May, 2013

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Now on IE and Firefox: Debug your mobile HTML5 page remotely with weinre (WEb INspector REmote)


    Great news for HTML5 mobile developers: the remote DOM inspector tool weinre is no longer restricted to Webkit-based browsers and can be used with Internet Explorer 10 or Firefox, thanks to the community contribution with technical support from Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

    WEb INspector REmote

    Weinre (WEb INspector REmote) is an HTML5 debugging tool addressing the challenge of testing and troubleshooting web pages on mobile devices. It is part of the Apache Cordova projects and intends to help developers debugging their mobile web page or Cordova-based mobile apps on actual device. It allows doing DOM inspection remotely and generally makes it way easier to validate that an HTML5 page will render and behave properly on actual devices.

    If you are familiar with the F12 tools on IE, Firebug on Firefox or Web Inspector on Chrome, then you will feel at home to debug your HTML5 pages on mobiles devices.

    Removing WebKit dependencies

    Thanks to the recent community work with MS Open Tech technical support, WebKit dependencies were removed from weinre and the tools now perfectly works on Internet Explorer and Firefox, giving you the option to use your favorite modern browser.

    For HTML5 developers wrapping web code into native applications with tools such as Apache Cordova (PhoneGap), this tool is a great addition to the native development tools that will not allow to do DOM inspection on the HTML5 content that is encapsulated in their native apps with Apache Cordova. Using weinre, they can now test the HTML5 part of their apps in a real environment, no longer “simulating” actual devices with desktop web browsers.


    Check out the video below to see a short demo of Weinre used to debug an HTML5-based application on Windows Phone 8.

    Get Started with weinre on IE 10 and Windows Phone 8

    To get started with weinre, visit the weinre Apache project page.

    You can install weinre with npm using the following command in the Node.js command prompt: npm -g install weinre

    A debug server (running on Node.js) is launched on your development machine. A debugger client web page allows you to inspect and manipulate the DOM elements of your HTML5 page. In the Node command prompt, just type weinre –boundHost xx.xx.xx.xx (where xx.xx.xx.xx is the IP address of the Network adapter you want to use).

    You can obviously set a number of settings so that the server is bound to a specific Network connection, and uses a specific port.

    You can then access the debugger instruction web page going to the http://xx.xx.xx.xx:8080/ page.


    You can then start your debugger client page: http://xx.xx.xx.xx:8080/client.

    Instrument your mobile web page with the following script line:

    <script src="http://xx.xx.xx.xx:8080/target/target-script-min.js#anonymous"></script>

    Then bring up your mobile page on a connected device whether through the browser on in your app. The client will show the new target connection and you will be able to play with your DOM elements!


    Call for feedback

    Once you gave a try to weinre to inspect your HTML5 markup on a Windows Phone 8 device, we would love to have your feedback and input. Please comment below to let us know what you think.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Entity Framework V6 (EF6) Beta 1 from Microsoft Includes Latest & Greatest Open Source Contributions


    Microsoft Corp. has just announced the Beta 1 release of Entity Framework 6 (EF6).  EF6 combines the latest and greatest open source community contributions with key features and tooling that you were asking for.  Here’s the official announcement with a full list of new features.  

    As you might recall, last summer Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. (MS Open Tech) announced that the Entity Framework (EF) was now open source.  Since then several iterations have been released, and many new features and capabilities have been added from the development team at the Microsoft Open Tech Hub as well as some great contributions from the software developer community.  Here are some highlights from the 21 community pull requests that we accepted:

    · Custom Migrations Operations were enabled by a contribution from iceclow and this blog post provides an example of using this new feature.

    · Pluggable Pluralization & Singularization Service was contributed by UnaiZorrilla.

    · Significantly improved warm up time (view generation) – especially for large models – via a contribution from AlirezaHaghshenas.

    This Get It page has all the information on installing the prerelease and current runtime packages in Visual Studio 2012.

    Don’t know your Model First from your Code First or Database First?  Here’s a great intro to EF and EF concepts.

