New FabrikamShipping SaaS Release for Windows Azure SDK 1.3 and December Labs Release of ACS


I hope you took some to time to rest last month, because now it’s time to dive right back in!

To get you back into your cloud habit, I would suggest a SaaS entrée. It’s already few weeks that the online instance of FabrikamShipping SaaS (Star) has been updated: today we are releasing the corresponding source code package, which has been revved to take advantage of the Windows Azure SDK 1.3 and the December Labs release of ACS. As usual, you can hit the live instance here and you can download the source code package here (the enterprise companion stays the same, a testament to good service orientation if you will Smile).

The new release also contains many other improvements; here there’s a list of the most visible ones.

  • Updated to the Windows Azure SDK 1.3 and December Labs Release of ACS. Already mentioned.
  • Custom Home Realm Discovery Pages. As you know ACS offers a minimal HDR page, automatically generated according to the list of IPs you configured, so that you can easily test your solutions. However in production you probably want to offer your user an experience which is consistent with your web application’s look and feel: to that purpose, ACS also offers a way of obtaining the list of the supported IPs programmatically so that you can create your own dynamic HDR page using whatever skin you deem appropriate. In the new FabrikamShipping SaaS release we eliminated all the test HDRs (for the account activation, sign in and more) in favor of custom-built ones, so that you can study how to implement the same mechanism in your own solutions
  • Added Facebook as Accepted Identity Provider. In the first release we supported Windows Live Id and Google as IPs for the small business subscriptions. In many asked us to add Facebook, so we did Smile
  • The Subscription Process Now Accepts All Supported IPs. When you start the provisioning process you need to secure the session. Whereas in the first release we admitted only Windows Live Id, in line with the Windows Azure subscriptions themselves, now we support the same list of IPs as the ones allowed in the small business editions: Facebook, Windows Live Id, Google
  • Self-Service Provisioning Retry. FabrikamShipping SaaS uses prerelease software, and as such it is occasionally subjected to downtimes and errors. Some times a subscription provisioning will fail for an occasional error, but thanks to the architecture of the provisioning execution engine a simple retry right after will succeed. Until now the retry functionality was exposed just to the administrative console, which means that if you would have stumbled in one such occasional error your provisioning would be stuck until myself or one of our valiant admins would have noticed the error in the console and retried. In this new release we surface the retry directly in the provisioning workflow screen, so that you can invoke it yourself without waiting for us. We needed that less and less, hence the hope is that you’ll never have to use it, but just in case… Winking smile

Just saying that the sample has been updated to 1.3 does not really do justice to all the individual improvements. For example, our Southworks friends Sebastian and Matias came out with a great way of showing off startup tasks: in the first FabrikamShipping SaaS we were manually including the files that Cspack needs to run in our worker role provisioning engine, now the entire SDK gets installed as a startup task.

Grab the new source code package and have fun!

(Star) Don’t know what I am talking about? For an introduction to the FabrikamShipping SaaS scenario check out this video. For a deeper dive in the solution, here there’s the recording of a session I gave at TechEd Europe last November.

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