- Windows Watch: This Week in Vista (and Longhorn) Land: Where the heck is the next Vista build? And what's up with Longhorn Server? Inquiring minds ask; we answer.
- More SNAPs in the Sandbox: The Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) team ahs been busy. New Custom Journal and Custom Report Generator snap-ins are now part of the business mash-up mix.
- WPF/E: The 'E' Really Does Mean Everywhere: If you doubted that Microsoft would actually make its competitor to Flash available on non-Windows platforms, doubt no more. A Mac version of WPF/E is in the works.
Windows Watch: This Week in Vista (and Longhorn) Land
Keeping tabs on the latest Windows builds is becoming a full-time occupation for this Microsoft Watcher. But given readers' seemingly never-ending appetite for any Vista crumb and Longhorn Server tidbit, we're going to keep those Windows hits coming.
This week, the question on many testers', users' and partners' minds seems to be "Where the heck is that next Windows Vista test build?" Late last week, it looked like Vista build 5506 was going to go out to a broader set of technical testers. No sooner had yours truly posted a story saying as much as we heard that Microsoft had started trickling out Build 5520 to a few, select testers for consideration as the next "Pre-Release-Candidate 1" build.
August 16: Vista 5506 (With Embedded Windows Live Links) Is in the Wings
Now we're hearing that 5520 might not have passed muster and Build 5536 is under consideration for wider-scale distribution. In fact, some testers told us on August 23 that they were expecting any minute now the 5536 build to be released to a fairly wide swath of technical testers. (Remember: "Any minute now" could mean anything from this evening, to this weekend. Or never, if this build also fails to make the quality cut.)
Windows SuperSite's Thurrott: On to Build 5536
It sounds like Release Candidate (RC) 1 "Customer Preview Program" (CPP) build is still likely to go out to millions of
testers before the end of September, which is Microsoft's publicly stated cut-off date for that build. Around that same time,
Microsoft is likely to offer further public details on how it is expecting businesses will be able to cost justify/ROI-icize
Windows Vista, we hear.
Vista Team Blog: RC1 to Go to Millions
We were momentarily confused earlier this week when we saw a screen shot of something that was seemingly designated Vista
Build 5700. Rumor has it that 5700 does really exist, but it is some kind of post-RC1 build that is being distributed
internally inside Microsoft only.
Build 5700 Screens on JoeJoe.Org: It Sure Looks Real
(As Windows veterans known, at the same time as Microsoft is working on Vista test builds for the masses, it is continuing to
work on a separate and more recent Vista "branch" that includes new features, fixes and functionality.)
As we noted last week, the next big Vista test build whatever its final build number is likely to include changes to the
Classic user interface and the Windows Explorer.
It's also going to include some changes to the default home page, our tipsters are telling us. We hear Internet Explorer 7,
which is part of Vista as Windows aficionados know, will open two different home pages in two different browser tabs. The
home pages will be the Live.com and the MSN.com home pages, giving users a choice, we hear.
Meanwhile, on the much quieter Longhorn Server front, we're expecting we'll likely see a new build around the same time Vista
RC1 debuts in September. We're not hearing much buzz on what new features and fixes will be in that release.
We did notice in a recent Longhorn Server blog post, however, that Microsoft is starting to let its constituents know that
the Windows Firewall will be on by default in future Longhorn Server releases.
Windows Firewall To Be On By Default in Future Win Server Releases
"Did you know that the Windows Firewall will be on by default in future Longhorn Server releases? This has impact to you,
when you install the any of the Networking related server roles in your NAP deployments you will have to make sure that the
ports necessary for those servers to operate are open on the firewall," according to Ryan Hurst, lead program manager with
Windows Enterprise Network, the author of the post.
Don't forget to check back on the Microsoft Watch Web site to get all the latest whenever Microsoft finally does issue its latest Windows builds. We're ready to roll at a moment's notice.
