Popfly. How to lose the buzz.
Posted:I remember watching a Channel 9 interview about Popfly with my coworker and former landlord David Young just after the original Facebook F8 Platform Launch back in May, laughing hysterically at a user-interface that used grass as an interface element, but at the same time thinking it was a very cool use of Silverlight as an application platform, instead of a Microsoft reply to Flash. Since that fateful day in May when a Microsoft Vice President of Business Development unveiled Popfly (exactly who should be unveiling a developer tool), I've heard close to absolutely nothing about Popfly, but loads about Silverlight.
Waiting to build a new version of Mono from trunk, I figured I'd check it out again, hoping their ludicrous "private beta" period would have passed, and I could finally use the technology that was unveiled almost 5 whole months ago. Alas, despite having the Silverlight plugin for Safari, popfly.com doesn't support Safari (I thought people wrote cross-platform web pages these days). Admitting my defeat, I popped open my VMWare instance of Windows XP, and Internet Exploder 7, only to discover that yes, Popfly is still invite-only or they're having server difficulties? Despite their about page jokingly referring to themselves as the developers behind products like Microsoft Bob, I'm starting to wonder if they weren't joking, as Popfly's introduction at F8 was either woefully premature or Microsoft decided that a developer environment where you draw lasers in-between boxes that represent stuff is too silly.
All my criticisms aside, the product does look interesting enough for me to be excited about the Popfly session at ReMix Boston '07 in October, if for no other reason than to ask for an invite, and maybe even wtf?
Given the insane amount of buzz around the Facebook Platform, and independent developers struggling to get cool applications into users' hands fast enough, Microsoft screwed up royally on a chance to sow the seeds of the next generation of developers on the web with Microsoft technologies.
Dear 800lb Gorilla,
When you announce something at a tech event that could possibly turn out to be industry changing like the Facebook Platform Launch, actually have the product ready for people to start using, otherwise, why bother?