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Internal messaging framework for loosely-coupled .NET applications.


Acquaintance is not a silver-bullet solution, and comparing it to other solutions and patterns is going to yield some positive and some negative points. It is important to consider the specific needs of your application before deciding whether to use Acquaintance or an alternative pattern or library. Some portions of Acquaintance may be desireable and others may be undesireable, depending on your particular solution.

At it’s heart, Acquaintance runs contrary to some important Object-Oriented Programming principles and ideas. It conflicts with Dependency Injection, for example, and it suffers from the same discoverability problems that often make “Service Locator” an anti-pattern. Using Acquaintance for too much runs the risk of your message bus looking like a “God Object”, and loose-coupling of this sort can make your code impervious to code analysis and refactoring tools. Adding Acquaintance into software which is a big mess and doesn’t follow good OOP design best practices might just make things worse. Look for places in your system which demand loose-coupling and require one or more of the use-cases for which Acquaintance was designed.

Message-passing in Acquaintance is cheaper than making a remote call to a separate service, but it’s much more expensive than passing a message in a language like Objective-C or Erlang. You don’t want to use Acquaintance for every single method call, and you want to keep performance in mind whenever you employ it. Acquaintance works best for passing messages between subsystems or modules, and is not intended to faciliate communication between nearby classes. When easily available, a simple method call is always preferrable.

Acquaintance works with threading primitives to provide a variety of dispatching behaviors, and it is entirely possible for you to configure Acquaintance to produce bottlenecks, resource starvation and soft-deadlocks if you are not paying enough attention to system design. Acquaintance may try to detect some of the most obvious issues, but it is ultimately your responsibility to keep your process running smoothly.

All this being said, there are many situations where Acquaintance can be much more help than hinderance, and many teams which can find real benefit in it’s features.


There are a few other popular libraries which offer similar functionality to Acquaintance, though many of these have a very different focus and feature sets. Compare features to make sure Acquaintance is the right fit for your application: