Microsoft to provide Facebook-Toolkit-like add-on for Windows Live developers

Microsoft is readying a toolkit that will add Windows Live development support to existing Microsoft tools, ranging from Visual Studio, to its Expression suite. The new toolkit, due out in November, is going to look and work a lot like the Facebook Developer Toolkit that Microsoft announced in May.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is planning on fielding in November a set of new tools that will support Windows Live developers.

The forthcoming Windows Live toolbox kit will include add-on tools that will work with Visual Studio 2008, the Expression family of designer tools and the Express hobbyist tools. the first deliverable will support Visual Studio 2008 and possibly also Visual Studio 2005.

Microsoft is planning to officially roll out the Visual studio Toolkit for Windows Live simultaneously at the Dev Connections show in Las Vegas and TechEd Europe. (My bet is the rollout will be of a beta of the toolkit, though I don't know this for sure.)

LiveSide.Net obtained some preliminary details about the new toolkit during the recent Mix UK conference. Microsoft execs told LiveSide that the new tools are going to look and work a lot like the Facebook Developer Toolkit that Microsoft announced in May 2007. In fact, the new Visual Studio Toolkit for Windows Live is being developed by Microsoft's Doug Handler, who did a lot of the work on the Facebook toolkit -- in terms of using a drag-drop-to-canvas model, the Softies told LiveSide.)

Microsoft partner Clarity Consulting also is involved in the development of the new Windows Live toolkit in some way, Microsoft execs told the LiveSiders.

(I've asked both Microsoft and Clarity Consulting for more information. No word back so far.)

Update on September 18: A Microsoft spokesperson responded with the official name of the tool:

"Windows Live Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio will work with Visual Studio 2008 and includes support for Silverlight. It does not currently support Expression Studio and, as Astoria is still in early stages of development, it is not supported in this release."

During the past couple of years, Microsoft has been working to create a more cohesive developer platform to get more developers interested in writing Windows Live services. The company has made available a set of programming interfaces for a number of its Live services. It offers them in the form of a Windows Live software development kit (SDK).

It sounds like the new Visual Studio Tookit for Windows Live is just one of several November announcements on Microsoft's plate. A number of other Windows Live Wave 2 services are due for announcement then, as well. Microsoft France told press last week to expect rollouts of Windows Live Writer, Windows Live parental controls, Windows Live Events, Windows Live Skydrive, Windows Live Messenger 8.5, Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Search this November.

Microsoft is expected to talk about its new Windows Live Search engine next week at its "Searchification" event in Silicon Valley.

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