More SNAPs in the Sandbox
A couple of months ago, we were hearing that Microsoft was gearing up to add some more Dyanmics SNAPs -- or snap-ins for
Microsoft Office -- to its stable.
February 2006: The First SNAPs Show Up on the Scene
SNAPs are the building blocks for creating business-application mash-ups. Microsoft is making the SNAP code available from a
variety of repository sites and sandboxes under a variety of licensing agreements.
Thanks to a recent blog posting by a member of the UK Dynamics team, we now know what Microsoft is readying as part of its
Phase 2 SNAP campaign.
"Our plan in phase 2 is to keep releasing the preview versions of snap-ins that reach the beta stage to receive and
incorporate the early feedback from the community before the final release planned for October," blogged Partner Technology
Specialist Fee Nolan.
"The current release makes available for preview the counterparts of the snap-ins of the last release - Customer Journal
Snap-in for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0, and Custom Report Generator Snap-in for Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0," Nolan explained.
Read Nolan's Full SNAP Update Here
Nolan goes deeper: "The Customer Journal Snap-in allows a sales professional to view and carry with him to a sales meeting,
the relevant details of a customer (e.g. contact info, orders, service requests and more) which are copied over from Dynamics
CRM to an Microsoft Office Infopath 2007 form.
The Custom Report Generator Snap-in is a configurable Microsoft Excel 2007
report generator that allows a power user or an ISV to create a gamut of reports by binding data from Microsoft Ax 4.0."
When we first heard about SNAPs earlier this year, we couldn't for the life of us figure out why Microsoft wasn't touting
them as Live services for business users. (Doesn't "Axapta Live" have kind of a nice ring to it, for example?)
Maybe by the time the Mix '07 conference rolls around (in late March in Las Vegas again, we hear), we'll see the Dyanmics
team on stage, alongside the Windows Live folk.
WPF/E: The 'E' Really Does Mean Everywhere
Back in the fall of 2005, Microsoft first introduced the concept of Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere, a k a
Notes on the WPF/E Debut at PDC 2005
WPF/E Gets Its (4)5 Minutes of Fame on Channel 9
We knew at the time that the "E" supposedly meant even non-Windows platforms, but we admittedly were a tad skeptical. (As
even some Softies will admit, "cross-platform" has traditionally meant across different versions of Windows, in Microsoft's
We are Doubting Thomases and Thomasinas no more. Microsoft really does intent to port its Flash competitor, WPF/E, to at
least the Macintosh platform. The proof?
Check out this post, entitled "Macintosh .Net," from former Borland chief scientist and current Windows Live senior program
manager architect Danny Thorpe.
"Here's an interesting little data point to put on your radar: Nathan Herring, long time Microsoft Macintosh developer, has
joined the MiniCLR team, a core component of WPF/E," Thorpe blogged. "Now, what do you think Mike Harsh and the "Windows
Presentation Foundation / Everywhere" team have cooking to keep a Mac addict entertained?"
Thorpe: Here Comes Macintosh .Net
We keep hearing rumblings that the .Net Framework 3.0 platform (the group of stuff formerly known as WinFX -- .Net Framework
2.0, Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Workflow Foundation, CardSpace, etc. is
actually approaching the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) finish line. A couple of sources of ours have hinted that .Net 3.0 is
set to go gold slightly ahead of Vista itself. We'll see...
Housekeeping Matters: It has come to our attention that some subscribers did not receive their usual Wednesday e-mail from us last week, letting you know your August 16, 2006, issue of Microsoft Watch was available. If you didn't get it, never fear: We did publish last week and the content is available in HTML and PDF format from the Microsoft Watch site, as usual.
Download Last Week's 'From the Strange But (Possibly) True Microsoft Files' Issue Here
In the meantime, got a Microsoft product, strategy or personality you're just dying to read more about? Send your ideas, rants, raves, quibbles and other tidbits to email@example.com. (Don't worry, though: Confidentiality is guaranteed!)
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