Microsoft Previews Key Platform Technology

Some of the new offerings for developers include the presentation technology formerly known as "Avalon," a .Net tool set for integrated queries, and the "Atlas" Web client framework.

LOS ANGELES—While Microsoft delivered a peek at some of its key upcoming technologies at its Professional Developers Conference, including Windows Vista and Office 12, the software giant also showed some new platform technologies aimed at enriching the overall Microsoft platform.

During a keynote address at the Microsoft PDC here, Jim Allchin, group vice president of platforms at Microsoft Corp., introduced some new technologies, including WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), formerly known as "Avalon," and WPF/E (Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere.)

He also introduced, among others, the LINQ (Language Integrated Query) Project and an update to the companys Atlas Web client framework for building AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) applications.

WPF/E is a lightweight run-time for the Windows Presentation Foundation, Allchin said.

"This is very early work," he said. The technology delivers an "interactive experience on devices and PCs."

/zimages/3/28571.gifMicrosoft plans to give away code at PDC. Read more here.

In an interview with eWEEK, Allchin said he pushed for the development of the lightweight run-time because he wanted to see the benefits of Avalon on cell phones and other devices. The programming model uses Microsofts XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language) and JavaScript, he said.

A subset of WPF, WPF/E will enable content-rich presentation on a variety of platforms, Allchin said.

Regarding WPF, Allchin said, "We are light-years ahead of anybody else in this space." In his opening keynote, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates said one of Microsofts goals is to "make it easier for people to visualize information."

Microsoft will talk more about WPF and presentation technology on Tuesday, when the company will discuss its Expression Studio graphic design and development tools, company officials said.

The LINQ project, a tool set for the .Net Framework that enables developers to more easily access data, is a set of language extensions to C# and visual Basic. It presents a unified programming model for querying XML, objects, relational data and other data types, said Anders Hejlsberg, a Microsoft distinguished engineer who authored the technology.

Allchin said the delivery vehicle for LINQ has not been decided as yet.


"The dream is to have a single programming model," Hejlsberg said in a panel session on LINQ.

"You can query pretty much anything. LINQ works with any collection you have in the .Net Framework today. Its a single programming model for data where the things you know in this domain just magically apply for another domain."

Paul Vick, technical lead on Visual Basic .Net at Microsoft, said the LINQ project is "extremely relevant for VB users" because a lot of people who use Visual Basic also use SQL and vice versa. "This integrates these very disparate worlds together," Vick said of LINQ.

Essentially, LINQ enables developers to write queries for accessing data natively in C# or Visual Basic without having to use other methods or languages such as SQL, Allchin said.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about how Vista is creating opportunities for developers.

Allchin also introduced a demonstration of the "Atlas" technology. Atlas is integrated with Visual Studio 2005 and ASP .Net 2.0 and came out of a demand for delivering rich user experiences, he said.

AJAX-style development is "pretty hard," Allchin said. "And the tools arent as great as they could be, so were trying to create a framework, an extension to ASP .Net," that will simplify AJAX development, he said.

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