Microsoft has revealed further details of its next-generation web services technology, codenamed Indigo.
The next milestone is a community technology preview due in March which will allow developers to test, experiment and give feedback on the software before a beta release, the company said.
Indigo will be available in Longhorn, the next version of the Windows client operating system, as well as for Windows XP and Server 2003.
Applications built using Indigo can exchange data with other applications, independent of the underlying platform and with a greater level of security and reliability, Microsoft claimed.
The offering is also designed to cut the amount of code developers will need to write to create web services.
Eric Rudder, senior vice president of servers and tools at Microsoft, said that Indigo is a "unified programming model for building these secure, reliable, service-oriented transactions".
He added that companies are moving away from systems that were expected to last for years to "systems that are much more agile, much more adaptable, and built for change".
"I think the types of development we do now are much more incremental," said Rudder. "I think the web has changed that, and got us to ship on a more frequent cycle. People need to roll out new chunks of things without breaking old chunks of things."
Indigo will be delivered as an extension of the .Net Framework 2.0, so that Visual Studio developers will be able to build more-secure and interoperable web services using programming languages such as Visual Basic .Net and Visual C#.
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