Microsoft wants to help small developers create smart client applications with the company’s tools.
Steve Haddock, Microsoft New Zealand’s partner group manager, hopes 300 to 500 independent developers will sign up for its new free Smart Client Readiness Programme. He says Microsoft has about 700 independent software vendors listed on its books.
The programme will include assistance with training, creating solutions and co-marketing. Haddock says many small developers are interested in creating applications for Office, but the programme will also teach mobile computing development.
“Office is the first step for a lot of them,” he says. “After they’ve done that, that’s the natural extension, to make the applications mobile in some form.”
The only criteria developers will need to meet is an intention to develop smart client software, Haddock says. Once an application is ready, developers will be invited to join Microsoft’s partner programme, he says.
“There will be qualification [criteria] around that, but we want to be working with them before they get to that step, anyway.”
Office 2003, released in October, allows developers to create applications using the Smart Document and Research Pane features. Office 2003 documents can retrieve and publish data to servers using XML data sources.
Independent software vendors are keen for some assistance with marketing, Haddock says, which Microsoft will aim to deliver over the next 12 months.