More than 18 months ago, Microsoft helped sponsor the creation of the Outercurve Foundation (previously known as the Codeplex Foundation) to contribute ideas and projects to the open source community.  The goal was to work with you to exchange ideas and build great things that other developers could adapt and learn from.  I’m happy to say that the collaboration between our Developer Division and Outercurve has allowed us work closely with a number of open source software communities and seed some promising projects. 

The Outercurve Foundation is platform agnostic.  The Foundation organizes projects according to a museum model, into different galleries focused on specific topics or technologies. Currently there are three galleries: ASP.NET (focused on open source projects around .NET), Systems Infrastructure and Integration (focused on interoperability), and Research Accelerators (focused on technologies that support academic researchers and scientists).  

Each of the galleries has a growing number of open source projects being created and communities of open source developers contributing to them.  The ASP.NET Gallery, the first gallery Microsoft created as the founding sponsor of the Foundation, is home to five projects today: Orchard, ASP.NET Ajax Library, MVC Contrib, Web Form MVP, and NuGet, two of which were created by external developers.  There is already a thriving ecosystem of both Microsoft and external developers contributing to these projects.  

I want to highlight a couple of those projects today. 

Orchard

Orchard is a free, open source, community-focused project aimed at delivering applications and reusable components on the ASP.NET platform. Orchard is focused on delivering a .NET-based content management system (CMS) that will allow users to rapidly create content-driven web sites and an extensibility framework that will allow developers and customizers to provide additional functionality through extensions and themes.  Below, you can see an example of a site built using Orchard.

NuGet

NuGet is a free, open source, package management system that lets developers easily acquire and make use of open source libraries and their dependencies within their Visual Studio projects - typically the domain of a package manager.  NuGet enables .NET developers to quickly discover, download, install and update packages into Visual Studio projects including any dependencies the packages may have through an ATOM-based feed. A package can consist of source code, compiled code, files, configuration and more. 

Developers inside and outside Microsoft joined forces to create the joint NuGet project at the Foundation.  As a result of their joint efforts and the support of the Outercurve Foundation, the NuGet project continues to grow and thrive.  Black Duck Software recently placed the NuGet project at number five on the “Top Rookie” list of open source projects to watch in 2011.  Thousands of projects launched in 2010 were evaluated using a weighted scoring system that awarded points for commit activity, the number of developers involved, and the number of web sites linked to the project. 

Find out more and contribute

Together with the help of the open source community, we can build great things.  We are committed to contributing to, and work closely with the Outercurve Foundation and open source communities, and we’ll continue to seed that with promising projects. 

I hope you take a look at what Outercurve has today, and perhaps you’ll decide to contribute some of your coding talents too either to an existing project or in creating new projects.

Namaste!