Microsoft to Backport Windows 7 'ribbon' Interface to Vista

Microsoft plans to backport a "ribbon" user interface feature it introduced in Windows 7 to Windows Vista, according to the company's developer Web site.

On the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), Microsoft indicated that it is planning support for the interface in Vista around the same time Windows 7 is released. Microsoft has said it would release Windows 7, the follow-up to Vista, worldwide on Oct. 22.

The ribbon framework, part of Windows 7's graphical presentation layer, is an interface that uses a visual command bar at the top of the page to direct a user to menu items and toolbars that were previously hidden in drop-down menus.

Microsoft first introduced the ribbon with the "Fluent" interface for its Office 2007 product, which at first caused some transition pains for users who were used to the previous interface.

On the MSDN site, a Microsoft executive wrote that a Vista user can download the interface once it's available as an update, to be called the Windows 7 Client Platform Update. The software will be a "recommended update" through the Microsoft Download Center on Windows Update and won't be automatic.

More information about the Windows Ribbon framework can be found on the MSDN site.

Microsoft did not respond to requests made through its public relations firm for more information on what prompted the move.

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