    The team is now putting the finishing touches on the EF6 release.  Early adopters can test drive the latest Beta features in the signed nightly build. And don’t forget to have a look at the latest Feature Specifications and Design Meeting Notes.  And follow the MS Open Tech  development team on Twitter and like them on Facebook to keep in the loop on the latest developments from the team and the community. 

    Let the MS Open Tech hub team know your experiences with EF6 by start up a discussion on CodePlex for feedback.   You can also post questions and find answers on StackOverflow by using the entity-framework tag.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    MS Open Tech Brings the Creative World of Cinder to Windows Store Applications


    Great news for Agencies, Creative Coders and Design Engineers

    The open source programming library Cinder is growing in popularity for creative coding in C++, and now these cool Cinder coders can extend the reach of their apps to a broader audience on the Windows Store.

    Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. (MS Open Tech), and the Microsoft Platform Evangelism team have been working with the Cinder community to enable Windows Store support for Cinder. This code is now available on a public branch on GitHub and it means that creative developers of all kinds can now build a new generation of Windows 8 apps with Cinder. For those not already familiar with it, Cinder is a cross platform framework designed for professional-quality creative coding in C++ and is typically used for design engineering.

    The Windows 8 operating system introduces a new type of application, called a Windows Store app. The new architecture is called Windows Runtime, or WinRT for short. Windows Store apps are presented and can be accessed through their respective Live Tiles. An application's Live Tile is registered automatically when that app is installed from the Windows Store.

    There is still a bit of work to do, such as adding XAML support, but the broader creative coding community is already embracing it. The screen shots above are all from the DirectX, Windows Store samples that ship with the branch.

    In order to run Cinder on Apple, Android and Windows devices prior to Windows 8, the rendering libraries leveraged OpenGL as the open source, cross platform solution. Even though DirectX has been Microsoft's preferred rendering solution for advanced graphics programming, Windows traditionally provided both DirectX and OpenGL support from the desktop. However, Windows 8 Store applications are now exclusively DirectX based, to maximize reusability across the entire domain of Microsoft experiences including Windows Phone, Windows RT, Windows 8, and gaming.

    To get a Cinder project running as a Windows Store app, the Cinder project needs to leverage a DirectX render instead of the default OpenGL renderer. Both OpenGL and DirectX have undergone significant changes over the years. As hardware and software continue to advance, both libraries continue to progress in their own distinct ways. Windows 8 Store apps leverage the most recent version of DirectX 11.1.

    Because DirectX is now directly supported by Cinder, a developer can now write code such as the sample below. Here is some example code for a Cinder BasicApp “Hello World” drawing app. It draws a line while the user is touching the screen (or dragging the mouse):

    #include "cinder/app/AppBasic.h"
    #include "cinder/dx/dx.h"

    using namespace ci;
    using namespace ci::app;
    using namespace std;

    // We'll create a new Cinder WinRT Application by deriving from the Cinder AppBasic class
    class BasicApp : public AppBasic {
           void mouseDrag( MouseEvent event );
           void draw();

           // This will maintain a list of points which we will draw line segments between
           list<Vec2f>         mPoints;

    void BasicApp::mouseDrag( MouseEvent event )
           mPoints.push_back( event.getPos() );

    void BasicApp::draw()
           dx::clear( Color( 0.1f, 0.1f, 0.15f ) );
           dx::color( 1.0f, 0.5f, 0.25f ); 
           dx::begin( GL_LINE_STRIP );
           for( auto pointIter = mPoints.begin(); pointIter != mPoints.end(); ++pointIter ) {
                 dx::vertex( *pointIter );

    // This line tells Cinder to create and run the WinRT application
    CINDER_APP_BASIC( BasicApp, RendererDx )

    As a result, developers who are familiar with either Cinder or DirectX should find themselves right at home with the new capabilities that Windows Store support has just added to the framework. Here’s some early feedback we have received from the Cinder developer community:

    We couldn't be happier about having WinRT support in Cinder. The possibility of distributing apps in the Windows Store, as well as targeting new hardware like the Surface is going to be a big deal for our users. And providing such tangible support for open source through the MS Open Technologies team is really forward-thinking and exciting in its own right. – Andrew Bell, Lead Architect of Cinder

    As a community developed open source project, Cinder separates the stable, official version of its Cinder framework from newer branches that developers setup as they program future functionality. WinRT support for Cinder is currently being developed off of one of these feature branches, with the goal of integrating in to a future iteration of the master project. The DirectX/Windows Store branch of this library can be cloned from Github.

