For the past few months, I’ve been toiling away in secret with a small team (only about 15 people, which is tiny by Microsoft standards) on a new project that we’re finally ready to unveil. I’m very excited to introduce you to Microsoft Popfly, a fantastically innovative new web application that allows you to easily create rich, compelling mashups without writing a single line of code. Ever seen Twittervision? You can build it in Popfly in 45 seconds by dragging and dropping web services onto a Silverlight-based designer. Popfly even has Intellisense!
A while ago, I was giving a talk on the user experience enhancements that I was driving for the Visual Studio “Orcas” release here in Microsoft’s Developer Division. We’d run into some technical difficulties with projecting, and so I had a few minutes to kill. I ended up chatting with the next speaker—a guy named John Montgomery from the Non-Professional Tools team—about the work he was doing in the web space. It sounded interesting, and I scheduled some time to meet with him and get a demo of the application. It only took about 30 seconds before I asked him for a job.
I’ve been on the team for about four months, now, but I’m still blown away by what you can do with Popfly with basically zero effort. Don’t take my word for it, though, instead you should go watch our screencast (WMV version | Quicktime version). It provides a great 15 minute overview of the capabilities of the site.
The ease of creating mashups using Popfly is really something to see. In addition to the Twitter map app I referred to above, there are a ton of other things you can do today, too: Want to create a Vista sidebar gadget that shows off pictures from Flickr? 30 seconds, worst case. Need to relieve some stress? We have a whack-a-mole game that you can customize, too.
In the event that we don’t have a web service wrapper (called a “block” in Popfly parlance) that you’re looking for, we also offer an extensibility model for you to create your own blocks. This is one of my favorite features in the site, given that Programmable Web currently lists 436 separate APIs.