Microsoft Announces Web Parts: Internet-Standards-Based Components That Deliver Content and Services to Digital Dashboards

ORLANDO, Fla., June 6, 2000 — Today at the Microsoft® TechEd 2000 conference Microsoft Corp. announced a new Internet-standards-based approach for building components, called Web Parts, that deliver content and services to digital dashboards. Using the Web Part XML schema, corporate developers and partners can more easily create customizable digital dashboards that bring together personal, team, corporate and external information with single-click access to analytical and collaborative tools.

Microsoft also announced the immediate availability of the Digital Dashboard Resource Kit (DDRK) 2.0, which provides sample dashboards, the framework and tools for building Web Parts and a catalog of ready-to-use Web Parts to enable faster dashboard development.

“Getting control of information overload remains a critical business challenge for our customers,”
said Bob Muglia, group vice president of the Business Productivity Group at Microsoft.
“In Web Parts, we are providing the building blocks for next-generation digital dashboard solutions that take advantage of a company’s investment in the Microsoft platform while integrating with other information sources in a standards-based way.”

Introducing Web Parts

Web Parts enable developers to structure the delivery of Web-based content and services, such as e-mail and calendar functionality, customer management data, training information, or news feeds, to a user’s digital dashboard using a common schema that controls how the content is presented and how the user can interact with it. Web Parts can deliver any Web-based content such as XML, HTML or script. Developers using Web Parts can build dashboards that provide a high level of end-user customization including the ability to change dashboard layout, add or remove content, or select a personalized style. Because Web Parts share a common schema they can be easily reused across dashboards, and catalogs of Web Parts can be created that allow system administrators to better manage and distribute digital dashboards throughout their organization.

“Deploying dashboard solutions requires assembling information from a diverse and complex set of systems while at the same time hiding that complexity from the user,”
said Jeff Lynn, Vvice president and general manager at Compaq Professional Services and Solutions.
“Web Parts allow us to deliver tailored dashboard solutions using off-the-shelf components that connect to the most widely used back-end systems and Internet services.”

The Kit for Rapid Deployment

The Digital Dashboard Resource Kit 2.0 assists corporate developers in rapidly building and deploying dashboard solutions using sample templates and reusable Web Parts. The toolkit enables them to leverage their existing Internet skills to create dashboards using a catalog of reusable components and templates and to perform much of the customization without programming. The DDRK 2.0 includes the following:

  • Sample digital dashboards — XML/XSL-based digital dashboards that can be used for understanding the new digital dashboard framework and building Web Parts. The DDRK ships a Microsoft Windows® 2000-based File System Digital Dashboard Sample, and a Microsoft SQL Server™
    -based Digital Dashboard Sample. A sample for the Microsoft Exchange 2000 Web Store will be available later this summer.

  • Web Part Builder add-in for Visual InterDev — an add-in that extends the powerful Web-editing and project management tools in the Visual InterDev® Web-development system to simplify the creation and management of Web Parts.

  • The Digital Dashboard Services Component — a component in every digital dashboard that allows Web Parts to communicate with one another.

  • Sample industry partner Web Parts — a gallery of Web Parts ready for use in customized digital dashboards. In addition to the Microsoft samples, the gallery includes sample Web Parts from Cambridge Technology Partners, Centra Software, DSP Group Inc., Factiva, Honeywell Inc., Moreover.com, RedChip.com Inc. and Software Spectrum Inc.

“Our marketplace is extremely dynamic, so delivering the right information to our users is a constantly shifting target,”
said Chris Lord, director of Global Technology at Reuters Group PLC.
“The DDRK 2.0 enables us to rapidly create dashboard solutions that provide end-user control with a deployment model that lets us provide new content feeds without touching the desktop environment.”

Industry Support

A broad set of partners, from system integrators and solution providers to application developers and portal vendors, is supporting the Web Parts schema. Industry partners using Web Parts and the DDRK 2.0 today include: Avenade, Cambridge Technology Partners, Centra, Chase Bobko Inc., Compaq, eRoom Technology Inc., Factiva, Honeywell, InfoImage Inc., ICL, KPMG International, Moreover.com, Plumtree Software Inc., Plural Inc. and Rainier Technology Inc.

Availability

The Digital Dashboard Resource Kit 2.0 is free and currently available for download at http://www.microsoft.com/solutions/km/digitaldashboard.htm (connect-time charges may apply).

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, Windows and Visual InterDev are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.