Preview Whistler technologies on the SuperSite!

I've added two massive technology showcases to the SuperSite for Windows, which reveal some of the features planned for Whistler, the next version of Windows 2000. First up is "Fusion," a solution that Microsoft hopes will end DLL hell, a problem that's been dogging Windows for over a decade. And in my Activity Centers preview, I take a look at Microsoft's first stab at a iterative user interface, where newbies and inexperienced users can quickly complete common tasks without having to navigate through a cascading Start menu to find the right tool for the job.

Microsoft's "Fusion" technology, which is embodied by the mantra "run once, run forever," is designed to transparently force applications to run within an isolated environment, so that the OS and other applications will be protected. Fusion technologies such as side-by-side DLLs and Windows File Protection (WFP) debuted in Windows 98 and Windows 2000 respectively. But Visual Studio 7, due in early 2001, and Whistler, due in April 2001, will usher in next generation versions of the technology, which should finally end the biggest stability bugaboo in Windows. Find out more in this exhaustive showcase.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's Activity Centers have undergone some major changes since their inception as a component of Windows Me, which only ships with a subset of these new user interface elements. Activity Centers facilitate a task-based approach to personal computing using a combination of HTML and the traditional Win32-style user interface. And though it's unclear what Activity Centers will ship with Whistler--the user interface is currently a moving target--it's obvious that this technology is here to stay, though it may change somewhat in the coming months. In this showcase, I take a look at the design methodology behind Activity Centers and explain why you may be using this technology right now, though you don't realize it yet.

In the coming weeks, I'll be posting a lot of content to the SuperSite from Teach Yourself Windows 2000 Server, a book I co-authored for IDG last fall. This title may never be published traditionally because of a cascading series of problems during the editing process, but the writing was completed some time ago and I've gotten permission to electronically publish it on the SuperSite regardless. I'll begin this week at the beginning, so to speak, with an introduction to the Windows 2000 Server family. Stay tuned for more installments.

--Pau

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