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March 8, 2007

Microsoft hypes HD Photo

Posted by David Hunter at 1:53 PM ET.

Microsoft’s Windows Media Photo technology has had a name change and been reborn as HD Photo:

Today at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) 07 International Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft Corp. formally announced HD Photo, a new file format for end-to-end digital photography that offers higher image quality, greater preservation of data, and advanced features for today’s digital-imaging applications.

This new, next-generation digital image format offers the best solution for digital image editing and storage and unlocks the potential for digital photography on devices, applications and services. Microsoft also announced that it intends to standardize the technology and will be submitting HD Photo to an appropriate standards organization shortly.

HD Photo offers compression with up to twice the efficiency of JPEG, with fewer damaging artifacts, resulting in higher-quality images that are one-half the file size. In addition, HD Photo offers increased image fidelity, preserving the entire original image content and enabling higher-quality exposure and color adjustments in the image. This new format offers the ability to decode only the information needed for any resolution or region, or the option to manipulate the image as compressed data.

Support is already built into Windows Vista, the XML Paper Specification (XPS), .NET Framework 3.0, and Windows Imaging Component (WIC) in which places it is still called Windows Media Photo and Microsoft has found a pal in Adobe who has helped them develop HD Photo plug-ins for Photoshop which can be downloaded starting today as betas. However, it is still a long road to a new digital photography standard as Stephen Shankland details in an article at CNET and there are already suspicions on how open an HD Photo standard Microsoft is seeking.

Filed under .NET 3.0, Adobe, Beta and CTP, Coopetition, HD Photo, Microsoft, Technologies, XPS

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February 26, 2007

Microsoft touts Business Process Management with BPEL

Posted by David Hunter at 10:27 PM ET.

Microsoft Business Process Alliance Enables Mainstream Adoption of Business Process Management:

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.

Filed under .NET 3.0, Alliances, Beta and CTP, BizTalk, Microsoft, OS - Server, Office, Servers, SharePoint Designer, SharePoint Server, Technologies, Web Services, Windows SharePoint Services, Workflow

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November 8, 2006

At long last, Vista?

Posted by David Hunter at 10:43 AM ET.

The rumor of Vista RTM on Monday didn’t pan out, but Mary Jo Foley says today’s the real deal:

The day has finally come: Windows Vista is going gold. And the public announcement that Windows Vista has been released to manufacturing is going to happen tomorrow, November 8, around 11 a.m. PST, sources close to the company are saying.

The main course must be close, because yesterday we got the appetizers as Microsoft released the .NET Framework 3.0, Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office for the 2007 Microsoft Office system, ASP.NET AJAX and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition:

The technologies announced today include the following:

• The release to manufacturing of Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0, which provides advances for building rich, interactive client applications (Windows Presentation Foundation), communication and workflow (Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Workflow Foundation) and online identity management (Windows CardSpace).

• The availability to MSDN® Premium subscribers of Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office system on release to manufacturing.

• The availability of Visual Studio 2005 extensions for the .NET Framework 3.0, a series of plug-ins and project templates that enable developers to use Visual Studio 2005 to build .NET Framework 3.0 solutions.

• The release to manufacturing of Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office for the 2007 Microsoft Office system to build solutions for the six major applications in the 2007 Microsoft Office system: Office Word, Office Excel®, Office Outlook®, Office PowerPoint®, Office Visio® and Office InfoPath®. Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office for the 2007 Microsoft Office system enables developers to build scalable, robust line-of-business applications that leverage the functionality of the 2007 Microsoft Office system.

• Beta 2 of ASP.NET AJAX Extensions and the Microsoft Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) Library (collectively called ASP.NET AJAX), formerly codenamed “Atlas,” is a free framework that allows developers to quickly create a new generation of more-efficient, more-interactive and highly personalized Web experiences that work across the most popular browsers.

• The release candidate of Microsoft SQL Server™ 2005 Compact Edition, a new offering for essential relational database functionality in a compact footprint. By sharing a familiar SQL Server syntax and common ADO.NET programming model with other editions of SQL Server, SQL Server Compact Edition allows developers and administrators to apply their existing skills and be immediately productive. The release candidate is available via download at

All of the above are available now. Still in the oven however is SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 (SP2) for which a new Community Technology Preview (CTP) was released yesterday. It’s required for Vista because, as mentioned here previously, it provides SQL Server Express Edition which replaces the Microsoft Desktop Engine (MSDE) used by some Microsoft and 3rd party applications, but which is not supported on Vista.

Ensuring Vista application compatibility isn’t glamorous, but it’s critical for rapid Vista uptake (particularly in large organizations) and Microsoft is trying to ease the pain with the release candidate of the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5 which was just posted.

Filed under .NET 3.0, AJAX, ASP.NET AJAX, Beta and CTP, Microsoft, OS - Client, Office, Office 2007, SQL Server, Servers, Technologies, Tools, VS 2005, VSTO, WCF, WPF, Windows Vista

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November 1, 2006

Say goodbye to Microsoft Max

Posted by David Hunter at 11:20 AM ET.

Back in September, I compared Microsoft’s Avalon (WPF) and Indigo (WCF) demo application Microsoft Max to one of those glitzy concept cars that automakers are always wheeling out, but which never appear in the product line. Apparently the comparison was more apt than I realized since Max has just wheeled off into the sunset. Dare Obasanjo points to a post at the Max team blog titled “Thank you: the Max project has concluded” which breaks the news:

Thanks to your participation, we were able to accomplish the goals of the Max project—to get customer feedback on new ways to approach software and services. If you’re interested in seeing where we go with these ideas, keep your eye on Windows Live.

Starting today, we will be disabling all downloads from our website. In the next week, we will be shutting down the Max services and our team forums. At that time, you will no longer be able to sign in to Max or share lists of photos with your friends. You will still be able to read news and browse the lists you’ve already shared and received.

I expect there will be some grumbling.

Filed under .NET 3.0, Microsoft, RSS and Atom, Technologies, WCF, WPF

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