The software, called the Microsoft Business Framework, is intended to make it easier for developers to write business applications by moving some of the base-level code they write out of the application and into the Windows environment. The goal, Microsoft officials say, is to reduce the amount of plumbing developers deal with every time an application gets written or revised.
Last year, Microsoft said it would ship the Business Framework in two phases. A base programming model consisting of "entities," "operations," and "entity cubes"-"used for commands such as defining just what a customer is, or telling an application which database to access--was to be included in Visual Studio 2005, with a more-complete environment planned for a later release of Visual Studio.
Now, the two-phase approach has been scrapped in favor of introducing the entire Business Framework in the Longhorn time frame, though Microsoft continues to be vague on just when that will be. As part of the plan, Longhorn will include a metadata repository and other applications services that work with applications written to the Business Framework.
Microsoft officials say the Business Framework will be used by corporate developers, independent software vendors, and developers in its own Microsoft Business Solutions division. Microsoft Business Solutions currently sells four different applications suites. Under a long-term plan called Project Green, Microsoft plans to write a new set of business applications to eventually replace Business Solutions' existing suites, though it will continue to support them through 2013. The Business Framework will be the target development environment for the Green applications.