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Last modified: June 19, 2001
Microsoft Hailstorm

[March 22, 2001] HailStorm - User-Centric XML Web Services. On March 19, 2001 Microsoft Corporation announced "a set of new technologies designed to advance the Microsoft .NET strategy. The technology, code-named 'HailStorm,' is a set of user-centric XML Web services that enable developers to build solutions that work seamlessly with one another over the Internet to deliver a more personalized and consistent user experience. The HailStorm services are oriented around the individual and allow developers, with the user's consent, to access for example an individual's calendar, contact information or documents, from any application, device or service connected to the Internet. The HailStorm XML-based Web services platform comprises four major pillars: (1) the .NET Framework and the Visual Studio .NET suite of developer tools; (2) the .NET Enterprise Servers, which provide a robust infrastructure for Web services; (3) .NET devices and experiences; and (4) .NET services. The new HailStorm technology is a result of work being done in the .NET Services Group, which is responsible for building XML-based Web services for businesses and consumers and is led by Bob Muglia. HailStorm adheres to an open-access model in which all interactions are conducted via XML-based SOAP protocols. Use of the industry-standard XML and SOAP protocols means any application, device or service connected to the Internet can interact with HailStorm, regardless of the underlying operating system, programming language or online service. No Microsoft software is required on any client or server that accesses HailStorm. Microsoft demonstrated various platforms accessing HailStorm services, including Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh, Pocket PC, Palm and various flavors of UNIX." [Full context]

From the Microsoft White Paper: "For users, HailStorm will be accessed through their applications, devices and services (also known as "HailStorm end-points"). A HailStorm-enabled device or application will, with your consent, connect to the appropriate HailStorm services automatically. Because the myriad of applications and devices in your life will be connected to a common set of information that you control, you'll be able to securely share information between those different technologies, as well as with other people and services. Developers will build applications and services that take advantage of HailStorm to provide you with the best possible experience. The HailStorm platform uses an open access model, which means it can be used with any device, application or services, regardless of the underlying platform, operating system, object model, programming language or network provider. All HailStorm services are XML Web services, which are based on the open industry standards of XML and SOAP; no Microsoft runtime or tool is required to call them. Naturally, the .NET infrastructure provided by Visual Studio.NET, the .NET Framework, and the .NET Enterprise Servers will fully incorporate support for HailStorm to make it as simple as possible for developers to use HailStorm services in their applications. From a technical perspective, HailStorm is based on Microsoft Passport as the basic user credential. The HailStorm architecture defines identity, security, and data models that are common to all HailStorm services and ensure consistency of development and operation. HailStorm is a highly distributed system and can help orchestrate a wide variety of applications, devices and services. The core HailStorm services use this architecture to manage such basic elements of a user's digital experience as a calendar, location, and profile information. Any solution using HailStorm can take advantage of these elements, saving the user from having to re-enter and redundantly store this information and saving every developer from having to create a unique system for these basic capabilities. HailStorm is expressed and accessed as a set of industry standard XML Web services. HailStorm-enabled solutions interact with specific HailStorm facilities via XML message interfaces (XMIs), which are simply a set of XML SOAP messages. The initial set of HailStorm services will include: myAddress: electronic and geographic address for an identity; myProfile: name, nickname, special dates, picture; myContacts: electronic relationships/address book; myLocation: electronic and geographical location and rendez-vous; myNotifications: notification subscription, management and routing; myInbox: inbox items like e-mail and voice mail, including existing mail systems; myCalendar: time and task management; myDocuments: raw document storage; myApplicationSettings: application settings; myFavoriteWebSites: favorite URLs and other Web identifiers; myWallet: receipts, payment instruments, coupons and other transaction records; myDevices: device settings, capabilities; myServices: services provided for an identity; myUsage: usage report for above services. The HailStorm architecture is designed for consistency across services and seamless extensibility. It provides common identity, messaging, naming, navigation, security, role mapping, data modeling, metering, and error handling across all HailStorm services. HailStorm looks and feels like a dynamic, partitioned, schematized XML store. It is accessed via XML message interfaces (XMIs), where service interfaces are exposed as standard SOAP messages, arguments and return values are XML, and all services support HTTP Post as message transfer protocol..."


