Platforms Aplenty at TechEd

Microsoft will attempt to woo developers with multiple development platforms at its annual TechEd conference in Boston.

Development platforms are set to take center stage at Microsofts annual TechEd conference June 11-16 in Boston.

Microsoft is expected to talk up new and emerging development platforms at the show, with officials from the Windows Live, Office and Great Plains teams set to extol the virtues of Windows Live, Office 2007 and Dynamics GP, respectively, as development platforms in their own right.

Theyll also revisit the Microsoft application platform, which consists of SQL Server, BizTalk Server and Visual Studio.

"The BizTalk, SQL CLR [Common Language Runtime] and Office (beyond Visual Basic for Applications) developer communities are much smaller, relatively speaking, but I think those groups are also poised for significant growth," said Peter OKelly, an analyst with Burton Group, in Andover, Mass.

"While .Net is no longer a Microsoft-wide marketing campaign (or even a product name suffix), the .Net Framework and managed code are now much more pervasive in Microsofts product line, including key products such as SharePoint, SQL Server, BizTalk and Office."

While Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., will not release the second beta for Exchange Server 2007 at the show, the company will announce that the beta will be available by the end of July as a feature-complete, widespread general release.

The software maker also will talk about the new mobility features in Exchange Server 2007, including support for search, not just across e-mail synchronized down to the device but also over the air to the back-end server, giving users access to their complete in-box from their device.

Microsoft also built these features into the Exchange ActiveSync protocol, so customers of the licensees of that protocol, which include Palm, Nokia and Motorola, will be able to take advantage of them, said Jeff Ressler, Microsofts director of product planning for Exchange.

"As peoples [e-mail] volume continues to increase and their mailbox sizes also grow, they will need powerful search to go along with that. The goal is for users to be able to use their devices to search gigabyte-plus-size mailboxes to find and retrieve the messages they need," Ressler said.

Exchange Server 2007 administrators also now will have a set of policy options available to them through the ActiveSync protocol that they can use to control devices.

/zimages/1/28571.gifMicrosoft announces team development tool for databases. Click here to read more.

With regard to calendaring, Ressler said users will be able to reply to meeting requests, forward them or send a message from a device—functionality that is not available today without switching over to Outlook Web Access or Outlook.

Microsoft also will launch the Windows Live Dev portal site—which will provide a single repository for programming interfaces and developer-focused information—at the show and try to get its Windows Live story in order.

The Office team, for its part, is expected to push new Office 2007 features, including the new Ribbon user interface, as appealing to third-party application writers. Microsoft is calling its Office user integration model Ribbon-X.

In addition, the Office team will use TechEd to tout the OneNote API as another way that third-party developers can add note-taking features to their applications. Microsoft also will unveil at TechEd plans for a Windows Communicator AJAX (Asynchronous Java-Script and XML) service, allowing developers to integrate Microsofts business instant messaging technology into their applications.

On the Microsoft Business Solutions side, Microsoft is set to promote its Dynamics ERP (enterprise resource planning) and financial platform as another one on which developers of all stripes can build.

Microsoft also plans to discuss the new Dynamics GP tool kit at the conference and to provide attendees with hands-on lab time. Company executives will describe how Dynamics integrates with SQL Server, Office, SharePoint, BizTalk and other platform wares to provide an even richer development experience.

Beyond the developer realm, Microsoft is expected to use TechEd to peel back the covers on Windows Client Protection—the business version of its Windows Live OneCare subscription service—possibly unleashing a public beta build. (Windows Client Protection has been in private beta for a few months now.)

The show agenda also includes Microsofts plans for Terminal Services, which are due as part of "Longhorn" in the latter half of next year.

SQL Server strategies are set to be a hot topic, too. As Microsoft noted earlier this year, the company has plans to release sometime this summer a first test build of mobile database technology called SQL Server Everywhere Edition.

The SQL Server team also intends to talk up SQL Server Anywhere, Microsofts high-availability database technologies and strategies.

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