Microsoft's new Windows File Systems (WinFS) promises to blur the border between files and data items. WinFS is currently in beta.
The fact that your computer puts an email message in a database inside Outlook shouldn't limit what you can do with that message, but it currently does.
Within the constraints of Outlook (and even more so in Entourage, the Outlook equivalent for Mac OS X) users can already link messages with calendar appointments and "to do" items. But why not add mp3, digital pictures and locations to the mix?
In a presentation at Professional Developer Conference in Los Angeles, Microsoft showed off some of the technology's capabilities. Click here to watch a promotional video (6.7 Mb .wmv file) that Microsoft showed to attendees in a session, explaining the technology.
Two examples of what WinFS can do (click the image for a larger, although somewhat blurry version):
File Store: think of this one as a data management and query building tool. File Store is shipping with the current beta of WinFS and allows the user to see all items. The queries build here are accessible for all applications.
Life Journal: an application that puts data on a chronologic timeline. The yellow bar represents the owners bike riding events, other bars show work related, home improvement and other projects. It links calendar appointments, journal entries and pictures as well as other data related to this project. The system automatically organises the data and the user can further fine tune it.
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