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Microsoft released the Community Technical Preview (CTP) of their next-generation Web-Services technology, "Indigo," today. This release is now available to MSDN Universal subscribers at http://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions/. A public version will be made available in the near future.
The Indigo release includes a framework for allowing developers to begin building interoperable applications. According to Ari Bixhorn at Microsoft, Indigo will help you be able to develop secure, reliable, transacted Web services that can interoperate regardless of platform. For the average developer, Indigo will make it easier to build service-oriented applications (SOA), implement security, and to do other critical enterprise functions easier.
You should note that while Indigo is a technology often referenced in association with Windows "Longhorn," it is not tied specifically to Longhorn. Rather, it is being created to also work effectively on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. More specifically, Indigo is built on, and extends, the .NET Framework 2.0. Because it uses SOAP for interaction, you'll find that this is something worth looking at today.
Indigo services will have the ability to interact with existing technologies that are used in creating distributed object-oriented applications. For example, to create Interactive Web services, you could create ASMX files today. To do .NET-to-.NET communication, you could use .NET Remoting. Distributed transactions can be created with enterprise services. By using WSE, you can tap into the features of the WS-* specifications. Finally, to do queued messaging, you could use MSMQ.
Indigo is a single technology that can address the same issues that are being done with all of these—asmx, .NET Remoting, enterprise services, WSE, and MSMQ. Additionally, Indigo applications will interact with applications running on servers based on J2EE, solaris, IBM's z/OS, and Linux.
Today's release is, however, only a technical preview. CTPs are generally pre-beta software, so production applications are generally not something to be releasing with it yet. Regardless, you can begin to work with the technology so you'll be ready to go when a final release happens!
Avalon and More
Also available is the second CTP for "Avalon." Avalon is Microsoft's unified graphics presentation sub-system that will be a part of Windows Longhorn. The latest version of the .NET Framework (version 2.0) is also available with today's releases. This is the same version of the .NET Framework that was released as a February CTP. Finally, there is some additional documentation and samples that have been released.
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