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Vista graphics tools to reach Mac, phones

Microsoft to release user interface design software for operating systems other than Vista in the first half next year.

LAS VEGAS--Microsoft will bring some of the graphics destined for Windows Vista to the Macintosh, phones and older versions of Windows next year through a user interface toolkit.

Company executives at the Mix '06 Web developer conference on Monday provided anticipated dates for delivery of Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere, or WPF/E, a user interface design software for operating systems other than Windows Vista.

An early version, or "community technology preview," of WPF/E for developers will be available in the third quarter of this year, said Michael Wallent, general manager of Windows client platform and documents at Microsoft. The software will be generally available in the first half of 2007 for the Mac, Windows 2000, Windows XP and mobile phones, he said.

With Windows Vista, which is due near the end of this year, Microsoft will introduce a graphics system, called Windows Presentation Foundation, which allows developers to write graphically rich applications that include animations and three-dimensional objects.

Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere is a subset of the full user interface tool available in Windows Presentation Foundation on Windows and, as such, will not enable the same graphical richness as Windows Vista.

However, developers who want to write applications for other operating systems can use Microsoft's line of development tools, including its Expression line, which is aimed at designers, Wallent said.

With WPF/E, developers write applications using Microsoft's XAML page layout language in conjunction with JavaScript.

End users will need to download a WPF/E "run time" for running XAML code, which will be between 600 kilobytes and 800 kilobytes. A version of the software that can run videos will be 1.2 megabytes, Wallent said.

Wallent said that Microsoft will not do a version of WPF/E that can run on Linux. However, he said he hoped that third-party companies will create a Linux "port" of the software.