Sitting in the Microsoft MiX On Campus presentation, it’s currently about three quarters through and Nick Hodge, Professional Geek, is giving a presentation on Microsoft’s new web based Popfly software based around their new Silverlight software. We have just received free Red Bull, and this is proving to be quite the interesting look into what’s happening at Microsoft at the moment.
Now I have to say, while the entire day so far has been quite the interesting and I will be going over it in it’s entirety this evening, this Popfly is looking like one of the most interesting and useful things to come from Microsoft of late.
It creates mash ups of various web based programs to create new things without needing to know the code behind it.
Nick has given a few examples thus far and it is really quite interesting. It takes one block, such as a Flickr block feeding information into a Virtual Earth block. This mashes them together effectively so that if you search for a particular keyword, such as sunset’s, it will display all photo’s that have that keyword, and the location that it was taken, based on the location entered in the Flickr details. This is quite cool and is very simple to use and then implement into a website.
Apparently raw HTML can be put into the mash ups as well, however it has to be written with Microsofts Visual Studio Express. This could be annoying, but as the Express version is free to download, this is not so bad.
Nick went on and also showed a few cool examples on his own website, such as how he has incorporated his Flickr galleries into his website and so on. There is also a web based Live Messenger front end incorporated into his site that is pretty cool. Effectively, when the user is signed on, anyone can message them from the website. While some people could find this quite annoying, I think it could really be quite beneficial, and so far, all of these things, including Popfly, run great on a Mac as well.
It’s still in it’s beta stages, but it’s starting to look like Google’s free software push is really starting to push Microsoft to work on free software as well which is great!