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by Peter Galli on January 19, 2009 02:00pm
As Microsoft continues the drive for interoperability between different implementations on various platforms, the Interoperability Technical Strategy Team is, for the first time, participating as a code contributor to an Apache project: the Stonehenge incubator project.
Microsoft first talked about Stonehenge at ApacheCon 2008, which was held in New Orleans last November. Since then, it has been approved as an incubator project within Apache Software Foundation, and WSO2 and Microsoft have already contributed code for a web-services based sample application, known as StockTrader, to this effort.
That code can be found here, along with the contributions from WSO2.
Stonehenge has attracted some very prominent committers so far, Kamajit Bath, a Principal Program Manager in the Interoperability Technical Strategy Team and the lead for Microsoft's participation in Stonehenge, says in a recent blog post.
"I hope that the momentum will be sustained, and I am looking forward to seeing code contributions from other folks and seeing the StockTrader sample application enhanced with new features. I also hope that new sample applications will be developed to cover other areas of the WS-* standards that are not best represented by the StockTrader application. I look forward to participating in this discussion with the Stonehenge community," he says.
There are three Microsoft committers on the Stonehenge incubator project: Greg Leake, who wrote the original StockTrader application; Drew Baird, who worked to get it ready for contribution to Stonehenge; and Mike Champion, who will play an active role in this effort.
In a recent blog post, Champion says Microsoft have heard from customers that they want sample applications based on real-world scenarios and challenges, as these will help them realize the potential of these technologies that have been developed and standardized for the last 8 years or so.
The initial response from the Apache community has also been quite favorable, and "I have a personal commitment to invest in helping make Stonehenge a success, and look forward to digging in," he says.
Champion also notes that Stonehenge is being championed by Paul Fremantle, co-founder and CTO of WSO2, "which has been a great partner in helping to improve and demonstrate the interoperability of the WS-* standards across platforms."
He cites, as an example of this, TechEd 2008, where Jonathan Marsh of WSO2 and Greg Leake of Microsoft demonstrated how separate WSO2 and Microsoft components implementing a mutlti-tier stock trading application can interoperate and be substituted for one another, he says in the blog.
StockTrader is also just the starting point for the broader goals of Stonehenge, which aims to develop a set of sample applications to demonstrate seamless interoperability across multiple underlying platform technologies by using currently defined W3C and OASIS standard protocols.
Stonehenge can also help wire up the ‘last mile' between the standardized web services infrastructure that is now implemented across key platforms, and a new generation of service oriented applications that will span them, he says.
Existing WS-* interoperability work such of the sort done by WS-I and in our "plugfests" will continue to solidify the platform-level interoperability. The new work, exemplified by Apache Stonehenge, should attract a wider community of users who can exploit the hard standardization and platform interoperability work without having to wallow in as many nasty details as in the past.
For Bath, projects like Stonehenge are important in enhancing interoperability between different software implementations. While standards organizations do a great job and the roll out of various WS-* standards is a testimonial to the fact that they can work efficiently, interoperability work doesn't stop at the end of the standardization process but, rather, that is where it really starts, he says.
by Peter Galli on January 26, 2009 08:48pm
Microsoft has released more source code under an OSI-approved license: this time it has made the source code for the Web Sandbox runtime available under the Apache 2.0 open source license.
The Web Sandbox project explores how to advance the web platform to improve security, isolation, quality of service and extensibility capabilities for web developers and website users.
More information on the licensing details, as well as comprehensive documentation for experimenting and integrating with the Web Sandbox, can be found here.
But, while developers are being encouraged to help define and refine the Web Sandbox, it is not recommended for those developers creating production sites as it is still under development.
The Web Sandbox was created in response to limitations found in the current web platform, and is designed to explore potential solutions. Having a more secure and robust architecture as a foundational building block will help drive the next wave of Web innovation.
Since the initial release of Web Sandbox at PDC 2008, the team has received a lot of useful feedback from the web security community, and has also been collaborating with a number of customers, partners and the standards communities, all of whom want to adopt the technology when it is ready.
The goal? An open and interoperable standard that will help foster interoperability with complementary technologies like script frameworks and drive widespread adoption of the Web Sandbox.
This move is good news for Microsoft and the open source communities. But, it is important to note that while an Apache license is being used, the Web Sandbox project is not an Apache Software Foundation project and is not sponsored or endorsed by the ASF.
Microsoft does, however, already have an active relationship with the ASF. In fact, last year the company announced it had become a sponsor of the ASF so as to help enable the Foundation pay administrators and other support staff so that its developers can focus on writing great software.
Sam Ramji, the senior Director of Platform Strategy at Microsoft, also delivered a keynote address at ApacheCon in New Orleans last November.
