Microsoft Popfly: Is This The Future of Application Development?


This is a screenshot of a mashup I created today using Microsoft Popfly. Is this the future of application development? Well, short answer, maybe.

It has a long way to go, that is for sure. First off, only services that have “blocks” available are able to be used. There are many services that don’t have blocks, or if they do, they don’t expose their whole API, just a subset. I would like to make a mashup to take my Flickr pictures and put them into Facebook. Yet the Facebook block only has “get” commands.

The application above, I took 3 sources of videos, and filtered their results to “Video Games”, combined the outputs, and then fed it into a video player. Took about 5 minutes. There are probably tons of uses for things like this, but as far as a full fledged application, I don’t think so. One big reason is you are too dependant on other services. There is also the 3rd party blocks that people have created, but you don’t really know what they are doing, once again dependant.

I really like the graphical part of it, it seems cool, makes it easy to get your API keys and such, but I think I would rather stick to coding this myself and knowing what is going on then doing it all graphically.

Here is the final video player


I think that if more and more sites expose API’s, and not just crap API’s, but good API’s then we might see this take off, since it is really easy to make a mashup. For now, it is a good Saturday afternoon goof around 🙂

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By Steve Novoselac

Director of Digital Technology @TrekBikes, Father, Musician, Cyclist, Homebrewer

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