Taking a tentative step forward in its component development and deployment strategy, Microsoft is releasing a beta of Visual Studio 6.0 at its TechEd user conference in New Orleans this week. However, missing from the tool suite will be support for COM+, the much-anticipated upgrade of Component Object Model.
During a keynote address to the delegates, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's executive vice president of sales and support, is expected to discuss the company's partnerships with developers that will pave the way for interoperability between COM+, Unix systems and the multivendor Corba (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) standard.
Ballmer and other company executives will also outline ongoing work being done to integrate COM with MTS (Microsoft Transaction Server), which will create a series of transaction services, such as event queuing, security and load balancing, that will embody COM+.
Among at least three partners to be introduced, toolmaker Iona plans to announce native support between its Orbix object transaction monitor and MTS. Orbix would provide the bridge between COM components on MTS and Corba components deployed on a Unix machine.
Other major tool vendors that have announced plans to support COM+ include Inprise (formerly Borland) and Sybase.
Inprise will support COM+ in Delphi and C++ Builder, and it will be included in the next upgrade of Delphi, Version 4,which will also feature better MTS support.
"We are going to radically simplify how developers can build MTS applications, both on the server and the client," said Ben Riga, Delphi product manager at Inprise.
Developers will not get any COM+ work done at all until Microsoft ships a fully realised version within Windows NT 5.0 and an additional upgrade of Visual Studio, but neither are due before the end of the year.
Microsoft had promised a COM+ beta would be ready this summer. Further delays could increase the threat posed by the Enterprise JavaBeans and Corba architectures.
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