Microsoft KittyHawk: A new tool to help non-programmers build .Net business apps

Microsoft KittyHawk: A new tool to help non-programmers build .Net business apps

Summary: KittyHawk is another attempt by Microsoft to target "non-professional" programmers. This time, the idea make .Net programming more like FoxAccess programming, in order to attract more business-focused developers.


A year ago, I first heard that Microsoft was working on a rapid-application-development (RAD) tool codenamed "KittyHawk."

Just recently, I finally heard more about KittyHawk -- but not from Microsoft. The Softies aren't willing to comment on anything pertaining to the tool. (I asked; no go.)

But here's what I'm gleaning from my sources.

KittyHawk is an attempt by Microsoft to make .Net easier for those outside its traditional developer community. The company's recently introduced WebMatrix tool suite is one way Microsoft is doing this. WebMatrix is aimed at those developing Web applications.

KittyHawk, on the other hand, is targeted at fledgling coders who are interested in building business applications. The idea, my sources say, is to bring the Fox/Access style of programming to .Net. (Remember Visual FoxPro? There is still a vocal and substantial Fox community out there who've continued to push Fox, in spite of a lack of much support from the Softies.)

"KittyHawk is targeting the corporate guy with some Excel/Access savvy," said one of my tipsters, who asked for anonymity. "It is a drag and drop, template-driven, visual designer....It's not code-based, but you can write code if you want to."

Word is KittyHawk will produce Silverlight 4.0 and XAML code.

I think KittyHawk is going to end up as a new and separate Visual Studio SKU. Rumor has it Microsoft is going to share more about all this in August. (Maybe there will be a beta around that time?)

Anyone out there see a potential, untapped market for KittyHawk?

Topics: CXO, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Software, Software Development


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • ah man....

    that's the last thing I need...
    • RE: Microsoft KittyHawk: A new tool to help non-programmers build .Net busi

      This is distraction...actual tool will use visio and will produce real .net apps. Ms will cannibalize developers as soon as they can get away with it
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    • RE: Microsoft KittyHawk: A new tool to help non-programmers build .Net business apps

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    • RE: Microsoft KittyHawk: A new tool to help non-programmers build .Net business apps

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  • RE: Microsoft KittyHawk: A new tool to help non-programmers build .Net business apps

    People are "non-programmers" for a reason ;-)
    • And most are also "non-thinkers" for the same reason

      @anthony.grace@... <br><br>Get it? ;)
      OS Reload
    • RE: Microsoft KittyHawk: A new tool to help non-programmers build .Net business apps

      @anthony.grace@... Exactly.
  • Just what we need...

    Another influx of clueless Morts to stink up corporate development departments and make businesspeople think programming is trivially easy. Access "programming" and Visual FoxPro were two of the WORST things in software development. You have no idea how many clueless "development managers" I've worked for who knew Access or FoxPro and thought that was real programming.
    • Yep


      Amen to that.
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    • Right on.

      I agree completely. They also think that would fit the entire spectrum of business that the enterprise dealing with.
      Ram U
    • RE: Microsoft KittyHawk: A new tool to help non-programmers build .Net business apps


      As long as it outs you out of work its all good.
    • Know your tools


      Access is *not* a bad development platform for small applications (< 30 concurrent users).

      Like any tool you have to know it's strengths and weaknesses. Access is actually a wonderful development platform, even for pros. The weaknesses only start to come into play when you scale beyond 30 concurrent users or so.

      Having said that, you *do* have to be a programmer to develop decent apps with it... :)
      • Know your tools


        It's a great tool for prototyping but if you have a database requirement that's going to be used by more than one person (you) and especially if it's to be used for business or *cough* a saleable product, you should look for something much more robust.
      • RE: Microsoft KittyHawk: A new tool to help non-programmers build .Net busi

        @wolf_z Great for data massaging...not for programs...
    • exactly!

      One thought that M$ learned by now that we don't need VB or other programming pests to pollute the ecosystem.
      Linux Geek
    • RE: Microsoft KittyHawk: A new tool to help non-programmers build .Net business apps

      Usually I start a conversation with someone like that with asking if they've been Enterprise Excel certified? Specifically if they've been through the scalable Excel Workbooks study?