Xen XML Language On Track to Debut as X Omega

Microsoft is moving ahead with plans to deliver its XML programming language to programmers inside and outside the company.

By mid-year, Microsoft plans to make its XML programming language—currently code-named "Xen," and soon to be renamed "C Omega"—available to researchers and academics.

At the same time, Microsofts Research division is making the new language available to product teams inside the company for possible use or inclusion in forthcoming products.

Thats according to Wolfram Schulte, manager of Microsoft Researchs Foundations of Software Engineering group, and one of the principal stewards of Xen.

"In the XML world, we see many new languages popping up, but most dont have enough library support," Schulte said. "Thats why we built [Xen] as an extension [to C#]. For developers, it will be as easy as programming with a new library."

A little more than two years ago, Schulte and Webdata team technical lead Erik Meijer started up a skunk-works project to examine ways that data integration can be built directly into programming languages, Schulte said. The pair wrote a proposal for a new language called X# that would link SQL, XML and object-oriented programming models.

In February 2002, the Webdata incubation team inside Microsoft decided to take the language specification and run with it, Schulte said. The team completed a research prototype of the language in April 2003.

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This prototype is being furthered in two ways inside Microsoft.

First, Microsoft Research in Cambridge, U.K., which is working in conjunction with the University of Cambridge, is adding a new communications model to Xen that will make it easier for programmers to write Web services and multithreaded applications using the new language. (The multithreaded extension comes from Polyphonic C#, a C# derivative, and also Xen extension).

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