June 24, 2006
@ 04:57 PM

Quentin Clark has a blog post entitled WinFS Update where he writes

There are many great technical innovations the WinFS project has created – innovations that go beyond just the WinFS vision but are part of a broader Data Platform Vision the company is pursuing.  The most visible example of this today is the work we are now doing in the next version of ADO.NET for Orcas.  The Entities features we are now building in ADO.NET started as things we were building for the WinFS API.  We got far enough along and were pushed on the general applicability of the work that we made the choice to not have it be just about WinFS but make it more general purpose (as an aside – this stuff is really coming together – super cool). 

Other technical work in the WinFS project is at a similar point – specifically the integration of unstructured data into the relational database, and automation innovations that make the database "just work" with no DBAs – "richer store" work.  It's these storage innovations that have matured to the point where we are ready to start working on including them in our broader database product.  We are choosing now to take the unstructured data support and auto-admin work and deliver it in the next release of MS SQL Server, codenamed Katmai.  This really is a big deal – productizing these innovations into the mainline data products makes a big contribution toward the Data Platform Vision we have been talking about.  Doing this also gives us the right data platform for further innovations. 

These changes do mean that we are not pursuing a separate delivery of WinFS, including the previously planned Beta 2 release.  With most of our effort now working towards productizing mature aspects of the WinFS project into SQL and ADO.NET, we do not need to deliver a separate WinFS offering. 

So that's it, no more WinFS. This is the right decision, albeit two years too late but better late than never. It's sad to think about the projects that got killed or disrupted because of WinFS only for this to happen. In a recent column entitled Taking One for the Team Robert X. Cringley has a quote from Management By Baseball by Jeff Angus which reads "When I worked for a few years at Microsoft Corporation in the early '80s,...no one cared to track and codify past failures as a way to help managers create guidelines of paths to follow and avoid". I hope this doesn't end up happening with the lessons from the WinFS project.


Categories: Technology
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