Archive for the ‘ Cloud’ Category

Developing Rich Applications for the Diverse Internet

It wasn’t that long ago that building an application targeted at broad consumer market didn’t involve many difficult choices. You built either a Windows application or a Web application. If you wanted a disconnected experience, Windows owned virtually the entire connected consumer story so they only decisions that you needed to make were about language, IDE, methodology, etc.

Those were the days.

For some time I’ve considered building a sporting community based business. I’ve been giving it more serious though lately and realizing that changes in the computing technology landscape have made selecting strategy for such a business / application a complex thought process.

As we evolved the ASP.NET web site, we were concerned with scale and performance, and with features and content, but we had the luxury of a pretty targeted audience.
Building a community experience for a broad audience is more complex especially if you want your strategy to include a rich disconnected experience.

Yes, yes, I know about HTML5, and it is promising, but not just yet. What it will ultimately delivers is yet to be determined.
Windows still owns the large majority of desktop market share but the Mac is now statistically significant Mac users cannot be ignored by business’s who seek to engage the largest possible customer audience.

There is no really GOOD solution for developing a desktop application with a single source code base that runs on both Windows and the Mac, and then there is Linux.

There are some choices.

Adobe AIR runs on both Windows and Mac as does Microsoft’s Silverlight but Adobe recently discontinued Linux support which makes AIR’s future a question mark and Silverlight has never run on Linux. Silverlight’s future on the Mac is also a question mark and Novell’s discontinuation of the Mono team adds additional variables.

There is Java, which seems to be enjoying a bit of renewed growth recently, probably as the result of the popularity of Android.
Which, of course, brings us to an even bigger issue: internet users are not necessarily PC users any more. “Mobile” devices represent a slight majority of internet users and that percentage is rapidly growing.

Read the rest of this entry »

SDK and Sample – leverage the scalability of Azure with PHP

We just announced the availability of the Windows Azure SDK for PHP version 3.0, which include new features making it easy to take advantage of Windows Azure scalability.

This announcement is the showcases the www.hotelpeeps.com case study, a Facebook application powered by PHP on Windows Azure and to highlight code contribution to the SDK by the community.

Along with the SDK announcement, we also released a new PHP sample application called the “Deal of the Day”, showing how PHP developers can build scalable application on Windows Azure, with the new features included in the new SDK for PHP version 3.0.

We’ve also deployed a live version of the “Deal of The Day” on Windows Azure, to let developers test it for real and get a chance to win actual fun prizes (sweepstake eligibility valid only in the US).

So….

1. There is a new version of the Windows Azure SDK for PHP v3 , with major new features enabling to easily to take advantage of Windows Azure scalability.

2. Experts from the PHP community are building real world scalable applications on Windows Azure and are contributing back to the Windows Azure SDK for PHP open source project

3. We released a  “how-to scale on Windows Azure with PHP” series and a sample application “Deal of The Day”, deployed on Windows Azure as a sweepstakes (prizes eligibility valid only in the US)

4. Windows Azure is an open and interoperable platform, and offers choices to developers by allowing use multiples languages (.NET, PHP, Java) and development tools (Visual Studio or Eclipse)

Q&A

· What’s new in the SDK 3.0

The most notable enhancement with version 3.0 is the new Service Management API, which gives PHP developers simple way to pilot how and when application should scale. See also the list of new features announced with the Beta: http://blog.maartenballiauw.be/post/2011/04/21/Windows-Azure-SDK-for-PHP-v3-0-0-BETA-released.aspx

· Do you need the Windows Azure SDK for PHP to run PHP on Windows Azure?

The Windows Azure SDK for PHP is not required to run PHP on Windows Azure, but it simplifies considerably to work to make web applications take advantage of Windows Azure cloud oriented features. The SDK for PHP provides speed dial to these features, which are available through APIs (using REST protocol for the most part)

· Is the “Deal of the Day” sample application a blueprint for building scalable application with PHP on Windows Azure?

No, “DotD” is a sample application meant to teach the fundamental options available to developers to build scalable applications. It is not a complete blueprint. Microsoft will continue to publish additional samples and guidance to help developer pick the right architecture.

For more info :

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/interoperability/archive/2011/05/26/new-sdk-shows-how-to-leverage-the-scalability-of-windows-azure-with-php.aspx

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/interoperability/:

Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 (v1.2)

The WIndows Phone 7 guys just released the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 (v1.2) in time for TechEd North America 2011.  This release includes some important new features, including:

  • Support and tooling for the Access Control Service 2.0 (i.e. use identity federation like Live ID, Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, and ADFS)
  • Support for Apple Push Notification Services (works along with the Windows Azure Toolkit for iOS)
  • Support for Windows Azure storage queues (simple enqueue and dequeue operations)
  • Updated UI/UX for the management web application
  • Code refactoring, simplification, and bug fixes

 

Call to Action

  • Try the toolkit.  It’s quick, simple, and (I hope!) will impress you.  Download the bits here: http://watoolkitwp7.codeplex.com/releases/view/61952.
  • Watch the TechEd North America keynote tomorrow to see Drew Robbins demonstrate how quickly you can build application using this toolkit.
  • Blog and tweet!  Please feel free to use any of this email and/or related resources in your own blog posts.

