Microsoft looks to single interface

Microsoft looks to single interface

A year after introducing the Windows Distributed interNet Applications (DNA) architecture, Microsoft says its vision of a world of Internet-based, three-tier applications is moving closer to fruition.

The three aspects of Microsoft's "autoeverything" infrastructure consist of the update to the Component Object Model (COM), COM+, and two "product strategies" called Forms+ and Storage+, according to David Vaskevitch, vice president of database and transaction products at Microsoft.

Vaskevitch, who discussed Storage+ and Forms+ publicly for the first time at Microsoft's Business Applications Conference, in Las Vegas last week, said COM+ will be fully integrated into Windows NT 5.0 in the third beta release, thanks to the addition of a setup utility. The first preview of COM+ was released in August alongside the second beta release of NT 5.0. No release date has been set for Beta 3 or the final product.

DNA piece

The farthest away - but potentially most important according to Vaskevitch - piece of the DNA architecture is Storage+, which he said could take anywhere from six to 18 months to complete.

Storage+ will allow developers to create a structure that will use a common interface to access disparate data, such as Web pages, database tables, configurations and components, from an array of stores.

Such a system will allow for much more simplified document and configuration management, Vaskevitch said. It also could clear up problems that arise with various versions of applications and code libraries, he said.

Forms+ is aimed at using HTML to provide an easier to use Windows interface, Vaskevitch said.

The unveiling of Forms+ and Storage+ marks another step in the evolution of the Windows DNA initiative, one analyst said.

"Forms and storage have been important parts of their (DNA) model for a long time, and it looks like they've decided to pick up on that theme and couch them in the same terminology as COM," said Dwight Davis, an analyst at Summit Strategies, in the US.

"They're responding to longstanding desires among users large and small to have the computers they use anticipate their needs, particularly developers," Davis said.

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