UK MSDN Flash, 26th November 2008: Azure Services Platform

Hello all – this is just a test post. I’m interested in creating an RSS feed for the UK MSDN Flash.

Editor's Intro

Hello all,

Last time we did a special Flash focused exclusively on the technologies of the Professional Developers Conference (PDC). Normal service has now been resumed with a healthy variety of Fresh Discoveries, everything from using FxCop with Biztalk to Test-driven Development (TDD) for Sharepoint. The Technical Article this week is an overview of the components of the Windows Azure Services Platform. There are a lot of components but the good news is you can choose to use as little or as much as you want. To make life a little easier, we will be drilling into each of these components in future Flash articles.

What are you planning to do on Monday March 23rd 2009? I know exactly what I will be doing - I will be trying my best to look like a proper developer again at the Microsoft Professional Developers' Day. My team will be delivering a one day paid for event just before the fabulous DevWeek - and we will be doing it entirely in code! We guarantee to not project a single powerpoint slide, nor show any marketing fluff. Instead we will be doing ten 30minutes sessions on all the best bits inside Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0. Our goal is to ensure you finish the day with enough information to identify which technologies will help you deliver better solutions in the future and hence focus your own research time in the right areas. Hopefully we will also keep the day fun - at least for the audience 🙂

Finally, thank you for taking the time to answer a single question to help build a stronger picture of the current state of play in the UK around VB6 applications. 600+ responses was fantastic!

All the best

My Tweets
P.S. I also wanted to mention DDD7 which took place on Saturday the 22nd. This was a four track conference created and delivered entirely by the UK development community. It was... awesome! Well done to all involved. 

Fresh Discoveries

Book Developing Service-Oriented AJAX Applications On The Microsoft Platform
By Daniel Larson (Recieve 40% off via MSDN Flash).

Download REST Starter Kit
A preview of a kit to help you build RESTful solutions.

Website Upcoming developer events in the UK
A big thanks to developerFusion for pulling all this stuff together.

Download New version of Visual Round Trip Analyser
Helps web developers and testers visualise the download of their page.

Webcast Instant WPF/Silverlight form generation!
Quickly generate a LOB form in WPF or Silverlight - XAML Powertoys.

Blog Introducing BizTalkCop
Elton describes how to use FXCop to analyse BizTalk solutions.

Article Unit Testing SharePoint
Whitepaper and code demonstrating how to do TDD in a SharePoint project.

Website Microsoft Store and the NSPCC: Working together to raise vital funds
Help support the NSPCC this Christmas - 15% of purchase price will be donated.

Screencast Word 2007 Content Controls
Using Word 2007 Content Controls and the OpenXML SDK from C#.

Article Bluffer's Guide to C# 3
Pretend you know what you're talking about in suitably geeky company.

Article Game development using Silverlight 2
Implementing a game using Silverlight is a good way to learn its more advanced aspects.

Webcast Videos, scripts and slides are from SQLBits in September
Great content on SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008.

KB FIX: Slow joins in SQL Server 2005 when using LIKE
If ON clause of the JOIN operator contains a LIKE predicate, the query may run slower.

Blog TSQL Scalar Functions are Evil?!
User defined functions - a force for good?

Website Migrate Access to SQL Server (and ASP.NET!)
UK Micro-ISV automates migration (15% discount 'DEVF2007').

Download New mobile emulator for Visual Studio 2008
Test new IE Mobile 6 on a free emulator for VS 2008.

Download Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 Training Kit
Plenty of labs to play with. Enjoy.

Podcast NxtGenUG bring us 5 podcasts from TechED Europe (60 to 64)
Patience is required - but fun to listen to on a commute.

Blog Automatic refactoring of web code to industry standards
Tim discusses Aggiorno, a new tool from Artinsoft for web developers.

Website Get a Second Chance to Pass Your Visual Studio 2008 Certification Exam
Get a free retake of your Visual Studio 2008 certification exam with Second Shot.

Website Sign up to the monthly UK Microsoft Security Newsletter
Get all the latest security news, guidance, critical bulletins and more.

Download Download Your 14-Day Free Trial of ANTS Profiler 4
Line-level profiler for .NET code to help you identify performance bottlenecks.

