Building The Microsoft Mesh

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Microsoft has dominated the desktop market with Windows since the very first PC’s – a solid run of almost three decades. Despite a late start and some tactics that lead to a lengthy DOJ trial, Microsoft also has the majority of market share in the browser market with Internet Explorer. With the advent of smartphones, Microsoft released Windows Mobile and through device manufacturers such as HTC has managed to gain a foothold in the mobile handset market.

These three markets, along with servers, have formed the pillars of Microsoft upon which one of the worlds most profitable companies has been built. In technology applications come and go but the platforms tend to stick – so there is a very methodical process currently taking place within companies such as Adobe, Google, Apple etc. to build the next new web platform. That next new platform will supplant operating systems, browsers and all else and present a uniform interface across devices and systems to both developers and users.

That new platform at Microsoft is called The Mesh, a standards-based P2P network for communication between devices, applications and identities. The network is built around making each node both a client and a server, and running web services between them. The web services are simple, RSS and the Atom Publishing Protocol, with the foundations based on Feedsync, a protocol Ray Ozzie initially developed that added list extensions to RSS. Feeds of feeds are represented in RSS and a protocol similar to OPML, and there is auto-discovery built in, RESTful URL schemas for addressing users, objects and properties and a services discovery protocol.

The client in Mesh is a local proxy, which synchs and establishes all communication back to the server or to other peers. All local applications are built to point to localhost, the application itself doesn’t need to know where or how it is running, The Mesh takes care of that. Applications can be moved from web to desktop while a user’s settings and profile remain the same. You can click ‘open’ in a web application and see your files from all your different PC’s and devices. You can login at a machine anywhere and have all your data and your profile available to you – and you can push that profile into any application or network that supports the same standard protocols.

What we are talking about with The Mesh is the platform, not the application that many are logging into today to try out. There is a clear distinction here – what you see with file synching and adding machines are implementations of applications on the The Mesh network. The Mesh is a lot bigger than file synching – it’s about detaching users, files and applications from both hardware and operating systems. It is about having all users, files and applications being able to inter-communicate and inter-operate.

The open standards and source communities have been developing and discussing similar schemes in the past few years, involving data portability, feed standards and identity standards. The difference with Mesh is that Microsoft has raced ahead and actually built it all. This is an original vision that began in Microsoft with the arrival of Ray Ozzie, and while there are naysayers within Microsoft itself, the open standards and web communities should at least recognize what is being built here and more importantly – how it is being built.

Update Must-see video demo of development on Mesh

http://channel9.msdn.com/posts/Dan/399153/player/
Ori Amiga: Programming the Mesh

  • PXLated

    “actually built it” – where is it, is it actually available and being used?

  • PXLated

    “actually built it” – where is it, is it actually available and being used?

  • http://www.techcrunchit.com/ Nik Cubrilovic

    mesh.com

    its been live for weeks

  • http://www.techcrunchit.com/ Nik Cubrilovic

    mesh.com

    its been live for weeks

  • PXLated

    But isn’t that all just sync? And, no Mac client so it doesn’t exist :-)

  • PXLated

    But isn’t that all just sync? And, no Mac client so it doesn’t exist :-)

  • http://www.techcrunchit.com/ Nik Cubrilovic

    synching files is an application of the mesh

    you gotta split the apps and platform

    there is an open source client beint built, and MSFT said they are doing a Mac client. I connected my Mac via Parallels + XP :)

  • http://www.techcrunchit.com/ Nik Cubrilovic

    synching files is an application of the mesh

    you gotta split the apps and platform

    there is an open source client beint built, and MSFT said they are doing a Mac client. I connected my Mac via Parallels + XP :)

  • PXLated

    “you gotta split the apps and platform”
    Am aware of that but with Gillmor and all the Ray Ozzie is god, Mesh is the saviour of Microsoft stuff, and now you, I need to see more than just a sync app to get a feel for reality. ;-)

