In a bid to become a credible player in the corporate sector, Microsoft will open up its Com+ architecture to third party transaction processing products.
Microsoft intends to publish the transaction based elements of its Com+ software interfaces, to enable third party transaction processing monitors - critical components of high end corporate systems - to interoperate with the object based technology.
The scheme, dubbed Bring Your Own Transactions (BYOT), will improve integration between Microsoft based applications and the mainframe or Unix based legacy systems that most large corporates have. It will enable users to adopt the Com (Common Object Model) approach for departmental and Web based ecommerce packages without having to worry about how to hook them into their existing back office, mission critical applications.
This, the software giant hopes, will give it a foothold in the high end space, on which it can capitalise as Com+ becomes more robust.
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft?s executive vice president of sales and support, explained the rationale in his keynote speech at the firm?s Teched developers' conference in New Orleans this week.
?There is a need for strong interoperability. We?re still passionate about Windows, but that?s not the way the world works and we recognise that organisations have many different systems. We?ve got to support other environments, but I always admit we?ve got a hidden agenda, and we?d love everyone to migrate to Windows,? he said.
BYOT will provide third party products such as IBM's Cics TP monitor and MQSeries message queuing middleware with a set of transactions they can coordinate and manage, and that Com+, in turn, can deal with.
To make this easier, Com+ will support such standards as the Internet Engineering Taskforce?s Transaction Internet Protocol (TIP), which is currently in proposed draft form and the Open Group?s XA offering, which is widely supported by vendors such as Oracle.
Other suppliers that have declared support for BYOT include Iona, which will integrate its Orbix Object Transaction Monitor - compliant with the Corba object standard, usually a rival to Com - with Microsoft's technology; and Compaq?s Digital Equipment unit, which will integrate its ACMS offering.
Com+, meanwhile, is expected to appear in the same timeframe as Windows NT 5.0, which, according to Ballmer, will not now ship before the first quarter of 1999. The offering was originally scheduled to emerge this summer, but was later promised for the end of this year.
Some analysts, however, do not believe it will be generally available before the middle of next year. The second and last beta of the product is slated for release by August, but Microsoft plans to do a ?many more refreshes? of the post beta 2 than it usually does.
The offering will also include a beta release of Internet Explorer (IE) 5.0, which has been described as a set of services rather than a product. IE 5.0 will enable users to select which components of an application they wish to download to reduce overheads, although the software giant has not yet decided on whether this will include its Java Virtual Machine.
It will also include support for the persistent storage of Web pages and for so-called behaviours, which separate authoring and programming functions to enable Web designers and content providers to focus on what they do best. The behaviours will be based on scriptlets that Microsoft will develop internally and via third parties.
But, Michael Gross, Microsoft?s Com and MTS product manager, was unsure whether Com+ would also appear as an integrated element of NT 5.0 or as a separate add-on. The offering is a merger between the Com object model and the Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS), but will come with a new set of additional services.
MTS currently acts as a container for Com services to run in, but also provides infrastructure services of its own such as transaction capabilities, P3 Posix multithreading support and thread pooling to reduce system overheads and improve scaleability.
With Com+, however, the process and administration models of both offerings will be fused to provide a single component model for server rather than client-side development, taking Sun?s Enterprise Java Beans offering head on.
The benefits of this are several. In the past, Microsoft provided the application programming interfaces for developers to write to in order to allow Com objects to access an MTS service, But they had to handwrite the bridging code necessary for this to take place.
Because this will no longer be the case with Com+, the number of APIs programmers have to deal with will be reduced, thus making it ?easier to build, deploy and manage component based applications?, according to Gross, because the level of abstraction is higher.
Programmers will also be able to add attributes or properties such as support for message queuing to their components using point-and-click tools, including the next releases of Microsoft?s Visual J and Visual C products, while Microsoft Message Queue (MSMQ) will be integrated into Com+ as an additional service, ceasing to exist as an independent entity.
Other services include dynamic load balancing and the ability for multiple users to publish and subscribe to one event rather than one-to-one as is now the case.
Com+ objects will be binary compatible with all existing Com and MTS components and can be managed by Com Explorer, a Com snap-in that adds a graphical user interface to the administration process. Users will also receive a software developers kit to enable them to write applications and scripts that deal with administrative tasks.
12 of the 32 stars observed feature rings and gaps that are usually carved by planets in the process of formation
Overhaul to parachuting system and the ability to export clips from replays also coming to PUBG
The experiment is currently underway at South Korea's Yangyang Underground Laboratory
Exoplanet HAT-P-11b is located about 124 light years from Earth