Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has released a public beta version of the company's Popfly mashup tool.

Ballmer told a keynote audience at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco that Popfly, first announced in May, is built with Microsoft's Silverlight rich media software and is aimed at allowing non-programmers to build applications without having to code.

"This is designed for the end-user 'programmer': somebody who doesn't necessarily have to be a conehead," Ballmer noted.

Microsoft demonstrated Popfly on the keynote stage, showing how a user could join a blog searching mechanism from blog search engine Technorati with a Friends tracking feature in Facebook to track when friends update content on or are mentioned in the blogosphere.

The new beta version of Popfly adds features that let users publish Popfly applications directly to Facebook, and can be used to create Windows Vista Sidebar gadgets and Windows Live gadgets, Microsoft said.