Archive for March 2010
Those that have followed my blogs for a while may know that I have a slightly banal interest in Windows Live and, more specifically, the Live Services developer platform’; if that doesn’t sound interesting to you then stop reading now.
My interest mainly stems from the Live Mesh technology that was announced a couple of years ago and the data synchronisation platform API that underpins it; that platform is called the Live Framework or LiveFX for short. At the Professional Developer’s Conference (PDC) 2008 Microsoft made LiveFX available to the public as a Tech Preview and I spent some time learning to use it and also built a few test apps on it too. In August 2009 an announcement came that that tech preview was getting shut down:
"At the Professional Developer Conference 2008, we gave the developer community access to the technical preview of the Live Framework. The Live Framework is core to our vision of providing you with a consistent programming interface. Now we are working to integrate existing services, controls and the Live Framework into the next release of Windows Live. Your feedback continues to help us build the best possible offerings for Windows Live users, for you and for your customers. "
Since then news on LiveFX has disappeared save for a throwaway session at PDC09 and I was hoping that news was going to appear at this week’s MIX conference but nothing was forthcoming. Instead though today I stumbled upon an unannounced portal for future LiveFX applications on Microsoft’s Azure portal at http://live.azure.com. Check it out:
I consider this to be very good news. This Azure portal was built after the LiveFX tech preview was decommissioned so seeing Live Services existing so prominently alongside Microsoft’s other cloud efforts like Windows Azure and SQL Azure vindicates my early investment in the platform and gives me hope that we’re going to see something get released very very soon. I believe that the potential uses for this platform are extremely compelling and I’m looking forward to trying some out in the near future. I am also expecting LiveFX to have a heavy dependency on the OData protocol that I talked about yesterday in my post OData.org updated – gives clues about future sql azure enhancements so you can tell where my interest in that stems from.
In case you’re wondering the projects that you see listed above (Basic List Sample, JT-proj etc…) are projects that I built on the old Tech Preview platform so clearly that stuff has not gone for good which is also good news; not just because it means I’ll have access to the code I wrote before but I also assume it means that LiveFX won’t have changed much since its tech preview incarnation.
I know there are other LiveFX buffs out there and hopefully this news reaches some of them. If you are one of them the please put a comment below and let me know your thoughts!
Two years ago Microsoft announced Live Mesh, a product offering that synchronised files between multiple devices and the cloud. It has since garnered a lot of interest and is is expected (by me anyway) to be rolled into Windows Live in the upcoming wave 4 release.
Since Live Mesh was first announced I have been telling anyone that would listen (which is practically no-one) that the real story about it was not the file-syncing application but actually the underlying data synchronisation platform that Live Mesh was built upon. The platform has had a few names over the past two years including the Live Framework (the name I generally use), the Mesh Operating Environment, the Live Operating Environment and most recently at PDC09 the audience API. The promise of Live Framework was that it would be able to synchronise any piece of data between disparate devices and thus provide developers a new paradigm on which to build and distribute their apps.
Without those apps though this was a fairly difficult story to tell and with Live Mesh and the Live Framework in a seemingly eternal beta the interest has waned over the past couple of years. That has changed in the last twenty four hours however due to video currently doing the rounds on the web and which has caught the attention of Engadget and Gizmodo and the imaginations of their readership. Here’s the video:
In this demo Eric Rudder plays a game on his phone and then picks up an XBox controller and plays the same game picking up from exactly the same point that he finished at on the phone. How did the XBox know where to pick the game up from? Well, its because that information was synced from his phone to his XBox and I’d bet any money that the technology used to do that was the Live Framework.
Here, two years on, we have a simple demo that shows how powerful the Live Framework could be. Eric Rudder says in the video:
I really think the best is yet to come
and I wholeheartedly agree. The Live Framework will power a new breed of apps where our data moves with us from device to device.
I am hoping that the new Live Framework will be a big part of the forthcoming announcements at MIX10 which starts in eight days time. I shall be watching.