  • PXLated

    “you gotta split the apps and platform”
    Am aware of that but with Gillmor and all the Ray Ozzie is god, Mesh is the saviour of Microsoft stuff, and now you, I need to see more than just a sync app to get a feel for reality. ;-)

  • http://rahulkumar.posterous.com Rahul Kumar

    Well PXLated….if you want to get a feel for reality, you might want to buy yourself tickets to Microsoft PDC 2008. One of the sessions seems perfect for what you are looking for:

    Live Platform: Building Mesh Applications
    The Live Mesh cloud services and client platform provide powerful FeedSync-based data synchronization capabilities, device P2P and cloud-relay communications, pub-sub infrastructure, and an extensibility model for applications. This session describes how you can take advantage of the Mesh developer platform, protocols, and APIs to mesh-enable your existing and future web services and client applications-allowing you to target unique new scenarios and reach new users.

    microsoftpdc.com

  • http://rahulkumar.posterous.com Rahul Kumar

    Well PXLated….if you want to get a feel for reality, you might want to buy yourself tickets to Microsoft PDC 2008. One of the sessions seems perfect for what you are looking for:

    Live Platform: Building Mesh Applications
    The Live Mesh cloud services and client platform provide powerful FeedSync-based data synchronization capabilities, device P2P and cloud-relay communications, pub-sub infrastructure, and an extensibility model for applications. This session describes how you can take advantage of the Mesh developer platform, protocols, and APIs to mesh-enable your existing and future web services and client applications-allowing you to target unique new scenarios and reach new users.

    microsoftpdc.com

  • http://www.techcrunchit.com/ Nik Cubrilovic

    PXLated: I pinged them to ask if I can build some demos and show them here.

  • http://www.techcrunchit.com/ Nik Cubrilovic

    PXLated: I pinged them to ask if I can build some demos and show them here.

  • http://www.techcrunchit.com/ Nik Cubrilovic

    and thanks for pointing out that I agree with Gillmor on something. I wont be able to sleep tonight.

  • http://www.techcrunchit.com/ Nik Cubrilovic

    and thanks for pointing out that I agree with Gillmor on something. I wont be able to sleep tonight.

  • Steve Gillmor

    Uh oh Cubrilovic must be smoking some of my pre-2K stash.

  • Steve Gillmor

    Uh oh Cubrilovic must be smoking some of my pre-2K stash.

  • http://www.techcrunchit.com/ Nik Cubrilovic

    still haven’t found it – the clues you have given me are getting me nowhere

  • http://www.techcrunchit.com/ Nik Cubrilovic

    still haven’t found it – the clues you have given me are getting me nowhere

  • Andy

    I think the OS is dead argument is overstated here and by many comentators. Google for mobile needs an OS (Andriod). Apple is gaining ground through devices specific to OSX. Microsofts current key effort appears to be in Silverlight and WPF rich client apps. All need OS and hardware acceleration for fancy 3D graphics. Long live the OS!

  • Andy

    I think the OS is dead argument is overstated here and by many comentators. Google for mobile needs an OS (Andriod). Apple is gaining ground through devices specific to OSX. Microsofts current key effort appears to be in Silverlight and WPF rich client apps. All need OS and hardware acceleration for fancy 3D graphics. Long live the OS!

  • http://www.techcrunchit.com/ Nik Cubrilovic

    Andy sure, but the OS becomes a commodity, just like a HAL

  • http://www.techcrunchit.com/ Nik Cubrilovic

    Andy sure, but the OS becomes a commodity, just like a HAL

  • http://www.1to1french.com french tutoring

    Mesh is definitely the future! Remember it is a platform on which you and I will be able to develop our own applications! Imagine your app using mesh platform to add sync functionality that adds brand new user experience of connected/sync’ed application!!
    User saves setting in your application on one machine and he never has to worry about setting them again on another!! Or say, user’s data from your custom application gets saved directly on cloud which can be accessed from everywhere! (of course with his credentials and permission)..

    It is going to change desktop applications work and developed today!

    PS: I’ve been using Live Mesh Tech Preview (not the SDK, just one application that they released) from some time and its awesome!~! No doubt!

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