Momentum Surges for Microsoft Application Foundation Classes

REDMOND, Wash., June 9, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced rapidly growing industry support for its Application Foundation Classes (AFC). AFC is a comprehensive collection of Java
™class libraries that help developers quickly create commercial-quality Java applications. Announced at Microsoft’s open design preview in January 1997 and available since April 1997, the AFC libraries lead the industry in developer support, commitment from development tools vendors and functionality. In addition, AFC will be the only foundation classes to ship on the Microsoft® Windows® operating system as well as the Macintosh, enabling developers to target a broad installation base.

Several leading commercial Java developers today announced their support for AFC, bringing to more than 100 the total number of top commercial Java developers using AFC or Microsoft’s virtual machine for Java. Some of the latest developers announcing support for AFC are Applied Visions Inc., The Baan Company, BulletProof Corp., HotOffice Technologies Inc., Roving Software Inc. and Tendril Software Inc. In addition, tens of thousands of developers are working with the AFC Developers Preview CD or have downloaded the developers release of AFC.

“With AFC and its virtual machine for Java, Microsoft is taking the lead in making Java richer and more functional for independent developers,” said Bill Kelemen, vice president of technology at HotOffice Technologies, which is using AFC to build HotOffice. “This is the industrial-strength framework that we need, and that we haven’t found anywhere else. It will give us the tools to deliver to our users an even greater experience when using HotOffice for their virtual office, allowing them to collaborate any time and anywhere.”

“As commercial developers, we looked at a number of Java tools to help us build our agent toolkit. We chose AFC because it had the strongest architecture to build an industrial-strength product,” said Randy Parker, president of Roving Software, which is using AFC to build Agent Studio. “The rich functionality of AFC gives us what we need to deliver agent products to the enterprise marketplace quickly.”

The Baan Company is currently using AFC to develop functionality that will enable customers to access its entire suite of enterprise applications through a Web-based browser front end. “Baan’s business is all about enabling customers to manage relationships and information across their enterprise and with their trading partners. By driving the complexity out of software implementation and reconfiguration, we help our customers respond rapidly to changes in their marketplace,” said Laurens van der Tang, executive vice president of research and development at The Baan Company. “By taking advantage of Microsoft’s world-class AFC libraries, we can more quickly deliver a high-quality, Web-enabled product, while allowing our developers to focus on the unique functionality of our solution.”

Tools Support for AFC

AFC has the strong backing of leading Java development tool vendors, including Asymetrix Corp., Borland International Inc., Metrowerks Inc., ObjectShare, Powersoft Corp. and Pure Atria Corp., all of which are tightly integrating AFC with their tools. AFC will also be made available as part of a future release of the Microsoft Visual J++
Web development system, the most widely used Java development environment.

“Microsoft AFC libraries provide developers with a comprehensive, multiplatform framework for building robust Java Applets and applications,” said Rob Veitch, general manager of Powersoft Languages Products. “We are pleased to support the AFC Framework in an upcoming release of PowerJ.”

AFC Makes Java Development Easier

Microsoft Application Foundation Classes for Java allow developers to build higher-quality applications to meet customer needs and, at the same time, be more productive. AFC provides far more functionality than is available with the basic Java Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT) library or any other class library for Java.

  • The GUI libraries provide a complete set of over 30 modern user interface components, including advanced controls usually found in modern applications such as toolbars, tree views and tabbed dialog boxes that are not available to Java developers today. These prebuilt and reusable components are fully customizable and extensible, allowing developers to tailor them to their specific needs.

  • The Fx libraries provide a comprehensive set of graphics effects, addressing both significant limitations in the basic Java graphics capabilities such as the inability to draw a line more than one pixel wide, as well as providing state-of-the-art features such as texture support and integration with user interface components.

  • The AFC Enterprise Libraries provide open, standards-based access to database, directory, distributed object, management and transaction services. The transaction services are available today; the other services are scheduled to be available in the second half of 1997.

The libraries make optimal use of Microsoft’s expertise as a leading developer of class libraries and include state-of-the-art features such as a fully customizable graphical user interface, complete international support for global products, and automatic accessibility support for disabled computer users. With AFC, developers can fully customize an application’s user interface. AFC applications can have the familiar look of Windows, or can be easily extended to support other familiar or custom user interfaces.

“Developers told us they want to quickly build Java applications that maintain the high standards their customers require,” said Tod Nielsen, general manager of platform marketing and the developer relations group at Microsoft. “We responded with AFC, enabling Java developers to increase productivity and deploy applications on multiple platforms without sacrificing quality. It’s tremendously gratifying to see this strong support, especially while AFC is still in preview release.”

Availability and Distribution

Microsoft is delivering comprehensive, end-to-end solutions to help make corporate and commercial Java developers successful. With world-class technologies and programs for commercial developers that include class libraries, virtual machines, component support, tools, technical support and market development programs, Microsoft is helping developers create Java applications that run on multiple platforms, as well as enabling them to take full advantage of customers’ investments in Microsoft Windows.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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

Java is a trademark of Sun Microsystems Inc.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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