Microsoft Details Next Wave of Software Innovation to Developers at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2003

EDITORS’ UPDATE, Aug. 27, 2004
– Microsoft has announced it will target broad availability of “Longhorn” in 2006, and make key elements of the Windows WinFX developer platform in “Longhorn” available for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. See

press release

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LOS ANGELES, Oct. 27, 2003 – Today Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft Corp., outlined Microsoft’s vision for the next wave of software development and detailed plans to help developers take advantage of the next wave of software opportunities at Microsoft® Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2003. Highlighting platform software and development tools designed to enable developers to build a new generation of “smart,” connected applications, Microsoft gave thousands of developers in attendance an early look at a technical preview of the next major release of Windows® , code-named “Longhorn.” The company also unveiled the next-generation Windows programming model, named WinFX™ , which provides a high productivity approach for building applications.

The Next Wave of Computing



Bill Gates outlines Microsoft’s vision for the next wave of software development at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles, Oct. 27, 2003.Click image for high-res version.

Gates discussed key catalysts in software development, pointing to a variety of trends driving the next wave, including Web services interoperability, proliferation of smart clients and software and hardware innovation. He highlighted key characteristics of the next wave: developers building connected systems using Web services that reflect the dynamic nature of the real world; software making oceans of digital information more meaningful and actionable; and new breakthrough user experiences, improving interactions between people, groups and organizations.

Gates detailed several waves of Microsoft platform software to facilitate applications development, including the Visual Studio® “Whidbey” development tools, Microsoft SQL Server TM “Yukon,” smart device software and Windows “Longhorn.” Gates highlighted how Microsofts integrated platform approach, with support from a broad developer ecosystem, provides a strong foundation for developers to pursue the next wave of software opportunities.

“It’s an exciting time to be a software developer,” Gates said. “Continuing hardware advances, powerful tools and the potential of anything on the Internet to become a building block all make it a great time to do pioneering work. Microsoft is investing heavily to make Windows the optimal platform for developers who want to build on this next wave of innovation.”

WinFX: The Next-Generation Windows Programming Model

Also delivering a keynote address at PDC was Jim Allchin, group vice president of the Platforms Groupat Microsoft, who introduced WinFX, the application programming model for the next generation of Windows, and a number of new Windows platform technologies for developers. WinFX evolves the Microsoft .NET Frameworks programming model, greatly increasing developer productivity as well as application security and reliability.

Allchin discussed four major areas of platform innovation for developers in Windows “Longhorn” :



Jim Allchin, Microsoft group vice president, introducing a new application programming model for Windows at PDC 2003.Click image for high-res version.
  • Focus on the fundamentals. Windows “Longhorn” builds on Microsofts investments around increasing security, performance, connectivity and scalability. “Longhorn” will extend the security technologies in development for Windows XP to protect against malicious exploits, as well as introduce new security improvements at the architecture level that developers can take advantage of to help extend security across applications and services. Performance improvements will come from new technologies such as SuperFetch, which will help applications launch more quickly, and ClickOnce installation, which will speed and simplify application deployment.

  • New Windows presentation technologies, code-named “Avalon.” “Avalon” is the graphics subsystem in Windows “Longhorn” and a foundation for the Windows “Longhorn” shell that will enable developers to build breakthrough user experiences. It provides a unified architecture for presenting user interface, documents and media. “Avalon” enables developers to easily take advantage of leading-edge graphics hardware, and provides native support for declarative, markup-based programming, making it simpler to build Windows-based applications.

  • New Windows storage technologies, code-named “WinFS.” “WinFS” is the next generation of data storage that provides vastly improved ways to find, relate and act on information. “WinFS” is the storage subsystem in Windows “Longhorn” that more securely stores both structured and unstructured data. With “WinFS,” developers can take advantage of prebuilt data structures in their applications, and extend those structures to handle their specific requirements and add unique value to the application by creating new structures.

  • New Windows communications technologies, code-named “Indigo.” “Indigo” is a new approach to building and running connected systems built from the ground up around the Web services architecture. “Indigos” advanced Web services support provides capabilities for more-secure, reliable and transacted messaging and interoperability. “Indigo” unifies a broad array of distributed systems capabilities in a composable and extensible way, spanning transports, security systems, messaging patterns, encodings, network topologies and hosting models.

Allchin discussed how developers that invest today in managed code with the .NET Framework, smart client applications and Web services were well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities ahead.

Putting New Platform Technologies to Work

To illustrate the variety of new opportunities these new Windows platform technologies create for independent software vendors (ISVs), Web and corporate developers, Allchin was joined onstage by representatives from Adobe Systems Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Merck & Co. Inc. to demonstrate prototype applications exploiting the new Windows “Longhorn” technologies.

“Platform innovation creates new possibilities for developers by building on today’s investments to advance the application development process,” said Allchin. “The success of Longhorn will come about through our commitment to working with the software-development community the people who turn the potential of Windows into the power of personal computing.”

Adobe Systems, a leading developer of software for consumers, creative professionals and enterprises, demonstrated the possibilities for ISVs created by integrating the new “Avalon” presentation technology and declarative programming techniques for Windows. Using these technologies, a prototype version of Adobe After Effects showed how developers could unify documents, cutting-edge graphics and media. For example, developers would now be able to build animated charts and graphs that are linked to back-end data sources to produce a smart solution that displays stock prices, sales and other information within a high-end professionally designed format.

“Many developers have not taken the visual design of their applications seriously enough, with the most innovative work restricted to creative professional software and games,” said Greg Gilley, vice president of Graphics Applications Development at Adobe. “Longhorns new Avalon technology brings the designer and developer closer, so they can truly collaborate on creating software applications that are as beautiful as they are functional.”

Online retailer Amazon.com joined Allchin to show how new technologies such as “Avalon” and “WinFS” can enable Web-based businesses to create more seamless experiences for online shoppers. Amazon Chief Technology Officer Allan Vermeulen showed off a prototype application, built using Visual C# (R) and “XAML,” a declarative markup language for “Avalon,” that demonstrates how the Windows user interface subsystem builds on the features available through Amazon Web Services to create an entirely seamless experience for users.

“Microsoft’s platform innovations have the potential to empower Amazon Web Services developers to quickly and easily build more-connected, information-driven applications that start to blur the line between traditional applications and the Web,” Vermeulen said. “With Windows Longhorn, PC applications come to life enabling developers to deliver an experience capable of conveying a unique brand identity in a desktop application.”

Pharmaceutical research firm Merck and Co. and clinical trial automation developer DataLabs Inc. also took the stage, with an application that connects information from patients, doctors and technology systems to automate collection and processing of data in clinical trials based on the interoperability functionality of the “Indigo” technologies. The application will have the ability to connect thousands of clinical trial participants in remote locations, reducing the five- to seven-year time frame typically required for clinical trials by eliminating redundancies in the data collection process.

“Each clinical trial has hundreds of patients, physicians, scientists and regulators that all need to work together, who are rarely under the same roof, or in the same organization, or on the same network,” said Rich Gleeson, vice president of Enterprise Solutions at DataLabs. “With the developer capabilities in Windows ‘Longhorn,’ we will have the ability to build a new class of more-secure and connected business applications that connect real-world relationships among people with powerful software to drive greater business efficiencies across the entire clinical trial process.

About the Professional Developers Conference

The Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) is Microsoft’s premier developer event. The PDC brings together the worlds top developers to get an early look at Microsoft software innovations, to interact with the technology leaders within Microsoft and the broad Microsoft development community, and to discover the opportunity presented by targeting the Microsoft platform.

About Microsoft

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, WinFX, Visual Studio and Visual C# 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.

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