Microsoft's Interoperability Technical Strategy Team already participates as a code contributor to the Apache Stonehenge incubator project; the company has also contributed a patch to ADOdb, a popular data access layer for PHP used by many applications and which is licensed under the LGPL and BSD; while Microsoft's Powerset team contributes to HBase, an open-source, column-oriented, distributed database written in Java.
by hanrahat on January 16, 2009 02:53pm
Congratulations to the PHP community on its PHP 5.3 alpha 2 release in December. In roughly one month, there have been over 80,000 downloads of the alpha 2 release from unique IP addresses.
You can see that interest in PHP on Windows is growing significantly when you compare this to the 40,000 or so Windows downloads of PHP 5.2 alpha and beta combined over nearly five months.
One of the critical accomplishments in 5.3 has been updating the code base so that the core engine can be built under the latest version of Visual C (VC9). This update has enabled members of the community to focus on optimizing the PHP core to run on Windows. Already, with alpha 2, the release is proving itself to be a stable, robust implementation.
The community anticipates hitting general availability for 5.3 in the spring. Interest in that release is already running high and should continue to grow in the coming weeks.
by Alessandro Catorcini on January 29, 2009 07:55pm
This is Alessandro Catorcini, and I am the Lead Program Manager for Live Search API. I wanted to talk about today's announcement that we are releasing the official Live Search add-in for Mozilla Firefox.
The Live Search add-in will allow Firefox users to have an officially supported add-in for Live Search in their browser that enables query auto-suggest. The new feature integrates with the Live Search API to provide suggested query keywords, making it easier and faster for searchers to find the information they want and need.
This release, while relatively small in scope, takes advantage of the work we've done as part of our Live Search API 2.0 which enables the richest and most flexible search API offered by any major search provider. We listened a ton to developers as we built 2.0 and the we think the feature set reflects that - multiple protocol support (in contrast to only AJAX from GOOG), unlimited queries for customer-facing sites and apps, and an awesome array of result presentation options.
With this latest API release and the Open Search compliant RSS feeds that we've made available for all of our search content as part of Silk Road, Open Search clients will now be able to display query suggestions when using the Live Search API.
For developers, the new endpoint will serve Open Search query suggestions in JSON format (as they are consumed by major players like Firefox) and can be queried here.
Firefox users who want to use the Live Search add-in with query suggestions can install the descriptor file here.
by Peter Galli on January 07, 2009 04:31pm
DotNetNuke Corporation, the creator of the industry-leading DotNetNuke development framework, has decided to leverage the CodePlex infrastructure for its core product distribution.
DotNetNuke will utilize CodePlex for download infrastructure, bandwidth, and metrics reporting for its core product offerings. Until now, DotNetNuke had been leveraging services from SourceForge.Net. DotNetNuke is also currently the second most commonly downloaded project on CodePlex.
Last February, DotNetNuke Corporation announced the availability of the DotNetNuke Forge, the prime destination for open source collaboration on the DotNetNuke platform. The DotNetNuke Forge has grown in breadth and popularity over the past year and now represents a vital part of the DotNetNuke ecosystem.
The DotNetNuke Corporation researched the many open source project hosting services available, and decided that CodePlex provided the "most reliable and dependable infrastructure, cleanest user experience, most advanced project administration tools, and highest commitment to future innovation," said Scott Willhite, its Co-Founder and Community Director.
CodePlex Program Manager Sara Ford says Microsoft is excited about having DotNetNuke join the CodePlex community and, as the leading open source web application framework for ASP.NET, the CodePlex team is looking forward to partnering with them to promote open source development on the Microsoft platform.
The team is also looking forward to hearing the feedback from the DotNetNuke community for improving the open source development experience on CodePlex.
by Peter Galli on January 23, 2009 12:45am
Microsoft and Novell joined forces this week to make sure that Linux users were able to watch the Barack Obama Official Inauguration stream with Novell's Moonlight, an open source implementation of Microsoft's Silverlight 1.0.
The solution? Developers on Novell's Mono team sprang into action the day before the Inauguration and worked late into the night so that Linux users and those with PowerPC Macs could watch the stream with Moonlight.
This is yet another great example of how co-operation can play out to the benefit of all involved, and underscores how the advantages of the relationship between Microsoft and Novell play out in the real world.
As Ben Waggoner, the Principal Video Strategist for Silverlight, said on his blog, using managed code in the player left out Linux users of the Moonlight 1.0 beta, as well as PowerPC Mac users. "We've heard a lot of requests to add support for those platforms, and so we teamed up with the Moonlight team at Novell and they've created a Silverlight 1.0 version of the player that works great in both Moonlight and PowerPC Macs," he says.
Once the CLR/DLR is supported as part of Silverlight 2 compatibility, players like the Inauguration one will work without modification. But, that something like this could come together on such short notice is "a testament to the chops and passion of the Moonlight team and the great platform we're both implementing. I'm glad we got this chance to demonstrate how serious we are about this collaboration," he says.
