Wednesday, May 30, 2007

PopFly Alpha in pictures

The Silverlight-based PopFly "application" from Microsoft that I mentioned last week has started to expand its Alpha program. I received an invitation to join the Alpha sometime last week and I have finally gotten around to checking things out.

My general impression is that PopFly is still very, very Alpha. There are definitely some cool things being done here and there in PopFly, but by and large it is still a novelty for tech geeks to admire. Among the cool features in PopFly is the web-based IntelliSense for the HTML editor. About a year ago I considered building an Ajax-powered "IntelliSense" control for the web to make browser-based HTML/ASP.NET editing more pleasant, but needless to say that project never materialized. Microsoft's Silverlight powered IntrelliSense, though, is right on the money and I look forward to seeing it used in other places on the web.

As for the actual "mash-up creator", the experience is definitely unique for the web. You can drag and drop blocks on to the page (and you actually hear a little sound when you do that - a scary sign of possible "sound abuse" to come as programmers build Silverlight apps) and then visually connect them in a relatively intuitive fashion. The experience is far from polished and even further from appealing to the "average Joe" PopFly claims it's designed for, so I think it will be interesting to see how Microsoft makes this appealing to the "non-professional" developer.

If you have not received your Alpha invite yet (or if you just don't care to take the time), I've created a full screen shot gallery of PopFly for your viewing pleasure. Check it out to see how things look in this early Alpha preview.