Beta Experience - The pleasure of testing
Vista and Office 12
Vista and Office “12” Beta Experience Newsletter Number 1, February 10, 2006
Editorial
Dave Webster  
Welcome to the first edition of the Vista and Office “12” Beta Experience newsletter!

In each edition we will focus on Windows Vista and Office “12” for developers. Alex Holy, chief editor for Windows Vista content, and I and all the Beta Experience team are very excited to bring you the information you need on these new technologies.

As we move toward the first public beta of Office “12” in the spring we will bring you more in depth content on all aspects of development for client and server. Then will continue that momentum towards launch. Look out for in-depth articles, videos, demos and sample code around:
Bullet The new UI
Bullet Document Format
Bullet Office Live
Bullet Business Intelligence
Bullet Document Management
Bullet VSTO 3.0
Bullet ‘Better together’ (Vista and Office “12”)
Bullet And much more.

In this edition we leave you a taste of things to come with some video overviews.
We will as well have a look at WinFX, Windows Presentation Foundation and User Interface work in Vista.

Hope to see you again soon.

Dave Webster
Chief Editor for Office “12” content
Developer & Platforms Group
Microsoft EMEA Beta Experience Team

Office 12
What's new?
There are many new things for developers and users in Office “12”. In coming editions we will go into depth on all of these.

A New UI  
The first thing you will notice about Office “12” is the redesigned User Interface. For the core apps menus and toolbars are OUT and the Ribbon interface is IN. The full functionality of Office is now much easier to find for end users.

Play video Click here for an User Interface Demo
Changes to the file format
Particularly exiting is the new file format for Office “12” applications: Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents are now zipped files containing separate XML components. This format has just been released to ECMA and can be used royalty free. This means that you can build robust server side processes that manipulate and create office documents without ever needing the client apps running on the server.
The openness of the file format means that ISVs can access the full semantic content of their documents without relying on Microsoft code to extract strings.

Play video Click here for an Electronic Content Management Demo
Office “12” Server
Office “12” matures into a full server side platform with significant enhancements to SharePoint. Office Server (the successor to SharePoint Portal Server) is now built on Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) in the same way as any other application. WSS in turn is built on ASP.Net 2.0. Significantly this architecture means that WSS uses the membership and roles providers from ASP.Net 2.0. So for the first time WSS sites can use forms based authentication and be hosted on the internet. This opens the door for outsourcing document management for small and medium businesses – a great opportunity for ISVs and Application Service Providers alike.
We introduce Workflow to the server with Office “12”. You will be able to develop for adhoc human workflows as well as fully prescriptive automatic workflows.

Play video Click here for an Info Platform Demo

Windows Vista
What's new?
As part of the Beta Experience we want to highlight both new features unique to the forthcoming Vista operating system, as well as features being part of WinFX.
WinFX   
WinFX
WinFX is the set of next-generation managed APIs provided by Microsoft. It is building on and extending the .NET Framework. WinFX offers both practical solutions to today's software challenges and new opportunities to create software and services not possible now. A primary goal of WinFX is to make it simple for developers to build a broad variety of applications more quickly than they can today, whether they are part of a big team or in a small ISV.
Read more…
XAML   
Windows Presentation Foundation and XAML
Windows Presentation Foundation is Microsoft's unified presentation subsystem for Windows, and is exposed through WinFX. It consists of a display engine and a managed-code framework. Windows Presentation Foundation unifies how Windows creates, displays, and manipulates documents, media, and user interface (UI), enabling developers and designers to create visually stunning, differentiated user experiences. XAML is an XML-based markup language that can be used to declaratively program the Windows Presentation Foundation object model. It is especially useful for implementing your application's UI.
Read more…
User Experience
By using the technologies available in Windows Vista, developers and designers will create visually appealing applications to improve usability. Windows Vista's new visuals and display technologies, such as Windows Presentation Foundation and XAML, make it simpler to create breakthrough user interfaces with less effort than ever before.
Follow the Windows Vista User Experience Guidelines (“UX Guide“ for short) to build your application's user interface so that it takes advantage of all the new features of Windows Vista Click here for the guidelines.

Views from the community
Andrew Filev   
Andrew Filev, Vice President and Microsoft Certified Architect at Murano Software, gives us a broad overview of Windows Communication Foundation. Read his article!
Corrado Cavalli   
Read what Corrado Cavalli, senior .NET consultant and trainer at Managed Designs and .NET MVP in Bergamo, Italy, wrote about Avalon. Corrado is a frequent speaker at Microsoft events in Italy and also a Visual Basic .NET MVP. Join his blog!

Next issue...
Don't miss the next issue! You will learn about Vista User Interface and Office “12” Client User Interface News!

Tools for Designers
Visual Studio Designer for WPF
Most people do not want to handcraft XAML XML. Future versions of Visual Studio will include Visual designers for WPF and XAML. To get an idea what we are working on watch this video on MSDN TV: Mark Boulter and Mike Harsh present the project code named “Cider”.

MSDN TV

Microsoft Expression 
Windows Presentation Foundation empowers both Designers and Developers. Designers can now use specialised tools to produce artwork and animation – and export the results as XAML files. Developers can access these XAML artefacts as if they were collections of objects. Find out more about Microsoft’s new product family for designers here.

Expression

ZAM 3D 
Obviously there will be many third party tools to produce 2D and 3D XAML based designs and animations. If you could not attend the PDC Conference this autumn, be sure to have a look at this stunning demo: ZAM 3D by Electric rain.

zam3D
Visual Studio Team System
Find out more about Visual Studio Team System with this new data sheet. More...
MIX
MIX is designed to be a 72-hour conversation about Web-based customer interaction, and Microsoft’s investments for web designers and developers building those experiences. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear Bill Gates and other industry leaders. Share perspectives with colleagues, pick up the latest builds of upcoming releases, and test drive new development and design tools. Register now!
Links
Windows Vista on MSDN

Gadgets are a new category of mini-application designed to provide information, useful lookup, or enhance an application or service on your Windows PC or the Web. Have a look at this gallery!

Channel9Movies on Channel9

This movie shows you more aboutTablet PCs und Inking in WPF.

Want to know more about the sidebar in Vista? Watch this movie!

Here you find in-depth information on the Expression Designers.

Channel 9 Video Library on Windows Presentation Foundation.
Blogs
Tom Archer, Program Manager and Content Strategist for the Microsoft MSDN Online team managing the Windows Vista and Visual C++ Developer Centers
Read his blog!

Visit Tim Sneath's blog, a Microsoft Windows Technical Evangelist.

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