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.NET Does the Wave

We've all done the wave at rock concerts or sporting events. I put my hands in the air more than once at the old Yankee Stadium on a steamy day last June. The temperature was 95 degrees and climbing, and like the TSA at the airport, the ticket-takers were confiscating bottles of sunscreen.

Left-hander Andy Pettitte was pitching and a bit wobbly. He gave up several home runs, including a grand slam. The Yankees had the lead by the time Mariano Rivera strode across the field to the pitcher's mound to the tune of "Enter Sandman." His heavy-metal entrance, even to a Red Sox fan, created anticipation. The Sandman gave up a home run to the first batter.

The Yankees still won. Later that summer, they changed the sunscreen policy; I'm guessing people got burned.

Some of the folks in Redmond have had their arms in the air for a while now, talking about better user experiences, more open platforms and interoperability. But the open standards and interoperability wave hasn't quite made its way around all of the Redmond campus, although we've all seen Ballmer gesticulating, especially when he talks to large groups of developers.

The interoperability charge has been led by DevDiv, most notably the product teams who work for Scott Guthrie. Recently, several projects spearheaded by the Microsoft Interoperability team have also shown promise: Eclipse Tools for Silverlight, Federated Identity and the cross-platform SDKs (Java, Ruby) for Azure.

This week, Microsoft is releasing Milestone 5 for .NET Services, the APIs and tools for the Internet service bus, access control and workflow in the Azure Services Platform. M5 offers better support for REST, ATOM, SOAP and HTTP, according to Microsoft's Steven Martin, who blogged about the announcement.

New LogoEven the .NET logo is getting a new look that some people say is meant to reflect the framework's evolution to support newer Microsoft technologies like Silverlight. It's a blue wave "N" -- no more four-color shadowing .NET.

The new branding, which surfaced last fall in the PDC timeframe, is meant to align the .NET brand with the Silverlight and Surface logos, according to a post written by Scott Barnes, a product manager on the Rich Client Platform team:

"We needed a logo that was in sync with the key values that we want .NET to stand for: consistency, robustness and great user experiences. We also wanted a logo that conformed to the design principles that are driving Microsoft's brand identity evolution and is reflected in newer brands such as Silverlight, Surface and more. Finally, we needed a logo that is more strongly aligned with the portfolio of brands that .NET is most strongly aligned with: Silverlight, Visual Studio and the AppPlat server products."

Vijay Rajagopalan, a principal architect on the Microsoft Interoperability team who is heading several technical interop bridge projects, said that the Eclipse Tools for Silverlight (or Eclipse4SL) has become one of the most popular plug-ins on Eclipse Plugin Central. Eclipse4SL, which supports Windows and Mac, targets collaborative development projects (Visual Studio exports) as well as pure Eclipse environments.

"The debugging experience is quite limited" compared to the Visual Studio experience, according to Rajagopalan. "But that is expected to evolve by this summer." Read more about the new Eclipse4SL tooling here.

Rajagopalan said Microsoft has worked on about 17 open developer platforms, particularly in areas like Azure, open document formats and identity. "We are committed to these projects and we continue to listen to feedback," he said. 

Express your thoughts on open standards, open platforms and the new blue wave. Is Microsoft making headway in bridging Silverlight and Java Web services? Comment below or contact me directly at [email protected].

Posted by Kathleen Richards on 03/31/2009

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