Microsoft open sources Windows scripting tool Mayhem

Outercurve will manage the further development of the Microsoft Mayhem program

Microsoft has released as open source a program that helps users link different Windows applications in a single workflow.

The program, called Mayhem, has been donated to the Outercurve Foundation. Developed by Microsoft's applied sciences research group, Mayhem allows people with no programming skills to link together different Windows programs to carry out tasks across programs. With Mayhem, users can stage repeatable actions, like using a cellphone to control a PowerPoint presentation, or to send a user an email whenever a weather program reports that the outside temperature has fallen below a certain point.

Mayhem connects graphical programs in a way that is similar to how batch files string together programs in a command-line environment. Developers create modules for specific Windows programs that then can be used within Mayhem to identify events and trigger actions within those programs.

"Mayhem is a collection of events and actions you tie together," said Paul Dietz, who is Microsoft's project leader for Mayhem. The applied sciences group first designed the software to expand the use of webcams beyond video chats. They realized that the software could work with any Windows programs.

Mayhem "is not as powerful as working with Visual Studio. But not many people are willing to take the effort to become expert programmers, so this provides a tool that allows people to do a lot of stuff very quickly," Dietz said. By placing the program in open source, Microsoft is hoping that more developers will write more modules for Mayhem, expanding the program's applicability.

Outercurve will manage the program in its newly formed Innovators Gallery, a subset of Outercurve projects devoted to experimental programs. "The board of directors decided we wanted to expand the scope of projects we brought into the foundation, and [the Innovators Gallery] way would be a good way to collect projects in this category," said Paula Hunter, executive director of Outercurve.

To drum up more interest in Mayhem, Outercurve is holding a contest called "Make Your Own Mayhem," which will award US$5,000 in prizes for the most creative uses of the software program. The contest ends April 30.

First called CodePlex, the Outercurve Foundation is a nonprofit organization that aims to encourage enterprises to participate in open-source software projects. Microsoft founded CodePlex in 2009, though the organization changed its name the following year to distance itself from the Microsoft open-source code repository of the same name. Currently, the organization provides a home for 22 projects and seeks funding beyond Microsoft.

Mayhem is available as a free download, and the code is available under the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL).

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?