    You can read the Getting Started With Cinder For Windows Store Apps guide here which explains more about Cinder, DirectX and how to setup Visual Studio and Windows 8. We encourage you to share this information with your designer developer colleagues and join the discussion on the official Cinder forums -

    We expect this announcement will open up a whole new world of opportunities for creative applications from artists, designers, and developers. We hope you enjoy the Cinder for Windows Store experience and we look forward to seeing your cool new applications.

    Adalberto Foresti, Principal Program Manager
    Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Discussing Microsoft’s Openness at Linux Tag


    LinuxTag is the leading meeting place for Linux and open source in Europe. Held in Berlin last week it was the place to learn about new innovations and trends, as well as to connect with core expertise for professional users, decision makers, developers, beginners and of course the community. I was lucky enough to attend in support of Microsoft Deutschland.

    I spent the majority of the four days discussing and demonstrating the depth and breadth of Microsoft’s engagement in open source and open standards. As I assist the efforts at Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. (MS Open Tech) – who are proud to support Microsoft Corporation’s commitment to openness – it’s always a joy because it’s such a positive story. This is particularly true at large events like LinuxTag where it is impossible to predict who we will be talking to next. It is a great feeling to be able to point to concrete contributions that MS Open Tech has made, and continue to make, to projects relevant to almost any individuals interests.

    Even more pleasing is the obvious desire of the key open source community members to work with us. A significant number of visitors to our stand were keen to understand how they can work with Microsoft to ensure interoperability between solutions. That’s an important reason why MS Open Tech exists, and why we were at LinuxTag.

    Many visitors wanted to see how the VM Depot site could help their projects. VM Depot is a site on which the community can publish freely redistributable virtual machine images for Windows Azure. Once I’d explained how it worked, it was common for community leaders and core developers to have clearly identified significant value for their projects. In some cases they saw it as an opportunity to increase the visibility of their open source products, in others as an opportunity to provide evaluation installs, and in others it was an opportunity to empower their development community.

    My thanks go to all the team at Microsoft Deutschland and LinuxTag for making it possible to meet so many great open source leaders in such a short time. We look forward to continuing the conversations.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Momentum Grows as OData v4 Achieves Standards Milestone


    OData Industry Adoption Builds with v4 Now in Public Review in OASIS

    Based on the industry collaboration between Citrix, IBM, Microsoft, Progress Software, SAP AG, WSO2, and others, we are pleased to report that the OASIS OData Technical Committee recently approved Committee Specification Draft 01 (CSD01) of OData version 4.0 and has initiated a public review of OData v4.0 during May 3, 2013 through June 2, 2013. OData v4.0 is expected to become an OASIS Standard in 2013.

    Much of the data on the Web today lives in silos, needing different protocols, APIs, and formats to query and update the data. With the rapid growth of online information and big data sources, open data protocols and services are in demand more than ever before.

    OData is a Web protocol for querying and updating data. OData is built on a set of RESTful conventions that provide interoperability for services that expose data. It builds on standardized web technologies such as HTTP, REST, Atom/XML, and JSON. It provides an entity data model and has support for vocabularies for common ontologies such as Sales (with Customers, SalesOrder, Product, ...), Movies (with Title, Actor, Director, …), or Calendars (with Event, Venue, …), etc. OData enables the creation of REST-based data services which means that resources identified using Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) and defined in an Entity Data Model (EDM), can be published and edited by Web clients using simple HTTP messages.

    The OASIS OData version 4.0 specification is based on the popular OData version 3.0. OData version 4.0 defines data model changes to significantly simplify and expand how relationships are expressed and used as well as how metadata is described and partitioned, expanded query capabilities for inline collections and fulltext search, and extended functionality for change tracking and asynchronous processing.

