Microsoft Shows How to Build Windows Live Services

At VSLive, the software giant demonstrates its Live services, APIs for building hot apps, and cool new Vista technology for developers.

SAN FRANCISCO—Microsoft livened up what had been a stodgy enterprise-focused conference here at VSLive, and gave developers a peek at some of the newfangled types of things they will see at the software giants MIX 06 conference next month in Las Vegas.

In a round-robin demonstration of new and upcoming technologies, Microsoft officials showed technology targeting home video, instant messaging, dynamic online satellite imagery, WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) objects and more.

James Gordon, Microsofts program manager for the MSN Search API and SDK (software development kit), demonstrated how developers can use the MSN Search API to build search-based applications.

The MSN Search API is a SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) service you can use to build search-based applications, Gordon said. He said Microsoft has sample applications developers can refer to for both C# and VB .Net.

/zimages/2/28571.gifRead more here about Microsofts tools announcements at VSLive.

Gordon then demonstrated an MSN Search-empowered application he developed for the Pocket PC, called PocketPC Search. He built the application using the .Net Compact Framework, he said.

Alex Daley, a Microsoft technical evangelist, demonstrated Microsofts Virtual Earth platform, which powers Microsofts Windows Live Local application. The platform is a series of services from Microsoft for building location solutions, Daley said.

"Were exposing these services so you can location-enable any kind of application," he said. Daley then demonstrated applications with map-based searching and results that delivered birds eye imagery.

Scott Swanson, group product planner for the MSN Messenger Platform, demonstrated MSN Live Messenger, the next-generation version of Microsofts instant messaging platform.

Echoing Daley, "Were exposing APIs to allow you to do interesting things with Messenger," Swanson said. Such things include building interactive multiuser applications with a potential audience of 200 million people.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about how Microsoft is spinning Windows Live for developers.

Indeed, Swanson said the Messenger APIs offer "a new twist in mash-ups" and enable DHTML (Dynamic HTML) and AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) style development, as well as "multiuser applications without the pain."

He added that the new beta of Internet Explorer 7 enables the creation of multiuser mash-ups.

Windows Live Messenger applications can take three types: activities, bots and alerts, Swanson said.

Karim Farouki, development manager for, said Microsofts "is the front door to all these live services." He also said will be "the best RSS reader on the Web. It uses AJAX against our Atlas runtime to get Web pages that feel a lot like applications." In addition, "will become the front door to Search in the coming months," Farouki said.

Moreover, he said, is "also a platform [on which] to deploy and run gadgets," which are applets to which users can subscribe via RSS.

Brian Teutsch, a Microsoft program manager heading up the Windows Sidebar and Gadgets effort, said the Windows Sidebar is the application that is going to host gadgets.

Windows Sidebar and gadgets are new features slated for the upcoming Windows Vista operating system that boost personal productivity, he said, adding that gadgets are simple, customizable mini-applications that offer information at a glance and provide easy access to frequently used tools.

Teutsch said Microsoft is hoping to promote the development of gadgets for the Sidebar.

"We realized Web designers and HTML coders are the people to do these [gadgets]," Teutsch said. The Sidebar uses the same rendering engine, known as Trident, that IE uses, he said.

In addition, he said, the Sidebar will be available in the February Community Technology Preview of Windows Vista.

Meanwhile, outlining how Microsoft looks for business value through business architecture, Ric Merrifield, strategy director for the methodology code-named Microsoft Motion, described the incubation methodology used to organize, measure and evaluate the capabilities that make up an organizations business architecture.

"Motion is the problem-solving method we use once a project has been chosen," Merrifield said. "Motion is technology-agnostic and acronym-free." The method is based on a patent-pending approach from Microsoft.

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