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Old 13th September, 2005, 05:10 PM
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Microsoft expand vista testing...

Microsoft on Tuesday outlined plans to expand its test version of Windows Vista, the next version of its flagship operating system.

The company is launching a "community technology preview" program for Vista, offering interim updates of the operating system in between its official beta releases. Microsoft has increasingly been using such previews as a way to offer more frequent test builds to developers.

The first of the technology preview releases of Vista is being handed out to developers attending Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference here this week.

The company released Beta 1 of Vista in July. The final version of Vista, which has also been known by its Longhorn code name, is due out in the second half of next year.

Microsoft is also set to offer developers a deeper look at the company's plans for the next version of Office, code-named Office 12. In May, Microsoft outlined the broad areas it hopes to address with the new version of Office.

Office 12 is also slated for release in the second half of next year. The first test version is expected this fall.

In a keynote speech Tuesday, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is expected to offer more details, including a preview of several new features of Office, including a new "live preview" feature that will show how formatting changes will appear before they are actually selected.

The new Office will also feature a much broader array of server capabilities, some of which Microsoft will show this week. However, the company is not expected to detail how those server products will be packaged and sold.

Microsoft also plans to try to change the user interface of the Office suite so that it appears less like a static collection of menus and, instead, offers choices better suited to the task a person is performing.

The technology preview of Vista, which includes a number of features not included in Beta 1, will be made available to a number of selected beta testers as well as members of Microsoft's MSDN and TechNet developer programs.

Microsoft is also launching the Windows Vista Partner Showcase Program, which Microsoft billed as a $100 million co-marketing program to highlight third-party software built for the new Windows.

In addition to building better graphics into Vista, Microsoft also announced a project called Windows Presentation Foundation "Everywhere" designed to bring a modest set of those abilities to older versions of Windows as well as to mobile and other devices.

The company is also set to unveil several other technologies including Atlas, the code name for its new framework for building Web-based applications, and the Language Integrated Query (LINQ) project for making it simpler for developers to access data within the .Net framework.

Souce: www.zdnet.com
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