Windows Orchestration Engine To Come, Or WOE Is Us


Microsoft's planned Windows Orchestration Engine may be upon us sooner than expected.

Word is that the semi-secret subsystem, which was to be a Longhorn deliverable, is being pulled forward, as reported by CRN on Wednesday.

Microsoft insiders and their close personal friends refer to this piece of the puzzle as WinOE, probably to avoid the more lugubrious “WOE.” Insert your own jokes here.

When CRN first reported on WinOE/WOE last May it was being touted inside at Microsoft as the BizTalk group&'s contribution to Longhorn. Now, not so much.

The current thinking is that WinOE will appear in some form in time for Office 12.

Ostensibly that will be in 2006. That would mean by that time we&'ll all be talking about WinOE-enabled Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Oy. The most likely interim route is for the orchestration plumbing bits to ship first as some sort of Windows .Net framework later this year and then Visual Studio 2005, or Whidbey.

Oh yes, the BizTalk team doesn&'t have to completely freak. First of all, they&'re driving this work and second, there will be a BizTalk 2006, code-named Pathfinder.

In the early part of this century—sounds weird doesn&'t it?— Microsoft said its fantastical new Longhorn version of Windows would incorporate a new presentation layer, communications subsystem, state of the art file system. Well, for the past year, Microsoft has scrambled to re-conceptualize (i.e. change) that vision.

As Longhorn threatened to slip into the next decade, some piece parts (Avalon and Indigo, I think, but who&'s counting?), are being pulled forward to run with current Windows OSes. While another—probably the most important subsystem—the still-elusive WinFS file system appears to have disappeared over the horizon.

But if you&'re a betting person, don&'t necessarily make book on that. As we should all know by now, this is awfully fluid stuff.