What is Avalon/Aero?


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First part of a series of guides for the main features of Longhorn here at Neowin for those wanting to know more about specific technologies included in Microsoft Windows Code Name "Longhorn"

What is Avalon?

Avalon is the next-generation platform for Windows client applications. It combines the best features of the Web such as ease of deployment and rich mix of application and content with the power of the Win32 development platform to enable developers to build a new breed of applications that are robust and take real advantage of the connectivity, storage, and graphical capabilities of the modern PC. Avalon is not just about User Interface and Rich Graphics, although that is an important part, the overarching goal of Avalon is that it offer a common managed code exposure to all the capabilities of the Personal Computer including storage, communications, documents, multimedia etc.

Will Avalon applications work much like Win32 applications?

They could, but Avalon will offer a number of features that will make them work much better. Avalon applications take advantage of a variety of services, including an efficient storage mechanism for application code and documents, and automatic persistence of the application state.

What will Avalon offer that we can?t get from .NET?b>

Avalon should be viewed as a powerful set of client side technologies that enable .NET to truly exploit the power of the smart client. It provides services ranging from local storage, to graphics and multimedia, to connectivity, in order to enrich the user experience and provide interactive, media rich applications.

What will the Avalon presentation layer look like?b>

In terms of our current OS, Avalon will provide a replacement for the presentation layer that is currently provided by Internet Explorer/Trident, User, GDI+, and Cicero. Avalon will also be closely integrated with parts of the Shell for Longhorn and even more so for versions of Windows after that.

What kind of graphics support will Avalon provide?b>

It will take advantage of the merged graphics functionality of GDI+ and DirectX, as well as the Media Framework from the Digital Media Division as well as providing a rich vector based format with support for SVG markup language.How will Avalon handle networking support?b>

Avalon will provide all the support needed to create a fully connected client application. In the short-term, WinHTTP will replace WinInet. In the long-term, Avalon will provide support for a variety of networking services, including peer-to-peer networking, consumption of Web Services, and Hailstorm/Rainstorm.

What will Avalon provide for data services?b>

Avalon will expose the new Windows storage functionality available in Longhorn. Built on SQL technology this will allow us to provide online and offline storage, a powerful data binding model and a collection of data oriented controls.

Avalon is the platform for the next-generation of Microsoft? Windows? client applications. It will create a new presentation platform by combining the best features of the Dynamic HTML (DHTML) and Win32 development platforms. Avalon will support the transition from stand-alone client applications to connected Microsoft? .NET applications.

Avalon intends to re-energize Windows as a platform for developing client applications. Currently, .NET is heavily server-oriented with the client-side user interface largely limited to HTML 3.2. Avalon extends the Microsoft .NET strategy to include the client and differentiate Windows. Avalon will enable developers to combine the rich end-user experience of a Win32 application with the power of server-based .NET servicWhat is Aero??

Aero is the new Windows user experience. Aero consists of guidelines, recommendations, and user experience values that help developers applications get the most out of the Microsoft? Windows? Code Name "Longhorn" pillars: rich presentation (Code Name "Avalon"), data (Code Name "WinFS"), and communication (Code Name "Indigo").

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Not sure if I'm making sense... but I wonder if someone could give a Win9x/2k/XP equivalent (term/name) of Avalon / Aero, if any? Some familiar term might allow us to understand it much more easily than reading a paragraph of explanations / descriptions of (new) concepts? :)

But anyway, thanks lots to creamhackered for the time/effort put into giving us such detailed information!

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Avalon is just the presentation layer, not the API. This is a common misconception. WinFX is the new Windows API. Both are written in managed code. A lot of people are also confusing (including one Microsoft person) that WinFS is storage and WinFX is the new API.

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Avalon is just the presentation layer, not the API. This is a common misconception. WinFX is the new Windows API. Both are written in managed code. A lot of people are also confusing (including one Microsoft person) that WinFS is storage and WinFX is the new API.

hehe - WinFX is that stardock program - will we see a law case here?

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hehe - WinFX is that stardock program - will we see a law case here?

the stardock tool is called WindowFX and not WinFX. besides that, stardock and MS seem to be partners regarding skinning related stuff, i dont think they'll start suing each other.

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Avalon is designed to replace Explorer.exe and IExplore.exe as the main shell.

Avalon is a CLR based desktop graphics runtime environments and is optimized to render vectors very fast (it's realtime DX rendering), so expect see lot's of this kind of stuff in LH. Writing an application to use Avalon requires the use of WinFX as this is the API as pointed out earlier in the thread

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Avalon is designed to replace Explorer.exe and IExplore.exe as the main shell.

Avalon is a CLR based desktop graphics runtime environments and is optimized to render vectors very fast (it's realtime DX rendering), so expect see lot's of this kind of stuff in LH. Writing an application to use Avalon requires the use of WinFX as this is the API as pointed out earlier in the thread

While Avalon is being touted as both an Explorer and IE replacement, IE has pretty much eaten Windows Explorer (case in point, the fact that you can *still* open Web pages with *Windows Explorer*, in addition to IE). Avalon is the closest approach to a *very* early Microsoft-demoed technology that I called *Explore Everything* back in the Windows 95 days (and it was in the leaked *Nashville* and Nashville II* builds). The difference between IE/Explorer then and Avalon today is that some funcionality (example: USENET and similar discussion groupage) is deliberately un-explorable via either Explorer or IE (and it was explorable in Nashville and Nashville II). Also, Avalon uses Direct3D and DirectDraw, while the Nashville-based Explorer/IE was entirely DirectDraw-based.

*Nashville* and *Nashville II* were early MS attempts at a more object-oriented OS (not only highly OO, but very HTML-centric as well). The closest approach today to what Nashville/Nashville tried to do is, surprisingly, GNOME on Linux, Solaris, and the BSDs..

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