Microsoft's Longhorn platform promises to remove middleware

Microsoft's chief software architect Bill Gates took centre stage at last week's software developer day in London in a bid to convince UK software developers to stick with Microsoft's roadmap, even though Longhorn, its next generation operating system, is two to three years away.

There are three pillars to Microsoft's operating system strategy: XML, web services and managed code. According to Gates, XML will raise the capability of the Longhorn platform by providing a means whereby data can be exchanged between different systems without the need for middleware. Gates said, "Of all the middleware [used today] the only one that will exist is the high-end transactional database. Everything else will be built into the operating system."

Web service support is encompassed within the company's .net framework, the programming interface for building Longhorn applications. Managed code is Microsoft's way of reducing the complexity of programming via the Microsoft Common Language Runtime. This is a virtual machine which supports a number of programming languages, including C# and Visual Basic. Applications built for Longhorn are developed using the .net framework and the Microsoft Common Language Runtime. One of the key concepts in Longhorn is the stateless PC, a model of computing that Microsoft claims will combine the benefits of thin-client computing with rich clients.

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