On behalf of the Windows Sockets Committee, FTP Software Inc, JSB Computer Systems Ltd’s JSB Corp, Microsoft Corp and the SunSelect arm of Sun Microsystems Inc came together last week to announce availability of Windows Sockets Applications Programming Interface, a public interface specification for TCP/IP applications running under Microsoft Windows. Microsoft says that it will […]
On behalf of the Windows Sockets Committee, FTP Software Inc, JSB Computer Systems Ltd’s JSB Corp, Microsoft Corp and the SunSelect arm of Sun Microsystems Inc came together last week to announce availability of Windows Sockets Applications Programming Interface, a public interface specification for TCP/IP applications running under Microsoft Windows. Microsoft says that it will incorporate the Windows Sockets application programming interface within the Windows Open Services Architecture, which provides a single set of programming interfaces that offer access to a wide range of services, including printing, licensing, messaging, communications and database access. By supporting one set of interfaces instead of many, programmers don’t have to write new code each time they want applications to access a different service. Developed by the University of California at Berkeley for its Berkeley Software distribution version of Unix, Sockets is a network programming model that enables applications to exchange data over a network – a Socket is a connection point within an application through which data can be sent and received. Originally used exclusively by Unix applications to communicate over TCP/IP networks, Sockets is now available in versions for a wide range of operating systems to enable non-Unix applications to exchange information with Unix applications.
The Windows Sockets API specification defines a standard interface between a Windows application and a TCP/IP protocol implementation. An application written to the interface will be able to run unchanged over TCP/IP implementations from many different vendors under Windows and Windows NT, the partners claim. The interface is based on the Sockets paradigm, which facilitates the conversion of software from Unix and other environments. It includes a number of Windows-specific extensions that enable applications writers to integrate the networking parts of their applications into the message-driven Windows programming model. The specification is intended to be used with all current and future versions of Windows, including 3.0, 3.1 and Windows NT. The Windows Sockets API effort began at a session at the 1991 autumn Interop conference in San Jose, California chaired by Martin Hall of JSB Corp, which brought together representatives from major personal computer networking and network applications development firms. The group met and agreed that a standard interface should be created to which both application developers and network software providers could adhere. Later last year, Microsoft hosted a design preview with vendors and influential users, at which the major outstanding issues were resolved. A working group of representatives from FTP Software, JSB Corp, Microsoft and SunSelect was then established to formalise the agreed architecture specification on behalf of the Windows Sockets Committee and some 20 vendors have so far endorsed the effort. The Windows Sockets API specification is available on Internet, Microsoft will make it available in its forthcoming development kits, including the preliminary Win32 SDK for Windows NT and on CompuServe. The authors of the specification also will make available limited copies of the printed specification. The partners will meet with software developers and other vendors to discuss possible revisions in October, and at some stage, they want to put it up to a standards body for ratification. Spider Systems Ltd and Microsoft have also committed to making available their jointly-developed Windows Sockets validation suite to help vendors prove interoperability at an earlier stage in their development of Windows Sockets-compliant transports.