Register Now to Avoid Disappointment

26 November, London: Skills Matter - Make the Most of your Cores - Parallel Extensions for .NET

26 November, Dundee: Scottish Developers UG - Functional Programming in C#3.0

26 November, London: Skills Matter - Make the Most of your Cores - Parallel Extensions for .NET

27 November, London: Skills Matter - Asynchonous Enterprise .NET Applications with NServiceBus

27 November, Southampton: NxtGenUG - SQL Server

2 December, Bristol: DotNetDevNetUG-What's New In C# 4 ? & Strategic Dev Methodologies Using Rock Band

3 December, Bradford: Architect Forum North with Black Marble and Microsoft

8 December, Coventry: NxtGenUG - Guy Smith Ferrier on Internationalisation

9 December, Cambridge: NxtGenUG - Chris Hay on Windows Azure

9 December, Birmingham: NxtGenUG Richard Costall/Pete McGann on Silverlight, XNA and Gaming

9 December, Oxford: NxtGenUG - Andrew Hallmark on CSLA.NET

9 December, London: SBUG - SOA/BPM User Group Xmas Meeting

10 December, Surrey: DevEvening Meeting

11 December, Southampton: NxtGenUG - Josh Twist on WPF and Databinding

12 December, London: LastFM partnering with CodePlex-LastFM Hack Day a full day of playing with LastFM API

Feature Article

Azure Services Platform
The release of a major new operating system is a rare thing in IT. At the PDC in LA last month we witnessed one such rare event, the release of the first genuine operating system for cloud computing: Windows Azure. Why do I say it's an OS and why is it the first for cloud computing? Well if you consider what Azure does, scheduling services, provisioning resources, managing resource contention, handling service interruptions, monitoring and quota management, then this is very much what you would expect an OS to provide. Azure also provides some uniquely cloud based capabilities such as being able to scale-up and scale-down your compute & storage needs based on your needs, very high resilience and geo-scale availability across the globe. All of these capabilities are made possible through the magic of the fabric controller which runs on the tens of thousands of servers inside Microsoft data centres around the world.

A fundamental tenet of Azure development is that it is an open, standards based & interoperable platform that will support both Microsoft and non-Microsoft languages and environments. Azure supports multiple internet protocols including HTTP, REST, SOAP and XML. As a .NET developer you can write a .NET application and host it on Windows Azure with essentially a click of the mouse.
As impressive as Windows Azure is, it is just one element of the Microsoft Azure Services Platform. The Azure Services Platform currently consists of four groupings of cloud technologies, each providing a specific set of services to application developers. Alongside Windows Azure, we have .NET Services, Live Services and SQL Services.

The .NET services components (access, service bus and workflow) help you to create secure, federated applications that span organisational boundaries. Live Services allows synchronising of data across desktops and devices, finding and downloading of applications and enables you to add social networking capability to your applications. SQL Services adds hierarchical storage for on-premise and cloud based applications. In the future, the Azure Services Platform will be extended to include services built around Sharepoint and MS Dynamics CRM. Compared with other cloud environments, Azure provides comprehensive compute and storage services but also adds Azure Platform building block services such as .NET, Live & SQL Services which considerably enriches the developer toolkit. Another key difference is that with Azure you can use your normal Visual Studio tools and environment to create cloud based applications in a variety of languages.

If you haven't had a chance to explore Azure yet, then I'd urge you to take a look at the SDK and the Azure Platform Services. I think you'll be impressed.

Gurprit Singh
Director, Emerging Technologies, Microsoft UK

Flash Poll Question

Results from last poll:
Which technology covered at PDC 2008 are you most interested in finding out more about?
22% Framework futures - WF, ADO.NET, Parallelism etc
17% Language futures - C#/VB/F#/DLR etc
16% All of them!
15 % Azure Services Platform - "Cloud computing"
11% Windows 7
8% None of them - my brain hurts!
7% Oslo - Modelling platform
4% Dublin - IIS/WCF/WF enhancements

Flash Results 

Question of the fortnight
When was the last time you wrote code using COM?
Microsoft COM (Component Object Model) is all around us but when was the last time you actually wrote or maintained some COM code? (That includes VBA, VB6, ActiveX etc)
1. I still regularly code in COM
2. I have coded a little in COM this year
3. I have not coded in COM in 2008
4. I have not coded in COM for several years
5. I have never coded in COM - lucky me
6. I am hardcore - I code in DCOM 🙂
To take part in this week's poll question please visit my blog to submit your answer.

On the Horizon

15 - 19 December, London: DevelopMentor - Building applications and components with C# (£1,695)

23 March, London: Microsoft Professional Developers' Day @ DevWeek 2009 (Book by 12 Dec for £169 +VAT)

23 - 27 March, London: DevWeek 2009 (Register by 12 Dec & save up to £200)

22 January, London: Skills Matter - Open Source .NET eXchange Conference

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