Resources

Two new videos are available up on Channel 9:

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Getting Started with the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7

   

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Getting Started with ACS and the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7

Here are some useful blog posts with details:

- NOW AVAILABLE: Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 v1.2

- Bring Your Active Directory in Your Pockets with ACS, OAuth 2.0 and the New Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7

- Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 1.2 will Integrate with ACS

- Using Windows Azure for Windows Phone 7 Push Notification Support

The CodePlex project has a lot of useful information for you to review:

Details

The toolkit includes an awesome File à New Project experience in Visual Studio.  In this release we added some additional flexibility to the New Project Wizard:

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Here you can see that we provide optional support for the Microsoft Push Notification Service and the Apple Push Notification Service (useful for iPhone and iPad applications).  The important takeaway is that Windows Azure is a great place to support these applications, regardless of the platform.

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Here you can see the ability to specific the Access Control Service 2.0 in the tooling, along with links that help you decide which to choose and how to proceed.

The net result is a solution that you can literally run and use.  Simply choose the identity provider you want to use, then login.

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Support for Windows Azure queues is also simple and straightforward.

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Finally, we were not particularly pleased with the out-of-the-box ASP.NET theme, so we updated it. Inspired by the Metro Design guidelines for Windows Phone 7, we came up with something nice and fresh.

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SQL Azure Explorer for Visual Studio

I found a cool project on CodePlex that I wanted to share with you.

SQL Azure Explorer for Visual Studio lets you work with SQL Azure inside Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1.

It tries to mimic the ordinary Server Explorer.

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Current Features:

SQL Azure Explorer which contains:

Databases

Tables with columns

Views with columns

Stored procs with parameters

Functions with parameters

Context menues for:

Open Sql Editor Window

Select Top 100 Rows

Script as CREATE for all tables, views, stored procs and functions

SQL Editor Window with built in:

SQL Execute

Off line parser

Script formater

Get it here – http://sqlazureexplorer.codeplex.com/

Microsoft, Zend and others announce Simple API for Cloud Application Services

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Did you know Microsoft has a team in Developer Division that is specifically focused on Interop ??

Their latest coolness is a submission to Zend to add Azure support to their PHP Cloud Initiative.

Click HERE to read a detailed blog post from the Interop Team.

Introducing Azure Issue Tracker Sample Application

The Azure Services Evangelism team is pleased to announce the release of the Azure Issue Tracker sample application.

The Azure Issue Tracker demonstrates a real-world ISV scenario where you want to create and host a SaaS application for your consumers. This sample is being released in two versions: Standard and Enterprise. The Standard version allows ad-hoc users to use Windows LiveID federation with the .NET Access Control Service and authorize other Windows LiveID users. This allows small groups of users to quickly provision projects and issue tracking capabilities while using the rich claims-based authorization model and flexible entity storage.

The Cloud is the NEW SOA :)

http://www.codeplex.com/azureissuetracker

DotNetSlackers – Building applications for Windows Azure

 Since the PDC last week I’ve had many email asking about Azure.

Tanzim Saqib just published a super article with sample code on Azure on DotNetSlackers

I hope you will give it a read.

[ Read the Article on .NET Slackers HERE ]

Risks with Cloud Computing.

Dolores Labs posted recently “Amazon’s S3 Web Service, our #1 cause of failure” [ Click HERE to READ ]

Amazon.com is a great company and a early innovator in the Web Services Community. (God knows I send them ALOT of money.)

So this is not an indictment of Amazon as a technology provider. In fact, it is because a Amazon is a great company with a solid infrastructure that this is significant.

As Geeks, we tend to get all jazzed about the latest buzz – and cloud computing is certainly one of them. But, I think it’s important to remember, while services in the cloud can be very cost effective. You can’t control the cloud.

When you build it and own it you always have options when you’re not getting the service level you need. In the cloud, you’re held hostage by 3rd party service levels…. ad as we all know, stuff happens.

When you’re using a cloud hosted service, remember to build support for graceful degradation your application. You application need not fail completely because you can’t fetch images, ads, etc.

Not only is this good design practice, but it mitigates a DOS security threat. If I wanna bring your web application down and you haven’t built resilience into your site, all I need to to is successfully attack any one service your application depends on and your application is down !!