XPS Essentials Pack Beta 1 Released!

Today we launched Beta 1 of what we are calling the XML Paper Specification Essentials Pack.  If you go to our viewer page you will notice that there are now two links - one to the current viewer built on WinFX and the other to the new XPS Essentials Pack Beta 1.  Mahmood from the XPS Essentials team posted an entry on the XPS team blog, so go there and get important links for support and feedback. The XPS essentials pack contains:

- A standalone viewer that runs on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 SP4 (Vista support will be coming in later Betas).  Key things about this viewer:  It is a stand-alone app (does not run inside IE), uses GDI+ for rendering, it is not built on WinFX so the overall footprint of the install is smaller and it supports Windows 2000.

Shell extensions so that you can view and update XPS properties in Windows Explorer

In later Betas we will also add:

- iPreview interface so that XPS documents can be previewed for instance in a preview pane in Outlook or anything else that implements this interface (Vista has a preview pane and it will work there once Vista is supported in later betas)

-iFilter interface to allow searching for text inside XPS documents from the Windows search engine or anything else that supports this interface.

For anyone building XPS products that are working so diligently on ironing out rendering bugs, etc - please continue to reference the WinFX viewer.  This viewer is the reference for rendering and stays up to date with the spec.  For instance, when we release B2 of Vista, the spec, the WinFX viewer and all other components will be in synch. 

The XPS essentials pack will be compliant with the spec in later betas.  Please play with it, give us feedback, let us know what you think.  Hopefully you should see this as an indication that we are serious about delivering valuable solutions around XPS and we are committed to deliver that value to older operating systems.

- Andy