    The OASIS Technical Committee has produced three work products; OData version 4.0 defines the core semantics and facilities of the protocol, including a set of conventions for addressing resources, query string operators for querying a service, and an XML representation of the Entity Data Model exposed by an OData service. OData JSON Format version 4.0 defines representations for OData request and response bodies using a JSON format. OData Atom Format version 4.0 defines an equivalent representation for OData request and response bodies using an Atom/XML format.

    Many organizations are already working with OData, and it has proven to be a useful and flexible technology for enabling interoperability between disparate data sources, applications, services, and clients. Here are some recent examples:

    Microsoft Research Explores OData and the Semantic Web

    Microsoft Research (MSR), in collaboration with The British Library and the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), has just published a whitepaper Linking Structured Data that explores how OData can be used to expose data within an RDF triple store through an end-user oriented model, and consumed by a broad range of consumer-oriented tools and applications. To better understand how RDF data could be exposed and consumed by OData clients in a real world example, MSR went from theory to practice by focusing on some scenarios from The British Library which publishes its metadata on the Web according to Linked Data principles.

    Join the OData Community

    If you’re interested in using or implementing the OData protocol or contributing to the OData standard, now’s the time to get involved.

    • Learn more about OData and the ecosystem of open data producer and consumer services by visiting the recently revamped web site for information, content, videos, and documentation.
    • Get the latest information for what's going on in OData by join the mailing list.
    • Get involved in the #OData discussion and contribute to the OData community.
    • Join the OASIS OData technical committee (OData TC) to contribute to the standard.
    • Send comments on OData version 4.0 to the OASIS OData Technical Committee

    We’re looking forward to continued collaboration with the community to develop OData into a formal standard through OASIS.

    Mark Gayler, Senior Technical Evangelist
    Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

    Ram Jeyaraman, Senior Standards Professional
    Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. and co-Chair of the OASIS OData Technical Committee



  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Windows Azure Service Bus Interoperable Implementation of OASIS AMQP Transitions to General Availability


     GENERAL AVAILABILITY: We are pleased to share the news that AMQP 1.0 support in Windows Azure Service Bus has transitioned from Preview to General Availability (GA).  AMQP 1.0 is a secure, reliable, and open binary protocol for business messaging.  The AMQP 1.0 specification was approved in the fall of 2012 as an OASIS Standard is being considered for forwarding ISO/IEC JTC1 to become an international standard.

    COMMITMENT TO OPEN AMQP ECOSYSTEM: Microsoft Corp. and Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. (MS Open Tech) were active participants in the development of the core AMQP OASIS Standard and continue to play an active role in the OASIS AMQP and AMQP Bindings and Mappings Technical Committees. We are committed to continuing contributions to the work on global addressing, management, and AMQP over WebSockets, all focused on growing the open, interoperable ecosystem for AMQP.

    TRY AMQP: We encourage you to try AMQP 1.0 with the Windows Azure Service Bus using .NET, Java Message Service (JMS), Python, PHP or C.

    Thanks very much for reading and for more news on Azure, AMQP, and MS Open Tech, visit the Windows Azure Team Blog, Announcements, and the MS Open Tech Team Blog.

    Brian Benz, Senior Technical Evangelist, Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.
    Rob Dolin, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Node.js Library for Authentication with Windows Azure Active Directory


    AzureADNodeNode.js developers: add some Windows Azure authentication and access control to your Node app with the newly MS Open Tech’s released open source library for Windows Azure Active Directory service.

    Windows Azure Active Directory is a REST based service that provides authentication and access control functionality for web applications. Libraries are available that make integrating the service with web applications easier.

    Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc., has developed the Node.js library in the form of Passport strategies and made the code available on github. You can use the Node Package Manager (npm) to use the library and package it into your Node.js. We are also working with the Windows Azure team to integrate this new Node.js library in the Windows Azure SDK.

    As most Node.js applications use Passport as the authentication middleware, we created this new library as a couple of Passport strategies that can be used similarly to other ones. These 2 strategies are SAMLp and WSFed .

