Getting Started with the Windows Live Tools

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he Windows Live Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio enable developers to incorporate a set of Windows Live services into their web sites using Visual Studio and ASP.NET via a set of ASP.NET Server Controls.Microsoft released the second community technology preview (CTP) of the Windows Live Tools in December, 2007. By downloading the toolset, you can start integrating Windows Live Contacts, Windows Live ID Authentication, and Silverlight Streaming services into your web site.

Through this CTP, Microsoft is releasing four ASP.NET Server Controls: Contacts, SilverlightStreamingMediaPlayer, IDLoginStatus, and IDLoginView.

  • The Contacts control lets users share their contacts between Windows Live and your web site.
  • The SilverlightStreamingMediaPlayer control lets you show videos on your web site from your Silverlight Streaming account by simply dragging and dropping.
  • The IDLoginStatus and IDLoginView controls provide Windows Live ID authentication at your web site for your users.

To help you develop Windows Live web sites, Microsoft has created a project template as well. This release only works with Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition at this time.

Installing the Windows Live Tools is straightforward. After you complete the installation, Visual Studio will have a new “ASP.NET Windows Live Web Site” project template in the File → New Web Site dialog box (see Figure 1). You can also find these controls listed as “Windows Live Tools” in the Toolbox.

Figure 1. New Template: After installing the Windows Live Tools, you’ll find a new ASP.NET Windows Live Web Site template in the New Web Site dialog in Visual Studio.

Creating Your First Project with the Windows Live Tools
To begin a project that integrates Windows Live services, navigate to File → New Web Site, and select the “ASP.NET Windows Live Web Site” template. Fill out the template details to finish creating the project, and then open the Default.aspx web page in designer mode by choosing “View Designer” from the context menu in the Solution Explorer.

This article will drill down into each of the newly introduced controls and what they offer for your web site.