April, 2011

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    AppFabric ACS: Single-Sign-On for Active Directory, Google, Yahoo!, Windows Live ID, Facebook & Others


    Until today, you had to build your own custom solutions to accept a mix of enterprise and consumer-oriented Web identities for applications in the cloud or anywhere. We heard you and we have built a service to make it simpler.

    Today at MIX11, we announced a new production version of Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control service, which enables you to build Single-Sign-On experience into applications by integrating with standards-based identity providers, including enterprise directories such as Active Directory, and consumer-oriented web identities such as Windows Live ID, Google, Yahoo! and Facebook.

     The Access Control service enables this experience through commonly used industry standards to facilitate interoperability with other software and services that support the same standards: 

    • OpenID 2.0
    • OAuth WRAP
    • OAuth 2.0 (Draft 13)
    • SAML 1.1, SAML 2.0 and Simple Web Token (SWT) token formats
    • WS-Trust, WS-Federation, WS-Security, XML Digital Signature, WS-Security Policy, WS-Policy and SOAP.

     And, we continue to work with the following industry orgs to develop new standards where existing ones are insufficient for the emerging cloud platform scenarios: 

     Check out the Access Control service! There are plenty of docs and samples available on our CodePlex project to get started.


    Asir Vedamuthu Selvasingh

    Technical Diplomat, Interoperability

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    FileAPI Prototype Added to HTML5 Labs, More Prototypes Coming


    Last December, when we launched HTML5 Labs, the place where Microsoft shares prototypes of early and unstable standards, we committed to regularly update these prototypes and add additional prototypes based on what will most help with the testing of the specifications.

    Ongoing Prototype Updates, Spec Analysis and Investigation

    Since then, we have updated the WebSockets prototype three  times and we have analyzed a number of specifications, with three new areas currently under active investigation. Today I am truly pleased to announce that we have also added a new prototype -  FileAPI  - as well as made an announcement on our plans for the MediaCapture API. 

    We have also been working with, and listening to, the feedback from early users, and have updated the HTML5 Labs site and given it a new look and feel.

    Introducing the FileAPI Prototype

    The Interoperability team at Microsoft developed the File API prototype, which is based on the draft W3C standard that provides an API for representing file objects in web applications. The main goal here is to solve an old problem for web applications that want to allow the user to select some files and, for instance, upload them on the server in a secure manner. The prototype includes a demo that shows how FileAPIs can be used to select some images on the local machines, preview them on the browsers, and then upload them to the server. In order to enable these scenarios today, browser extensions need to be installed in some cases.

    WebSockets has Been Updated 3 Times, New Demo Available

    Last month we released the third update to our WebSockets prototype since we released it on the HTML5 Labs site in December. This update is based on the IETF WebSockets 06 Protocol Specification, and extended interoperability testing with other 06 protocol implementations: LibWebSockets; Jetty, an Eclipse community open-source project which provides an HTTP server,  HTTP client and javax.servlet container; as well as a test Firefox build. We also hosted a chat demo page on Azure, which can be opened in Firefox and will use native browser WebSocket instead of the Silverlight-based one. 

    We also previously updated the IndexedDB prototype to bring it in line with the latest version of the specification, and have just added a new WebSockets demo


     Game In Progress: When a player drags a tile, its position is communicated to the other browser

    via WebSockets  and drawn accordingly on the screen, as shown above and below.

     The source code for this game is available on the HTML5 Labs web site.

     Media Capture Prototype is in the Cards

    The next prototype we are already planning for the site will cover Media Capture API, a draft specification that defines HTML form enhancements to provide access to the audio, image and video capture capabilities of a device. The first release of the prototype includes Audio capabilities only, but we plan to add video support shortly after the release of the first version. So, stay tuned for the Media Capture  prototype and other new ones that we are working on right now.

    Microsoft's approach with Internet Explorer as outlined in this blog post by Dean Hachamovitch, the Corporate Vice President for Internet Explorer, is to implement standards as they become site-ready for broader adoption.

    Our Thanks

    I also really want to thank you for helping Microsoft and the Internet Explorer team build a better and more interoperable Web, and encourage you to participate in the appropriate standards bodies to help finalize the specifications.

    Many thanks,

    Claudio Caldato,

    Principal Program Manager, Interoperability Strategy Team

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    WebSockets and HTML5 Labs @ MIX11


    Yesterday at MIX11 in Las Vegas, I had the pleasure of delivering a breakout session titled “Hot from the labs: HTML5 Web Sockets” along with my colleague Paul Batum. As it turns out there are a lot of people interested by WebSockets technology, and there was not a seat to be had, with standing room only. The streaming video of the session just went live, so I thought I would share this with all of you who are interested in WebSockets but were unable to attend our session. Enjoy!

    Don’t forget to stop by http://html5labs.com to experiment with the latest prototypes of emerging HTML5 standards and send us your feedback!


    Craig Kitterman

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    New features in the April 2011 CTP the Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java


    In case you missed the previous announcement, the plugin adds to Eclipse a set of wizards and dialogs which guide the Java developer through the configuration of all relevant projects settings when targeting Windows Azure. The plugin builds on top of the Windows Azure Starter Kit for Java, which is primarily a command-line toolset based on a simple Windows Azure project template which includes elements required to package and deploy your Java application to Windows Azure.

