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Stumping for Silverlight

Microsoft is getting busy trying to make its Silverlight rich Internet application platform more attractive for developers and users alike. Last week the company announced an alpha release of Popfly, a vehicle for developing mashups, Web sites and Silverlight-driven rich content through drag-and-drop chunks of code called "blocks." The alpha will be open to about 2,000 testers.

The Popfly effort has two main parts. Popfly Creator is the toolset. Popfly Space is an online "community of creators," in the words of Developer Division head S. "Soma" Somasegar, for hosting and sharing projects built with the technology.

According to Microsoft statements, Popfly is intended to appeal to a broad audience, from nontechnical users pushing together dynamic Web experiences to coders sharing Windows apps. Users write their Popfly blocks in JavaScript and use AJAX, DHTML or Silverlight for the user interface, Microsoft said. A Block Builder SDK includes pre-built blocks and source code, as well as tools for writing custom blocks, according to Microsoft.

Popfly doesn't provide any support for server-side processing, nor does it support Silverlight 1.1, which includes a version of the Common Language Runtime for more robust application delivery. Still, Popfly should help Microsoft counter recent mashup rollouts, such as Yahoo Pipes, while providing a vehicle for promoting Silverlight uptake.

Do you plan to get on the Silverlight bandwagon? E-mail me at

Posted by Michael Desmond on 05/23/2007 at 1:15 PM

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