WinFS will be in Longhorn. No, it will be in Blackcomb. No, it’s in Longhorn. Now Blackcomb. No wait, now it’s in XP. Sorry, but I am starting to get a little confused: are we getting WinFS or not?

Well, according to an article at Techworld, WinFS is far from dead. It’s currently being backported for Windows XP, would you believe, and a public update on WinFS should be due come this September's Professional Developers Conference (PDC). But what is WinFS, and why should we care at all?

WinFS was originally intended to be one of the key features of Longhorn, the next iteration of Windows, which will theoretically arrive on the client side next year. It's designed to break data away from individual applications and interfaces so it can be stored and shared universally, and to allow data searches across the desktop, the network and Web services. In November, Bill Gates called it the "Holy Grail", saying it is the realisation of a 10-year dream.

However, Microsoft said in August of last year that WinFS would not be making it into Longhorn. Many observers at that time then thought that WinFS was dead. Apparently not, with WinFS on its way for Windows XP, and of course Longhorn itself after some time.