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New build brings enhancements to UAP and WinFS gets the boot

In its continuing efforts to improve its next generation operating system, Microsoft has released another interim build of Windows Vista to testers. Build 5456 is a rather large jump from Windows Vista Beta 2 (Build 5384.4) and offers a number of improvements which are sure to be welcomed by users. NeoSmart Blog reports:

Some of the new features include a revamped Aero/DWM subsystem, and a completely overhauled and significantly less obtrusive UAP for all those that couldn’t stand the previous one. From what we have been told by Microsoft, the Time Zone bug that plagued all most all previous builds of Windows Vista has been fixed and works great now, and quite a few fixes in the Regional Settings and IME are now implemented. And for the first time since Windows 3.0 Microsoft has finally announced that new mouse cursors will be made available for Windows - something they promised to do in XP with “Watercolors” but failed to deliver for internal reasons!

Of all of the improvements made to this build, the less intrusive User Access Protection (UAP) has to be on the biggest pluses. Vista's UAP scheme has been catching a lot of flak and Microsoft has seen it fit to gradually make the system less and less obnoxious.

Vista beta testers can download the new build immediately from the Windows Connect website. The rest of you folks will just have to wait until Microsoft releases another public build.

In other Vista news comes word that Microsoft has decided to drop its plans to offer Windows Future Storage (WinFS) as a future update to the operating system -- WinFS Beta 2 has been also cancelled. WinFS was the name for the new file system that was supposed to debut with the shipping version of Windows Vista. Over the course of Vista's long gestation period, WinFS was dropped from the feature count then later brought back to life when it was announced that the file system would be available at a later date as a system upgrade for Vista.

WinFS, which is based on Microsoft SQL Server technology, was supposed to do away with traditional file/folder hierarchy. From Betanews:

For example, no longer would documents need to be stored in My Documents or images in My Pictures; instead, Windows would simply display the files associated with a particular request on demand. In addition, WinFS could store structured data such as contacts, calendars and more.

As for the future of WinFS and other Windows technologies, lead programmer Quentin Clark goes on to air out his thoughts on his blog:

Of course, there are other aspects of the WinFS vision that we are continuing to incubate – areas not quite as mature as the work we are now targeting for Katmai and ADO.NET.   Since WinFS is no longer being delivered as a standalone software component, people will wonder what that means with respect to the Windows platform.  Just as Vista pushed forward on many aspects of the search and organize themes of the Longhorn WinFS effort, Windows will continue to adopt work as it's ready.  We will continue working the innovations, and as things mature they will find their way into the right product experiences – Windows and otherwise.  Having so much ready for SQL Server and ADO.NET is a big impact on the platform, and more will come.

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WinFS thoughts....
By ncage on 6/26/2006 12:20:25 PM , Rating: 2
I have been following WinFS from the start. I have used Beta 1 in VS 2005 and did some code off of it. It was pretty damm cool. Its a shame they are getting ride of it. I read the blog and the author pretty much seems to be alluding to they just couldn't get it right or they had to many problems implementing it. He states that they will integrate some of what they learned into the next version of sql server which i find hard to believe since thing about what winFS does and think about what sql server does. They are really totally seperate. Then he goes on to say it will be into next version of visual studio (orcas) with the next revision of ADO.Net which i find kind of hard to believe too. So only programs coded with visual studio .net will be able to use WinFS features? So i think what we are saying is they really couldn't get it working 100% and they are scraping the project. They don't want to spend no more time or money on it.


RE: WinFS thoughts....
By TomZ on 6/26/2006 12:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, and I think the argument of putting the capability into SQL Server is kind of bogus. I would like to see SQL Server still as a server-side application, and if I want some light object relational capabilities in my client-side application, I'd prefer that the OS have that built-in rather than having to deploy an SQL Server runtime that loads on my customer's workstation.

RE: WinFS thoughts....
By Phynaz on 6/26/2006 1:57:37 PM , Rating: 2
He states that they will integrate some of what they learned into the next version of sql server which i find hard to believe since thing about what winFS does and think about what sql server does

They're both databases, therefore they do the same thing. WinFS was supposed to turn the file system into a SQL Server database.

RE: WinFS thoughts....
By ncage on 6/26/2006 10:49:52 PM , Rating: 2
Well yes they are both databases but WinFS was just basically using the SQL Server engine to store all kinds of information about files and pretty much index them. So what use do you think this has for sql server? Index the log file? Index your data file. Probably not so i can't see a correlation here.

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