New ‘Plex’ For Microsoft’s Shared Code

Microsoft is taking the wraps off a new community development site for its shared and open source code initiatives.

The CodePlex development site (, currently in Beta, may well supplant Microsoft’s projects on the open source software repository site and its own GotDotnet site.

Nothing is official about moving current projects to the new development site. But Microsoft’s bloggers are running the discussion up a flagpole, especially about moving its Windows Installer XML (WiX) project, which is currently hosted on

“My immediate answer is always, “That isn’t up to me. It is up to the community,” Microsoft’s Rob Mensching wrote in a recent blog post about the issue.

“In fact, if you had asked me two weeks ago I would have told you that I wasn’t even considering moving off of SourceForge because things were working. However, in the last couple weeks a few issues have popped up. First, there have been some very disturbing outages and poor communication from SourceForge.”

Few within Microsoft have as much experience actually deploying code to the open source community as Mensching.

Mensching is the Microsoft employee who helped convince the Redmond giant to release its FlexWiki and Windows C++ Template Library (WTL) projects to open source project site SourceForge in 2004.

“After the first three Open Source projects were released from Microsoft (WiX, WTL, FlexWiki) there was a hiatus in releases while people digested what we were learning,” Mensching wrote on his blog.

“One of the early decisions was that future community projects should be released on a site that showcased Microsoft technology.”

Mensching wrote that Microsoft’s gotdotnet was historically where such community projects ended up.

“However, somewhere along the line it was agreed that gotdotnet wasn’t going to scale and something better should be built,” Mensching wrote. “Enter Visual Studio Team Server and what we now call CodePlex.”

Technology companies talk about eating their own dog food, or drinking their own champagne, as some would say. That’s what CodePlex is about: using Microsoft’s own technology to showcase its technology.

The CodePlex portal is built on Visual Studio Team Foundation Server and other .NET  technologies.

Among the projects expected to migrate to the new site is Microsoft’s IronPython project. IronPython is an implementation of the Python  open source programming language running on .NET.

In a statement e-mailed to, a Microsoft spokesperson said CodePlex is intended to be a community development site hosted by Microsoft. It will serve as a repository for open and shared source projects.

“Microsoft hopes to see CodePlex grow organically,” the spokesperson wrote. “As such, it is an evolutionary step in Microsoft’s learning from and engaging with the open source development community.”

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