  • "Building User-Centric Experiences. An Introduction to Microsoft HailStorm." A Microsoft White Paper. Published: March 2001.

  • Microsoft .NET Developer Center

  • Announcement: "Microsoft's Bill Gates Previews New 'HailStorm' Technologies to Usher In New Era of More Consistent, Personalized and User-Centric Experiences. Advances .NET Strategy. Showcases American Express, Click Commerce, eBay, and Groove."

  • [March 22, 2001] [Transcript of] Remarks by Bill Gates. HailStorm Announcement. Redmond, Washington, March 19, 2001. "...schema is the technical term you're going to be hearing again and again in this XML world. It's through schemas that information can be exchanged, things like schemas for your appointments, schemas for your health records. The work we're announcing today is a rather large schema that relates to things of interest to an individual. And you'll recognize very quickly what those things are, things like your files, your schedule, your preferences, all are expressed in a standard form. And so, by having that standard form, different applications can fill in the information and benefit from reading out that information and benefit from reading out that information. And so it's about getting rid of these different islands. It's really a necessary step in this revolution that there be services like HailStorm. There's no way to achieve what users expect and really get into that multiple device, information any time, anywhere world without this advance. So you can envision the XML platform as having two pieces. The foundation pieces that are done in the standards committee, going back to that original XML work in 1996, but now complemented by a wide range of things, things like X-TOP, X-LINK, the schema standards that have come along. One of the really key standards is this thing called SOAP, that's the way that applications that were not designed together can communicate and share information across the Internet. You can think of it as a remote procedure call that works in that message-based, loosely coupled environment. Now, the XML movement has gained incredible momentum. I'd say the last year has really been phenomenal in terms of the momentum that this has developed. Part of that is we also have other large companies in the industry, besides Microsoft, really join into this. So if you look at two of the recent standards, SOAP and UDDI, we had many partners, including IBM, that were involved in a very deep way, helping to design that standard, and really standing up and saying that was critical to their whole strategy. And so you're seeing a real shift towards these XML Web services, a real shift away from people saying it's one computer language, or it's just about one kind of app server, to an approach now that is far more flexible around XML. The kind of dreams that people have had about interoperability in this industry will finally be fulfilled by the XML revolution. And so, although we're focusing on HailStorm today, it's important to understand that this XML approach allows data of all types, business application data, to move easily between different platforms, between different companies in a very simple way..." [cache]

  • [June 19, 2001] "Microsoft Announces Shared Development Process for Cooperation On Key Technology Initiatives. Company Issues Call to Industry to Join in Definition and Development of "HailStorm" Services." - "Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates today announced the Microsoft Shared Development Process (SDP), a broad framework for industry participation, cooperation and feedback on key technology development initiatives at Microsoft and across the industry. During a keynote delivered today to software developers at the TechEd conference, Gates revealed that the first SDP project will be the definition of an extended set of 'HailStorm' Web services and issued a call for industry participation in the process... The SDP would provide Microsoft and industry partners with a reusable process that can be initiated and adapted easily and quickly as the need arises for cooperation on a new or existing computing challenge. The framework will provide procedural, technical and legal tools companies can use to work together to achieve a solution that benefits everyone. The SDP is designed with enough flexibility to tailor the process structure to a particular project or challenge, which ensures an easy working environment that can be created quickly, and simplifies participation for partner companies. Examples include the development of XML schemas for the consistent sharing of information across multiple applications and devices within a particular industry, the development of more advanced, next-generation XML Web services built on top of the 'HailStorm' platform, and industry events such as software design previews and reviews that enable industry partners to get an early look at and provide Microsoft with feedback on key technologies... SDP as a Vehicle for Industrywide XML Schema: After its test phase, the SDP will be available to serve as a vehicle for industries to come together for the purpose of creating XML conventions relevant to their industries. In many cases, the collaboration and development of these XML schemas will not require direct involvement with Microsoft. Rather, the SDP will simply serve as a framework for participation and a tool set for collaboration with the goal of driving adoption of XML Web services forward for the entire industry... The Microsoft SDP provides structure, including the following, for the development or extended 'HailStorm' services: (1) Call for proposals for new 'HailStorm' extended services; (2) Creation of SDP working groups; (3) Definition and testing of extended 'HailStorm' services; (4) Certification of extended 'HailStorm' services; (5) Deployment of new services. The SDP process for developing 'HailStorm' services will undergo a test period this summer, with the establishment of a limited number of new working groups. Microsoft is currently talking to industry partners and accepting input to determine which services will participate in the SDP beta process. In addition to the beta process for extended 'HailStorm' services, Microsoft has already initiated a SDP process around the dozen core 'HailStorm' services announced in March 2001. A design preview on these services has already been shared with more than 200 partners who have been providing feedback for 'HailStorm' development since before it was publicly announced."

