LAS VEGAS-Microsoft is in the process of building out a marketplace for open-source applications that could work like an equivalent to an app store for applications, services and support for open-source technology that runs on the Windows platform.
At the Microsoft MIX09 conference here, Lauren Cooney, group product manager for Web Platform and Standards at Microsoft, said there is a new movement at Microsoft under way and she is part of the new blood leading the way toward that brave new world, particularly on the Web. Cooney, who came to Microsoft after stints at both IBM and BEA Systems, where she worked with Java and open-source Web and emerging technologies, said a key slogan with her group is, “Make Web not war.”
As such, at MIX09, Microsoft released several components of the Microsoft Web Platform, an integrated set of tools, servers and frameworks that work seamlessly together and interoperate with popular open-source applications and products that are used in the community.
Included in the Microsoft Web Platform vision is the Web Platform Installer 2.0 beta, a tool that simplifies the installation and update of Microsoft’s free Web products and other free Web components. This release allows users to download both PHP and the final release of ASP.NET MVC 1.0.
Microsoft also launched the Windows Web Application Gallery, which allows developers to discover, explore and download applications and components that will help them build Web applications. Developers can submit free applications into the Gallery, offering communities, partners and independent software vendors access to millions of Windows developers worldwide for promoting their Web solutions. The Gallery includes links to popular applications such as Acquia Drupal, DotNetNuke and WordPress.
The Microsoft Web Platform is a powerful set of tools, servers and technologies optimized for building and hosting next-generation Web applications, including PHP applications, Cooney said. To prepare for the added support for PHP, Cooney said her team met with 25 of the top PHP developers around to get advice on how to work with the PHP community.
She said the team is looking for three overall themes with its strategy: simplicity, interoperability and integration. And the company’s vision for the Microsoft Web Platform features four pillars: community, applications, a marketplace and a one-stop shop. The community includes developers working on applications, and the application pillar features applications and technologies developers can use-or reuse-to avoid having to build everything from scratch.
The marketplace is a place where “developers and partners who build and/or customize applications want a custom distribution pipeline, so they don’t have to exert their efforts on marketing,” Cooney said.
“A thriving marketplace … when I talk about a marketplace I want to talk about a couple of different things,” Cooney said. “I want to talk about marketing and distribution specifically. We have developers and partners who want to build or customize their apps. Before, these developers never had a customer distribution pipeline. They weren’t able to market these applications. Essentially, what we have launched with Windows Web Application Gallery is this marketing and distribution pipeline. So if a developer has a great app they want to include in the Web Application Gallery, we will market that worldwide-so they have the reach that they never had before.”
In terms of a one-stop shop, Cooney said it is a “full end-to-end solution for the Microsoft Web Platform-this is the cornerstone of the vision. We think developers come in and they want one location where they can do everything. So we want to provide developers with a location where they can build, sell, download and deploy their applications, all in one secure environment with many different options for tooling languages and growth.”
Indeed, a thriving marketing and distribution element is extremely important to any Web platform, particularly Microsoft’s, Cooney said.
“What we’re also looking at is monetization, and we need to create a back-end system for this,” she said. “We can do this with the application gallery on Windows Azure-a location to build, buy and sell these applications. I’ll be looking at the infrastructure and also at Windows Azure on several different levels.”
Cooney said Microsoft wants developers and its customers to be successful. “That’s a No. 1 goal of us in general,” she said. “At the end of the day if I can look at where we’re going and I can say the stuff I’m doing is moving the boat in the right direction, then I’m happy. Working with these [developers] is my passion.”
In a March 18 blog, Cooney laid out more details of the Microsoft Web Platform.