    As we said in our previous blog posts this project is evolving quickly. Our goal is to use the stream of community feedback to nail down the correct experience for Java developers. So today, we’re taking the next iteration forward and announcing the April 2011 Community Technology Preview (CTP) of the Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java. Here’s the list of the features, including the new ones:

    1. Eclipse wizards to create and build new Windows Azure projects in Eclipse,
    2. Shortcuts to deploy and start the project in the Windows Azure Compute Emulator,
    3. Association of *.cscfg and *.csdef files with the Eclipse XML editor for easier XML editing,
    4. New with April CTP: Eclipse wizards to add/remove/configure Windows Azure roles for your project during project creation or project properties editing
    5. New with April CTP: Eclipse wizards to add/remove/configure role endpoints during project creation or project properties editing (ports)


    The Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java is an Open Source project released under the Apache 2.0 license, and the source code is available at: http://sourceforge.net/projects/waplugin4ej.
    The best way to get started is to go through the steps explained in our updated tutorial: Deploying a Java application to Windows Azure with Eclipse .

    As always, we look forward to your comments and feedback!

    Craig Kitterman
    Twitter: @craigkitterman

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    WordPress on Windows Azure: A discussion with Morten Rand-Hendriksen


    I finally had the chance to sit down with Morten at MIX11 in Las Vegas last week to discuss the work he is doing on WordPress with Windows Azure to solve some common challenges with multi-site WordPress installations using traditional hosting.

    In Morten's words: "I am building a garden just for me and my clients...I control it...but the security and management of the garden is run by a very large company...they also will make sure that it works!"

    Read Morten's blog on http://www.designisphilosophy.com and find him on Twitter @Mor10


    Craig Kitterman
    Web: http://craig.kitterman.net

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Microsoft + Joomla! at J and Beyond 2011


    imageIt is not that often that we have the chance to visit a medieval abbey in Europe…but that is exactly what we are doing this May: we are sponsoring and attending J and Beyond, a major Joomla! event that will take place on the Rolduc Abbey in the Netherlands on May 6-8 2011.  Besides being thrilled about the event venue we are also excited and looking forward to the opportunity to interact, engage and listen to the Joomla! community. At Microsoft we’ve put a lot of effort in making Joomla! work really well on our platform and created an integrated development and deployment experience through WebMatrix to make it even simpler for developers. 

    We’ve got a couple of fun sessions planned and we’re looking forward to continuing the conversation and engagements with the Joomla! community at our booth as well:

    • “IE6 RIP - send flowers” with Jas Sandhu (@jassand). Join us in moving users to a modern browser and be free of Internet Explorer 6! Jas will talk about what to look for in a web browser today. The features and standards that are presently available and updates that are close in HTML5. We’ll be covering the work we are doing with Internet Explorer moving forward including a discussion of what is here today with IE9 and our IE10 Platform Previews and what will be coming in our HTML5 labs to help create a better and more interoperable web.
    • “Microsoft and the Joomla! Community” with Grace Francisco (@gracefr, the liason for the Joomla community within Microsoft). Grace will talk about your role working with open source communities and some of the activities Microsoft is involved in to make the Joomla experience great on our platform.

    We want to give a shout out to our friend Sudhi Seschala from Hooduku who is delivering a session on “Joomla 1.6 support multiple databases” covering the work he’s been doing to give the Joomla community more db options including the integration work that he’s been doing for Joomla 1.6 and SQL server and with Joomla 1.6 and SQL Azure.

    Looking forward to being at J and Beyond soon. Hope to see you there,

    Jas Sandhu, Technical Evangelist, @jassand

    Grace Francisco, Sr. Program Manager, @gracefr

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Being a polyglot developer: tools & guidance to help iPhone developers learn Windows Phone 7


    To be honest, I used to be a developer coding for a living, and now I’d say I’m a savvy hobbyist. I’m surrounded at work by brilliant developers, and even if I write very little code, I’m still very passionate about it. So, assuming you are like me a happy coder, the joy of developing software all comes down to a few things:  

    • Building something cool that users will enjoy
    • Getting rewards from users and recognition from peers
    • Learning how to solve new challenges and build novel features.

    Even if you have a solid expertise on a particular platform/language, I think it is essential to be a “polyglot” developer. In other words, you might have a native or preferred language, but opening your mind to others can be very stimulating and will bring considerable value to your abilities and your resume.

    Jumping from one platform or language to another can introduce breaking changes in your habits, but ultimately I believe change is very healthy for any individual and as a side effect it will expand your opportunities.

    If you are a .NET developer, learning Windows Phone development is not really “change.” Instead, it is more of a continuum, where you just add new features to what you already know. If you are an iPhone developer, new to Windows Phone (and .NET), yes this is different. But don’t worry. The learning curve is not as steep as you would imagine.

    So you may ask: “how can I leverage my iPhone development expertise to build Windows Phone 7 applications?”

    imageI’d just tell you: there’s no magic wand that will do the work for you, but we have put together a great package to help you get started. It’s available at http://windowsphone.interoperabilitybridges.com/, and I’ve just posted the announcement on the Windows Phone Developer blog:
    Leveraging your iPhone development expertise to build Windows Phone 7 applications

    Feel free to pass along to your friends Smile

    Jean-Christophe Cimetiere, Sr. Technical Evangelist – Interoperability
    @jccim - blogs.msdn.com/interoperability

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