Archive for October 2008
There’s loads of information coming out of this week’s Microsoft Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles…Windows 7, Office Web Apps and Windows Azure seem to be the most newsworthy.
Of most interest to me though is news about the Live Framework, this is basically an API that allows developers to interact with the data that has previously only been accessible via Live Mesh and Windows Live Services. I’ve been lucky enough (thanks Alistair and Stuart) to have had access to the Live Framework for the past few months but have been gagged by a Non-Disclosure agreement – well I’ve just been told that the gag has been removed and I can now speak freely about this, something I’ve been dying to do.
Of principle interest to most of the people that read my blog is that all the data that Microsoft holds about us from its various Live Services is going to be made available via the Live Framework. So, the Live Framework now gives developers access to our contacts, calendar, photos, profile … stuff that previously has only been available at the various properties like http://contacts.live.com, http://calendar.live.com, http://<spaces-id>spaces.live.com/photos, http://<spaces-id>.spaces.live.com/recent respectively.
Let’s take a look at the Live Framework (or LiveFX as it is becoming known) overview diagram:
There’s a lot in there but I want to draw your attention to the box that I’ve outlined in red. You can see listed in there:
- Groups (soon to be released – I’ll be talking about Live Groups much more soon as well)
- Folders (hmm…interesting)
Do some of those look familiar? You betcha! The information that Microsoft holds about you from their various Live Services will now be available to developers via LiveFX if (and I need to emphasize this strongly) you allow that data to be accessed! More on this later.
At the time of writing the only sections in that list that I know nothing about are Geospatial and Search but I am endeavouring to find out about them and when I’ve got anything to share I’ll be sure and let you know. Geospatial in particular intrigues me whilst Search might be a pointer to some of the ideas I postulated in Mesh’s hidden agenda.
That’s all for now; I’ve been dying to talk about this stuff for months and now its here I finally can. Expect more ramblings from me about LiveFX in the coming weeks but in the meantime, sit back and think about the wealth of apps that are going to get built that can leverage this data. The mind boggles quite frankly and I’ll be trying to un-boggle mine on this blog and my more developer-focused blog in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
Of late I have started to wonder what has become of Windows Live Alerts. I personally think its a hugely undervalued service– a mechanism that potentially any 3rd party could hook into in order to deliver notifications to…well…potentially anyone with an email address.
But everything has been very quiet. Firstly, the last blog entry Windows Live Expo Buddy Alerts was on 2nd July. Spaces doesn’t tell you in what year (grrr…) but judging by the content it wasn’t 2008 so the blog has been dormant for at least 16 months. Secondly, Live Alerts isn’t one of the services listed at http://www.windowslive.com.
Until today I’d begun to think that Live Alerts was going to be wound down until I heard something that helped to explain why the Live Alerts team has been so quiet for so long. Live Alerts is part of Windows Azure! In a Channel9 interview today Windows Azure for Developers Azure evangelist Steve Marx, when talking about how Azure users would be notified about anomalies in their hosted service(s), said:
We tie in with Windows Live Alerts ….a really cool service… it provides a platform for generating alerts [from Windows Azure]… Your app can generate an alert from Windows Azure that can be delivered as an email or even a text on your phone.
Interesting stuff. Its great to know that not only is Live Alerts not dead it is well and truly live and kicking and the involvement with Azure partially helps to explain why they have been so quiet for so long. Here’s hoping the blog gets updated soon.
P.S. If you don’t know what Windows Azure is then you have some reading to do. Head to http://www.microsoft.com/azure. Its big. very big.
Spammers piss me off! No really, they’re scumbags; one particularly chatty person left over 50 spam comments on my Live Space this weekend. Deleting them all via your Spaces Home page is a real pain in the neck because each comment requires a round-trip of 4 mouse-clicks and each one results in a new page load – none of which are particularly speedy. Thankfully there’s a little known place from where deleting comments is much much easier.
The URL is http://<spaces-id>.mobile.spaces.live.com. You should replace <spaces-id> with whatever comes at the front of your regular Spaces URL; for example, the page that I go to is http://jamiethomson.mobile.spaces.live.com. When you get there you’ll see something like the following:
Its a very stripped down version of your space that is optimised for a mobile phone but that doesn’t mean that you can’t visit it from a regular computer. Once there you can delete comments to your heart’s content and you’ll find the page load times to be much MUCH quicker than the normal Spaces pages.
Hope that helps.