Microsoft Boston due March 19

According to Information Week, Microsoft's integrated Internet and software development suite, code-named Boston, will be released on March 19 at the worldwide Developer Days event. The goal of Boston is to integrate all of its components into one environment, but the product falls short since Visual Basic, a major Boston component, has its own IDE. Information Week reports that the Visual Basic 6.0 launch, due in 1998, will introduce a "common programming shell that will incorporate several languages as snap- in components. That way, multiple languages can be used to develop a single application." But sources say Boston will be short-lived. "The new plan is to integrate everything into the VB shell," says a source briefed last week on Microsoft's plan. "The VB environment is ActiveX-based; the forms, the controls, everything. They want to make everything ActiveX-based." Moving to VB's ActiveX-based architecture lets Microsoft market a common forms engine and lets third-party vendors integrate with and extend the workbench. It also will let Microsoft componentize its languages and provide them as plug-in modules, called Active Designers, that can be used within a single application. Microsoft has no comment about future programming tools but Microsoft's Jon Roskill, director of marketing for VB, mentions that the company "hope\[s\] to unify the look and feel and even go beyond that, into the editors and debuggers of our tools.

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