Bill Gates: Designing Interoperable Software
by Arie Slob
Hello Windows users,
This week Microsoft's Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates wrote an email in the series Executive E-mail, pledging that Microsoft will do more to make software interoperable by design.
According to Gates, Microsoft has been working with others in the industry to advance a new generation of software that is interoperable by design, reducing the need for custom development and tedious testing and certification processes.
At the heart of this new approach is the use of XML (Extensible Markup Language), which makes information self-describing - and thus more easily understood by different systems.
Gates also touted Microsoft's track record by pointing out that they participate in many formal and informal industry standards organizations to help define the specifications that are a prerequisite for interoperability. Gates also pointed out that Microsoft collaborates and share technology with a wide array of industry participants, even when some of these are direct competitors, to deliver interoperability solutions that work well with Microsoft's products.
A good example of interoperability can be found in Microsoft's Office System set of products. Office documents, spreadsheets and forms can be saved in XML file format. By supporting data in XML, customers can easily use their data in familiar Office applications, and information created within Office can be easily used by other business applications.
Microsoft is working with dozens of other companies in the industry including IBM, Sun, Oracle and BEA on the development of XML-based architecture for Web services, known as WS-* ("WS-Star"). This standard set of protocols promises to significantly reduce the cost and complexity of connecting disparate systems, and enabling interoperability on a global scale.
Microsoft also launched a new Web site: Microsoft Interoperability, that provides more details on the interoperability capabilities of their software.
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