Despite Microsoft Corp.s plans to release the majority of the feature set of its upcoming "Longhorn" operating system on time in 2006, some companies are working to deliver Longhorn-wave technology today.
Xamlon Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., next month will release its new XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language) development tool. XAML is an XML-based language developed by Microsoft for building presentation-layer and user interface technology. Expected to be a key component supporting the "Avalon" presentation subsystem in Longhorn, XAML enables developers to separate UI code from application logic.
The Xamlon tool will let developers use XAML to build applications for the current versions of Windows, back to Windows 98. Microsoft initially said Avalon would be available only on Longhorn, but the company recently said it will be available for Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP but not until 2006.
Developers do not need Longhorn or Avalon to use XAML, according to Paul Colton, Xamlons CEO, who said Version 1.0 of his companys product will ship Oct. 4.
"Were telling developers they can use the new technology and develop it on old technology, and our role is making sure it stays compatible moving forward," Colton said, referring to the idea that Xamlon enables developers to build applications with XAML on older versions of Windows now.
Colton said he started Xamlon after the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference last year in Los Angeles, where Microsoft released the details on Longhorn and its subsystems, including Avalon and XAML.
"I said XAML was compelling today, and we didnt have to wait," Colton said. "So we started reading the public information and started implementing the APIs Microsoft released."
Despite the fact that XAML integrates with Microsofts Visual Studio integrated development environment, Xamlon has no formal relationship with Microsoft, Colton said.
Running with new technology is nothing new for Colton, who is the creator of the JRun Java servlet engine, now owned by Macromedia Inc.
"Paul has a history of developing great declarative coding tools for the Java platform—with JRun—and I believe that he has created an environment which will allow him to transfer that experience and knowledge to the .Net platform," said Don Demsak, an XML expert and independent developer in Rockaway, N.J., who also is a beta user of the Xamlon technology.
"I believe that XAML is a revolutionary way of developing Windows-based applications, and it will take some time for developers to shed their old procedural coding style and embrace the declarative style of XAML," Demsak said.
"With the code separated from the user interface, you will see less domain logical errors and allow for the creation of more user-friendly UIs," Demsak said. "A secondary benefit of XAML and Xamlon is the vector graphics rendering engine. You can create UIs that can scale without losing visual clarity, which happens with traditional rastered graphics."