  • [June 19, 2001] "The Microsoft Shared Development Process." Microsoft white paper. June, 2001. "The Microsoft Shared Development Process (SDP) provides a mechanism for fast, focused and profitable collaboration on key technology initiatives between Microsoft and industry partners... As we enter a new paradigm in computing, we find an increased call for integration and interoperability, which requires an even closer working relationship across companies and across industries. The emergence of XML-based web services as the new computing model signals a shift away from standalone applications and networks - disconnected islands of information - to one where constellations of applications, devices and services work together. This shift in the computing model requires a change in the way we design and build technology. It's no longer enough to build standalone functionality; we also have to focus on how a particular technology works with others. While XML Web services provides the new integration methodology, we also need new ways for the industry to come together to tackle new challenges. The SDP is designed to provide an easy, flexible and reusable process for Microsoft and industry partners to collaborate. The SDP is structured on the assumption participants are motivated by business success and any cooperation has the objective of growing the industry and expanding profitable opportunities. Unlike projects developed under some open source licenses, the SDP is respectful of intellectual property and will balance goals of protecting intellectual property rights with other goals encouraging widespread adoption of the new technology developed under the SDP... The SDP is designed to let Microsoft and third parties determine how best to address a common computing problem or challenge. Broadly speaking, the SDP scope has three categories which address different models of cooperation dynamics and intellectual property models... Type 3 projects involve cooperation across the industry to enable a better technology solution for many companies and their customers. Examples of this project type might include the development of industry-wide XML schema that describe a common set of data to be shared across applications in a given industry segment. In these cases, the resulting intellectual property will be licensed broadly to the industry, and in some cases may end up getting turned over to existing standards bodies and other cross-industry organizations. Many Type 3 projects will not involve Microsoft directly, but rather a set of interested companies who will take advantage of the process tools and collaboration resources that the SDP will offer to drive a broad industry solution to a particular issue..." See also the announcement: "Microsoft Announces Shared Development Process for Cooperation On Key Technology Initiatives. Company Issues Call to Industry to Join in Definition and Development of "HailStorm" Services."

  • [April 13, 2001] "RSA: Microsoft Outlines .Net And XP Privacy Strategy." By Stephen Lee. In InfoWorld (April 11, 2001). "Declaring 'war on hostile code' here on Tuesday, Microsoft detailed several new features for securing privacy in both current and future Microsoft products here at the RSA Conference 2001. On the Windows .NET front, XML-based user authentication technology, code-named 'HailStorm', topped the list. HailStorm will allow client-side applications and Web services to exchange user information. The Windows XP operating system, too, will feature beefed-up security. In particular, Thompson noted that PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) improvements are in the pipeline. Smart card support will further bolster XP privacy, according to Thompson. 'All the functions that an administrator needs to do can be done with smart cards, including Terminal Service sections. You can uniformly require an administrator to use smart cards. That eliminates the risk of using passwords,' he said. XP will also allow for interoperability between smart cards and EFS (electronic filing system), which will let companies accept certificates issued by other PKIs. Other XP announcements included faster SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) services, version 2 of the company's Security Configuration Wizard, which will let users configure access controls and turn off unneeded services, and an Internet Connection Firewall to allow users to safely connect directly to a network. Thompson also addressed Microsoft's upcoming Internet Explorer 6.0 browser. As the company announced on March 21, IE 6.0 will feature native support for P3P (the Platform for Privacy Preferences). P3P is a privacy standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium that notifies users about the privacy rules used at visited Web sites..."

