Magazine article Information Today

Tools for a New Generation of Interactive Multimedia Applications

Magazine article Information Today

Tools for a New Generation of Interactive Multimedia Applications

Article excerpt

Microsoft Corp. has outlined new tools to support independent content providers (ICPs) for The Microsoft Network, Microsoft's planned online service. The tools offer features that empower content providers to design, manage, and deliver a new generation of interactive multimedia applications and services.

The tools include a sophisticated design environment for online applications, code-named Blackbird; tools designed to create, update, and manage forums; and a software development kit that contains direct application programming interfaces (APIs) to the Microsoft Network services. Microsoft plans to distribute these tools to ICPs at its first interactive media design and developer conference, to be held this summer.

"With the Microsoft Network tools, we think ICPs will be able to create content never before seen in the online world, and they will be able to develop that content at reasonable production costs," said Russ Siegelman, general manager of the online services group at Microsoft. "We feel development of a broad range of content and services will attract new online users and expand the online market."

The New Tools

Blackbird is a primary solution for easy creation of interactive multimedia titles. It is a one-button publishing environment in which the user can automatically manage dynamic content, and it features a customizable viewer that takes full advantage of the capabilities of the Windows 95 operating system. Using Blackbird, content providers can implement online publications, consumer-oriented applications, business-to-business services, interactive advertising, electronic-commerce applications, and even interactive games for The Microsoft Network.

Microsoft also is providing powerful forum-manager tools that allow content providers to fully control their online forums, including updating information, managing user access, handling transactions, and creating new forums such as bulletin boards, chat rooms, and file-download areas. …

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