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In the professional world, most programming can be summed up in two words: data manipulation. And these days, much of the data being manipulated comes prepackaged in XML documents or SQL tables.

So why do languages like C# force programmers to use obtuse APIs to access those data structures? It would be much more convenient if C# had a notion of XML and SQL built directly into the language–and if Microsoft has its way, it soon will.

Xen, a new programming language coming out of Microsoft Research and developed in conjunction with the University of Cambridge, promises to bring together three disparate but integral components of programming, wrapping them together in .Net. Xen’s creators use a geometric metaphor to illustrate this conjoining, calling the language a means to program with “circles, triangles, and rectangles…”

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