Microsoft has given more details of its Next Generation Windows Services (NGWS) project which will attempt to make its applications more suitable for use in an internet world.
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive, said on Tuesday that NGWS will bring about a "revolutionary change to the user interface" of the Windows family of operating systems and result in extensions to the current development model.
The project will also lead to an XML schema for objects and a file system that is built from the ground up to store XML files and objects.
Details of the project emerged last month when Microsoft chairman Bill Gates stepped down as chief executive and announced plans to head the company's software development group, which would announce a new set of hosted products and services, codenamed NGWS, this Spring.
"We're looking at what to do with Windows and the rest of our platforms to address the internet," said Ballmer. "We expect to change many aspects of the operating systems under a project codenamed NGWS, and we'll host and build some NTWS services on the internet."
Ballmer, who was speaking at the Vbits Visual Basic Insiders' Technical Summit in San Francisco, said Microsoft's Visual Studio 7 development tool suite is the "next major step down the path because it helps introduce the next-generation programming model on PCs, servers and low-end devices".
He also claimed that the tool would address many of the functionality issues that developers have been asking for and enable them to create internet-ready applications as well as more traditional client server ones.
The product, which is scheduled to ship at the end of the year, will include Visual Basic (VB) controls that can be hosted and run by third parties on the internet. However, Ballmer said he expects third-party library developers to add other services.
The upgrade also has new forms technology built in so that programmers can build VB Forms and put them on the web, and it incorporates a tool to enable them to parse any browser from any Visual Studio application, including those written in VB.
Enhancements to VB, which is one of the development languages in the Visual Studio tools bundle, include better scalability and the ability to undertake true object inheritance for the first time.
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