Code-named Chrome, it will give HTML programmers access to the DirectX controls on Windows-based computers. Having a data visualisation capability means developers can add multimedia features into HTML-based Web documents, adding animated 3D, streaming, and improved hardware performance into pages with considerably less bandwidth requirements than a conventional GIF image would have today.
The betas are going out to developers now, and Microsoft expects to release complete details in the first quarter of 1999.
Product manager Eric Engstrom demonstrated the tool at the Tech Ed show in New Orleans last week. It will be available first as a plug-in for Windows 98 and NT, with a view to building it into the main body of the operating system in future years.