Microsoft unveils Whitehorse for developers

Microsoft has annouced that the Whidbey version of the Visual Studio tool, due in 2004, will feature a set of design tools called...

Microsoft's Whidbey version of its Visual Studio tool, due in 2004, will feature a set of design tools called Whitehorse to enable building of services-oriented systems.

Whitehorse enables visualisation of relationships between services, according to Rick LaPlante, a general manager in the Microsoft developer division at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2003 in Los Angeles.

LaPlante showed a three-step demonstration in which information is communicated to an engineering team, a view of the datacentre is presented, and a service is validated to conform to policies. Web services can be incorporated or restricted via Whitehorse.

An audience member said the idea of Whitehorse, to unite network operators and developers, is a good one.

"I think that Whitehorse is kind of a great technology, to integrate those two [technology areas]," said attendee John Conger, assistant vice-president and senior development analyst at Ivy Asset Management.

Microsoft senior vice-president Eric Rudder stressed ease of development features planned for Whidbey for both client and web development.

Print management will be simplified, as will user management. "Whidbey has a feature to deal with objects to simplify printing," Rudder said.

"In Whidbey, we've also taken a dramatic step forward and built in a user management system to ASP .net," he added.

Visual Basic development is eased in Whidbey, said Ari Bixhorn, lead product manager in the Microsoft developer division.

"We really are able to take productivity to new heights, particularly for Visual Basic developers," Bixhorn said.

Also highlighted in Whidbey is a system called My Help, which provides better searching, a hierarchical view of data and integrated community features.

The smart tag feature in Whidbey enables customisation of a look and feel of an interface without writing any code, Bixhorn said. Advanced data binding enables binding of a picture to data in SQL Server, for example.

Web application development functions planned for Whidbey enable the product to be combined with ASP .net for faster development of web applications, said Scott Guthrie, product unit manager in the Microsoft developer division.

When building pages on a site, master templates can be used to add content directly to the page. Web services can be accessed for information such as user IDs. Control technology also is used for functions such as providing a login screen, according to Guthrie.

Microsoft also is planning enhancements to its mobile development offerings to dramatically reduce the lines of code required for development.

Microsoft's also unveiled plans for its Indigo web services framework. Initially it took 50,000 lines of code to build in Visual Studio .net, and 27,000 lines of code in the company's web services enhancements toolkit will be reduced to three lines, according to Rudder.

Additionally, Microsoft will release to developers its internally used Prefast tool for checking buffer overruns.

The company will also release a Longhorn Server update to Windows Server, planned for release in 2004. Longhorn is also the name of the company's client operating system planned for release in 2006.

Paul Krill writes for InfoWorld


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