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Weaving the Windows Live Services into Your Web Site : Page 2

Ready to build a web experience your users will love? Consider Windows Live Services as the building blocks of your new site.

Exploring the Quick Applications
The Windows Live Quick Applications are sample web applications that use Windows Live Services to bring a web scenario to life. Each Quick Application is available in a free source code download that you can customize and use in your own site. The source code includes demos, deployment guides, webcasts, and more. Using this code to develop your own web site is easy. Just download the source code, customize the application to meet your needs, and deploy the finished web site.

Here's a quick overview of several Windows Live Quick Applications.

Tafiti is one of the newest Quick Applications. It mixes Live Search with Silverlight and Windows Live ID to present a highly immersive search experience.

To explore Tafiti, browse to http://tafiti.mslivelabs.com. Enter a search term, browse the results, and drag your favorite hits to the "Shelf," (the area on the right) as seen in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Sample Tafiti Screen: Tafiti integrates Windows Live Search with Silverlight and Windows Live ID to make web research an engaging experience.

The Live Search web service provides Tafiti's search results, which can consist of web results, images, news, book search, and more. You can integrate Live Search into your site using the web service or by inserting a special HTML block in your web page.

Live ID enables two features in Tafiti. When you sign in with a Windows Live ID, Tafiti saves your shelf with your search results. The next time you sign in with your Live ID, Tafiti retrieves the shelf, letting you start researching where you left off.

Tafiti uses Silverlight 1.0, Windows Live ID, and Live Search to present a highly immersive search experience.
Tafiti also uses Live ID when you send the contents of your shelf to a friend via email. Tafiti stores your shelf, associates it with your Live ID, and sends the recipient a hyperlink to the results.

Contoso ISV
Contoso ISV uses several Windows Live Services to build an online Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application. This Quick App glues together Silverlight Streaming, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Alerts, and Virtual Earth to demonstrate a business-focused web application.

Windows Live Messenger enables several features in Contoso ISV. The Windows Live Messenger IM Control drops right into the web site. It lets visitors have instant messaging conversations with Contoso staff without leaving the home page (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Contoso ISV: Contoso ISV shows how to build a site that incorporates the Windows Live Messenger IM control.
Figure 3. Integrating Features:Contoso ISV uses the Windows Live Messenger Activity SDK to integrate Virtual Earth and Windows Live Alerts with Messenger.

Several Windows Live Services come into play when a customer schedules a meeting. Virtual Earth is integrated with Windows Live Messenger to support scheduling an appointment and getting driving directions (see Figure 3). When the sales staff schedules the appointment, the company representative automatically receives a Windows Live Alert notifying them of the new appointment.

Contoso ISV also uses Silverlight Streaming to deliver the video content displayed on the home page. Silverlight Streaming offers free hosting of videos and interactive content. Windows Live hosts and streams the media, relieving developers of storage and scalability concerns.

To see this combination of Windows Live Services in action, go to http://contosoisv.mslivelabs.com.

Contoso Bicycle Club
Contoso Bicycle Club is a place for bicyclists to post photos and reports from their favorite rides. Despite the rich content displayed on the site, the application itself does not store any images or maps—Windows Live hosts all the photos, reports, and ride routes. This Quick Application is a great example of how you can glue Windows Live Services together into a complete web site. The back end is handled by Windows Live; you only need to develop the presentation layer.

Figure 4. Contoso Bicycle Club: This site mixes content from Windows Live Spaces with geo-tagged data from Live Search Maps to show the route of a bicycle ride.
Windows Live Spaces stores most of the content for Contoso Bicycle Club. Members post a description of each new ride to the space at http://contosobicycleclub.spaces.live.com/. The blog posts include links to a map of the ride, directions, and a photo album-all hosted by Windows Live.

The route and directions for the ride come from Live Search Maps and Spaces hosts a photo album of the ride. The club web site combines the data from these Windows Live APIs into an integrated view of the ride (see Figure 4).

Contoso Bicycle Club also has the "Bikes & Kit" section-a place for users to buy and sell their bicycles and gear. Windows Live Expo hosts the content for this section; the Quick App uses the Expo API to retrieve the list of items for sale.

This Quick App shows how you can develop a web site and use Windows Live to store all the content. Explore the site and download the code at http://contosobicycleclub.mslivelabs.com.

More Quick Applications
You'll find several other Quick Applications on the site, each with full documentation, deployment instructions, and source code available for download. You can mix and match code from each one to create the site you want.

You can find all the Quick Applications, documentation, demos, webcasts, and source code here.

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