Any .NET application whether it is a services application exposing only services or a typical software application with a user interface, you can always divide it into layers. Layers are nothing but the logically grouped software components. With layers, it becomes easy for the developers to differentiate between different sorts of tasks done by the components of the application and thus this makes it easy to develop .NET applications with reusable components. As you divide an application into layers with different functionalities, it will ease your tasks of code maintenance and reusability, application optimization when deployed in different ways and helps you make better design decisions for your application.
A dotnet application may encapsulate any number of basic layers but a common approach used in the Dot NET application development process is to follow a three-layer design architecture. In this, the application is basically divided into presentation, data and business layers. While presentation layer represents the components related to the user interface of the application, data layer encapsulates components related to the data storage and access for the system and business layer is responsible for the core logic implementation for the application. However, this is about a regular application, but if it is a service based application providing services to other apps, then it is a good practice to implement a services layer separately to implement the business functionality of the app. When an application is functioning through services or providing its functionality through services, services should be encapsulated in a separate architectural layer called services layer.
A services layer can encapsulate, define and implement two components – service interfaces and message types. Interfaces are those components to which all the inbound messages are sent and where the business logic of the application is implemented. Message types refers to the data types used in messages exchanged.
Here are a few design considerations to keep in mind for efficient services layer design during .NET application development.
Design services with a broader scope:
Always prefer to define coarse-grained service operations with scope focused on application. It would result in scalability or performance issues if you define fine-grained operations limited to the component scope.
Design extensible data contracts:
The data contracts should be designed in such a way that they can be extended easily without affecting the consumers of the services in near future. It is mandatory to create newer versions of the service interfaces to encapsulate backward incompatible changes to the application.
Design only for service contract:
Service layer should be designed only for service contract. It should only provide functionality defined in service contract. The internal implementation details of the service contract or services should not be exposed to the external users.
Never mix up service layer concerns with infrastructure concerns:
You should always manage code of the service layer such that cross cutting concerns are not combined with the logic code of the layer. This results in extensible and easily maintainable applications without infrastructure concerns.
Apart from these, make sure that services are capable enough to manage and detect the repeated and messages and those that have arrived out of order.
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