July 21, 2004 .net

Jon Udell Takes The Long View on Longhorn

After weeks of trying research, floating his thoughts on his blog and taking feedback from the blogging community (including several Microsoft folks), Jon Udell has posted an Infoworld article digging into the pillars of Longhorn (Avalon, Indigo and WinFS) and grading them on their implications. He summarizes nicely, I think:

Indigo, by virtue of its developer-friendly simplification of Web services protocols, could propel Microsoft into the forefront of enterprise middleware. Although Longhorn’s use of Indigo will focus on networks of Windows peers, the technology isn’t bound to Longhorn. Expect to see Indigo-powered enterprise service bus’ offerings from Microsoft and partners.”

If WinFS succeeds in delivering improvements in users’ ability to organize and manage local information, enterprises looking to drive productivity up — and support costs down — will want it. The wild card will be the level of support for legacy document formats and emerging XML formats. Benefits that accrue only to new WinFS-aware applications won’t tip the scale.”

Avalon’s TV-like presentation experiences’ clearly favor the home entertainment center over the business desktop. An accelerated convergence of voice, video, and data could alter that equation, and Avalon is designed to help drive that convergence. But enterprises concerned about reach and lock-in will need to carefully evaluate the trade-offs.”

I think that Jon’s nails the tensions involved in Indigo and WinFS, but misses the boat on Avalon, which represents a much-needed overhaul of our aging presentation sub-system and enables a host of applications that we need to visualize and manipulate the ever increasing amount of data with which we deal. Of course, the existing presentation stack will continue to work just fine, but for those applications that need it, Avalon will be a god send. As we progress over the next decade, more and more apps are going to need what Avalon provides.

However, while I don’t agree with every that Jon says, but I do appreciate the thoroughness that went into his opinions. Folks involved in Longhorn, both inside and outside of Microsoft, should take a look.