  • [March 22, 2001] "Exclusive DevX Q&A with the HailStorm Team." From DevX. March 22, 2001. ['On March 19, and in a private design preview four days earlier, Microsoft unveiled what Bill Gates called "probably the most important .NET building block service." Codenamed HailStorm, this suite of user-centric XML Web services turns things inside out, said its architect and distinguished engineer Mark Lucovsky. "Instead of having an application be your gateway to the data, in HailStorm, the user is the gateway to the data." After the press conference, XML Magazine Editor-in-Chief Steve Gillmor sat down with Lucovsky and Microsoft director of business development Charles Fitzgerald to discuss what Gates calls the beginning of the XML revolution.'] "Gillmor: Can you give us an XML-focused view of HailStorm? Lucovsky: The key thing is that we take the individual and hang a bunch of services off that individual -- and those services are exposed as an XML document. Off of an ID or a person, we hang a calendar -- and the calendar has an XML schema and a set of access mechanisms to manipulate that XML data. We take our whole service space and wrap that around this identity-based navigation system, and expose those services as XML that you can process using any tool set that you like. If you do a query, you can specify your query string as either an XPath expression or an XQL query string. It will give you back a document fragment. Once it's in your control, you can process it with your own DOM or SAX parser -- whatever makes sense for the application. You can use an XSL transform and throw away half of what we gave back because you only cared about this element or that attribute; it's up to the application. The four basic verbs that we support are 'Add,' 'Query,' 'Update,' 'Delete' -- they all relate back to XPointer roots. We're not inventing any kind of new navigation model; we're just utilizing existing XML standards. There are additional domain-specific methods on some of the services. But the fundamental primitive is that you think of the service as if it were an XML document, and that document has a schema that includes types that are specific to that document. Gillmor: Where's the document stored? Lucovsky: The system is set up so that each service instance has its own address. It's very distributed -- or it can be. My 'MyAddress' service and your 'MyAddress' service can be at two different data centers on two different front-end clusters anywhere. That's all done dynamically -- we can partition with the granularity of 'an individual service instance can be located anywhere on the network' -- and we look up that address as part of the SOAP protocol to talk to it. The actual data for a given service, if it's a persistent service -- like 'MyAddress' or something like that -- is then shredded from its XML form into a relational database using our shredding technology. We map the XML into element IDs and attribute IDs, smash it into a database, query it out using our database tables, and then reconstitute the XML. It's like -- it is an XML database; that's how you do an XML database. We're not taking a blob and storing it and going crazy like that... In HailStorm, you're talking XML natively -- so that whole section disappears. Our type model is XML; our type model is XSD schema. Our type model isn't an object hierarchy that we then have to figure out how to factor into XML. And the bulk of the work in SOAP moving forward -- there's a lot of efforts in SOAP -- but one piece of work in SOAP is beefing up that section of the spec. Other activities in SOAP are working on routing headers and other headers that you would carry in that SOAP-header element. We're embracing all of SOAP, but there's not a lot there that's directly relevant to us in the serialization... Are we using XML signatures? We're working on that to see if it can do what we need it to do with respect to the body element. We think we can. Are we're using Kerberos wrapped in XML? Yes. The SOAP processor -- that's a meaningless thing -- everybody has to write that themselves. But we've done a lot of very interesting innovation in the routing, and we're working with other industry players in that key piece of SOAP to ensure that that key 'how you address an endpoint, and how you route to the endpoint' becomes part of everybody's standard way of addressing endpoints. That's a key thing that I think is missing out of SOAP right now, is how you express an endpoint. Putting something in the SOAP action verb of an HTTP header doesn't cut it; you have to really put the endpoints in the SOAP envelope. We're working on that. The operation stuff is all HailStorm plumbing, so that wouldn't have anything to do with SOAP or XML, but we'll be firing XML events out the back end of the service. We look at the standards and the community of XML developers is an opportunity to say, hey, we're not going to invent a new format for time duration if there's a format for time duration already out there. You look at the base type model of XSD and a lot of the stuff that we need to do already has an XSD type, so we're not coming up with a new type for time duration -- it exists and we're going to use that. People know how to code against that..."

