I am concerned about the state of Longhorn, since it has been in development for several years, and there’s been very little to show for it in the WinHEC build. Paul Thurott suspected a “makings of a trainwreck.”
Longhorn has been rebuilt on top of the Windows XP codebase, and there has been a corresponding backporting of WinFS and Avalon to work on XP as well. (I don’t know if backporting is the rightword, since Longhorn is now really Windows XP Plus.) This ostensibly is part of the reason for lackluster builds according to Paul.
The due date for Beta 1 of Longhorn is now, June 30, one month from today. Beta 2 is schedule for sometime from October to December. There’s been mention of the possibility VS-Style community techology previews—already being used for the WinFX SDK—and we may see one at the time of PDC in mid-September.
About 1/3 of the features should be available in Beta 1, which is intended for developers, according to Jim Allchin. So far, Beta 1 RC 1 for WinFX SDK (Avalon + Indigo + Speech) has already shipped—a promising development; however, there has been no leakage on the web on any recent builds, which indicates either a lack of interesting features in the beta to get excited about or, less likely, a strict grip by Microsoft on leaks. There has been rumors about increased excitement and momentum internally on the Longhorn build.
My disappointment was lessened by the keynote demo at WinHEC as well as by new and periodic revelations about Longhorn features, exposed in various blogs, like Filipe Fortes, Avalon PM.
Microsoft really needs to hit it big in PDC this year and in the preceding Beta 1 hand waving is not going to hold back the tongue-lashing this time.
In the PDC site, I have noticed a track on Office. Office usually belongs in TechEd session, so the next version of Office must have a cutting-edge story for developers. The mobility track is nonexistent this time around. IE 7 and ASP.NET have both moved into the presentation track, suggesting each brings new presentation capabilities. IE 7 was initially announced to be focused primarily on security as well as competitive response with regards to CSS support and tab-browsing. ASP.NET is reportedly doing extensive CSS work.
Hopefully, the PDC Bloggers aggregation site will come back alive.