Microsoft is developing a tool that will allow non-programmers to customize and mash-up various Web 2.0 applications and services, say sources close to the company.
That tool -- now code-named "Springfield," according to one source -- is similar in concept to the recently introduced Yahoo Pipes composite-mashup tool introduced by Yahoo in February. Pipes provides a graphical-user-interace-based interface for building applications that aggregate Web feeds and other Web services.
While I can't confirm this for a fact, I have strong suspicions that "Springfield" is the new codename for the technology formerly known as Microsoft "Tuscany."
The Microsoft Tuscany codename first surfaced over a year ago, just after Microsoft Chief Software Architec Ray Ozzie proclaimed that all Microsoft products, going forward, will have some kind of services and/or Web 2.0-centric component. Tuscany was known to somehow be connected with Microsoft's push to enlist more nonprofessional programmers and hobbyists in its developer ranks. Microsoft subsequently released a number of "Express" versions of its developer and database products, targeted specifically at non-professional programmers. But to date, company officials have declined to discuss Tuscany details.
The Microsoft "Tuscany" codename is dead, but the ideas behind the project are very much alive, said Soma Somasegar, the Corporate Vice President in charge of Microsoft's developer division, during an interview in New York on April 16. Microsoft is still about a month away from going public with details about the technology/strategy, Somasegar said.
I pressed for more specifics about Tuscany, and asked how/if it was related to Boku, Microsoft's recently introduced experimental video-game programming environment for kids,
Somasegar said that Microsoft is looking to have "something for my 14-year-old daughter" that will allow her to create simple mash-ups and customize applications/sites like her MySpace page. He said Microsoft is considering how best to allow nonprofessionals to extend others' code in a simple way and create new mashed-up composite applications in the process.
Not exactly the same as Yahoo's RSS-focused, very techical Pipes mash-up technology. But sounds like Microsoft is mulling some very similar concepts...