    The GitHub repository also contains source code examples and instructions to configure the Windows Azure service.

    Check out the Windows Azure Active Directory site to learn more about the service and get started today typing the following in your command prompt:

    npm install passport-azure-ad

    Let us know what you think in the comments below!

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Hortonworks HDP -- Open Source Apache Hadoop Distribution is Enterprise-ready


    Generally Available on Linux, Windows Server and Windows Azure.

    From: Gianugo Rabellino, Senior Director of Open Source Communities, Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

    Great news! Hortonworks’ HDP for Windows is now generally available on Windows and Linux.

    Here’s what the Microsoft SQL Server team had to say about the GA release (The Beta was announced and released in March):

    “HDP offers customers a 100 percent Open Source Apache Hadoop distribution that is Enterprise-ready and interoperable across Linux, Windows Server and Windows Azure. For more details visit the Hortonworks website.”

    And here’s what Hortonworks had to say about the new release:

    “Built and packaged by the core architects of Apache Hadoop, Hortonworks Data Platform includes all of the necessary components to refine and explore new data sources, and find new business insights. As an ecosystem-friendly platform, HDP extends existing investments in applications, tools and processes with Hadoop.”

    Note that existing HDP for Windows users in Windows or Linux can migrate easily the Windows Azure-based HDInsight service when they’re ready to take advantage of the performance advantages and low operating costs of Hadoop on Windows Azure.

    We at Microsoft Open Technologies are glad to see this bridge open for customers’ big data needs.

    Congratulations to the Hortonworks and Microsoft teams on a job well done!

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Greetings Symfony Live - New tools for Symfony developers on Windows Azure


    I Hope everyone at Symfony live in Portland this week is having a good time – I wish I could join you in person!

    I wanted to share some exciting news about recently released updates to Windows Azure tools for Symfony that Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. has been supporting.

    Benjamin Eberlei’s Azure Distribution Bundle project simplifies the deployment of Symfony applications on Windows Azure by managing the packaging for Azure, and handling deployment of assets and distributed session management.

    Since the original project was released in June 2012, the bundle has been integrated with the latest Windows Azure SDK for PHP. Symfony is also now easier to deploy to websites on Windows Azure, facilitated in part by Composer integration during deployment.

    If you’re an experienced Symfony developer, the bundle is a great starting point for Symfony on Azure, as it has detailed instructions and documentation for getting started with Windows Azure and how to interact with Windows Azure instances and service building blocks.

    So have fun at Symfony Live this week, and check out these new tools and demo for Symfony on Azure when you get a chance. Let us know what you think!

    Brian Benz

    Senior Technical Evangelist

    Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    W3C Pointer Events Gains Momentum Within Web Communities


    MS Open Tech Announces Intent to Implement in Blink While Continuing WebKit Implementation


    Asir Vedamuthu Selvasingh, Principal Program Manager
    Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

    Adalberto Foresti, Principal Program Manager
    Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

    The W3C Pointer Events emerging standard continues to gain traction, advancing support for interoperable mouse, touch, and pen interactions across the web. Today, Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. (MS Open Tech) made the first step towards interoperable support for Pointer Events in Blink by submitting a formal Intent to Implement to enable our engineering team to actively collaborate and work toward a positive adoption of Pointer Events by the Blink developer community.

    Earlier this year, MS Open Tech published a Pointer Events prototype for WebKit on HTML5 Labs and submitted the patch to the WebKit developer forum. To help even more developers adopt the Pointer Events technology, we plan to continue our collaboration with the WebKit community.

    Pointer Events makes it easier to support many browsers and devices by saving Web developers from writing unique code for each input type. Today people interact with Web content on a range of devices – phones, tablets, PCs, even the living room TV. Pointer Events unifies how you code for point, click and touch across these devices. The input model is based on the APIs already available in IE10 on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 and you can start building websites incorporating point, click, and touch today.

