Mood Indigo: A boost to programmer productivity?

Indigo, the Web services subsystem that will be built into Longhorn, the next release of Windows, offers developers several advantages; but the key one is productivity, contends Steven VanRoekel, director of Web services at Microsoft.

By providing a simple, abstracted declarative language for tasks such as adding security to Web services messaging, VanRoekel envisions that developers can save tens of thousands of lines of code during a project. He uses an example where the confidentiality of a Web services message has to be maintained, which includes the digital signatures of senders and the receivers' identity verification.

VanRoekel said a developer using even the latest technology from Microsoft, including its Web Services Enhancements (WSE) toolkit for .NET, cannot have an easy time creating a confidential Web services application today.

''If you got Visual Studio .NET in February 2002 to write that application -- we've done these tests -- it can take roughly 60,000 lines of code,'' he said. ''Using our WSE add-on tool, it takes roughly 12,000-13,000 lines of code to ensure security and reliability. With Indigo, it's one line of code. You basically just declare in your code 'make this confidential,' and we do all the heavy lifting behind the scenes through abstraction to secure it with the right protocols.''

Indigo will provide for customization, so if a developer working on a government application, for instance, needs to provide for two digital signatures instead of the standard one, the declarative language can be modified, VanRoekel pledged.

Indigo allows wide latitude for selecting a programming language, he noted. At the recent Microsoft Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles, where an early version of Indigo was previewed, sample applications were shown using not only Visual Basic and C# but even COBOL, said VanRoekel.

Indigo is basically following the same development and release schedule as Longhorn, the Microsoft director said, with beta currently scheduled for summer 2004. He suggested that developers seeking to follow Indigo's progress visit

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About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.