Don Box posts a few interesting comments on WinFS, two of which I wanted to comment on:

"To me (and perhaps to Tim), the most important feature of WinFS is that all application data is now transparent."

*Cough* *Cough*. Transparent? Excuse me if I'm somewhat skeptical.

"In a WinFS-based world, anyone can access an application's data without having to program/script the application (or even load the application code at all).
"

That would already be possible if applications just stored their information on plain text files, or XML files instead of propietary binary files. Just because the data is accesible doesn't mean you a) know what it means, and b) know what to do with it, and c) can manipulate it safely.

Now, I'll admit to not having looked at WinFS much myself, and I certainly know I'm no match for Don, but still, I find these kinds of comments funny. Why? Well, the whole enterprise level movement seems to be pushing away from exactly this kind of behavior, moving towards SOA and away from directly accesing other application's data repositorios (a good thing, imho). So... exactly what is it that makes you think this is gonna fly at the desktop level?

Don't think I'm against WinFS per se... I think being able to take advantage of these OS services instead of having to code them again time after time for each app is a really nice, but I don't think that everyone touching applications data directly is going to be a great think... just wait till you start getting all those support calls from developers who did it and now find that they corrupt Outlook V.Next.Next data repository ;)


Tomas Restrepo

Software developer located in Colombia. Sr. PFE at Microsoft.