Popfly: Microsoft wanted to have a Youtube of all creations

An ambitious and innovating initiative of Microsoft: create the Youtube of computer creation, a universal space of exchange with the participation of all.

July 17 2009 - Update: Popfly should be closed on August 24, 2009.

Conformant to the intention of Microsoft to change the world of the Web with blow of new technologies, and perhaps also to thwart the growing influence of Google.
The idea of popfly is ambitious because it relates to all fields of computer creation: mashup, robotics, games, Web applications, etc. To extend the space of exchange to any public, the site will provide online design tools, making it possible to create easily a page-project without programming. One will be able in particular to connect Web services without any code and to create remix from the work of others.
Works could be noted and commented on by visitors, it is thus the fusion of many innovations of Web 2.0 in a same website.

Popfly is composed of four things:

1) A hosting of the same type as the sites of blogs, but adapted to creations with a space of storage (currently 25 megas).
2) A community, a social network like Technorati, YouTube, etc.
3) Online tools such as those that Google proposes.
4) An ecosystem of websites.

Who is concerned by Popfly

When seeing small ducks on the site of Microsoft, one wonders which is the aimed public precisely ;)
According to Microsoft, Popfly is intended non programmers (that is compatible with small ducks), or to programmers (that is not compatible), in fact any person having designed something on a computer, and which wants to make it known, and to share it with others, and of course to visitors who will be able to note and criticize.
All domains are concerned: XBox, robotics, Web applications, mods of games, mashups, etc.

Which interest for Net surfers?

There are no limits with the possibilities of popfly, like there are not in Second Life, that became a virtual world with a real economic activity.
In addition to the share of works, it will be possible to accomplish commercial projects and to make known them on the exchange space.
Websites will also take part in an ecosystem, in other words their activities will combine and depend ones on others starting from the site popfly, the core system.

Online tools

These tools provided on the site of Microsoft are used at the same time for design and online sharing of works.
The main tool is Popfly Creator. It is composed of several components:
- Mashup Designer. Allows to create pages of mashups by combining Web services, and that visually.
- Block Builder SDK. A development framework.
- Popfly Explorer is an add-on for the RAD, rapid software development tool, Visual Studio Express, which adds command (see image on the right) making it possible to share creations on the site. It will be also possible to put directly online a project of Visual Studio Express.
- Expression. It is envisaged to use the Expression software later on to create components.
- Silverlight 1.0. The version 1.1 could be recognized further.
- Popfly Space. Community space: to host a creation or a remix, to mark a work and give it a score, to add comments.

You will have on the site a page project where you develop a design. Click just on "Share" to share it with the community on the Popfly site. Or click on "Embed" to put it on other sites.

Some technique

Popfly is compatible with Ajax, Silverlight and XAML to describe an interface, GIF, JPEG, png, MP3 or WMV.


They are the components offered by the site to create projects.
Blocks are written in Javascript and support Ajax, Silverlight and XAML.
Blocks have an interface, like any library of function, with input parameters and output. Thus one can connect them like the objects of programming language.
Each block has also an XML metafile which describes it and its functionalities.
Popfly is extensible, you can create and add your own blocks as well as accompanying documents. The Block Builder SDK makes it possible to build its own blocks.


In addition to the native ASP Ajax library it will be possible to integrate others frameworks, provided that they are purely JavaScript, and does not require server-side code.
Contrary to the current XMLHttpRequest specification which is limited to a single domain, a cross-domain feature is added, one will be able to obtain data from other sites with the getText and getXML functions.

The popfly name

The project was initially called "Microsoft Visual Mashup Creator Express", with the subtitle: "May 2007 Community Tech Preview Internet Edition" but was popularized under the codename Springfield.
To find a more convivial name, suggestions was called, a word was found that has achieved the unanimity: popfly, that evokes as the logo shows it, the plastic bird.

How to take part

Popfly is currently active but in private circle, however you can register to be informed of events and the opening to the public.
You are able also to let your website entering into an ecosystem, it is possible to contact Microsoft as of now (see the FAQ for e-mail addresses).

Last news

A concurrent for Popfly: Facebook
As soon as the new of Popfly was known, concurrents have reacted. Facebook is a social networking website with more than 25 millions users. It has just announced the availability of a service of hosting of projects with free online tools, such as Microsoft. Lot or partners are declared including Amazon and Microsoft itself! The applications or services created may be hosted on Facebook or a personal website.
(May 27, 2007)

Popfly will be closed on August 24, 2009. (July 17, 2009)

Popfly.com is closed.