Windows Longhorn is expected to hit the market in 2006 with loads of new features
Microsoft is currently building the next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn. Longhorn is being designed to provide the foundation for a new industry wave of innovation; ultimately enabling businesses to use technology more effectively, with far fewer barriers, while enabling customers to better realise the full benefits of technology. This client operating system will hit the market in 2006.
"Getting Longhorn to customers in 2006 will provide important advances in performance, security and reliability, and will help accelerate the creation of exciting new applications by developers across the industry," said Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft.
Longhorn is also the company's most ambitious project since the first Windows NT release. An impressive array of new technologies will be built into the new operating system. Due to its ambitious nature, Longhorn has had its release pushed out to sometime in 2006. Because of this, Microsoft has committed to a second service pack release for Windows XP, which may add a few Longhorn elements - particularly in the realm of security.
Some key features of Longhorn include:
- Improved security
- WinFS - this is a new file system based around relational database technology, though the older NTFS will still be available.
- New user interface technologies will be based on DirectX rather than GDI (graphical device interface) interface.
- A new presentation and UI (user interface) design subsystem, code-named 'Avalon', based on XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language).
- New communications architecture, code-named 'Indigo', that's an enhanced and integrated version of Microsoft's .NET framework.
Now let's look at the features one at a time. WinFS or the new file system is a relational database store which allows users to easily find, sort and categorise files. It's much more sophisticated than trying to search for files in NTFS using Windows search engine. For example, you can all your pictures in one folder by attributes like dimension, date taken and even lens aperture. Moreover, you can also search any file by using SQL query.
Another new feature from 'Longhorn' is code-named 'Avalon', which provides the foundation for building applications and high fidelity experiences in Longhorn, blending together application UI, documents, and media content, while exploiting the full power of your computer. This new graphical subsystem enables not only richer control design and development, but also relies heavily on a vector-based system instead of the more common pixel-based one. Avalon also introduces a new programming model known as XAML which heralds in a new way of designing application user interfaces.
'Indigo', a set of .NET technologies for building and running connected systems. It is a new breed of communications infrastructure built around the Web services architecture. Advanced Web services support in Indigo provides secure, reliable, and transacted messaging along with interoperability. Indigo's service-oriented programming model is built on the Microsoft .NET framework and simplifies development of connected systems. Indigo unifies a broad array of distributed systems capabilities in a composable and extensible architecture, spanning transports, security systems, messaging patterns, encodings, network topologies and hosting models. Indigo will be an integral capability of Windows 'Longhorn' and will also be supported on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.
"We've heard loud and clear from customers that they want improved productivity, easier deployment, increased reliability and enhanced security, as well as the many innovations we've been working on. We've had to make some trade-offs to deliver the features corporate customers, consumers and OEMs are asking for in a reasonable time frame," said Jim Allchin, group vice president of the Platforms Group at Microsoft.