Microsoft outfits Exchange with .Net, updates MIS

Microsoft Corp. released a tool kit Monday that enables users of Exchange 2000 server software to build and access Web services as the company continues to further integrate its .Net initiative into its product line.

The Exchange 2000 Server Developer Enablement Kit, which is used with Microsoft’s e-mail and collaboration server software, will allow developers to create Web services in XML (Extensible Markup Language). An early example of these Internet-based services included in the tool kit is an application for automatically searching a user’s Exchange calendar for scheduling purposes.

The software was distributed to as many as 5,000 attendees at the Microsoft Exchange Conference, which began Monday in Orlando. The two-CD set includes the Exchange Software Development Kit, sample Exchange-based XML Web services, white papers on how to develop XML Web services and a code-centered training guide, Microsoft said.

The tools will be available to customers internationally from its Exchange Web site at Microsoft is charging for shipping and handling. The company said Monday it has sold more than 94 million seat licenses of its Exchange server.

The Redmond, Wash., software maker is building its entire line of software and tool products to support XML and other Web services standards, all part of its plan to build a Web-based platform for delivering software and services. Microsoft has sped the migration to the Web-services platform by releasing tool kits for certain versions of its software that have yet to be released with XML support.

Microsoft’s application development environment, Visual Studio.Net, will be released in its final version with support for building XML Web-services. Before that tool kit was first unveiled in a beta version, Microsoft had created an add-on for Visual Studio 6 that enabled users to begin toying with .Net services.

Windows .Net, the enterprise server software that will be the successor to Windows 2000, will also include Web services support when it is released early next year. That operating system is the server version of Windows XP, the desktop operating system due for widespread release Oct. 25. Microsoft has said it will release Windows.Net within six months of Windows XP.

In related news, Microsoft announced details Monday of the latest beta version of its server software that allows users to access data from Exchange 2000 on mobile devices, called Mobile Information Server 2002 (MIS 2002) Enterprise Edition.

Using Microsoft’s soon-to-be-released Pocket PC 2002 software, Microsoft said MIS 2002 will allow users to wirelessly synchronize handheld devices with data stored on Exchange 2000. Pocket PC 2002, Microsoft’s operating system for handhelds, is scheduled for release with hardware partners Thursday in San Francisco.

The new mobile server includes enhanced security, additional phone support, new administration tools, improved performance, new language support and an updated software development kit, the company said. Microsoft officially released the predecessor to MIS 2002, Mobile Information 2001 Server, in June. It was first announced in September of last year.

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