Microsoft has released an early version of Indigo, a new communications system intended to let Windows programs more easily connect to other software.
The Community Technology Preview, posted on Tuesday, is available to subscribers of the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), the company’s service for programmers.
In a few weeks, the tool kit will be available to anyone via a free download, company executives said.
Indigo is one of the three "pillars" of Longhorn, the code name for the next version of Windows expected to debut in 2006. Last summer, Microsoft revamped its delivery plans for Longhorn in order to meet deadlines.
Under the new plan, Indigo, a new graphics subsystem called Avalon and a new file system called WinFS are being retooled to work with the existing Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 operating systems, in addition to Longhorn.
The goal of Indigo is to simplify the process of building distributed applications, where software components communicate across a network using Web services protocols. For example, the Indigo communications system will allow an application written with Microsoft’s .Net tools to share information with a Java application without the need for special code to bridge the two systems.
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Interesting to note that this new CTP will be the same one included in beta one of Longhorn, it really shows that both teams have made tremendous progress on these two pillars. Too bad WinFS couldn’t have been a part of that progress.