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

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.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor on

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?

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