Apparently Microsoft has another site for sharing source code besides CodePlex. I learned about Popfly Explorer today and decided to take a look. First though, what about CodePlex?
From the CodePlex site
CodePlex is Microsoft’s open source project hosting web site. You can use CodePlex to create new projects to share with the world, join others who have already started their own projects, or use the applications on this site and provide feedback.
CodePlex permits developers to use a handful of tools to check out the source code.
If you are a developer or coordinator on a project than the following clients are available for free and can be used with CodePlex:
- TortoiseSVN: A GUI source control client that integrates into Windows Explorer and provides edit-merge-commit and offline support.
- CodePlex Client: A command line source control client that provides edit-merge-commit and offline support.
- Teamprise: A GUI source control client that can run on Windows, Linux, or Macintosh and supports integration with Eclipse.
- Team Explorer: A GUI source control client that integrates with Visual Studio 2005.
- TF.exe: A command line source control client that comes with Team Explorer.
- MSSCCI Provider: A MSSCCI provider that enables source control integration with MSSCCI enabled IDE’s such as Visual Studio 2003.
Overall CodePlex is a nice replacement for the ill-fated GotDotNet site. CodePlex is built on top of Microsoft Team Foundation Server. GotDotNet got the ax earlier this year.
Gotdotnet when it launched in 2000 was a symbol, created by an upstart team, to show the potential of .NET and a publishing mechanism that bypassed MSDN a bit to get the latest beta code and information out there. It pioneered .NET sample repositories and employee BlogX blogs and collaborative code-sharing workspaces all living on the .NET framework. It went nuts and took off like a rocket.
What is Popfly Explorer?
Popfly is a Microsoft site for creating web stuff. Web pages and mashups are the two most popular types of web things you can build here.
Popfly is the fun, easy way to build and share mashups, gadgets, Web pages, and applications. Popfly consists of a set of online visual tools for building Web pages and mashups, and a social network of creators where you can host, share, rate, comment and even remix creations from other Popfly users.
Popfly Explorer is a plug-in for Visual Studio 2005/2008 that lets you upload your VS projects to the Popfly site and share them with other Popfly users. Like CodePlex you can use Popfly to store your project files on Microsoft servers instead of paying ~$3000 for a Team Foundation Server license.
Installing Popfly Explorer
I ran the installer after downloading from the Popfly site. Since I was expecting this to be a simple utility the install seemed to take forever. It took at least 15 minutes to finish.
Loading a project
Once the install was done, I started Visual Studio 2008. Sure enough, there is a new Popfly menu available.
I opened the Popfly Explorer window and was prompted to enter my Popfly credentials. You must have a Popfly account. I’ve had an account since last Spring. At that time you had to ask to be a Beta user. I’m not sure if that is still the case.
Next, I clicked the Find button. You can search by project name or username.
Yesterday I posted about the upcoming Word to FlowDocument converter due out later this month. Michael Scherotter, the converter developer, is having a LiveMeeting about his new tool and he told me that he has the source code available on Popfly. Hence my installing Popfly Explorer. To find Michael’s project I need to search for his profile.
There it is. I clicked the link, and five seconds later had the project open in Visual Studio. Nice!
What do I think of Popfly Explorer? So far, with less than an hour of experience, I like it. It was seamless to download the project. Time will tell.