    Pointer Events continues to receive positive feedback from the developer community -- many are already embracing it as a unified model for cross-browser multi-modal input:

    The jQuery team has been watching the progress of Pointer Events and participating in the W3C standardization process as it moves to Candidate Recommendation. Congratulations to the W3C working group for their hard work in getting to the CR stage. We see Pointer Events as a great way to unify the haphazard models that exist today for mouse, touch, and other pointer devices. Our team looks forward to supporting web developer use of Pointer Events as implementations begin to arrive.

    Dave Methvin, President jQuery Foundation

    Pointer Events is a great way to add cross-browser support for multi-modal input from mouse, pointer, and touch.  With Pointer Events reaching Candidate Recommendation stage, it is time all mobile html5 application developers paid attention.  The best part; you can start using it today….

    Jesse MacFadyen, Adobe Developer, Cordova Committer

    Pointer Events Advances to W3C Candidate Recommendation (CR)

    As announced last week by the W3C and shared by our colleagues in IE, the W3C has now published the Pointer Events specification as a Candidate Recommendation, an important step toward a standard. This progression from Last Call Working Draft to Candidate Recommendation is a mark of the effective collaboration among Microsoft Corp., Google, Mozilla, Opera, Nokia, jQuery, and others to help sites take advantage of new interactive devices for the Web.

    ‘Candidate Recommendation’ indicates that the W3C considers the specification widely reviewed and satisfying the Working Group’s technical requirements. It signals a call for additional implementation experience to inform the group.

    MS Open Tech and the Microsoft Internet Explorer teams will continue to work with our colleagues across the industry, engaging developers to test and provide feedback on the specification to W3C.

    Learn more about Pointer Events on Web Platform Docs

    As you start building, migrating, or testing your apps using Pointer Events on various browser platforms, you should check out the resources available on the Pointer Events Wiki at Web Platform Docs:

    • You can Try out the cool multi-model input capabilities with Pointer Events Demos.
    • You can Learn about Pointer Events by reading the specification documentation or watching Jeff Burtoft explaining how to easily upgrade from mouse to Pointer Events. And, you can learn even more by checking out the Pointer Events Primer on
    • You can check out code samples such as the hand.js polyfill and even validate your own code with Pointer Events Test cases.


    So much progress -- Pointer Events enables you to build for the future of the Web, today. So when someone invents the next big input breakthrough (such as Tom Cruise’s crime lab from Minority Report or Tony Stark’s holographic CAD console from Iron Man), you’re already on your way to supporting new input features.

    Jump in, have fun with the demos, join the discussion at #PointerEvents and update your site with the cool capabilities of Pointer Events. Point. Click. Touch.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Redis on Windows – new version and NuGet Packages


    Continuing our support for Redis on Windows, Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. has just released the latest version (2.6.12). It has been tested and validated by our test team using the same process we used in the past to ensure stability and reliability.

    We’ve also released Redis-32 and Redis-64 NuGet packages to make it easier to install for developers that don’t need access to the source code.

    We are also working on adding support for the Web Platform Installer (WebPI) so stay tuned for more news soon!

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Accelerating Start-ups with open source, and Windows Azure Accelerators


    In early 2012 Microsoft chose Tel Aviv,  as the location for its first start-up accelerator. When the team at Microsoft Research and Development, Israel asked if MS Open technologies, Inc. could speak about open source on Windows Azure at their Cloud Day event I immediately jumped at the chance since I’m fascinated by how open source can help accelerate innovation. It seemed to me that this event would attract the kinds of people who could show me a thing or two about innovation on the cloud.

    The Cloud Day event was designed to provide an opportunity for members of the local start-up community to explore the latest & hottest trends in cloud computing and to gain insights on how to get the most value out of the cloud. Speakers included representatives of start-ups at varying stages of development, Venture Capitalists, Cloud Consultants and Microsoft Open Technologies.

    My session focused on using open source software to get the most from the cloud. I discussed how Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. work with projects and communities in order to ensure Windows Azure is an ideal platform for open source solutions. This was illustrated with a number of examples and case studies, such as how Ascribe Ltd transformed healthcare using open source big data solutions thanks to Microsoft’s contributions to Apache Hadoop and how used Azure and open source to manage a massive surge in web traffic. I also demonstrated how, using VM Depot makes it possible for anyone to build a video sharing site during their coffee break (more on that in a later post).

