Microsoft has begun offering a preview of enhancements to the company's .Net Services platform for building cloud-based applications, focusing on web standards and interoperability.

.Net Services is a component of the company's Azure Services Platform for cloud computing. .Net Services features Microsoft-hosted, developer-oriented services to help with building cloud-based and cloud-aware applications. The Community Technology Preview of .Net Services M5 (Milestone 5) offers improved support for standards including REST, ATOM, JSON, SOAP, and HTTP.

"From the beginning, .Net Services was designed for multi-cloud, multi-platform use," said Steve Martin, Microsoft senior director of developer Connected Systems Division product management, in a blog entry. "Developers can use the .Net Services in conjunction with any programming language (using support for industry-standard protocols, or via available SDKs for .Net, Java and Ruby) on any platform to create or extend federated applications."

The M5 Access Control Service adds a management service supporting REST and ATOM for managing rules. Access Control Service provides capabilities for controlling user access to web applications and services by federating with multiple standards-based identity providers.

The service bus in M5, for connecting and messaging between network endpoints, offers durable queues and routers supporting SOAP and HTTP, Microsoft said. Also, M5 REST-based activities are supported on the bus, including Put, Get, Post, Delete, and custom verbs for orchestrating messages.

Microsoft demonstrated cloud-to-cloud interoperability at the Mix09 conference in Las Vegas earlier this month, Martin said. "Specifically, we showed how the Access Control Service and Service Bus could be integrated with a Python application deployed into Google App Engine using just two lines of code," he said.

The company is seeking feedback on the CTP, he said. Commercial availability of the improvements to .Net Services is planned for later this year.