  • [March 20, 2001] "Microsoft's HailStorm Unleashed." By Joe Wilcox. In CNET (March 19, 2001). "Microsoft on Monday launched a HailStorm aimed at upstaging rival America Online. The software giant unveiled a set of software building blocks, grouped under the code name HailStorm, for its .Net software-as-a-service strategy. Along with HailStorm, Microsoft marshaled out new versions of its Web-based Hotmail e-mail service, MSN Messenger Service, and Passport authentication service. The Redmond, Wash.-based software company is positioning HailStorm as way of enticing developers to create XML (Extensible Markup Language)-based Web services deliverable to a variety of PC and non-PC devices such as handhelds and Web appliances. Microsoft said HailStorm is based on the company's Passport service and permits applications and services to cooperate on consumers' behalf. HailStorm also leans heavily on instant messaging services provided by MSN Messenger and on Microsoft's Hotmail e-mail service. Microsoft envisions HailStorm as a way for consumers and business customers to access their data -- calendars, phone books, address lists -- from any location and on any device. That model closely mirrors AOL's model by which members access AOL's service via a PC, handheld, or a set-top box to retrieve their personal information. Microsoft on Monday also disclosed five development partners for its .Net plan, including eBay, which announced its partnership last week. eBay and Microsoft entered into a strategic technology exchange that includes turning the eBay API (application programming interface) into a .Net service. HailStorm is based on Passport's user-authentication technology, which Microsoft uses for Hotmail, MSN Messenger, and some MSN Web services. The company describes the XML-based technology as user rather than device specific. Rather than keeping information on a single device such as a PC, Microsoft envisions people accessing content and personal information through a number of devices created using XML tools. Microsoft is looking to launch two types of .Net services: broad horizontal building-block services such as HailStorm and application-specific services. HailStorm initially will comprise 14 software services including MyAddress, an electronic and geographic address for an identity; MyProfile, which includes a name, nickname, special dates and pictures; MyContacts, an electronic address book; MyLocation for pinpointing locations; MyNotifications, with will pass along updates and other information; and MyInbox, which includes items such as e-mail and voicemail. Microsoft said HailStorm will enter beta testing later this year and will be released next year. Rather than solely relying on Microsoft technology to become the standard for these services, the company is using established Web development languages such as XML, SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and UDDI (Universal Description Discovery and Integration). IBM also is pushing XML, the emerging choice du jour for creating Web pages, and UDDI, a sort of Web services Yellow Pages for developers. IBM last week used XML and UDDI to beef up its WebSphere Application Server and has been aggressively using the tools to woo developers to its middleware software. Technology Business Research analyst Bob Sutherland said that while he expects competition between Microsoft and IBM will be fierce over XML, 'they will woo customers not so much on the benefits of the XML platform but what their products have to offer'."

  • [March 20, 2001] "Microsoft Launches HailStorm Web-Services Strategy." By Tom Sullivan and Bob Trott. In InfoWorld (March 19, 2001). "Microsoft executives detailed a key piece of the company's strategy for delivering user-centric Web services here on Monday. The strategy, code-named HailStorm, is a new XML-based platform that lives on the Internet, and is designed to transform the user experience into one in which users have more control over their information. 'It's probably the most important .NET building block service,' said Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. 'This is a revolution where the user's creativity and the power of all their devices can be used.' Currently, Gates said, users are faced with disconnected islands of data, such as PCs, cell phones, PDAs, and other devices. HailStorm is designed to combine the different islands and move the data behind the scenes so users don't have to move it themselves, thereby providing Microsoft's latest mantra of anytime, anywhere access to data from any device, according to Gates. To that end, Microsoft will provide a set of services under HailStorm, such as notifications, e-mail, calendaring, contacts, an electronic wallet, and favorite Web destination, designed for more effective communication. 'Stitching those islands together is about having a standard schema, in fact a rich schema, for tying all that info together,' he added. That schema will be constructed largely of XML, which Gates called the foundation of HailStorm. 'The kind of dreams people have had about interoperability in this industry will finally be fulfilled with the XML foundation,' he said. The first end point of HailStorm will be Microsoft's forthcoming Windows XP, the next generation of Windows 2000, due later this year. Gates said that XP makes it easier to get at HailStorm services. 'HailStorm is not exclusively tied to any particular OS,' he added. Although Microsoft said that HailStorm will work with platforms from other vendors, such as Linux, Unix, Apple Macintosh, and Palm, the company maintained that HailStorm services will work most effectively with Windows platforms... Microsoft plans to tap into the 160 million users of its Passport single-sign-on service as early users of HailStorm, and will offer them free services. Gates added that HailStorm will consist of a certain level of free services, but customers that want more will be charged for it..."

