(as posted by Brandon on the Windows Team Blog)

Today I am pleased to announce some new technologies to help developers and IT professionals make the transition to Windows 7.

For developers, we are announcing the public beta for the Platform Update for Windows Vista. The Platform Update for Windows Vista is a set of runtime libraries that makes it easy for developers to target both Windows 7 and Windows Vista. The Platform Update for Windows Vista includes:

  • Windows Ribbon and Animation Manager Library: contains the Windows Ribbon API, a command framework that enables developers to quickly and easily create rich ribbon experiences in their applications, and the Windows Animation Manager API, an animation framework for managing the scheduling and execution of user interface element animations.
  • Windows Graphics, Imaging, and XPS Library: components for developers to leverage the latest advancements in modern graphics technologies for gaming, multimedia, imaging and printing applications.   It includes updates to DirectX to support hardware acceleration for 2D, 3D and text based scenarios; DirectCompute for hardware accelerated parallel computing scenarios; and XPS Library for document printing scenarios.
  • Windows Automation API: allows accessibility tools and test automations to access Windows user interface in a consistent way across operating system versions.
  • Windows Portable Devices Platform: supplies the infrastructure to standardize data transfers between an application and a portable device, such as a mobile phone, digital camera, or portable media player.

Please note that the Windows Automation API will also be made available as a separate download for PCs running Windows XP.

The Platform Update for Windows Vista will be available to all Windows Vista customers through Windows Update, so developers leveraging these libraries in their applications can feel confident knowing it is broadly deployed. Third-party applications that require the Platform Update for Windows Vista can have Windows Update detect whether or not it is installed; if not, Windows Update will download and install it silently in the background. The ability for PCs to download this update can be managed by IT professionals Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and other third-party desktop management tools. To participate in the public beta for the Platform Update for Windows Vista, click here.

For IT Professionals, we are also announcing the upcoming release of the Remote Desktop Connection 7.0 (RDC7) client for Windows XP and Windows Vista. RDC7 will allow users who connect to machines running Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 from Windows XP or Windows Vista to take advantage of features such as Windows Media Player redirection and true multi-monitor support.  For more information on RDC7, see this blog post on the Remote Desktop Services Team Blog.

The release candidate for the Windows Management Framework is also available. This is a collection of tools to help IT Professionals manage a mixed environment of Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP PCs and includes:

  • Windows PowerShell 2.0
  • Windows Remote Management 2.0
  • Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS 4.0)

For specific details or to download the release candidate, click here.

We believe these tools and collection of libraries will be extremely useful to IT Professionals and Developers transitioning their organizations and applications to Windows 7. We expect to have the final versions of the RDC7 client, the Windows Management Framework, and the Platform Update available sometime in Q4 2009.