Network Vendor F5 Guns for Microsoft Developers

DevCentral 4.0 from F5 Networks Inc. provides an online community for Microsoft-centric developers.

F5 Networks Inc., maker of BIG-IP application-aware network switches, recently launched DevCentral 4.0, an active and growing developer community site with dedicated content and discussion areas for Microsoft-centric developers. F5 also added technical breadth, such as support for WAN optimization apps, service-oriented architecture (SOA) and Web services, says Jeff Browning, director of product management for F5.

Taking a page from Microsoft, DevCentral 4.0 gains Web 2.0 features, such as podcasts via iTunes, wikis for documentation and more blogs. The site is designed to enable applications that manage the vast amounts of critical data flowing through high-capacity network switches.

For building simple apps, developers can use the F5 iRules editor. iRules is a scripting tool that can understand and control traffic flowing in and out of BIG-IP application-specific switches. In some cases, programmers can write a few lines of iRules code to replace many lines of application code, saving time and effort. The tool can also be used to build unique apps.

Programs have been built that funnel traffic to specific data centers based on pre-set criteria, provide security for remote users through SSL and make SOAP servers operate more efficiently.

For instance, Jari Leppala of Finland wrote an app that "detects and rejects sources opening large amounts of client connections in a short timeframe, which is often indicative of spam," the company explains.

You can also do things as simple as accelerating IIS and optimizing the delivery of various Microsoft apps with the right lines of code, Browning says.

If iRules isn't sophisticated enough, developers can work with languages like Visual C# and Visual Basic.NET within Visual Studio.

Developers write code that runs against the iControl API, and can use the iControl SDK to do so. Scripting junkies can use Microsoft's new PowerShell to control BIG-IP devices.

WildPackets Woos Windows Writers
Network monitoring, diagnostics and troubleshooting company WildPackets Inc. is going after developers in much the same way as F5.

WildPackets steers developers toward its Omni Analysis Platform, a network analyzer. Developers can build plug-ins in C or C++ that are Dynamic Link Libraries (DLLs), which run as Windows apps.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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