Tafiti and Windows Live Quick Apps

As Kip already said in his article, Windows Live Platform Announcements: Cool new toys just in time for Mix, some new WL Quick Apps were added. In this article I want to highlight an updated WL Quick App: Tafiti Search visualization.

First let me explain Tafiti:

Tafiti, which means “do research” in Swahili, is an experimental search front-end from Microsoft, designed to help people use the Web for research projects that span multiple search queries and sessions by helping visualize, store, and share research results.

Tafiti uses Silverlight 1.0 RC and AJAX to provide rich, cross-platform user experiences and leverages the following Microsoft services on the backend:

Tafiti’s user interface is built entirely in Silverlight. When the user does a search, drags an item to the shelf, or performs some other action, Tafiti uses ASP.NET AJAX to contact the web server. In turn, the web server hits the Live Search API to get the results. A user’s shelf is stored in a SQL Server database, indexed on the unique ID provided by Windows Live ID.

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On Tafiti you can stack search results (web, images, news, feeds, books) on a shelf to make one research project. This project get’s saved for later use if you sign in with your Live ID. You can send stacks to anyone’s email address, or you can post your results to your Windows Live Space. Because Tafiti uses Silverlight this all works very smooth and intuitive; you search, find, and drag results you would like to use to your Shelf on the right. You can name your research project by adding a label to it, to do that hover over the stack and click ‘type to label…’ To view your stack click on the shelf and it will load in the middle. Want to remove stuff from your project? No problem, simply hover over the items and click the red remove button. To delete the complete project hover over the shelf and click the white X that will appear in top right of that shelf. The basics are explained in the Tafiti video walkthrough.

More info: Tafiti faq

Windows Live Quick Applications:

Windows Live Quick Applications Beta provide customizable out-of-the box solutions for specific Web scenarios. Each Quick App is built on Windows Live services and is offered as a source code download for you to use today.

Tafiti Search Visualization:

Tafiti Search visualization is a Windows Live Quick Application. Where does Tafiti Search visualization differ from http://www.tafiti.com/? Angus posted the following:

Tafiti Search visualization has had a major addition. Using the Windows Live Messenger Library and Script# we turned Tafiti from being a slick search UI to being a social search application. You can now perform searches, save your results and share that experience with your Windows Live Messenger friends. Research has never been so fun! try it | watch it | get it 

So in short, on top of creating a research project on your own, you can now create them with one, or more, of your Windows Live Messenger contacts!

When you sign in with your Live ID it will also sign you into Messenger (this is mandatory). You can IM straight from the Tafiti Search Visualization site, just click on the contact in the buddy list that appears at the bottom of the middle pane when you view your stack. To make a contact co-owner, click and drag that contact from your list on top of the stack. You will then be prompted if you want to allow Tafiti to send IM’s to other shelf stack owners. When you choose yes or always, a notification IM will be sent to the contact you made co-owner. When your contact logs in on http://tafiti.mslivelabs.com, he/she will also see the stack you created and is able to edit that stack.

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All changes made will also appear at your end. TEAMWORK! Awesome!

Angus explains how to do this step by step, and more, in his video. Watch it! Then try it! You’ll love it, I know I do!

Previous LiveSide articles:
Tafiti Search Visualization – Overview
Microsoft launches Tafiti – Search and Silverlight experiment