Microsoft donates its 'Mayhem' open-source scripting application to Outercurve Foundation

The Microsoft Research-developed Mayhem scripting technology is the latest open-source app the Redmond company is donating to the Outercurve Foundation.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

The Outercurve Foundation is adding a Microsoft Research-developed Windows application, codenamed "Mayhem," to its roster of open-source projects.

Mayhem is "a scripting system for non-programmers which allows users to interconnect services and devices within and beyond the Windows ecosystem," according to the Outercurve press release. Microsoft researchers are demonstrating Mayhem at the company's TechFest research fair on campus this week.

Mayhem is the first project in what Outercurve is calling the "Innovators Gallery." Microsoft donated the technology, but Outercurve will be the organization looking to increase individual and corporate community participation around it, going forward.

The goal of Mayhem is to allow ordinary users to interconnect all the different services and devices to perform custom tasks. Outercurve officials cited as an example connecting an alarm clock and a coffee maker.

"Any interconnected device could communicate with any other through simple trigger events (if the alarm clock rings) and reactions (then start the coffee maker.) Unlike writing a program, the user simply selects an event and a reaction, and then turns on the connection between the devices. No code, app or programming required," they said.

Other possible examples of applications of Mayhem (supplied to me by Outercurve):

  • Use your cell phone to control your PowerPoint presentation - e.g., advance to the next slide in your presentation when you wave your hand.
  • Receive an email reminder to winterize your house when the temperature drops below freezing.
  • Automatically update your Facebook status when the weather changes.
  • Add an auto-save feature to a program that doesn't have one.
  • Pause a video automatically when you leave the room. Chase your cat off the couch automatically.
  • Receive a text message when your physical mail arrives.

The Mayhem developer preview is available for download now. Outercurve is running  a "Make Your Own Mayhem" contest to encourage the development of new add-ons to Mayhem. Deadline for submissions is midnight (PT) on April 30, 2012, with more than $5,000 in prizes up for grabs.

Microsoft spun off the not-for-profit open-source Codeplex Foundation group in 2009. In 2010, that group took the new name "Outercurve Foundation."

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