I've just started getting into the details and implementation of Information Bridge Framework (IBF). I had initially seen IBF at MGB 2004. An old peer of mine, Charles Maxson (http://blogs.officezealot.com/charles/
) was there and talked it up. So, I sat through a presentation.
Initially, it looked cool. But, confusion over it's place vs. VSTO, Share Point, etc. was there. It looked like a tool that would capture the eyes of the business folks fast and ultimately the Line of Business and "Information Workers" would be pushing IT for solutions.
Well, that happened apparently. So, forced to dive deeper I did. And I can say, I'm impressed. It's a very strong environment that initially provides a "long" learning curve as it's got's lots of meta-data (I hate the term "steep" learning curve because that actually means a short period of time with Time on the Y-axis, and knowledge on the X-axis).
I can say that this tool provides a fantastic use of thinks like context sensitive task panes that can leverage smart tags, search, or even special anchor monikers in HTML for viewing in Internet Explorer's task pane. Fully "actionable" from the IBF interface, in addition to leveraging Schema Attached documents in Office applications that are XML aware (not PowerPoint unfortunately).
Internally, my company (www.Avanade.com
) is working with Microsoft to build out the Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) materials and I've had an early peek. They look good, but I haven't dove into the Labs yet. I was able to fully vet many of the features on my own build with IBF, SharePoint, SQL, etc.
A big issue to me is that it requires Windows 2003 in the mix as the Meta-data server requires it. Is it just licensing? AzMan can run on XP with XML files as an auth store. I'd forego all the security capabilities, SSL, etc. just for dev. The Write/Read services could just be Virtual Directories and not dedicated.
Having it forced to run from Win 2K3 is a pain as I have all my "stuff" in XP already to go. I know running a VPC session is no big deal to do, but it eats the memory and for what amounts to be a lightweight service, the Meta service could run on XP.
What's the "real" reason?
Some good links: