Good news for those folks eagerly awaiting Indigo - Microsoft plans to debut the technology in the first beta of Longhorn. Longhorn beta 1 should fall into the hands of developers before Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference (PDC), which will be held 13 to 16 September, giving them a chance to play with a nearly complete version of the product's web services-based communication framework. Hopefully, beta 1 should be available around August of this year.

Microsoft first introduced Indigo at its last PDC in 2003. Indigo extends the .NET framework in Windows and allows developers not only to build Web services, but also to add reliability and security attributes to them, Ari Bixhorn, director of web services strategy for Microsoft's platform strategy group, said.

The framework also promises to simplify the actual coding it takes to develop services, he said. By using Indigo, developers can reduce tasks that previously took thousands of lines of code down to two or three lines. In addition, Indigo lets developers use whatever Visual Studio 2005 code is familiar to them, including C#, Visual Basic or C++.