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Microsoft is recruiting not only Windows Live beta testers, but developers, as well.

In order to attract the latter contingent, the company is readying a new Windows Live Dev portal. A preview of the site,, will be available the week of May 21, with a final version slated to launch in June, according to company officials.

Microsoft has been slowly but steadily honing its Windows Live developer message for the past several months. At the Microsoft Mix ’06 conference, company officials outlined Microsoft’s high-level strategy for getting developers to adopt its expanding family of Live application programming interfaces (APIs).

The new Live Dev site will be a one-stop shop for Microsoft and third-party developers looking to create new mash-ups and composite applications that include Windows Live elements.

The site will draw from existing Microsoft Developer Network content. It also will provide links to Live downloads and whitepapers, Microsoft officials said.

One of the key movers and shakers behind the DevLive push is Windows Live Product Planner Ken Levy.

Levy joined Microsoft around 2001, the time that Visual FoxPro 7 was released. Prior to joining the Fox team, he had done a lot of work with XML and Microsoft’s ADO.Net, the data-access component of the .Net framework. Levy also is well-known for his community-building efforts around various technologies.

“Six months ago, the MSN division didn’t have a developer story. But in December (2005), I found out about the Windows Live plan for extending out to developers with things like APIs, online content and MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals),” Levy told Microsoft Watch during a recent phone interview.

Those concepts interested him, he said, as did other Live-related projects, such as Live evolving into a development platform, akin to Windows and Office; and Web sites becoming more like databases, from which components can be plucked and reused.

In the name of community outreach, the Live Dev site will aggregate data, information and content from the Microsoft team blogs, community blogs, sites and forums.

Levy said he is looking to take a page from the Visual FoxPro book, in terms of getting developers more invested on the Live front. Levy mentioned the FoxPro Sedna and SednaX initiatives as examples of how to get the community intimately involved with product development.

“We just quietly updated MSN Development forums at to be Windows Live Development Forums and added some new ones for Chatter and General to spark more dialog with the Web 2.0 developer community,” Levy added.

“Once more Windows Live APIs come out, we (Windows Live) will be focused more on the client,” Levy said. That’s when the Live team will be looking at new kinds of mash-ups combining things such as the Windows Live Identity API with existing Windows APIs, Levy explained.

“Tools will be part of the long-term (Windows Live developer) strategy,” Levy said. But that doesn’t mean traditional Visual-Studio-style tools, he noted. The Windows Live developer team is working on the multimedia, tool, sample and development-kit fronts simultaneously, he said.

“We’re not focused (with our tools) on building something, like Visual Studio is, but we want to have a story for them (developers) with Visual Studio, WinFX and Vista,” Levy said.

At the same time, Microsoft is seeking to build up its Windows Live MVP cadre, and also to make developers part of the Live community, as it unfolds, Levy added.