Microsoft Drives Toward One Code Base

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-10-20 Print this article Print

Project Green aims to bring enterprise applications, including Great Plains and Navision, into a single unified .Net architecture.

Microsoft Corp. is working on its latest, best shot at the enterprise applications business with a new project to create a single, global code base for its product lines.

"Project Green" is the Redmond, Wash., companys effort to deliver all its business applications, from its Great Plains Software Inc., Navision A/S, Axapta (which Navision bought earlier) and Solomon Software (which Great Plains had acquired) lines, on a single code base built on the Microsoft Business Framework and .Net Framework. Revamped "Green" applications are planned to debut in the 2006 "Longhorn" time frame.

"Green was named by one of the general managers of Microsoft Business Solutions, who is an avid golfer and thought it represented our chance for a shot, a hole in one on a great solutions delivery," said Tami Reller, Microsofts corporate vice president for Business Solutions, in an exclusive interview at Microsofts Worldwide Partner Conference here this month.

Read Peter Gallis interview with Tami Reller. Green is also the color of money, but whatever the motivations for the code name, Green does promise a major change on the business application front for current and future customers, as well as for Microsoft partners and third-party developers.

The strategy is to enable developers to build a next-generation suite from the ground up with the latest Microsoft tools, including Visual Studio. To accomplish this, Microsoft is taking a best-of approach. "Were leveraging the model ease-of-use and deployment practices of Navision, the event-based customizations built into Great Plains, the metadata-store technology and object-driven development concepts with Axapta, and Solomons Visual Basic foundation for customization," Reller said.

Some partners and customers have already been briefed on the initiative and welcome it, but they caution that Green is not without challenges. John Parkinson, chief technologist for the Americas at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young U.S. LLC, in Chicago, thinks the biggest one will be the transition through what he calls the "Longhorn discontinuity"—the long time frame.

"Not everybody will jump, and not everybody who does jump will do so right away. But there is this impending transition to a utility provisioning model for business automation services, which will hit the SMB [small-to-midsize business] space hardest first," Parkinson said. "So Microsoft really needs an answer to that set of business drivers, and Green is the answer. They are spot-on with that initiative."

Next page: A costly upgrade?

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel