Microsoft has made bold moves on the software and hardware front for consumers with the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT, introducing the new WinRT application development platform for building Windows Store Apps. WinRT brings a new style of touch-first user experience, a sand-boxed application runtime with contract-based inter-app communication, a mobile-optimized execution lifecycle and rich notification support. Would you like a jump-start on building your new Windows Store app for Windows 8?
For just $299 on Wed Dec 12th, you get a full day of developer training including in-depth explanation, demonstration, code sample walkthroughs and end-to-end application building. Most training companies charge $400+ a day. And yes, I’m doing the training .
While you’re looking at it, you may also want to consider the main 2-day DevTeach conference on Monday Dec 10th.
See you there!
- Use of a Windows Azure application server instance is now just USD$15 a month.
- A SQL database starts at just $5 a month.
- Data transfer is $0.12 per GB (inbound is free)
- There’s a free trial offer with lots built-in, and other discount packages available.
This is now at a price-point that is very competitive with discount hosting providers, but even better when you consider the Platform as a Service capabilities, SLA and scalability offered when you start putting things together…
During a trip to Redmond this year, I got to meet the Gu. If you don’t know who that is, then never mind, but keep reading. Anyway, another guy from Canada got to present alongside Scott (still don’t know who I’m talking about?) last November during the keynote for the Silverlight Firestarter event (when Silverlight 5 features were first publically announced). That guy was David Ossip, CEO of Dayforce, demonstrating their latest Dayforce Workforce Management solution.
I’d seen the Firestarter demo, but I recently learnt about another aspect of this solution. It would be reason enough to mention Dayforce because they use Silverlight for a rich client-powered experience. Another reason to mention it, is that it also uses Windows Azure, a technology for which I have created and delivered training at Microsoft’s request. The Windows Azure Platform is both an awesome platform and service for high availability and scalability and easy provisioning in the cloud or in a hybrid combination with on-premise system.
Dayforce epitomizes the kind of offering that is well suited to the platform. They wanted to provide solutions that demanded zero IT maintenance for their customers and a scalable path as their customer base grew – they now have around 40 customers with some 150,000+ users. Using Azure, adding more customers or users now involves merely deploying more Windows Azure instances with a few mouse clicks, rather than buying/licensing, racking/provisioning and adminstering servers. Hosting the application on Windows Azure hosted services means running the services in an IIS environment that is great for hosting WCF-based services to which their rich Silverlight client can connect. It’s a SaaS solution with a rich-client plus!
This kind of Silverlight-Azure combo is the kind of thing I expect to see in droves with other successful offerings in the future. Since Scott Guthrie is moving over to be a VP for the Azure platform, this awesome-sauce (hi John!) combination will no doubt get even better.
Want to know more about Dayforce?
About Dayforce – Dayforce offers a complete workforce management solution with functionality that includes time and attendance, labor scheduling, labor forecasting, labor budgeting, task management and employee self-service. The company has made waves in workforce management with a vastly superior user experience, a much faster application, and significantly greater business value.
In addition to being named one of Deloitte’s Companies-to-Watch, Dayforce has been named the winner of the Top HR Product of the Year by Human Resource Executive® magazine, the winner of the Microsoft BlueSky Award for Innovation Excellence, and one of the CIX Top 20 Innovative Companies. For more information, please visit www.dayforce.com.
This year’s Microsoft Mix 11 conference is taking place from April 12th to 14th in Las Vegas.
I have 4 sessions proposals that have been selected for voting by the Mix panel, and with your help, I can present them at the conference for you to see in person or for free on-demand shortly afterwards.
As well as from commercial projects and published articles/shows, these sessions are based on my expertise as a Microsoft MVP for Silveright, a workshop trainer for Microsoft on the Windows Azure Platform & the developer of the first WP7 training bootcamp delivered across North America.
To vote for sessions by Feb 4th…
For each of the web links below, click on each one and then vote by first clicking on all of the animal pictures of the indicated type (usually cats awww) and then clicking “vote for this session”. Repeat for each of the 4 links. The picture clicking thing is to make sure you are human and not a cheating robot of course. If you select the wrong animation by mistake, you can click it again to unselect it.
Thank you for your interest and support!
