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Gates promises his 'holy grail' of XML in next version of Windows

The next major operating system from Microsoft will feature better graphics and an improved communications architecture, and will...

The next major operating system from Microsoft will feature better graphics and an improved communications architecture, and will enable users to develop applications more easily.

This was the promise from Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates at the company's Professional Developers' Conference in Los Angeles last week.

Longhorn, the codename for the next version of Windows, is expected to be released in 2006, and Gates said it would be the biggest Windows upgrade since the release of Windows 95.

Gates said, "The opportunity for software development in this decade is stronger than for any previous decade."

The three pillars underpinning Longhorn will be the Avalon graphics and presentation engine, the Indigo communications architecture that provides advanced web services support, and the WinFS data storage system, which doubles up as a programming tool for building applications.

The ability to put XML technology into the unified file system that Longhorn will deliver was described by Gates as his "holy grail".

Other features revealed at the conference included Superfetch, which helps applications launch more quickly, and Clickonce, which aims to speed and simplify application development.

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