Microsoft is fleshing out its web-services lineup to include not only consumer offerings, but a set of developer services, code-named Iris, that will be licensed -- and, in some cases, hosted -- by Microsoft.
The company already has announced its consumer web services -- .Net My Services (formerly code-named Hailstorm). Microsoft has begun delivering to key partners, such as eBay, beta versions of some of these My Services offerings such as .Net Alerts.
But Microsoft also is briefing selected developers under nondisclosure about other, future collections of web-services that it is working to put in place.
Microsoft is building a set of enterprise/B2B services, code-named Blizzard, developer sources said, which are unlikely to be unveiled before next year.
A third collection of Microsoft-developed web services, code-named Iris, will be aimed at developers, according to developer sources, who requested anonymity. The Iris services will provide developers with common Internet metrics for global application routing, application performance monitoring and geographic mapping data, the sources said.
.Net My Services, Blizzard and Iris will all rely on Microsofts next-generation middleware, code-named Indigo, in order to work seamlessly across global, distributed networks. Iris, in fact, is likely to be built directly into Indigo, developer sources said.
Indigo will provide developers and users with a base platform of naming, addressing, messaging, event, security and orchestration lower-level services. But such a platform is still at least two years away from delivery. The Redmond, Wash., software giant is laboring to make available to key corporate and software-vendor partners its first software developer release of Indigo by the time of its annual Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles, the week of October 21, sources said. Microsoft is planning to build Indigo into a future version of Windows, possibly the release code-named Longhorn, by the spring of 2003, said sources.
Indigo, which Microsoft is positioning as a head-to-head competitor with the Java 2 platform, backed by Sun, IBM, BEA and Oracle, among others, will be the crux of the "Web services V2" strategy that Microsoft has begun championing, said developers who received briefings by Microsoft.
Microsoft executives declined to comment on Indigo, Blizzard or Iris in any way.
Microsoft will likely incorporate elements of Indigo into future releases of its Windows clients, Windows servers, its Visual Studio tool suite and SQL Server database platform, sources said. Indigo will allow developers to program their web services to run across globally distributed networks that are hosted in 7 X 24 data centers run by Microsoft and various third party partners, developers said.
Foley is a senior writer with Baseline Magazine.