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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Why do I perfer .NET Custom Collection over Dataset ?

I don't like dataset as a mechanism to transfer data between two layers for following reasons

1. Not a true OOP concept
I seriously follow Rockford Lhotka's writing and agree with him on this.

2. Bad Performance.
I did some benchmarking tests on Custom Collections vs. Dataset as being transport mechanism in Web Services Scenario in Net 1.0. Custom collections performed four times better than Dataset. I am sure in remoting scenario , difference would be more dramatic. I am going to perform very soon some benchmarks tests on .Net 2.0

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3. More Code
One ends up writing more code in packaging and unpackaging data in dataset.Remoting and WebServices infrastructure takes care lot of Serialization and Deserialization issue. Before Generics, by getting rid of dataset, I was able to get rid of 1000s line of code and get more performance.
Recently I did some benchmark tests on generics from my office computer (Which has less memory) and got more encouraging results. I will post them very soon on my blog

4. Not SOA friendly
If datasets are exposed through WebSerivecs, only .net Clients can use these Web-Services.

Chirdeep Shetty has very a nice post about problems that he faced to convert C# WebServices to Java WebServices because of dataset and workaround.

Having said that I may use Dataset/DataTable in following situations
1. When I have a situation where columns of a custom collection are variable. DataTable/Dataset IMO offers more clean solution.
2. Disconnected rich client architecture

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