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Sunday, March 27, 2011

 

RT: MEF vs MonoAddins

Just re-posting in my blog an interesting email that was sent to the MonoAddins list, comparing these two Addin frameworks:

> Can you give a short summary on why you replaced MEF with Mono.Addins?

Basically it came down to maturity. Mono.Addins seems far more stable and mature than MEF. The MEF documentation was lacking, inconsistent and out of date in a lot of places. But all that could be worked around, and for the first few internal versions of our app, MEF was servicing us just fine.

Then our addins became a bit more complex. We needed to package them up with multiple files, ideally distribute them as an archive, host them online in a plugin exchange, allow them to be discovered and installed easily. Essentially this page covers features in Mono.Addins that made us switch rather than implementing a lot of the same things using MEF ourselves:

http://monoaddins.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Creating%20and%20Managing%20Add-in%20Packages&referringTitle=Programming%20Guide

At the time as well MEF had issues on Mono on linux. This might have been a problem with how we were using it, but it just turned out easier to plonk Mono.Addins in instead. Was an easy migration and has a lot more power and features straight out of the box (and it worked on Linux).

Your millage may vary, and your needs are probably different. MEF might be an awesome tool for your requirements. It is a little simpler to get up and running and requires less engineering to support it (which was one of the reasons we used it first off).

Hope that helps,

Michael

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