For his part, Novell's Miguel de Icaza's noted on his blog that Microsoft worked late into the night to get them access to the code that was used during the inauguration so it could be tested with Moonlight.
Ars Technica also has an indepth article about how this was all turned around in a day, which is worth reading.
by Peter Galli on January 26, 2009 06:52pm
CodePlex, Microsoft's open source project hosting Web site, has grown by leaps and bounds over the past calendar year. Visits to the Website more than doubled to top 19-million in 2008, while new registered users were up more than 70 percent to over 66,000 and the number of new projects more than doubled to 4,542 over the year.
That brings the grand CodePlex total to more than 120,000 registered users and 7,500 projects.
According to a blog by Sara Ford, the Program Manager for CodePlex, there were 12 new releases of the CodePlex software over the year, with new features including Subversion client support; an upgraded UI; Silverlight hosting; an AJAX Source code browser; and Search improvements.
The top five Open Source projects created in 2008, by page view count, were WPF, the main site for updates on the WPF roadmap and the portal for accessing the WPF Toolkit and the WPF Futures releases; the Silverlight Toolkit, a collection of Silverlight controls, components and utilities made available outside the normal Silverlight release cycle; the CompositeWPF, designed to help users more easily build enterprise-level Windows Presentation Foundation and Silverlight client applications; MVCSamples, prototype and sample ASP.NET MVC Sample applications; and the Unity Application Block, a lightweight extensible dependency injection container with support for constructor, property, and method call injection.
Also, earlier this month, DotNetNuke Corporation, the creator of the industry-leading DotNetNuke development framework, decided to leverage the CodePlex infrastructure for its core product distribution. DotNetNuke said it would utilize CodePlex for download infrastructure, bandwidth, and metrics reporting for its core product offerings. Until now, DotNetNuke had been leveraging services from SourceForge.Net.
So, what's next you may ask? Well, Sara and the team are eagerly waiting for your feedback and suggestions.
by Peter Galli on January 07, 2009 05:30pm
Microsoft plans to release new Macintosh software later this year, known as Document Collaboration Companion, that will allow users of Office 2008 for Mac to work with both Office for Windows and Office for Mac colleagues.
This collaboration will be through a Cocoa-based application that provides easier downloading/uploading capabilities to SharePoint products and technologies and Office Live Workspace, it was announced at this week's MacWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco.
Document Collaboration Companion will include simplified ways to download and upload documents, offline document caching, and SharePoint Workspace, Document Library, and Office Live Workspace access and browsing. Mac-based tools will also be provided to let Office users check shared documents in and out.
The goal of this is to help Office for Mac users tap into the future of productivity as software plus services become an essential combination across platforms.
Document Collaboration Companion will be released in a private beta next month, with a final release later this year.
Entourage, the e-mail client for Office 2008 for Mac, is also getting a makeover. The Microsoft Entourage for Exchange Web Services Beta, to be released later this month, will deliver greater connectivity between Entourage and Microsoft Exchange Server as well as greater parity between Entourage and Outlook. The final release will be available later this year as a free update to Office 2008 users, distributed via Mactopia.
The development of Entourage has also been moved from WebDAV to Web Services, a more modern and robust protocol that enables client applications to communicate with the server running Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 SP1 or later - for better compatibility, performance and reliability.
Performance improvements include email client connections to Exchange Server for email and calendaring support, Tasks, Notes and Categories synchronization, and Autodiscovery.
These moves are good examples of how our industry is changing, and how interoperability and openness can come together. As cloud services become important to Microsoft as a business, cross-platform moves like these just make sense for all of us: Microsoft, the industry and customers.
by Peter Galli on January 06, 2009 06:18pm
Over the past year, Microsoft has stepped up its participation in initiatives supporting Free and Open Source Software projects like Apache, Samba, and PHP. The company has also been working more closely with the PHP community, sponsoring PHP events and contributing code in the form of a patch to the ADODB PHP package, which is licensed under the LGPL, to make it work better with Microsoft SQL server. Manuel Lemos, the developer of the PHPClasses.org Web site, takes a look at all of this in an extensive recent blog post titled “What is Microsoft up to with PHP,” and which includes an interview with Tom Hanrahan, the director of Microsoft’s Open Source Technology Center. It makes for interesting reading!
Over the past year, Microsoft has stepped up its participation in initiatives supporting Free and Open Source Software projects like Apache, Samba, and PHP.
The company has also been working more closely with the PHP community, sponsoring PHP events and contributing code in the form of a patch to the ADODB PHP package, which is licensed under the LGPL, to make it work better with Microsoft SQL server. Manuel Lemos, the developer of the PHPClasses.org Web site, takes a look at all of this in an extensive recent blog post titled “What is Microsoft up to with PHP,” and which includes an interview with Tom Hanrahan, the director of Microsoft’s Open Source Technology Center.
It makes for interesting reading!