Microsoft Introduces More Tools for Developers

Microsoft this week, at its Professional Developers Conference, released a slew of tools that focus on workflow and custom applications.

Windows Workflow Foundation is a programming model, engine and tools for building workflow-enabled applications on the Windows platform. It offers software developers a visual tool to route documents and tasks inside their enterprise, and ensures appropriate staffers receive business tasks, including new orders and bug reports. WWF is part of the WinFX programming model for Windows Vista.

The company said it plans to build support for the WWF tool into Office 12, BizTalk Server, Microsoft Dynamics and other future products.

The software giant also gave a preview of Microsoft Expression, its family of design and product tools. Sparkle Interactive Designer, a new tool for building 2-D and 3-D animation and graphics, is part of the suite. With it, developers can combine multiple media elements such as vectors, pixel images, video and animation to customize user interfaces.

Expression also includes Acrylic Graphic Designer, a painting and illustration tool for developers to create image effects such as blurs, drop shadows, color correction and filters. They can incorporate these graphics into other software tools and industry formats, including Microsoft Office, Microsoft Visual Studio and XAML.

Quartz Web Designer, another part of the Expression suite, is a layout and design tool for building Web sites and features support for cascading style sheets.

Microsoft Expression is now available as a Community Technology Preview, and the suite is set to ship in 2006. Acrylic is available in test form now, while Sparkle and Quartz will be available in several weeks.

It’s been a busy week for Microsoft and developers at PDC this week. As part of the development confab, the company previously showcased Office 12, the next version of its Office applications, and demonstrated Vista, the long-awaited version of its operating system.

About the Author

Kathleen Ohlson is senior editor at Application Development Trends magazine.