Monthly Archive: October 2004

InfoPath gives insights into the future

I have always looked upon InfoPath as a example of a product that needs to be part of the infrastructure of the Longhorn platform.  At its simplest it’s a product to render forms defined in XML, allow them to be completed offline, validated, and then submitted them to web services. 


If you think of WinFS as effectively an XML store, which manages sometimes connected interactions with server side data sources (especially web services) then InfoPath type capabilities are a natural part of the WinFS shell.  So I was interested to see this MSDN paper on Submitting forms in InfoPath 2003 because of the potential implications on how Microsoft is thinking about WinFS and Synchronisation and sometimes connected operation.  These new adaptors allow:


  1. Submitting to a Web Service
  2. Submitting to a SharePoint Site
  3. Submitting through E-Mail
  4. Submitting to a Database


These new capabilities are interesting but the ability to complete the form off-line and then, when connected, send it to the server is still way to clunky (but likely to be a key area the Longhorn team will need to make slick).  


I was also disappointed that they did not include submitting via email …

Help me understand how Microsoft might respond to Linux!

I have been asking myself the following question:


If Linux begins to capture significant desktop market share what options are open to Microsoft? 


In this article I have listed my initial ideas, and it would be great to get some feedback on the technical feasibility (some of them maybe plain crazy) and political acceptability of the options within Microsoft.  It might also be interesting to get feedback on how the Open Source and business communities might respond.


Here is my headline list, with each option described in more detail later:


  • “bet the company” on strategies to retain the consumer market
  • Make Windows a better host for Linux applications
  • Make Windows a better server for Linux Desktops
  • Make Linux a better host for Windows Applications
  • Make .NET the most attractive Linux Development Platform
  • Make Windows a better client to Linux Servers
  • Make Windows appeal to Open Source developers
  • Win the TCO and Security debate
  • Reduce the cost of Windows and Office


Retain the consumer market


  1. I have already blogged on this here

Make Windows a better host for Linux applications


  1. Purchase an existing X Server product to integrate into Windows Services For Unix…

My research interests

A colleague of mine recently asked me what my IT research interests are.  It got me thinking; I am interested in lots of things, but only a few that I am prepared to put serious time and effort into.  Here they are: Personal Knowledge Management Team communication, collaboration and co-ordination,...

Collaborative editing

Michael; who writes the Shared Spaces blog has recently written about the challenges of collaborative editing of documents/presentations.  The problems not too difficult to solve within an business (Net Meeting etc) but solving the problem between businesses (through two sets of firewalls) in a secure fashion is another problem altogether.  Its even more difficult if like me you want to do it on an ad-hoc basis, during a telephone or IM conversation, rather than using a multi-user conferencing system like Lotus Same-time, Oracle Collaboration Server or MS Live Meeting.

These are the options that Michael came up with, as these all cost loads of money, require a client installation and lots of coordination between collaborators they don’t fulfil my ad-hoc need, any other areas would be welcome:

  • Groove Virtual Office Professional 3.0. Staff put the document to be shared into a Groove Document Review shared space. Internal and external participants are invited. Using the “Co-Edit” function of Groove, one person in turn can have edit rights of the document, and once they save their changes, everyone in the co-edit session gets to see the changes immediately. It’s not true real-time co-editing, but it’s extremely close … and it definitely …

How do you blog?

This is a great series of articles on different blogging styles, it includes hints and tips on when to use each one and how to use it to best effect.  Well worth a read even if you don’t blog, as some of the insights are useful for any type of...