REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 21, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced its Application Foundation Classes (AFC), a complete set of building blocks to help developers quickly create commercial-quality, cross-platform Java
applications. These high-performance, value-added class libraries were designed from the ground up, written in Java and offer developers richer graphics, user interface and multimedia functionality that can run on any platform or any browser that supports Java.
Microsoft demonstrated the Application Foundation Classes and solicited feedback at a design preview last week with more than 80 independent Java developers. This meeting was the latest in a long series of design previews held by Microsoft to get early input from developers on key Microsoft® technologies. The developers praised Microsoft’s AFC as the next wave in Java innovation. They said the company’s continued investment in Java support will enable them to produce more powerful and more compelling Java applications for their customers while retaining support for the cross-platform capabilities that have made the programming language so popular.
“Stingray Software is extremely excited about Microsoft’s Application Foundation Classes for Java, and we are already working on products that build upon them,”
said Scot Wingo, co-founder of Stingray Software Inc.
“The foundation Microsoft is providing will rapidly bring Java developers out of the dark ages into a more professional development environment where they don’t have to create everything from scratch.”
“The primitive state of Java class libraries has been one of the biggest impediments to building real Java applications,”
said Ken Rawlings, software engineer at Scopus Technology Inc.
“Microsoft is clearly listening to the development community and helping us write great applications more quickly in Java with the new Application Foundation Classes.”
Application Foundation Classes Provide Comprehensive, Cross-Platform Support
The Application Foundation Classes offer a comprehensive set of cross-platform, value-added class libraries to help developers build richer, more sophisticated cross-platform Java applications. For example, the AFC user interface libraries give developers far more control and flexibility in the presentation of applications than does the basic Java AWT library. These new libraries are faster and require less memory to operate than AWT, make the most advanced user interface elements available to Java programmers, and – unlike other graphics and user interface libraries for Java – are fully compatible with the AWT programming model.
Sophisticated prebuilt components, such as toolbars, tabbed dialog boxes and tree controls, can save considerable development time. Further, because AFC is written in Java, the libraries can be run on any Java-capable computing platform or with any browser and the components are extensible by developers for greater flexibility.
“We’ve received an amazingly positive response to the Application Foundation Classes and great technical feedback from the Java developers who attended the design preview,”
said John Ludwig, vice president of the Internet client and collaboration division at Microsoft.
“AFC gives developers the best of both worlds: cross-platform support and the speed and functionality users expect from a comprehensive, state-of-the-art set of class libraries.”
Enhancements to the Industry-Leading Microsoft Virtual Machine for Java
Microsoft also outlined for developers its upcoming plans for the industry-leading Microsoft virtual machine. These include continued performance leadership, capabilities-based security, interoperability support for ActiveX
and Java Bean software components, a comprehensive UNICODE implementation for global applications, and support for all the cross-platform capabilities of the Java Development Kit (JDK) version 1.1. These enhancements to the Microsoft virtual machine as well as the Application Foundation Classes are expected to be delivered along with the beta and final releases of Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 later this year. AFC will be freely redistributable by application developers with their products on any Java-capable platform.
Leading Development Tool Vendors Announce Support for AFC
Leading providers of Java development tools, including Borland International Inc., Metrowerks Inc. and Microsoft, have announced their intent to support AFC within their Java development tools.
“We have worked closely with Microsoft and delivered the fastest, most robust virtual machine on MacOS,”
said Greg Galanos, president and chief technology officer of Metrowerks.
“We look forward to continuing and expanding our relationship by providing the Microsoft Application Foundation Classes as part of the CodeWarrior product line. It’s good to see Microsoft investing in new Java class technology that makes Java better for all developers on all platforms.”
“Borland is delighted to see the new Microsoft Application Foundation Classes and Microsoft’s commitment to JDK 1.1 and to Java Beans,”
said Richard Landsman, director of development for Borland’s JBuilder product line.
“Borland’s focus with our upcoming JBuilder product line is to deliver the highest-productivity rapid application development environment for multitier client/server applications and for JBuilder to be compatible with Microsoft’s Application Foundation Classes.”
AFC is part of Microsoft’s strategy to offer a complete range of Java solutions, from the best support for basic Java applications to value-added, cross-platform solutions built with AFC to complete Windows® operating system-based applications written in Java. Developers can choose the solution that best meets their application needs.
Developers can find more information about Microsoft’s Java plans and products on the Microsoft Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/java/ .
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