Microsoft made available for download a first Community Technology Preview (CTP) test build of a toolkit for building applications and Web sites incorporating Windows Live services using Visual Studio.
The new toolkit, dubbed "Windows Live Tools for Visual Studio," include a number of controls developers can use to create applications that integrate Windows Live facilities. Included in the first CTP are a contacts control, and ID Login Control, an ID Loginview Control and Silverlight Steaming Media Control. The toolkit will support Visual Studio 2008, initially.
When Microsoft first shared its plans for the Windows Live toolkit in September, officials said to expect the new add-ons to work a lot like the Facebook Developer Toolkit that Microsoft announced in May 2007, given that the new Visual Studio Toolkit for Windows Live was being developed by Microsoft’s Doug Handler, who did a lot of the work on the Facebook toolkit.
Microsoft also unveiled this week a couple of other new deliverables of potential interest to developers interested in Windows Live software and services. Microsoft made available a beta version of the Windows Live Messenger application-programming interface (API), as well as the Spaces Photo API that deals with publishing photos inside Windows Live Spaces, Microsoft's social-networking/blogging platform.
Microsoft made these Windows-Live developer-focused announcements at the TechEd Developers conference in Barcelona this week. The downloads are available from the Microsoft Connect download site.
In a slide deck outlining the announcements, Angus Logan, a Technical Product Manager for the Windows Live Platform, summarized Microsoft's intentions by saying the "Windows Live platform is opened up. We are providing the tools you use."
It's surprising to me how little Microsoft is doing to publicize the Windows Live APIs and tools that it is making available to developers. Instead, the Redmondians are letting Google steal all the thunder -- while simultaneously hoping to siphon a little of Google's momentum by choosing a "Fire" based name for the upcoming Microsoft Silverlight developers' workshop...Microsoft Silverlight Fire Starter vs. Google's OpenSocial Campfire.