Microsoft open-sources a chunk of its Channel 9 code
Proving its refreshingly serious intent to become a truly contributing member of the open source community, Microsoft this week is releasing part of the engine for its own development blogs.
A recent incarnation of MSDN's very popular Channel 9 blog (one of Microsoft's best ideas in its history) remodels its ASP.NET infrastructure to take advantage of Microsoft's model-view-controller architecture. ASP.NET MVC is the system where the software components responsible for creating, assembling, and requesting data are kept separate from one another, resulting in simpler, faster code.
Yesterday, the company took a bold -- and many would add, unprecedented, at least for Microsoft -- step in advancing this architecture, by releasing into the open source community a basic edition of the engine that runs Channel 9, along with its source code. It's being called Oxite, it's described as in alpha, and it can be used as a simple content management system for individuals to post and maintain their own blogs.
"Oxite provides you with a strong foundation you can build upon," Microsoft's introductory page reads today, "[with] pingbacks, trackbacks, anonymous or authenticated commenting (with optional moderation), gravatar support, RSS feeds at any page level, support for MetaWebLog API (think Windows Live Writer integration made easy), Web admin panel, support for Open Search format allowing users to search your site using their browser's search box, and more -- so, you can spend time on designing a great experience."
Anyone wanting to host his own blog on Oxite for now will need Windows on the back end, along with support for ASP.NET -- which in and of itself may be too much to expect of a hosted service. If you've got the servers and the bandwidth for yourself, however, you need as a minimum Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition (a free, scaled down edition of Visual Studio 2008 specifically for Web development), along with the basic ASP.NET platform and SQL Server 2008 Express Edition. Microsoft Web Platform Installer is perhaps the simplest way for a new developer to obtain and install these principal components.
Despite the effort the company has evidently spent coming up with a promotional approach, it doesn't look like Oxite will become a "product" for the company, even as FOSS. This as evidenced by a comment posted yesterday by lead developer Erik Porter, who told one Oxite user, "We have no plans to make this anything but a really good developer sample that should be able to run any site you want. That said, this is a community project now and if the community decides to take it a different direction, we won't stop it."