Alan Whitehouse's Ramblings

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Microsoft Popfly — Democratizing Software Development

Posted by Alan on July 15, 2008

So the other day while procrastinating on cleaning up my inbox after being out of the office for a week at WPC I somehow stumbled on Microsoft Popfly.   Per the website description: “Microsoft Popfly is the fun, easy way to build and share mashups, gadgets, games, Web pages, and applications”.

The whole concept is to democratize software development.  For all 3 of you who read this blog, “democratizing software” is one of the latest Microsoft buzzwords.   Unbeknown to myself, apparantely all previous software has been designed by fascist imperialists whose only goal was to crush your spirit and bend you to their will.  Fight the man brother!!  Sorry I digress…

What I found cool about Popfly is the concepts of mashups.  Where you can take different building blocks and link them together to get some pretty good application results without knowing how to do development.  For instance, they have a building block for Virtual Earth, you pull that one on the page and you can display a VE map.  So that in itself is not all that impressive I grant you.  But, you combine it with the GeoName block and a custom data block containing the city and country you want to put on the map and viola’ without me writing a single line of code I have created a custom map.  Pretty slick.

Now granted the functionality is still very basic and the current commercial uses of this tool are minimal and right now this really is more of a toy than a true tool.  But if Microsoft can expand upon what they have build here and apply these same concepts to their other products then the costs and complexity of implementing and integrating systems will go down dramatically.   

If you have some free time or just need a break from work, go out and take a look.

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