Microsoft Trinity To Bring Unity to .Net, Office Developers

The software kingpin is working on a new set of tools designed to encourage Office developers to write to .Net, and .Net developers to Office.

Microsoft is working on a set of tools, code-named Trinity, aimed at consolidating two of its largest developer camps: those writing for Office and those writing for .Net.

Trinity is a set of tools, frameworks, Office integration solutions and customer-assistance solutions under development by the companys Developer Division, according to sources familiar with Microsofts evolving strategy.

Among the Trinity tools will be the existing Visual Studio .Net languages and .Net Framework classes and libraries. But there will be new tools as well, such as editors that apply developer-defined schemas to documents, according to sources.

Sources said Trinity also entails a new programming model, or framework, that Microsoft would include in future versions of Office. This framework is known as APP .Net, or Applications Platform Programmability .Net, sources said.

Microsoft declined to comment on Trinity.

Microsoft executives have said that the company is interested in evolving Office, starting with the next Office 11 release due in mid-2003, into more of a development platform in its own right.

Microsoft will take its first steps toward delivering Trinity by building support for managed code into Word 11 and Excel 11, said sources. The company also is working to sync up its Visual Studio and Office platforms. The version of Visual Studio .Net expected in 2004, known internally as VS-Whidbey, will feature some of the Trinity application-designer tools, sources added.

It wont be until mid-decade, when the company is ready to ship Office 12, that Microsoft will have delivered fully on its Trinity promises, said sources. By then, Microsoft is slated to deliver the full APP .Net programming model and latest Visual Studio .Net support inside Office, sources averred.

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