It was late in the afternoon on a cold and rainy day in 1996 as we sat in the office in Birmingham, England, staring at a blank page in Internet Explorer 3 and wondering when the old Gateway 386 server under the desk would finally finish grinding through a dbWeb query and produce some results. The e-mail, from a small offshoot of the IIS team at Microsoft, arrived as we waited, asking if we would be interested in looking at a new product (“still under development”) called Denali. Why not? It seemed that the case study for the final chapter of our book on Web site and database integration was going nowhere.

So we installed Denali 0.9 and started to play with it. Somewhere about ten in the evening, blown away by what we were seeing, the ...

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