Microsoft Announces Windows Foundation Classes
LOS ANGELES, March 11, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the Windows® Foundation Classes (WFC), a set of Java class libraries that enables developers to build feature-rich, native Microsoft® Windows-based applications with the Java programming language by taking full advantage of the power of the Windows platform. WFC provides an object-oriented framework that unifies the Win32® API and Web development with a single programming model that spans the client and server. Leading tools vendors and developers such as Sybase Inc. and Baan Labs simultaneously announced plans to support WFC.
“Developers told us they wanted to combine the power of native Windows with the productivity of the Java language,” said Bob Muglia, senior vice president, applications and tools, at Microsoft. “The Windows Foundation Classes is the result. It’s another way we’re meeting developers’ needs to create the best, most compelling applications for Windows.”
WFC combines the productivity benefits of the Java language with the full native capabilities of the Windows platform, making it easier for developers to create more sophisticated and useful Windows-based software to meet customer requirements. WFC provides a rich, object-oriented encapsulation of Win32 and HTML/Dynamic HTML, giving developers a consistent model for building applications, whether they run standalone, in a browser on the client, or on the server. In addition to providing a prebuilt set of classes and components, WFC lets developers build components that interoperate easily with other components and applications supporting the industry-leading Microsoft Component Object Model (COM).
With more than 90 percent of all Java development taking place on the Win32 platform and more than half of all Java developers already calling native functionality according to a recent Microsoft Developer Tracking Study, many developers clearly want a solution, such as WFC, that unites the strengths of the Java language and the Windows platform.
“The Windows Foundation Classes give us the best of both worlds – the power of Windows and the productivity of the Java language,” said Tuoc Luong, vice president of research at Baan Labs. “With WFC, we can deliver the compelling applications that Baan’s customers demand for both Windows and the Web, and we can do so quickly and efficiently.”
WFC Unifies Win32 and the Web
WFC provides an innovative model that unifies and simplifies the building of applications for Win32 and Web page delivery. With WFC, developers can easily choose to build their applications with the reach and functionality that best meets the needs of their users, all within the same programming model.
Full-featured Windows-based applications. Windows Foundation Classes can be used to build traditional, native applications for the Windows operating system that take full advantage of Windows system services, yet are created with the development productivity associated with the Java language.
Dynamic HTML and components. Windows Foundation Classes, running on the server, can generate Dynamic HTML for delivery to Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or any other browser supporting HTML 4.0 and the Document Object Model. When this is combined with WFC-built ActiveX® Controls and COM components in Microsoft Internet Explorer, developers can build powerful applications with a high-end, Web-based user interface. Developers can also use WFC to build transaction-aware components for use with the Microsoft Windows NT® Server operating system.
Static HTML. Windows Foundation Classes can also be used to build server applications with the broadest possible reach – applications that generate HTML for delivery to any Web client.
WFC Uses J/Direct to Go Native to Windows
WFC delivers the power of native Windows to developers through Microsoft’s high-performance J/Direct
architecture, which provides immediate and unobstructed access to all Win32-based APIs and the entire spectrum of hardware and software of the PC industry. Access with the J/Direct API can be more than twice as fast as competing native access methods.
WFC includes a full set of classes for the Windows user interface and navigation elements such as list boxes and toolbars, all with the familiar paradigm of native Windows-based applications. WFC also enables native features of Windows not otherwise available to the Java programmer, such as multiple documents within a single application, and access to the thousands of Windows-compatible hardware devices and software programs already available. Further, HTML and Dynamic HTML user interface elements are exposed in the same fashion as Windows elements, allowing developers to fully utilize their knowledge of the common programming model between Win32 and HTML/Dynamic HTML.
WFC also includes a powerful set of data access classes for building data-driven client and server applications, with access to both structured and unstructured data, as well as support for disconnected, mobile use. WFC can also be used to build powerful server components. Applications and components built with WFC can easily exchange data and information with other applications and components that support COM, on either the client or server.
Tools Vendors and ISVs Pledge Support
Leading tools vendors, including Compuware Corp.’s NuMega Technologies Inc., Fujitsu Software Corp., Intel Corp., Metrowerks Inc., Rational Software Corp., Sybase, and Tower Technology Corp., have pledged to support WFC in their tools. The most recent version of the Microsoft Visual J++
development system for Java also includes support for WFC.
“Consistent with Sybase’s longstanding commitment to open support for the Windows platform, we plan to support WFC in PowerJ, Sybase’s enterprise Java development environment,” said Rob Veitch, director and general manager, Sybase languages. “We believe that for customers building enterprise Java applications targeting Windows-based clients, WFC will provide the best way to access all of the performance and functionality of the Windows platform.”
Independent software vendors also praise WFC for the new capabilities it gives them for building their software components and products. ISVs endorsing WFC to build their controls and products include Aeneid Corp., Applied Visions Inc., Baan Labs, BeCubed Software, Bennet-Tec Information Systems Inc., Black Diamond Consulting Inc., CheckMaster Corp., Chili!Soft Inc., Data Dynamics Ltd., Focal Point Software Inc., Fujitsu Software Corp., Infinium Software, InstallShield Software Corp., Intersolv Inc., Marcam Solutions Inc., Object Design Inc., ObjectSoft Corp., Panther Software, POET Software, Rockwell Software Inc., Roving Software Inc., Siemens-Nixdorf Information Systems Inc., Silknet Software Inc., Stingray Software Inc., VideoSoft Inc., ViewSoft Inc. and Wall Data Inc.
Availability and Shipping
A preview release of the Windows Foundation Classes is available immediately as part of Microsoft Visual J++ 6.0 Technology Preview 1. They will also ship with tools from other vendors. For more information, visit the Microsoft Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/java/ .
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