The product purge continues over at Microsoft after it announced that it is shutting down Popfly, its hosted tool for building web pages, mashups, and games, on 24 August.

Geared to non-programmers, Popfly was unveiled two years ago and featured social networking and support of the Microsoft Silverlight browser plug-in for video and interactive applications. But all websites, references and resources pertaining to Popfly will be taken down and access to Popfly accounts removed, including access to any games or mashups developed.

Popfly is the latest victim of a tough economy that has the software giant re-evaluating its priorities.

With Popfly, Microsoft set out to do something new and learned lessons applicable to operating a large-scale service, the company said. Knowledge also was gained on how beginning developers approach their first projects. However, the economic situation caused Microsoft to refocus and evaluate priorities. While successful and popular, Popfly did not make the cut.

"We want to thank everyone who registered for and used Popfly. We've been fortunate enough to see all the innovative mashups, web pages, and games you've created since we launched Popfly two years ago, and it's been a pleasure to watch the spirit of creativity flow through a growing Popfly community over the life of the product," said John Montgomery, of the Popfly team at Microsoft, in a blog post on 16 July.

Users interested in pursuing refinement of web application development skills are encouraged to access the Microsoft Web Platform Installer site, featuring technologies for building and hosting websites. Windows programmers who had used Popfly can visit the Microsoft Express site for tools and the Microsoft SQL Server database.

Popfly is still in a beta phase of release.