Microsoft rolls out new developer toys: Bing#, Gestalt and more

While Windows 7 is stealing most of the headlines this week, Microsoft -- and one of its MVPs -- are also rolling out some new developer toys.

While Windows 7 is stealing most of the headlines this week, Microsoft -- and one of its MVPs -- also are rolling out some new developer toys.

Bing# (Bing Sharp) is one of these. (Thanks to Softie Scott Hanselman for the tweet.)  As described on Microsoft's CodePlex repository site:

"Bing Sharp is a C# API that wraps the Bing API 2.x XML requests. It provides an object model for interacting with the Bing Api so you do not have to deal with the XML, JSON or Soap."

Bing# shares a naming convention with a number of Microsoft's growing stable of "Sharp" tools. Others include C#, Spec#, F# and X#. Bing is the renamed and updated version of Microsoft's search engine that was formerly known as Live Search.

(Update: I have modified this post to rectify my error in describing Bing# as a Microsoft-developed technology. In fact, Bing# is the brainchild of  Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Joseph Guadagno.)

Another new developer-focused "project" -- this one from the Mix Online folks -- is "Gestalt." Gestalt is a library that allows coders to use Python and Ruby as alternatives to the JavaScript language in building (X)HTML pages on PCs or Macs.

In chatting with Microsoft Principal Program Manager Hanselman, I learned that Silverlight is part of Gestalt.

"Gestalt lets developers plug in different languages that make developers happy," he said. "It's done with the Silverlight engine, the run-time environment. Other developers can extend it to support other languages," Hanselman said.

A beta of the Gestalt code and related tools are available for download under the Microsoft Public License from the VisitMix site.

Microsoft also released this week the final version of its Expression 3 designer tools. (Microsoft delivered the RC of Expression 3 earlier this month.)

Expression 3 adds a couple of new features Microsoft showed off earlier this year, specifically SketchFlow in Expression Blend and SuperPreview in Expression Web.

Prices for the various Expression 3 tools are on the Expression purchase page.