Microsoft Divvies Up MBF Features, Team

Microsoft Business Framework

The latest wrinkle is that the team responsible for MBF has been split in half, with one group returning to Microsoft Business Solutions and the other remaining with the company's Platform and Tools unit.

As the company has said, some of MBF's promised features and functions will now ship with the upcoming Visual Studio 2005, some will surface in LINQ.

Others will go into the Windows workflow underpinnings of the Office 12 wave, and still others will flow into the next "Orcas" edition of Visual Studio, a company executive said Wednesday.

LINQ, or the Language Integrated Query Project, is a set of extensions to C# and Visual Basic languages that extend the .NET Framework by integrating query capabilities for objects, databases and XML data. Microsoft announced the effort last month at its Professional Developers Conference.

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To reflect that parsing out, Microsoft reorganized the MBF group, redeploying about half its members, including Darren Laybourn, back over to the Microsoft Business Solutions group to work on the Dynamics ERP product foundations. The rest will stay with the Platform& Tools group where they have resided for the past two years, said Satya Nadella, corporate vice president, of Microsoft Business Solutions.

That represents something of a full circle for Laybourn, who started out at the independent Great Plains, remained with the company after Microsoft bought it, moved to Redmond, Wash., and became part of the overall platform and tools effort two years ago.

Probably the first actual deliverables emanating from MBF will be in Visual Studio 2005, due to launch officially November 7. "Some bits, specifically the entity modeling pieces called Whitehorse were heavily influenced by MBF and are going into Visual Studio 2005," he noted.

Still other bits and pieces of "MBF" will surface in the next wave of MBS products, especially on the client side, Nadella said.

"One of the big things for the Dynamics releases is roles-based clients and MBF plays a role there," he said. He said the rollout timeframe for Dynamics GP (Great Plains), Dynamics NAV (Navision), Dynamics AX (Axapta) and Dynamics SL (Solomon) are unaffected by this organizational shift.

He characterized the redeployment and parsing of capabilities and personnel to the natural ebb and flow that comes with software development.

One of the big benefits MBF work will provide will be seen with the Office 12 wave of products starting next year.

That wave will include not just the standard SharePoint Portal Server and other servers, where workflow basis will converge around Windows Workflow Services, once known as or Windows Workflow Foundation and as WinOE.

Integrators and partners have complained that Microsoft's current product lineup from BizTalk to Content Management Server, to Sharepoint, to the various business apps, all have their own quirky and different workflow engines. The goal here is to rationalize that.