Developers prepare for Longhorn

The official launch of Longhorn might be more than two years away, but developers at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference are saying it's necessary to start preparing their organisations now for the next generation of Windows.

The official launch of Longhorn might be more than two years away, but developers at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference are saying it’s necessary to start preparing their organisations now for the next generation of Windows.

"It’s important for us to know if the direction of Windows 2003 and Longhorn is totally different — we have to start to set up our own direction," says Canadian developer Sungsoo Kang, of Montreal Microsoft-based independent software vendor (ISV) Nakisa. "We have to start working with our customers."

"It’s important for ISV’s because we are investing a lot of money," Kang says.

Elliot Katz, Windows client product manager at Microsoft Canada, says Longhorn's Los Angeles PDC preview is the earliest he’s ever seen information released.

"[Microsoft] has been very early talking about details much more publicly than they have in the past," he says. "It’s the good news of the future."

The fact that Longhorn isn’t another product upgrade, but is a platform and direction shift for the Windows platform, is likely one of the reasons why the software giant has such an early release of the next generation of Windows, says David Senf, a senior analyst at IDC Canada.

"Given that Longhorn represents a realisation of a shift in the computing paradigm from point solution to services-oriented architecture, it’s imperative that developers get their hands on it now and get to understand what the impact of this shift really is," Senf says.

Earlier this week at the PDC, Microsoft gave developers a preview of the three main pillars that revolve around the next generation Windows platform. There is Avalon, a graphics and presentation engine, Indigo, which is a communications architecture and provides advanced web services support, and WinFS, the storage subsystems in Windows for data which is also a programming model that provides high productivity for building applications.

Senf says the fact that the Extensible Mark-up Language is being engrained into the source code with Extensible Application Mark-up Language (XAML) is one major reason developers need time to work with Longhorn before its official launch as it will change the way programs are developed.

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