On the back of Mix '06 and Microsoft's big Web push, the Redmond company has just released a new Development Center as part of MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) - this one for Windows Live.
The new Dev Center This gives developers a platform on which to build Windows Live web apps encourages developers to build web applications and mashups, using (of course) Windows Live. A reminder that Windows Live is Microsoft's brand name for a growing set of web-based products and services for consumers. There are thought to be as many as 50 such products that will be released under the Windows Live umbrella. The new Dev Center will be the base for developers of Windows Live products and services:
"The Windows Live Developer Center on MSDN is your one stop shop for the Windows Live Platform, including information on getting started with Windows Live services, latest documentation and APIs, access to community areas and relevant blogs, and announcements of future releases and innovations. [...] Simply put, our goal is to open Windows Live services to create shared opportunity for developers and businesses."
With the new Dev Center, the emphasis is on ensuring developers have a stable and rich Microsoft platform on which to build web apps. APIs are the main tool and Microsoft is pushing theirs as "open, easily accessible APIs".
It's also noticeable that online business models and advertising are an important part of Windows Live. Microsoft AdCenter, in partnership with Kanoodle, is being pitched to developers as a way for them to "start direct monetization of their applications". The revenue split is 80/20 (developer/Microsoft), after deducting Kanoodle's fees.
The change in branding of MSN services and applications to Windows Live is touched on in the welcome page, with Microsoft assuring developers that current MSN APIs will continue on as per normal - only under the Windows Live banner. Microsoft states:
"Each MSN service or application that transitions to a Windows Live service or application is simply a version change. The name change will not impact compatibility beyond normal versioning issues as documented with each release."
Finally, the Windows Live Ideas page is where all the latest Live beta product releases are featured.
If you're a developer on the Microsoft platform, or curious to see what all the fuss is about as Microsoft embraces the Web big time, then the Windows Live Developer Center is a good place to explore. Once again, Gates and co are demonstrating that support for developers is crucial to their plans. You could say that Microsoft is welcoming developers with open API arms.