Unify, Organize, Explore, and Innovate. Oh my! (Part 4)


…and then there was “Innovate”. We’ll close this series of posts by discussing how the WinFS relational platform provides powerful, next generation tools to the application developer.


WinFS is built on a true relational store that all applications can leverage. Today, tons of popular apps lock their data into proprietary stores. This includes photo apps like Photoshop album, music apps like WMP and iTunes, financial apps like Quicken and Money, email apps like Outlook, and so on. By using WinFS, developers can concentrate on building rich applications without worrying about creating a storage silo. After all, WinFS can give applications a place for all their structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data.


In addition, WinFS will provide services like synchronization, notifications, rules, and backup/restore. The services provided by WinFS lead to a zero-admin and extremely reliable experience.


All the data in the store is accessible as CLR objects, so developer can leverage all their Visual Studio and .NET knowledge while building apps. Developers can also utilize our full query engine over their data and transport their data with our robust serialization support. This is a significant improvement over today’s cumbersome interaction with multiple forms and multiple locations of data.


So we’ve covered Unify, Organize, Explore, and now Innovate. Hopefully you have a better understanding of where you can go once you combine a traditional file system and traditional database.


As always, please post any questions or comments.


Author: Vijay Bangaru

Comments (7)

  1. Chris Hemmings says:

    Hi, this is my first posting on any of these dev blogs. I must say that I am very psyched for WinFS. The concept is so simple yet so complex at the same time.

    While it’s good to have a common ‘silo’ that all apps can easily use, it’s seems a bit risky also. Wouldn’t some rogue app/spyware have an easier time getting to that financial Quicken/Money data? Likewise, would such types of apps have an easier time getting to the contact information now? Pardon me, if I missed it 🙂 but I haven’t seen any mention of protections. If there are such protections in place (or user-configurable) then great!

    Keep up the awesome work; I am really looking forward to be able to play with this stuff with VStudio.

  2. Julien Collot says:

    I believe (although I have no clue as to how this is implemented by the WinFS developers) that it will be similar as to how this kind of separation is resolved in common relational databases, i.e. users/processes will have access to certain stores in the WinFS silo, and some users/processes could have more privileges than others…

  3. Kazi says:

    May I have a question, not so related to this post? Thanks 🙂

    I would like to know, is there any plan to release a new WinFS CTP which runs on top of the .Net 2.0 RTM. It would be the best, if the answer is a separate post. Thanks in advance.

  4. Eric says:

    There is a risk with making data more easily accesible. Outlook exposes contact lists to scripting language, for example. THis is a powerful aid to corporations ond developers, but it was too easy for malicious people to exploit via email; so they added a confirmation dialog and did a ton of work in improving the access security story in subsequent releases.

    WinFS is working with teams like Outlook to ensure that these important considerations are reflected in the design.

    Money/Quicken would probably not be a good app to build on WinFS yet. Typically the whole file would be encrypted, and you wouldn’t want to share the raw information with other apps. This doesn’t mean that Money couldn’t use WinFS to keep address information for contacts, or associate secret information with WinFS items, or provide easy data interchange via WinFS. It’s important to keep in mind that there are degrees of sharing.

    Windows security is based more around user permissions and ACLs, and WinFS has strong support for these standard security mechanisms.

  5. Vijay Bangaru says:

    >> Money/Quicken would probably not be a good app to build on WinFS yet.

    This isn’t quite true. 🙂 I’ll work on a post after the holidays that will elaborate more on the security model.