  • [March 20, 2001] "Legal Storm Brewing Over Microsoft's HailStorm." By Aaron Pressman and Keith Perine [The Industry Standard]. In InfoWorld (March 20, 2001). Even before Microsoft announced its new online services plan -- dubbed HailStorm -- on Monday, some of the company's leading competitors were quietly registering complaints about the effort with government antitrust regulators. The competitors, including AOL Time Warner and Sun Microsystems, allege that HailStorm and other pieces of Microsoft's .NET initiative are designed to limit their access to customers and further leverage Microsoft's dominant Windows market share... Microsoft denies that anything in its .NET plan is improper. The company's new HailStorm product is not limited to Windows and can be accessed by consumers running Linux, Apple's Macintosh operating system, or even on a Palm handheld device, Microsoft notes. The company also said HailStorm is built on open standards and is available for use by any Web site, including AOL. However, Microsoft plans to charge consumers, developers, and participating Web sites... The next version of Windows, called XP, will integrate HailStorm services into the operating system, encouraging consumers to sign up when they start their computers for the first time. The operating system also features an integrated media player and a copyright-protection scheme to prevent users from distributing copies of music purchased online. Competitors complain that XP won't allow consumers to choose a competing media player as the default program for playing music on their PCs."

  • [March 20, 2001] "Shifting to Web Services." By Tom Sullivan, Ed Scannell, and Bob Trott. In InfoWorld Volume 23, Issue 12 (March 19, 2001), pages 1, 27. "Web services may be all the rage these days, but users, developers, and even vendors are only nibbling at the edges of what this still-unfolding shift in software architecture and delivery means to them. Microsoft on Monday will attempt to demystify Web services a bit more, when Chairman Bill Gates and other officials roll out a major technology component to their .NET strategy, dubbed Hailstorm, at an event in Redmond, Wash. Hailstorm, a Web-services development platform first unveiled last week at an exclusive conference for developers and partners, relies on industry standards XML, SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), and UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration) and will include next-generation versions of Microsoft offerings such as Hotmail, MSN Messenger, and Passport, the software giant's Internet identification service. Developers can embed these and related services into their applications. One source, who requested anonymity, described Hailstorm as being a 'building block' approach to Web services that will open up new ways to communicate and transmit data in an instant message, peer-to-peer format. Microsoft rivals Sun Microsystems and IBM separately last week also tried to put some reality behind their own Web-services plays. Just how Web services will be used is shaping up to be the nascent market's million-dollar question. In the wake of the dot-com fadeout, brick-and-mortar companies are picking up the slack, hoping Web services will generate e-commerce revenue. But perhaps even more pertinent to enterprises is the potential to use the Web services model to tie together existing, in-house applications using XML standards. The coming Hailstorm: Microsoft's Hailstorm initiative will offer a platform for Web services. (1) Represents an expansion of instant-messaging-type p-to-p technology. (2) Allows developers to embed Web services, such as Passport, for identification in their apps. (3) Is based on XML, SOAP, and UDDI... Also, eBay, in San Jose, Calif., agreed to support .NET with its community-based commerce engine, and the two companies envision that Web sites supporting .NET will be able to list relevant items up for auction on eBay through an XML interface. Mani Chandy, co-founder and chief scientist at Oakland-based iSpheres and a computer science professor at Cal Tech, said that because of Web-services standards, large companies that have big IT staffs will start moving toward the architecture. '"A lot of brick-and-mortar companies offer Web services, but they don't even know it. They may not offer them in SOAP, but they might offer them in HTML,' Chandy added. A new generation of companies, some brick-and-mortars, others dot-com successes, are growing up with the notion of Web services. Denver-based Galileo, an early partner of the .NET program, is currently working to convert its Corporate Travel Point software into a Web service by adding support for standards, such as UDDI, XML, SOAP, and the WSDL (Web Services Description Language) specification for standardization..."

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