Bill Gates made a valedictory appearance at this year’s TechEd and along with a Steve Ballmer robot had some some development related announcements:
Not on the formal program was a certain amount of uncertainty over the arrival of SQL Server 2008:
He said Microsoft’s SharePoint Server would become the first Microsoft product to use enterprise search from its Fast Search and Transfer acquisition. The delayed SQL Server will be next. "Think of it as SQL Server, but it’s really Fast," he said.
For all the talk of data services, there was still no date on the next edition of SQL Server. Demonstrating SQL Server 2008, Dave Campbell, from Microsoft’s data storage platform division said SQL Server 2008 would be available in the "next month or two."
At the Gartner Business Process Management Summit, Microsoft Corp. today announced the formation of the Microsoft Business Process Alliance (BPA), which extends the benefits of business process management (BPM) to an array of companies and offers enhanced functionality to existing Microsoft customers. The Business Process Alliance is a group of 10 industry-leading software vendors focused on making BPM solutions more broadly accessible and helping companies take advantage of BPM tools based on the Microsoft® platform. Through this alliance, a broad range of customers will benefit from a powerful set of end-to-end tools for automating and optimizing business processes. The initial members of the BPA are AmberPoint, Ascentn, IDS Scheer, Fair Isaac, Global360, InRule, Metastorm, PNMsoft, RuleBurst and SourceCode Technology Holdings Inc. Microsoft also announced enhancements to its Windows® Workflow Foundation technology in the .NET Framework 3.0, adding support for the upcoming BPEL 2.0 standard and further providing capabilities and tools for developers and independent software vendors building BPEL-enabled workflow applications.
Microsoft also announced a road map for the adoption of the BPEL 2.0 standard in Windows Workflow Foundation to help drive industry interoperability and drive greater mainstream adoption of BPEL-enabled workflow applications. Microsoft will enable further integration between Windows Workflow Foundation and its BizTalk® Server product as part of the BizTalk Server 2006 R2 release, which will be generally available in the third quarter of 2007.
The roadmap for BPEL incoporation in Workflow comes from Microsoft’s Paul Andrew:
In March 2007 Microsoft plans to release a CTP of a set of BPEL activities for Windows Workflow Foundation (WF). This will be called BPEL for Windows Workflow Foundation March CTP and the CTP release will implement the BPEL 1.1 specification. The final release of BPEL for Windows Workflow Foundation will implement the OASIS BPEL 2.0 standard and is planned for release in Q4 of calendar year 2007.
The download will be separate from the .NET Framework and it will be required for developing BPEL based workflows in Visual Studio. The same download will provide runtime operations for executing BPEL based workflows.
The next major version of BizTalk Server will be built on Windows Workflow Foundation. This was announced back when Windows Workflow Foundation was first disclosed in September 2005. BizTalk Server will be able to take advantage of these BPEL activities at that time to also allow for BPEL 2.0 support. At that time both Windows Workflow Foundation and BizTalk Server will support BPEL 2.0.
Since this isn’t completely obvious, here’s the net:
What I haven’t mentioned is the role of Windows SharePoint Services and Office SharePoint Server 2007 which are both based on Workflow. For information on that I recommend David Chappell’s document,”Microsoft and BPM: A Technology Overview,” which is available on the Microsoft BPM web site.
Microsoft today staged a rolling launch of Windows Vista, Office 2007, Exchange 2007 , and associated products starting in Sydney, Australia and wrapping around the world through Asia and Europe to Steve Ballmer in New York who is still speaking as I write. The launch event so far has been as devoid of excitement as expected, but the important thing is that Microsoft at long last got Vista out the door.
Update: For the sake of completeness, according to the press release linked above, the full set of products launched today was:
An * below indicates the product is available now.
• Windows Vista Business *
• Office Professional 2007 *
• Office Project Professional 2007 *
• Office Visio Professional 2007 *
• Office InfoPath 2007 *
• Office OneNote 2007 *
• Office Communicator 2007
Client enterprise editions
• Windows Vista Enterprise *
• Office Enterprise 2007 *
• Exchange Server 2007 *
• Office SharePoint Server 2007*
• Office Project Server 2007 *
• Forefront Security for Exchange Server *
• Forefront Security for SharePoint *
• System Center Configuration Manager 2007
Server Enterprise editions
• Windows Rights Management Services *
• System Center Operations Manager Enterprise 2007
• Unified Messaging Services for Exchange *
• Excel and Forms Services for SharePoint *
• Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance
• Office Project Portfolio Server 2007 *
• Office Forms Server 2007 *
• Office SharePoint Designer 2007*
• Office Communications Server 2007
• “Voice Call Management” for Office Communication Server 2007
• Office PerformancePoint Server 2007
• Forefront Client Security
• Office Sharepoint Server for Search 2007 *
• SQL Server 2005 Data Mining Add-ins for Office 2007
• System Center “Desktop”
• Office Groove Server 2007*
• Office Groove 2007 *
• Exchange Hosted Services*
The first “beta” was a Community Technology Preview in May, but now Expression Web Designer (AKA Quartz) has arrived as a full fledged Beta 1 with a name change as Microsoft CVP S. “Soma” Somasegar recounts at his weblog yesterday:
Earlier today, the team signed off on Beta1 for Expression Web (formerly known as Expression Web Designer) which provides you with a rich set of tools to build high quality, standards-based web sites.
You can download this beta from Expression Web and send us any feedback that you have on this.
The beta requires the .NET 2.0 framework before you can play.
One, the WYSIWYG web design software no longer supports the creation of FrontPage files. And two, Microsoft is changing the name from the incredibly boring “Expression Web Designer” to the incredibly opaque “Expression Web.”
Regarding the removal of FrontPage support, product manager Wayne Smith said MS has “removed from the product is all the entry points that allow people to create new things with FrontPage tech. But the editing tools remain.”
You can still render FrontPage pages and edit them, but there are no mechanisms to create new FrontPage instances.
That may be OK, but as I mentioned previously, while FrontPage got no respect, it continues to be ubiquitous in both Windows and non-Windows Web hosting.