In Canada, we’re fortunate to have many community experts and MVPs. Throughout the month, they write about and talk about some really cool things. Many of you have told us that you’d like it to be easier to discover them and what they’re writing about. The team and I will be curating top picks and sharing them with you in frequent technology post round ups.

Windows 8

Windows Azure 

  • Does Your Data Really Belong in Your SQL Database? by Alexandre Brisebois
    When we move applications to the cloud, there are a few questions that absolutely need our attention. One of these questions comes down to database design. Do you really need all that data in your SQL Database?
  • Ingesting Massive Amounts of Relational Data With Windows Azure SQL Database (70+ Million records/day) by Alexandre Brisebois
    This article will show how to organize a  database to enable the insertion of large amounts of  relational data.   
  • Asynchronously Calling REST Services From a Windows Azure Role by Alexandre Brisebois
    The best practice when it comes to anything going over the network, is to use the The Transient Fault Handling Application Block. The RestClient from this post is a Fluent REST Client that uses the HttpTransientErrorDetectionStrategy and a RetryPolicy to be tolerant of transient faults.
  • Polling Tasks Are Great Building Blocks For Windows Azure Roles by Alexandre Brisebois
    Polling Tasks can be used to execute work from Windows Azure Queue Storage Service or from Windows Azure Blob Storage Service. It can also be used to pull work for any external system like from email severs, FTP servers or network drives.
  • Floor It! Then Kick It Back a Notch by Alexandre Brisebois
    Performance isn’t about having a huge amount of concurrent threads running in your Worker Role. Its about finding the right balance! So start by taking out all the stops. Push your Worker Roles to their limits. Then taken it back a notch and observe how the Worker Role’s performance is affected. Chances are that your going to notice an increase in the global performance!
  • Don’t be a Fool Wrap Your Tool! by Alexandre Brisebois
    The Windows Azure APIs came a long way since they were originally released. On a few occasions, the new versions weren’t very backwards compatible. During those moments, people who use the APIs directly in their code had a tough decision to make. Do we rewrite the code or stay with older APIs?

Windows Phone

SharePoint, Office, and SharePoint/Office Apps

  • Defaulting Values in a Multi-Lookup Form in SharePoint by Bil Simser
    This was a question asked on the MSDN Forums. This post goes more in depth with an explanation and some pretty pictures. The problem was a user wanted to default multiple values in a lookup field in SharePoint.
  • SharePoint Dev Quick Tip - Quickly and Easily Building SharePoint REST API Query URLs by Rob Windsor
    Have you ever tried to build the URL for a REST API service call and ended up confused and frustrated? The OData query syntax is well documented, it’s just not that intuitive. Well, if you want to query list data I have a little trick you can use to have the appropriate URL generated for you. Unfortunately this trick doesn’t work with the SharePoint 2013 _api service since it doesn’t expose metadata.

Visual Studio and ALM

  • Feature Toggles vs Feature Branches – Dylan’s $0.02 by Dylan Smith
    There’s been some chatter lately about an old debate between Feature Branches vs Feature Toggles.  I used to be firmly in the Feature Branches camp, but about a year ago (at the ALM Summit) I became convinced that Feature Toggles are a better choice in a lot of cases.
  • Rangers ship BRDLite (Build-Release-Deploy) by Wes MacDonald
    BRDLite is the ALM Rangers 1st investment in the DevOps domain which is going to continue to be one of their focus areas in future so stay tuned!  Make sure to follow the project.
  • Welcome to the New Age | SCOM 2012 SP1 and TFS 2010/2012 (DevOps) by Wes MacDonald
    Operations Manager 2012 SP1 enables in-production, always-on root-cause monitoring and analysis of .NET Applications.  AVIcode Intercept 5.7 functionality was shipped in the SCOM 2012 RTM last year.  
  • Testing Should be Fun by David Alpert
    If your tests are not fun to write, you have a problem. Actually you have a couple of problems.
  • VS2012: Run Test Method twice for different connection strings by Ahmed Al-Asaad
    Answer to “Is there a way to configure the TFS 2012 Build process so that it will execute all tests in this project twice?  Once against Sql Server and then run them all again against Oracle?”
  • TFS2012: Create Build Definitions by Ahmed Al-Asaad
    In this article Ahmed explains how to create a build definition in the Visual Studio 2012 and TFS 2012 server. He uses TFS 2012 Express when he wrote this post.

.NET Programming

  • The Model-View-ViewModel Design Pattern by Amir Ahani 
    The Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) pattern helps you to cleanly separate the business and presentation logic of your application from its user interface (UI). Maintaining a clean separation between application logic and UI helps to address numerous development and design issues and can make your application much easier to test, maintain, and evolve.
  • Writing efficient queries with Entity Framework Code First - Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 by David Paquette
    In this series, we will explore the Social Recipes sample application.  This is a simple application that is intended to show some of the common inefficient queries that can be generated using Entity Framework (EF) Code First. 
  • NuGet Tips by David Alpert
    Using Nuget within a large project is not without it’s risks, so I share the following recommendations in the hopes that it saves someone else some time and trouble.
  • NuGet Tip #1: Restore Packages on Build by David Alpert
    Nuget package restore is a way to tell MSBuild to download any missing packages as a pre-build step.

Web Development  

  • ASP.NET Web API and Protocol Buffers by Filip W.      
    Protocol Buffers are a super efficient and very flexible way of serializing structured data. Developed at Google, provide the developers lightspeed serialization and deserialization capabilities. There a handful of .NET implementations, the most popular one, called protobuf-net, created by Marc Gravell from StackExchange. On top of that library, WebApiContrib project has a Web API Protocol Buffers formatter ready for you to plug in.
  • Bootstrapping Asp.Net MVC–Introduction to Twitter.Bootstrap.Mvc4 by James Chambers
    I’m continuing my series in exploring Bootstrap integration with the Mvc Framework – part of the Asp.Net stack – and in this entry we’re going to be looking at a helper package that you can install in seconds to kickstart a project.
  • Building Web API Visual Studio support tools with Roslyn by Filip W.
    Filip W has talked about Roslyn scripting capabilities on his blog before Let’s look at code analysis and see how we could build tools that could help Web API developers build nice clean HTTP services.
  • A Comparison of Asp.Net MVC Templates by James Chambers
    Visual Studio 2012 and the ASP.NET refresh (2012.2) have introduced a number of new and refreshed templates to help bootstrap your project as you turn up a new MVC 4 site.  This post breaks down the key items that are in each of the templates to help you get a better understanding of your starting point.
  • SignalR, ActionFilters and ASP.NET Web API by Filip W.
    How about, to avoid any controller-level noise, messaging the connected SignalR subscribers from ActionFilters? While this approach might not be applicable in all scenarios, when it is, I think it could provide a nice layer of separation.   

Of Interest

  • Microsoft, .NET and Open Source by David Paquette
    Microsoft loves Open Source. This was one big take away for me. The folks at Microsoft really are committed to open source. I’m not talking about the old MSPL type of open source you might have expected from Microsoft a few years ago. I’m talking about full on open source.

If you’ve come across a great technology post and think we should share it, please let us know by sharing the post in the Canadian Developer Connection LinkedIn group. Make sure to share how the post helped you get something done. I’m sure your fellow developers would appreciate the insights.   

Until next edition!