0 to Phone App in 60 Minutes (based on a popular TechDays session)
Windows Phone 7 devices are out there. Will you have an application in the marketplace this year? The tools are free to download but it helps to get a jump-start to get moving. Do you understand the MVVM design pattern and how it applies to Windows Phone? Would you like to see how it’s done from scratch? Come along and see Microsoft MVP for Silverlight and leading WP7 trainer, Colin Melia, show you how to build an application step-by-step and answer questions along the way.
You’ve downloaded the phone tools and created your first project. Now you’re venturing into the other project templates and have found all kinds of extra xaml files, bindings and classes. You’re in the world of MVVM architecture and you feel like you’ve fallen down the rabbit whole. The MVVM patterns in the templates are there to leveraged, but you need to know how to work with it. In this session Microsoft MVP for Silverlight and leading WP7 trainer, Colin Melia, will cover the MVVM concepts, the templates and go beyond viewing data to using commands and explaining key choices.
The launch of Windows Phone has been a source of much interest and developer enthusiam. There are 1,000s of appplications in the Windows Phone Marketplace. However, not many of those applications interact with a service created by the same developer. In this session, Microsoft MVP for Silverlight and leading WP7 trainer, Colin Melia, will show you how the Windows Azure Platform is a natural backend for Windows Phone experiences and how to use the various components.
You have corporate data to disseminate into the field, or service records that need to be updated in the field. How can you quickly make that data accessible from your on-premise system to Windows Phone users? Come take a look at OData with Microsoft MVP for Silverlight and leading WP7 trainer, Colin Melia, and see how you can expose data and services into the cloud and quickly connect to it from the phone, from scratch
These are 4 of just 14 sessions by Canadian-based developers highlighted by Microsoft Canada. You can vote for all to 10 in total.
Got a few minutes to kill, and want to get to grips with Microsoft’s Windows Azure Platform? Let’s do it in the best possible way – by actually trying it. I’m about to show you just how easy that is and also explain how valuable that knowledge can be.
If you do this in Canada by Dec 31st 2010 and tell Microsoft Canada about it (see below), Microsoft will give CDN$25 to your nominated user group AND send you a $25 gift card too!!
Let’s get a few questions out of the way first…
Windows Phone 7 devices are coming to market this Oct/Nov in several markets.
Time is running out to get in on the launch and test device access is vital for some applications.
Get these benefits from the Windows Phone 7 Boot Camp that I’m running, sponsored by Microsoft at their Canadian offices:
- 2 solid workshop days to rapidly build your WP7 Developer knowledge and beyond – covering major topics in depth, samples, exercises and expertise in Microsoft technologies
- 50!! Demos/Examples
- Priority invite to Microsoft Canada’s deployment clinics to test your application(s) on a real device – unless you have a relationship with Microsoft, this may be your only opportunity before retail device availability!!!
- FREE go-to-marketplace support from Microsoft to get your application into the marketplace and potential promotion – you’ll be connected with a Microsoft evangelist to help you with getting your application(s) into the marketplace with potential for application promotional
- Information, 40+ samples & exercises to walk away with
Due to a shortage with devices, Microsoft Canada has withdrawn the loaner program (substituting the deployment clinics) and a device cannot be present in all bootcamp cities.
There are many free resources on the web, but none offer these benefits along with interactive learning.
Want More? How about, all this for less? Use the promo code WP7BOOTCAMP to get $100 off.
I’m doing a 1.5 hour Live Meeting presentation today at 16:00 ET on these hot topics for the Windows Azure User Group
The audience objectives include:
- Learn key features of Silverlight, OData & the Windows Azure Platform
- Learn about preparing an application for use with Windows Azure & SQL Azure
- Learn stages and ways to deploy a full application to the Windows Azure Platform
- Learn how Silverlight can interact with Windows Azure Platform technologies.
Register for this hot-topic event and participate remotely.
If you are looking for in-depth rapid training on developing for Windows Phone 7 development AND hands-on time with a device, then you should consider registering for the this major 2-day boot camp running across Canada.
Microsoft held it’s Make Web Not War conference in Montreal on May 27th 2010.
I was asked to present on the Windows Azure Platform for a CodeFest audience consistly largely of open source developers.
Here’s the Windows stack using Azure across from the LAMP stack.
