On Monday, Microsoft launched Oxite, an open-source blogging platform.
However, the software maker was quick to underline that the product is aimed at developers and not intended to directly compete with popular blogging software such as WordPress or Movable Type.
Microsoft posted the Oxite code on its CodePlex Web site on Friday and made an official announcement on Monday. The software, described as an alpha release, is available under the Microsoft Public License, one of Microsoft's OSI-certified open-source licenses.
Oxite is a standards-compliant, extensible content-management system designed to support either blogs or larger Web sites, Microsoft said. The platform includes support for features such as pingbacks, trackbacks, anonymous or authenticated commenting, gravatars (globally recognized avatars), and RSS feeds at any page level, the company said.
Users can create and edit a set of pages on a site, add customized HTML into pages, and support multiple blogs on a single site.
Oxite is also able to integrate with Microsoft developer software such as ASP.Net MVC, Visual Studio Team Suite, and Background Services Architecture. The project began as a way of demonstrating the capabilities of ASP.Net MVC to developers, Microsoft said.
The Web site for Mix Online was built using Oxite, and Microsoft is providing the Mix Online Web site code for developers to learn from. Mix Online is the online community centered on Microsoft's Mix Web developer conference.
Oxite is not a direct competitor to existing, established blogging systems, nor is it intended to challenge Microsoft's own SharePoint, which includes content-management-system capabilities, according to Oxite project coordinator Erik Porter.
The software is intended for developers but could eventually be made suitable for the general public, Porter wrote in an Oxite discussion forum.
"We have no plans to make this anything but a really good developer sample that should be able to run any site you want," he wrote. "That said, this is a community project now and, if the community decides to take it a different direction, we won't stop it."
Matthew Broersma of ZDNet.co.uk reported from London.