    For me though what I had to say was not the important part, it was what the attendees had to say that interested me. After my session I was able to talk to quite a few people who were both keen to tell me about their start-up and to learn how they can make the most of open source software. Almost everyone I spoke to demonstrated a hunger, energy and determination that was nothing short of impressive. It's no
    wonder that the Microsoft Accelerator here has such a high success rate.

    By the end of the day it was clear that open source is an important part of the start-up ecosystem in Israel and I, along with the rest of Microsoft Open Technologies, look forward to continuing to support the brilliant team at Microsoft Israel R&D a they continue to provide support for local innovation and business development.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    A new way for iOS and Android users to access corporate resources: The Application Gateway


    clip_image002Every CIO today has mobile VPN access sitting very high on the priority list and knows how mobile connectivity to corporate resources is an important yet complicate matter. In a quest to solve the VPN issue in a simple way, Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. created AppGateway, an application of VPN access for Android and iOS based on the preview of a Windows Azure Application Gateway service meant to help mobile users be more productive on the go. With this app, developed in collaboration with the Windows Azure Active Directory team, Android and iOS users can experience easy connectivity to web sites behind the corporate firewall, leveraging Windows Azure authentication services.

    For obvious security reasons, connecting to resources that are behind a firewall usually requires a fairly complex infrastructure such as VPN (Virtual Private Network). The AppGateway demo app is designed to make the process simpler yet highly secured. The mobile app connects to a service on Windows Azure that acts as the proxy to an agent that is running inside the network behind the firewall. Using the Windows Azure Authentication service, the proxy can establish a trusted connection to the agent so that the application on the mobile device can browse web sites that would not be normally accessible outside the corporate network.


    The demo app is available on the Apple App Store, GooglePlay and Amazon marketplaces at the following links:

    For more information on the Windows Azure Application Gateway service preview, visit

    In our best tradition, we also released the source code of the demo app. You can find the Android application code here.

    For detailed instructions and a quick ‘get started; guide is available here.

    We look forward for your feedback, comments and suggestions.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    If you’re working with Java on Windows Azure, this update is for you!


    Martin Sawicki – Principal Program Manager – MS Open Tech
    Brian Benz – Sr. Technical Evangelist – MS Open Tech

    Incorporating developer feedback and keeping pace with Windows Azure’s ongoing evolution, Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc., has released a new update to the Windows Azure Toolkit for Eclipse. This latest version – the May 2013 Preview (or v2.0.0) – includes a number of new improvements we hope will further simplify your Java work in the Windows Azure cloud. This major update accompanies the release of the Windows Azure SDK v2.0.

    Key Enhancements:

    Automatic upload of the JDK and Server to Windows Azure storage (and deployment from there)

    This new option automatically uploads the selected JDK and Web Application Server, when needed, to a selected Windows Azure storage account and deploys these components from that account. This commonly requested feature can greatly enhance the ease and efficiency of deploying the JDK and server components, as well as help with team development scenarios, by avoiding the need to embed these components in the deployment package, or the hassle of manual uploads. Our “Hello World” tutorial walks you through these steps in detail. Here is a screenshot from the updated project creation wizard showing this feature in action:


    Centralized storage account tracking

    You may be wondering how Windows Azure knows which storage accounts to display in the drop-down list. The answer is another new feature – centralized storage account tracking. In order to reference storage accounts more easily across the various features that rely on storage, like caching and, in this case, the JDK or the Web Application server component deployment, you can register existing storage accounts names and endpoints in your current Eclipse workspace under Preferences > Windows Azure > Storage Accounts:


    As usual, you can import the information from your subscription’s publish settings file to provide the storage account discovery magic.

    Here’s an example of the centralized storage account tracking for caching as well. The drop down shows you where you would specify which storage account to store credentials for the cache configuration in a Windows Azure role. This way you no longer have to enter the access key manually.