I discussed how to mix and match a these things, so here’s a summary of some of the interoperability points and resources mentioned at the event.
Windows Azure Storage accessible from .NET and PHP
Windows Azure storage is a hugely scalable storage system with a REST-based interface accessible to systems that can talk XML over TCP.
As well as client libraries for .NET applications, there’s also the Windows Azure SDK for PHP (CTP on CodePlex – BSD License).
Windows Azure Hosting & Tools for ASP.NET apps built with Visual Studio and PHP apps bulit with either Eclipse or the Command Line
Windows Azure provides for scalable hosted applications running within the IIS platform (including FastCGI-enabled interpreters like PHP) as well as native Win32 applications (which could include your open server application listening on TCP ports).
Of course there’s a set of Visual Studio tools for developing ASP.NET applications on IIS. There’s also Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse (windowsazure4e.org) for developing your PHP application in Eclipse to run under IIS FastCGI on Windows Azure.
And if you don’t want to use an IDE there’s also Windows Azure Command-line Tools for PHP (CTP on CodePlex – BSD License).
SQL Azure accessible from .NET and PHP applications
SQL Azure (talking just minutes – seriously like 3 minutes - to set up a database in the cloud) provides reliable database storage in the cloud.
You can access this from ADO.NET and ODBC clients using the TDS+SSL protocol. You can also use the SQL Server Driver for PHP 1.1 (or the 2.0 CTP) to access your cloud database from a PHP application.
MySQL hosted on Windows Azure
Yep, there’s a solution for that too – see the Solution Accelerator for MySQL & PHP on Azure
This post will get you started with PHP development in Visual Studio for deployment to Windows Azure.
Using the FastCGI capabilities of IIS you can run PHP application on IIS and Windows Azure (in your local Development Fabric on in the Windows Azure cloud).
So, here’s how to create a simple PHP application in Visual Studio 2010 on Windows 7.
If you want to see this in video, check out my screencast interview with Dot Net Rocks TV on Azure and go to point 48:40.
- Download the latest Windows ZIP files from http://windows.php.net/download/ (currently 5.3.2). You should get for the VC9 x86 Non Thread Safe version. The FastCGI system on IIS makes the use thread-safe. Unzip the files into a folder somewhere on your system and rename the folder "PHP".
- Ensure you have everything for IIS and CGI (i.e. FastCGI) is activated on your system for local development.
- Install the latest Azure SDK (checking the system requirements) – currently 1.1 (Feb 2010).
- Start Visual Studio 2010 (which must be in run as an Administrator for the current version of the SDK) and create a new VS Cloud Project…
- Add the CGI Web Role…
- Open an Explorer window and locate your downloaded and extracted PHP folder. Do a Copy on the PHP folder.
- Open the folder for the web project…
- Paste the PHP folder (and therefore subfolders) into the web project folder and then select the Show All Files option in Solution Explorer so you can see the pasted PHP folder…
- Use the "Include in Project" option on the php folder to include it in project files, and therefore in the files deployed to Azure.
- Edit the Web.roleconfig file, (putting a new <application/> tag in place like this which tells IIS (locally or in the cloud) about the FastCGI interpreter for PHP…
- Edit Handers section of the Web.config file to include this new <add/> tag which tells IIS to use the PHP interpreter for files ending with .PHP…
- Also add the new <defaultDocument/> tag above to set up "index.php" as the default document for the web application.
- Finally add a basic index.php file using Add New Item on the web project; since there is no .PHP item – use a .TXT item (in the General category) and give the new file a .PHP extension…
- Enter this basic PHP code:
<? phpinfo(); ?>
Start up the application and you should see something like the following:
You can now deploy this (or a real application) to Azure using the Publish function on the Cloud project as usual.
Check out this MSDN page for general help on using FastCGI interpreters with Azure.
Microsoft and Open Source Communities are sponsoring the Make Web Not War conference on May 27th 2010, showcasing the latest cross-platform techniques and technologies, including presentations, panels, workshops, a codefest, the FTW coding competition and a party! Open Data, HTML 5, PHP, JQuery, Mobile, SEO and the Cloud, are amongst the topics being covered. Speakers and panelists will include myself, Microsoft Canada team members and many open source experts.