If you are one of the lucky one who get an invitation code for Microsoft .NET Services and Microsoft SQL Services, you might wonder what you should do with it.  This guide provides a step-by-step instruction to walk you through the portal experience and running your first sample!  Sounds like fun?  Let's get started!

From Invitation Code to Solution

  1. First of all, please make sure you received the 2nd email notifying you that your invitation code is activated!  If you don't wait until your invitation code is activated, you will get an error when using the code!
  2. If you are in a Windows Live ID session at this point (or you are not sure), I recommend you to browse to a WLID site such as http://www.live.com/ and click "Sign Out".  This will ensure the services you signed up will bind with your intended Windows Live ID.
  3. Alright, now you can go to the portal at http://portal.ex.azure.microsoft.com.  Type in your invitation code in the big text box and then click "Sign Up"
  4. If you haven't signed in with your Windows Live ID, you will be prompted to do so.  ** If you did NOT get prompted to input your Windows Live ID, I recommend you to follow step #2 **
  5. After you log on, the portal will ask you to provide a solution name. Type in a solution name of your choice and click "Create Solution".  Solution name needs to be unique and it will be used for authentication in some of the SDK samples
  6. When the text changed from "Your solution is now being provisioned" to "Provisioning is complete", your solution is successfully created.  Note that a password is generated for you.  You can change this password and I will show you how to do it in the coming steps.  For now, you can click on the link "Click here to visit the .NET Services and SQL Services Management Portal".
  7. At this point, you have already created a solution for .NET Services and SQL Services.  Don't remember your solution name?  Look under "My Solutions" on the right.  For this case, my solution name is "MeowmiTheCat".  Now click on "<your solution name>".
  8. For each particular solution, you can change password and manage each service.  After clicking on "MeowmiTheCat" on the right, I come to this page.  Under "Manage Solution", click "Solution Credentials"
  9. In this page, I can change the password to something I can remember.  Don't forget to hit "Save" to save the new password!

From Solution to Sample

  1. If you haven't installed .NET Services SDK yet, now it's the time!  You can download it from here: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=129448.
  2. Once you have the SDK installed, you can go to "Start" -> "All Programs" -> "Microsoft .NET Services (Nov 2008 CTP) SDK" and open "Samples"
  3. Navigate all the way to "ServiceBus\GettingStarted\Echo\CS35" and open the EchoSample.sln.  Don't forget to read the Readme.htm as well in the same folder, but if you are anxious :), you can do the following steps.
  4. Build the solution (in VS2008) and execute the Service first.  Enter the Solution Name and Password when prompted.  For my case, it's "MeowmiTheCat" and my password.
  5. Now, execute the client as well.  Again, enter the Solution Name and Password when prompted.  For my case, it's "MeowmiTheCat" and my password.
  6. OK, when the client is ready, you can type whatever you want in the Client window.  Now you should be able to see the message you type echoing between the Service and Client

Now you know the basics! There are so much more to explore. Have fun with the samples!  By the way, although SQL Services does not have SDK to download, you can go to the MSDN Dev Center to learn how to play with SDS.  http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/sqlserver/dataservices/default.aspx

Don't hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or feedback.  http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/category/azure