The "schematization" in WinFS would allow users to store a Word document in XML on the disk in a standardized format, making it far easier for developers to build applications that can then take the information about the documents metadata and correlate it with other bits of metadata to make search applications and browsing of data on the disk far easier, Montgomery said. Petersen said Microsoft would also provide some standard schemas in the system for people, places, time, media and documents so that there was a good base for developers to build on. All of these would be extensible, so a developer could add any additional properties to the schemas that they wanted or needed for their application.With WinFS, Microsoft was moving to a new, core database engine. Yukon, the upcoming next version of SQL Server, and WinFS, would both build on top of this new core engine, the first stage of which would be provided in Yukon and then delivered in a more substantial way in Longhorn, he said. Making the operating system as secure as possible was first and foremost at Microsoft, which was talking about the secure execution environment. This was essentially a sandbox of applications, giving developers the ability to author an application, place it on a Website and then do the appropriate security checks. "So, you have all the rich interactivity of a client-based application and a lot of the performance and offline capabilities. But you [also] get the security and simplicity of a Web-based application. You just have to click on it and they know its safe to run," Petersen said. Asked why Microsoft had given developers access to the alpha code at such an early stage, Petersen responded that whenever big new additions were introduced to the platform, Microsoft wanted early feedback from developers at a time when it still had an opportunity to make changes based on that feedback. "We wanted to give them a feel for the new APIs and the new programming model and we wanted to get the message out that they need to move to managed code today in their applications as that is the first step they need to make for WinFX. "They should also start to write Web services as these are things they can do today with their applications and not have to wait for Longhorn. But they are the foundation of a lot of what were doing in the Longhorn timeframe," Petersen concluded.
"It will also be possible to plug in custom schemas, so this is something we are going to leverage throughout the user interface, but it is also something ISVs can extend in a way that is exposable to other ISVs," Petersen said.