IMHO, in order to appreciate the potential importance of WinFS, I believe you have to look further than what you see on your desktop today.
Ray Ozzie's blog, November 2003.
There was plenty of reason to believe that Ray Ozzie would be very interested in the success of WinFS. Ray and WinFS were, as I told JonVon, "a natural fit". Read the article on Ray's old blog to see just how pervasive WinFS was in Ray's vsion of the future. Now, WinFS is dead.
We are not pursuing a separate delivery of WinFS, including the previously planned Beta 2 release.
WinFS Team Blog
Pieces of WinFS will be salvaged and used in some MS products, but the grand vision, the platform that would, in Ray's words "deconstruct and refactor our concepts of traditional client-side applications into a mesh of separately-built application components that "meet" at the level of common persistent objects and relationships." is dead, dead, dead.
I just ran across this, published just days before WinFS's demise:
when he (Ray) sees an opening for something that will advance his vision, he acts, regardless and in fact because of the obstacles he faces in getting there. When he saw the need for harnessing XML as the data store for the network architecture, he and his Groove cofounders reluctantly but persistently rolled their own. Not knowing the details of the Groove/Office integration plans, I would bet that that infrastructure is now largely abandoned, replaced by the WinFX fundamentals Ray praised so highly when Longhorn first surfaced and had not a little impact in guiding with his Groove precepts.
I don't normally read Gillmor, but I'll be very interested to know how he follows up on this.
I have to wonder... given Ray's ascendance in Microsoft, his obvious interest in WinFS as a strategic pillar, and his unmatched credentials as the original archtiect of the hugely successful Notes Storage Facility which has capabilities Microsoft has been wanting to put in the filesystem for 15 years... did Ray Ozzie put the kabosh on WinFS? Did he try to get involved, only to find that it was too far gone to be saved? Did he discover that rather than building WinFS to be "NSF done right", Microsoft just had it all wrong? Or does he have a team (possibly his Groove team) working on something better, perhaps something more revoloutionary... and perhaps something fundamentally incompatible with WinFS... that is now looking more promising on its own?
1. Dan Sickles06/26/2006 12:37:46 AM
With Exchange over SQL Server still not on the radar, it would have been an embarrasment to not leveage WinFS for EMail and other PIM content as described in Ray's '03 post. He probably had high expectations for where WinFS would be three years later.
2. Ian Randall07/11/2006 10:23:28 PM
Given the death of WinFS and your previous posts about supporting native XML within NSF and making it open to direct manipulation by end users and developers without needing to use the Notes API raises two questions for me:
1) Does Lotus now have a good opportunity to position an "open NSF" as a replacement for WinFS (if they make it as open as WinFS promised to be)?
2) Is there also not as strong a case for supporting ODF natively within NSF and making it "Open" in the same way?
In fact if an "Open NSF" supported both native XML AND ODF with a truly open interface (since ODF is an XML extension anyway), would this not make an "Open NSF" better than WinFS.
3. Richard Schwartz07/12/2006 12:14:42 AM
@2 Interesting thoughts, Ian. I think IBM would be hard pressed to get enough people to buy in, particularly given the knee-jerk anti-Notes reaction that so many people out there have. But the possibilities this would open up are really very interesting.