Microsoft Tests the Blogging-Tool Waters

Microsoft Tests the Blogging-Tool Waters

Mary Jo Foley

With Google buying Blogger creator Pyra Labs over the weekend, many are wondering when and if Microsoft will take a similar plunge into the Weblog-tools world.

It will come as a surprise to many that, with little fanfare, Microsoft officially entered the blogging-tool space last week. At the VSLive! developer conference, Microsoft unveiled five new sample applications built on top of its ASP.Net scripting environment. One of these five — the ASP.Net Community Starter Kit — is a blog builder.

“You could use this (Kit) to build a Weblog,” confirms Microsoft developer division product manager Shawn Nandi.

The Community Starter Kit consists of application code, templates, documentation and forum-based help. According to Microsoft’s own definition of the kit: “The Community Starter Kit enables you to quickly create a community Web site such as a user group site, a developer resource site, or a news site.”

The kit provides a module for creating polls, for adding user comments to the site and for rating content. It allows you to expose the content of any Community Starter Kit section as a Web service and/or to display the content of an RSS news feed.

Microsoft has used the Community Starter Kit to build some of its own interactive sites, such as its ASP .Net Forums one.

Microsoft is making the Community Starter Kit available as a free download. The company is licensing the product under a new, simplified rendition of Microsoft’s Shared Source agreement.

Nandi says Microsoft is working to get service providers to host Community Starter Kit tools and resulting Web sites. When asked if he had approached the MSN unit on offering them to those interested in building personal Web pages, Nandi said he plans to do so.

AOL has said it is building new community and blogging tools for its membership. Officials with Microsoft’s MSN division are on record as saying they are considering providing similar tools.

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Microsoft Watch.