Hello, and welcome to Windows Azure’s Silver Lining. This is a blog about doing interesting and useful things with the Windows Azure platform. What sort of things in particular? Things like running Open Source software on the Windows Azure Platform and developing cloud services for mobile devices. Those are broad categories, yes, but we have a team of writers (OK, only 2 right now ) dedicated to covering them. Our aim is to make this blog a treasure trove of information for OSS and mobile device developers who want to understand how to take advantage of the Windows Azure platform to build world-class, highly available, highly scalable applications and services.
Initially, we will focus on building PHP and Ruby applications for the Azure platform, but we plan to expand our coverage to include Java, Windows Phone 7, and IOS devices. Of course, we’ll be looking for direction about what we cover from our readers, so who knows what other areas we might delve into.
Now, you might be asking why we (Microsoft) are reaching out to Open Source and mobile device developers. Why aren’t we focusing only on .NET and Windows Phone 7 developers? That’s a fair question, and the answer is fairly simple: Microsoft understands how important interoperability is to the success of the Windows Azure platform. Satya Nadella, President of the Server and Tools Division at Microsoft, recently summed this up in his keynote address at Microsoft’s World Wide Partner Conference 2011 (full transcript available here):
“…we're building a very broad tent when it comes to the application platform supported and development tools supported. For sure, we're doing a first-class job when it comes to .NET and Visual Studio. But beyond that, we also want to make sure we have first-class support for Java, PHP, and other frameworks... So, we want to have Windows Azure truly reflect our big-tent approach to developers and development platforms.”
With a little web hunting, you can already find lots of resources (many of them Microsoft-produced) that are aimed at supporting OSS frameworks in Azure. Our goal is to add to those resources and help the Azure team take the steps that are necessary to build “first-class support” for these frameworks.
That is the “What” and “Why” of this blog. Let’s take a look at the “Who”. As mentioned earlier, we are currently 2 authors strong, but we hope to bring on more contributors in the near future. Here’s a bit about each of us…
Larry Franks: I'm a classically trained programmer (meaning everything I learned in college is now obsolete,) occasional artist, and gaming geek. I know it sounds cliché, but I'm contributing to this blog because I think cloud and mobile computing is the future. We have cell phones that let us carry around an entire library of books and large music collections. We have distributed resilient networks that let people communicate ideas at the speed of light and organize global communities. Very exciting stuff, especially compared to my early days with computers: 300bps dial-up to the local BBS scene.
At Microsoft, I currently work on developer focused documentation for SQL Azure. I've recently started learning Ruby, so many of my initial posts will be about using Ruby with the Windows Azure Platform. I also play around with mobile development in my spare time, so you might see the occasional WP7/IOS/Android posting. You can find me on twitter at @larry_franks.
Brian Swan: I’m a math guy by training (I was a high school and junior college math teacher for 14 years before I changed careers 5 years ago) and was a hobbyist programmer from my college days until I changed careers (I had a computer science minor in college and dabbled in teaching introductory computer science in my teaching days).
I’m passionate about PHP. It was learning enough PHP in 2 weeks to impress interviewers that allowed me to change careers, and I’ve been learning PHP ever since. I wrote the original documentation for our PHP Driver for SQL Server and I’ve been blogging about PHP and Microsoft technologies for over a year and a half. I regularly attend (and occasionally present at) the Seattle PHP Meetup, and I’ve presented at the Dutch PHP Conference (2010), the PHP World Kongress (2010), TechEd Europe (2010), and the SQL Server JumpIn! Camp (2011). You can find me on Twitter at @brian_swan.
As you might guess, I’ll be focusing on PHP. I’ll be covering the details of deploying, debugging, tuning, and scaling PHP applications running on Windows Azure platform.
We are looking forward to learning and sharing what we learn about developing OSS and device applications for the Windows Azure platform. If that sounds interesting, please subscribe and send us your comments and questions.