The key developments in Platinum center around its recently announced Web Store. The store can contain documents and objects that previously were stored on file, messaging and intranet Web servers.
The centralized storage of the objects is intended to create a development platform for collaborative applications. Microsoft's FrontPage and Visual InterDev will be the tools of choice, according to Kevin Breunig, group product manager in the applications and tools group. "A key goal with Exchange is to make it more collaborative so you can build collaborative applications on top of it," he saays.
A set of tools for Office Developer -- code-named Grizzly -- allows workflows to be devised that use Platinum and SQL Server, the two core storage repositories for Microsoft's knowledge management framework.
Grizzly is expected to be available the second half of this year.
The revamped Exchange is very similar to what Lotus has done with Notes in creating a centralized store of data that is available to application developers.
"Notes is aware of objects stored within it and can use many applications to read those objects," says Tim Sloane, a research director at Aberdeen Group. "Microsoft understands that capability, and the Web Store is part of that realization."
On top of all that, Microsoft is developing a set of server-side services called Tahoe that will allow for basic document management features including check in/check out, versioning and search capabilities. Tahoe has yet to enter beta-testing.
Russ Stockdale, director of server applications, says the point of the new features is to "make Exchange the back-end home for communication devices." Key applications include Office, e-mail, voice mail or fax.