Blueprints for Microsoft Software-plus-Services

As part of Microsoft's move to SaaS, or Microsoft's coined term "Software-plus-Services" (SpS), Microsoft's enabling developers through something called Software-plus-Services Blueprints. Blueprints help developers connect online applications to interactive applications SharePoint and Microsoft Office Outlook. Blueprints are intended for applications with interactivity or which play some role in the cloud, like media, e-commerce, business office applications, mobility, etc., and allow you to plug into the functionality of Microsoft products. Blueprints are the "plus-Services" of Microsoft's SpS as far as it relates to traditionally installed applications.

Blueprints are comprised of several things. First, they are software frameworks (offered as open source on CodePlex, Microsoft's open source repository site), which include code examples, walk-throughs and other stuff to help you tie online functionality into Microsoft's technology. The Software-plus-Services Blueprints Manager - VS2008 is a Visual Studio plug-in that connects you with available Blueprints and brings them right into the Visual Studio development environment. Here's a video from Microsoft's Michael Lehman. Michael hosted focus groups at last week's TechEd about Blueprints and how they fit into Microsoft's software factory efforts.

If you are a current Microsoft app developer or someone considering apps that might tie into Outlook and SharePoint, SpS Blueprints are something you need to know about. I suspect if Blueprints catch on and developers find them useful, we'll see this extended to other Microsoft technologies. Undoubtedly, there's no accident that Blueprints are directed at Outlook (Exchange) and SharePoint, two products Microsoft is expanding to include through Microsoft's own hosting services.

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