Gadgets and Mashups in the Live platform

November 18, 2007

Microsoft has traditionally been a leader in desktop development. By the explosion of web 2.0, the company is trying to cope with the overwhelming quantity of web development environments that start to appear everywhere…

One of the first attempts of Microsoft to insert itself into the web 2.0 ring was the MSN Messenger application, which was quickly converted from a web/client-server architecture to a web services/rss/xml app, without harm to the users and becoming one of the fastest growing applications in history.

But it was not enough, full-web applications designed for the web 2.0 took over and concurrently, became part of the default user portfolio.

Microsoft continues doing efforts to overcome the plethora of initiatives that sudden multiple new competitors (or collaborators?) start to put on the Internet specifically in the layer of small web applications – or gadgets – launched the live.com site, which allowed the users to include their developments in a “gallery” where other users could put on the Internet the gadgets they developed in order to build “custom” sites.

Later, Microsoft launched “Spaces”, another web site, oriented to a more “personal sharing” audience, where people could start a blog, a photo sharing space and could as well include the gadgets they chose from the gallery.

The development process, however was still some “geeky” secret which was publicly available to MSDN participants (MSDN is Microsoft’s developer community, which offers general freely advice on Microsoft development and, by a paid subscription some additional support and tools).

Recently, as a new effort in trying to help people develop for the web 2.0 before they go with the competitors, Microsoft put specific help to develop gadgets in the developer center for the gadgets gallery, and enabled the development of other type of gadgets, now for the “Sidebar”, a side application for Windows Vista, emoticons and winks for Messenger, toolbar buttons, and the SideShow (a small screen included in newer laptops that enables quick information browsing in Windows Vista even when the computer is turned off)

For the next step: mashups, Microsoft has developed a new web site, called Popfly, it is kind of a new portal, which integrates a lot of new technlogies, including Silverlight, to enable the users to quickly develop mashups by including very easily code pieces and information developed by others and published in Popfly… more information about Popfly to come…