 3. This is my first major rollout of Nuget packages, so please report any issues working with them.

Nuget and beta packages

Nuget is quickly evolving and getting more useful with each release. However one feature it’s missing right now is support for pre-release packages (this is coming in the next version).


This is not really a big deal, however it means there are a few things you should be aware of.

Recommended version

Since the new package is a pre-release, while I would really like for everyone to start using it immediately and report all issues they find, I quite understand that many people will rather prefer to stick to the last official version for the time being. To accommodate that the new packages are not made recommended versions, so your Nuget explorer will still point to the last stable (2.5.3) version if you search for Windsor, Castle.Core or any other pre-existing package.


If you go to command line and install one of the packages without specifying version number, it will install the latest, that is beta 1 version.


SymbolSource.org and debugging into Windsor

Folks at SymbolSource.org added recently support for Nuget (and OpenWrap as well) and the new Castle packages take advantage of that. What it gives you, is you can now easily debug into Windsor’s code, just like .NET framework reference source (there’s a simple guide at SymbolSource on how to do it).

After you’re all set you can step into any of Castle methods in your debugger and watch the magic happen. Very cool thing, even if I say so myself.



List of packages

Here’s the full list of v3 beta 1 packages (notice those are not all Castle packages, just those that were published as v3 beta 1 rollout of Windsor):


I hope this will make it easier for everyone to test drive Windsor. And if you find any issues, have any suggestions or ideas, do not hesitate to bring them up, either on our google group, or issue tracker.