Combination of New Office '12' and Windows Vista to Expand Developer Opportunities
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 13 --Software developers from all over the world have converged on Los Angeles this week, where Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates kicked off the sold-out Microsoft(R) Professional Developers Conference (PDC) by unveiling advances in the upcoming Windows Vista(TM) and Office "12" that will help developers take software to new heights. Gates underscored how together Windows Vista and Office "12" will represent a major step forward in terms of what people can do with software, and the solutions developers can build. Gates went on to highlight the growing impact software developers have on how we live, work and play, and encouraged developers to take the next step with the newly unveiled capabilities across the Microsoft platform.
"It's a great time to be a developer," Gates said. "The developer community, the industry and Microsoft have built an incredible foundation with Microsoft .NET and Web services, and now with Office '12' and Windows Vista it's time to build on that foundation and take software to new heights."
Microsoft Office "12"
As a part of the keynote address, Microsoft unveiled the biggest advance for Office in more than a decade with the next version of Microsoft Office applications, code-named Office "12." The software, demonstrated for the first time, will deliver a thoroughly redesigned, results-oriented user interface (UI) that enables people to focus on what they want to do rather than how they do it. The new design is based on customer insight gained through the company's extensive and ongoing usability research. For example, the new UI replaces traditional menus and toolbars with a set of highly graphical command tabs that correspond to the tasks people want to accomplish. Command tabs containing features and functionality for specialized tasks appear when customers need them and disappear when they are not relevant. This approach to organizing and presenting commands will make it simpler for people to find and use more Microsoft Office capabilities to get the results they want.
"This is the most significant release of Microsoft Office since Office 95," Gates said. "Office '12' has all the essential ingredients to deliver an incredible productivity boost for millions of people around the world. But that's only half the story. The expansion of server and developer capabilities in Office '12' are a great illustration of what is possible with today's platform. These improvements will help spur greater group and organizational productivity and expand the opportunities for developers."
In addition to more effectively organizing and presenting Office functionality, the new UI design was also driven by the desire to help people create professional-looking documents. Instead of editing and formatting one element of a document at a time, new graphical galleries in Office "12" greatly simplify the process by presenting a selection of potential layout results from which people can simply pick and click. "Live Preview" technology removes the guesswork to show how each possible selection will change the document. Customer research indicated that people respond best when they can see what their final work will look like, and the Office "12" UI is designed to address that need.
Microsoft Office "12" is expected to ship in the second half of 2006, with a limited beta release this fall.
Gates discussed the significant platform investments the company is making in Windows Vista to empower developers and ISVs to create next-generation desktop applications that will drive new business opportunities. The Windows Vista Community Technology Preview (CTP) program, announced today, will involve customers and partners in the early stage of Windows Vista development with the ultimate goal of delivering the highest-quality final product to the public. The first Windows Vista CTP build introduces many new features, including innovations in visualization and organization that will bring clarity to the customer experience and give developers better tools for building the next generation of desktop applications. In addition, the first Windows Vista CTP will enable developers to use WinFX(TM), the new programming model for Windows Vista, to build applications that take advantage of the Windows(R) Presentation Foundation and the Windows Communication Foundation.
The company announced that the first Windows Vista CTP build will be distributed to all PDC attendees, as well as to participants in the Windows Vista technical beta program and to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN(R)) and Microsoft TechNet subscribers. Microsoft will continue to release CTP builds on a monthly basis throughout the Windows Vista development process, and all feedback will be processed through the MSDN Product Feedback Center.
Jim Allchin, group vice president of the Platforms Group at Microsoft, outlined the industry opportunity around Windows Vista, emphasizing the potential for Windows Vista to become the fasted-adopted operating system in the history of the PC industry and meet a new generation of customer needs.
As a part of the commitment to support partner opportunities around Windows Vista, Microsoft announced the Windows Vista Partner Showcase Program, a new $100 million co-marketing effort for the ISV community. The program is designed to drive a wave of enterprise, small-business and customer ISV applications built on Windows Vista. Participating ISVs will have access to new distribution channels, co-marketing opportunities and financial incentives.
Illustrating the new opportunities with Windows, The North Face, the world's premier supplier of authentic and technically innovative outdoor products, took the stage at the show to unveil its prototype application that delivers a new level of rich experiences to customers. Fluid Inc., a Microsoft industry partner, worked with The North Face to build the application. "With the next generation of Windows we have the opportunity to deliver a different league of customer experience, to develop more interactive, productive experiences that showcase our brand expertise and what we do -- from expeditions in the Himalayas to athlete profiles and product breakdowns," said Joe Flannery, vice president of marketing for The North Face.
Unveiling New Platform Technologies
In addition to the advancements with Windows Vista and Office "12," Microsoft unveiled a handful of new platform technologies, designed to give developers even more capabilities when building on the Microsoft platform.
-- The Language Integrated Query (LINQ) Project is a set of language innovations for the Microsoft .NET Framework that makes it simpler for developers to access data. LINQ comprises a set of language extensions to C# and Visual Basic(R) and a unified programming model that extends the .NET Framework to offer integrated querying for objects, databases and XML. LINQ enables developers to write queries for accessing data natively in C# or Visual Basic without having to use other languages, such as Structured Query Language (SQL) or XQuery.
-- Windows Presentation Foundation "Everywhere" is a subset of the full Windows Presentation Foundation, a powerful platform-level presentation and display engine. Windows Presentation Foundation "Everywhere" enables the ubiquitous delivery of content-rich scenarios on different platforms and form factors.
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