Microsoft Corp got a bloody nose when it went head-to-head with Novell Inc and challenged NetWare with LAN Manager, and what it failed to achieve with a full frontal attack, it is now trying to secure by stealth. The strategy of creeping networking is most clearly evidenced by Windows for Workgroups, technology that will be standard in Windows NT, which reduces users’ need for rivals’ networking products. Now the company has rallied 20 vendors that have jointly introduced standard Application Programming Interfaces for IBM Corp’s Systems Network Architecture to be included in the Windows and Windows NT operating systems. The jointly written specification defines a standard interface between applications for Windows and IBM SNA protocols, and will be included in Microsoft’s Windows Open Services Architecture or WOSA. The group claims that an application written to the interfaces will be able to run unchanged over many vendors’ SNA communications products under the Microsoft operating systems. Currently, SNA applications for Windows are tied to a particular vendor’s implementation of the SNA interface. The SNA specification was developed co-operatively by Andrew Corp, Attachmate Inc, Computer Logics Inc, Data Connection Inc, Digital Communications Associates Inc, Easel Corp, Eicon Technology Inc, FutureSoft Inc, IBM Corp, ICOT Inc, ICL Plc, , Microsoft, MultiSoft Inc, NCR Corp, Network Software Associates Inc, Novell Inc, Ing C Olivetti & Co SpA, Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG, Systems Strategies Inc and Wall Data Inc. The specification supports all the SNA API categories that programmers use today, including the use of the HLLAPI, APPC, CPI-C, LU0 and CSV APIs. The HLLAPI interface is used with existing 3270 and 5250-based applications and both APPC and CPI-C are used to write co-operative applications for the LU6.2 protocol. The LU0 API is used to gain access to low-level SNA data streams used partucularly in banking. And CSV is used to handle character set translations and interface with IBM’s NetView network management system.
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