Microsoft is set to shed more light on "Indigo," the company's forthcoming Web services applications framework. Details will be unveiled at at the company's Professional Developers Conference 2003 event in Los Angeles in two weeks time, where it will also discuss the planned "Yukon" release of SQL Server and the upcoming "Whidbey" releases of ASP.Net and Visual Studio.

Indigo is described on the Microsoft PDC website as a programming model and framework for building connected applications and Web services. The technology is built on top of Microsoft's WS protocols, which are a suite of specifications that the company claims will power the next phase of the Internet.

Indigo is intended to enable developers to easily develop and deploy applications and services that work together and scale without limit, according to the site. A default security behavior will also be part of Indigo applications. Additionally, developers will be able to build next-generation Indigo Message Bus endpoints within ASP .Net applications.

The site said Indigo "brings together the best of .Net Remoting, MSMQ (Microsoft Message Queuing), ASMX, and .Net Enterprise Services to form a unified model and runtime for building connected applications on the Windows platform." At the conference, Microsoft will present a road map for migrating existing applications to Indigo. A Microsoft representative would not comment on the planned release date for Indigo.

The "Whidbey" release of ASP .Net, which is Microsoft's Web development platform, enables developers to "dramatically reduce the number of lines of code needed to write real-world applications, provides much-improved administration and management support and dramatically improved performance," the site said.

A Personalization engine in the Whidbey version of ASP .Net enables storing of profile data about users. Also featured are Tracing, Troubleshooting, and Auditing APIs. The controls model has been unified so ASP .Net controls inherently support mobile devices without the need for separate mobile controls.

Whidbey is also the code name for the next versions of the Visual Studio developer tool and the .Net Framework development platform. Microsoft's Whidbey variants are due to ship in the second half of 2004.

The Whidbey version of Visual Studio features new deployment capabilities for offline application support. The release combines simplified Web data access, rich site layout features, dynamic Web projects and additional features to enable rapid construction of dynamic Web applications. A new XML editor enables enhanced validation against XSD (XML Schemas language) and DTD(document type definitions) schema and XSLT (XSL Transformations) debugging.

The planned "Yukon" version of the SQL Server database features a Service Broker that incorporates asynchronous queuing and guaranteed messaging. Yukon also introduces native Web services support in the database. T-SQL, a query language in SQL Server, is updated in Yukon to incorporate ANSI SQL:99 functionality. Yukon is also targeted for release in late 2004.