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MSDN Home > MSJ > December 1997
December 1997

Microsoft Systems Journal Homepage

Editor's Note

In case the prospect of having to once again choke down Aunt Rita's "tasty" carrots 'n' Jell-O salad at Thanksgiving dinner isn't enough for you to worry about, Microsoft recently introduced yet another acronym, Windows DNA. So that you can focus on the things that really matter (like wondering what organs giblets are), let's fire up the electron microscope and take a peek at Windows DNA.
Windows DNA stands for Windows Distributed interNet Applications Architecture. For several decades, PCs and the Internet have been evolving on parallel paths. Today neither one can claim to be taking full advantage of the other's capabilities. That's where Windows DNA comes in. Microsoft's goal for the Windows DNA architecture is to create a framework for building applications based on the Windows platform that unifies and integrates the personal computer and the Internet. The operating system will provide services to handle communications with both the corporate and public networks. These services, which will build upon the important standards from the likes of the World Wide Web Consortium and the Internet Engineering Task Force, are what allow the two paths to finally merge. Your existing application investments will be maintained, so you can focus on creatively building tomorrow's killer apps.
Windows DNA is characterized as Web-ready, managed, dynamic, and Internet/intranet transparent. Web-ready refers to the coordinated effort between OS services such as Internet Information Server and a Windows DNA app that utilizes Dynamic HTML for its user interface. Targeting Internet Explorer (IE) 4.0, Windows DNA apps could be used by clients running on all Windows operating systems as well as Macintosh and Unix. Microsoft's Zero Administration initiative for Windows (ZAW) tackles the management of client applications. COM and COM+ address the dynamic aspect of both the operating systems and the applications. The Internet and the intranet can be indistinguishable as clients browse both in the same manner.
What's all this mean to you? It depends on your objectives. The full complement of languages and services are covered under the Windows DNA umbrella. For example, an HTML developer using Visual InterDev may embed a control written in VBScript. This script may call for an additional control written using Visual C++. This control in turn may communicate to a remote server hosting a SQL database. (Sounds like our Bugslayer column will not lack for material in the coming months!) Bottom line: the operating system will be handling the plumbing, leaving you, your imagination, and your tool of choice to focus on the task at hand.
We know what you're thinking: we've been hitting the cranberry sauce a bit early. But the Windows DNA plan is already in action: Windows NT 4.0, IE 4.0, BackOffice, and Visual Studio are here today. In 1998, Microsoft plans on releasing Windows NT 5.0 and COM+, both of which are covered this month and will continue to be heavily covered in MSJ. So by adopting and directing the technologies described here in MSJ, you will be comfortably assured of developing a Windows DNA application. If you're interested (and aren't you?), http://microsoft.com/windowsdna will take you to more information on Windows DNA. And hey—"enjoy" another helping of Mom's famous brussels sprouts and yam casserole on us.


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