Feeds

Microsoft wriggles on Volta concerns

No Google clone

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

As the mad scientists in Microsoft's Live Labs threw the switch on an experimental developer toolset this week the company was already getting flack for copying somebody else - Google.

The technology preview of Volta, now available for tire kicking here, is designed to let developers build multitier web applications by applying familiar techniques and patterns from .NET application development.

Using Volta, developers design and build applications first as .NET client applications - historically, web applications begin life as server-side applications. Once the client application is developed, declarative statements assign classes and methods to run parts of the application on the server, and other parts on the client.

This declarative tier-splitting capability makes it possible to postpone irreversible architectural decisions about distribution until the last possible moment, according to group product manager for Microsoft Live Labs Alex Daley.

Volta uses MSIL to MSIL in post-compilation steps to split the code. MISL (Microsoft Intermediate Language) is used to compile applications written in .NET languages. "Instead of writing, say, JavaScript on the client, ASP.NET on the server, and writing all the required communication bindings, we automate the creation of all of that," Daley said.

In effect, Volta also extends the .NET platform to further enable the development of Microsoft’s “software plus services” idea using existing and familiar tools and techniques, Daley added.

Unveiled as a technology preview this week the forums began filling up in one day, and participants were reporting that they had built entire applications with the toolset. "One day - you can't ask for more than that," Daley commented.

Early interest in the tech preview also generated some initial criticism. A common complaint: Volta is a clone of the Google Web Toolkit (GWT). The GWT is an open-source Java development framework that compiles Java source code into JavaScript. Like the GWT, Volta provides a subset of the standard class library for code running on the client. But the differences between the two toolsets, according to Microsoft architect Erik Meijer, are striking.

"The GWT toolkit allows you to write your code in Java and run it in JavaScript," Meijer told The Register. "That's a one-to-one model. But Volta gives you a many-to-many solution. You can write the code in many languages and target many different execution engines."

Developers using Volta can use C#, Visual Basic, IronPython, and other .NET languages that utilize the framework's libraries and tools.

Also, the declarative tier splitting and automatic refactoring capabilities of Volta eliminate much of the manual labor that is still required by the GWT to create multitier applications, Meijer added. And because Volta leverages a common intermediate language, it supports end-to-end profiling.

Another concern: Volta doesn't work with Visual Studio 2005 - it requires Visual Studio 2008 that slipped out to MSDN subscribers last month.

Microsoft Live Labs is an applied research group within Microsoft, part of Ray Ozzie's organization. The Lab is dedicated specifically to advancing the state of the art of Internet-related technologies.

Volta is the result of a collaboration of product teams across Microsoft, Daley said. "This is one of those collaborations where we felt that there was huge potential to change the way developers think about building distributed applications," he said.®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really
Windows NEIN skipped, tech preview due out on Wednesday
Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9
Forget touchscreen millennials, Microsoft goes for mouse crowd
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
Lotus Notes inventor Ozzie invents app to talk to people on your phone
Imagine that. Startup floats with voice collab app for Win iPhone
'Google is NOT the gatekeeper to the web, as some claim'
Plus: 'Pretty sure iOS 8.0.2 will just turn the iPhone into a fax machine'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.