    Simplified Remote Access setup

    For this release we’ve also streamlined the previous two-step remote access setup into one step. In the “Publish to Cloud” wizard, type in a user name and password to enable remote access, or leave it blank to keep remote access disabled.


    By default, Eclipse will use the sample certificate for encrypting your remote access credentials in the Windows Azure configuration file. If you’d rather use your own certificate, choose the Advanced… link.

    The “all-in-one” Eclipse library for easier Windows Azure API access now updated with the latest (v0.4.2)

    The latest SDK distribution of the Windows Azure Libraries for Java are packaged along with their open-source dependencies as an Eclipse library and referred to as the Package for Windows Azure Libraries for Java (by MS Open Tech). If your Java code needs to take advantage of the Windows Azure API, just add this library to the build path of your Java project (not the Windows Azure project) and all the needed libraries will be automatically referenced and included in your WAR file.


    Additional Enhancements

    We’ve also fixed sticky sessions on Windows Server 2012 (previously limited to Windows 2008). And we’ve made some package publish performance improvements that can make the upload portion of the deployment process up to twice as fast as in previous releases, especially helpful if you’re not using the “deploy from download” options, but still embedding large components in the deployment package itself. We’ve also made a number of bug fixes, including some reported issues related to deploying Tomcat and Jetty on Windows 2012 from a cloud download.

    Getting the Plugin

    Here are the complete instructions to download and install the Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java, as well as updated documentation.

    As always, let us know how the latest release works for you and how you like the new features! To send feedback or questions, just use MSDN Forums or Stack Overflow.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    MS Open Tech, Linux and Open Source at LinuxFest 2013


    I was fortunate to be invited to speak on behalf of MS Open Tech at last weekend’s LinuxFest Northwest in Bellingham, WA. This was a local event with a wide variety of developers and tech enthusiasts who gathered at Bellingham Technical College to participate in a broad spectrum of presentations, demonstrations, and labs.

    My presentation Microsoft, Linux and the Open Source Community was part of the Developing a Community Track at LinuxFest so, given Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. had just celebrated our One Year Anniversary, I took this opportunity to demonstrate some of the MS Open Tech projects that are enabling the open source community to benefit from new interoperability technology initiatives:

    Linux on Windows Azure – Just prior to LinuxFest, the Azure team announced general availability of Windows Azure Infrastructure-as-a-Service. Windows Azure Infrastructure Services enable you to deploy and run durable VMs in the cloud. As well as Windows Server options, the built-in image gallery of VM templates includes Linux images for Ubuntu, CentOS, and SUSE Linux distributions. During my presentation session, I used Windows Azure Web Sites to create a new cloud-based WordPress site including a MySQL instance.

    VM Depot – Built on the capabilities of Linux on Windows Azure, VM Depot is a cloud-based catalog of more than 200 open source Linux virtual machine images for Windows Azure contributed by the community. Developed by MS Open Tech, on VM Depot the community can build, deploy and share their favorite Linux configurations and other freely downloadable images, create custom open source stacks, and work with others to build new architectures for the cloud that leverage the openness and flexibility of the Windows Azure platform.

    OData – OData is an open data protocol jointly developed by Microsoft, IBM, SAP, Citrix, and other industry partners and currently undergoing standardization via OASIS. We have recently revamped the website and encourage community contributions to develop consumer and producer services using OData as highlighted in the Ecosystem subsection. My demonstration showed how OData can be used by the community to publish and access open government data using the DataLab open source code on GitHub.

    Pointer Events - Pointer events is an emerging standard developed by the W3C to define a single device input model – mouse, pen and touch – across multiple browsers. Microsoft contributed the initial specification and is working to demonstrate cross browser interoperability for Pointer Events. MS Open Tech developed an open source Pointer Events prototype for WebKit on HTML5 Labs and submitted the patch to the WebKit community. We encourage the developer community to learn more about Pointer Events on Web Platform Docs and join the #PointerEvents discussion.

    I would like to thank the LinuxFest organizers for the opportunity to participate. Events like LinuxFest are an ideal way for us to share the work we do at MS Open Tech with the open source community and seek feedback on our efforts. I look forward to the next opportunity.

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