Microsoft's Oslo initiative

Microsoft's plan for future computing

If the technical visionaries are correct, the future of computing will be a mix of applications that reside on the desktop and services obtained via the Internet, or the compute cloud as it is sometimes called. Microsoft is already configuring many of its chief development and runtime products to optimize this process of seamlessly drawing value from both sources.

In October, Microsoft announced its own long-range plans in an initiative, called Oslo, which will accommodate such a future.

'Oslo is a set of technologies that will enable people to design, build and deploy service-oriented applications,' said Dustin Sell, a technology specialist in the federal office at Microsoft.

Microsoft will re-engineer a number of its products, such as Visual Studio, BizTalk Server and the .NET framework, so they will work more seamlessly with one another under the Oslo configuration.

The company will also introduce a new, as-yet-unnamed modeling language that will help architects define how services will work together. 'We want to make modeling a first-class citizen in application development,' Sell said. Architects and domain experts can use this modeling tool to sketch how a business process will work. When they are finished, the tool will generate a skeleton for the program, allowing coders to merely fill in the details, said Ken Knueven, federal programs manager at Microsoft.

'People can either compose the application from existing Web services or perhaps identify things that need to be exposed as a Web service,' Knueven said.

'From our standpoint, we're looking at it from both software and services. You may be leveraging some of the existing software from the desktop and the server, and you may be leveraging some services form across the cloud, either Microsoft's or others'.'

Oslo is in its early stages, but during the next few years, we will start to see Oslo-related products, Sell said.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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