Thursday, March 08, 2012

Make Mayhem! The open source, event driven, add-on enabled, graphical service connection utility

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

PC World - Microsoft Open Sources Windows Scripting Tool Mayhem

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.



"Our vision for Mayhem is to connect everything to everything else. Clearly, we need some help to get closer to that ideal.

If you are a developer, you can help. By contributing AddOns that extend the Mayhem universe of devices and services that can be connected together you can have the opportunity to win big in the Make Your Own Mayhem Contest. There are lots of prizes, including two US$1000 awards. And if you are a true Master of Mayhem, there is the Mayhem Master Award of US$3000!

when there isn't an app, there's mayhem

get mayhem There are a lot of great applications out there. But what do you do when you need to do something, but there isn’t an app for that? Mayhem is an application that lets you connect trigger events to reactions. Unlike writing a program, you simply select an event and a reaction, and then turn on the connection. Voila! No code or app required.

what can i do with mayhem?

The power of Mayhem is that it lets you trivially connect any device or service to any other device or service. It would be impossible to list all the things you can do with Mayhem, but here are some examples:

  • Use your cell phone to control your PowerPoint presentation.
  • Receive an email reminder to winterize your house when the temperature drops below freezing.
  • Automatically update your Facebook status to "I'm rich!" whenever Microsoft stock hits $50 a share.
  • Add an auto-save feature to a program that doesn't have it.
  • Pause a video automatically when you leave the room.
The great thing about Mayhem is that all of these things can be done by anyone in seconds, without programming!



CodePlex - Mayhem

Project Description

Mayhem is an open source application with a near-zero learning curve. Mayhem provides a collection of triggers events and reactions, allowing non-programmers to use their computers to automate… anything! What sort of things? Chase your cat off the couch automatically. Receive a text message when your physical mail arrives. Advance to the next slide in your presentation when you wave your hand. Update your Facebook status when the weather changes. The possibilities are endless.

The key to Mayhem is that it only supports a single programming construct – when an event happens, do a reaction. This is what makes it so easy for everyone to understand. Mayhem can easily tie together disparate things such as home automation devices, social networking sites, media devices, messaging, office productivity tools, webcams, musical instruments, etc. Virtually anything that can produce or receive a trigger can be easily incorporated into the Mayhem framework.


Okay, I'm going to have to find some time to play with this... I've seen 1.97 billion "non-programmers can program" things, so walking into it I'm a little skeptical.

But it is open source, which is cool...

And one thing I found kind of neat is that they are hosting their own Nuget repository for their add-on's. I've not seen this done much (everyone seems to pile their stuff into the repro) so wanted to call it out. It does take 2.3 seconds to add the Mayhem repro, but once done you can easily find additional Mayhem modules


Here's a few snaps of it running on my system;


So in just a few seconds you can tie a RSS feed, folder change, timer, key press or even a system tray menu click to do "something" like run an app, make a sound, snap a screenshot, etc...

Here's an example of a System Tray Menu item I created called 'test' that when executed uses the text to speech reaction to say "test" (cleaver aren't I?)


By itself it's so-so, and not something we've not seen before. The key is that it fully supports creating and sharing custom events and reactions, via the already mentioned Nuget repo...


So there's that and again the entire application is open source...

No comments: