Dev Pulse

Sounding the pulse of the developer and development manager

April, 2011

Posts
  • Dev Pulse

    AzureFest Makes A Surprise Visit to Calgary This Weekend

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    AzureFest is making a surprise visit to Calgary this weekend! If you haven’t yet heard of AzureFest, check out this post where AzureFest is described in full.

    Remember, AzureFest is a hands-on event. This means that you’ll be following along on your own laptop and actually deploying your solution during the event. In order to get the most out of the experience, make sure to bring your laptop, a power cable if you’re going to need to plug in your laptop, and a credit card. Don’t worry, nothing will be charged to your credit card during AzureFest. Your credit card is just required for activating your Windows Azure account.

    If you want to see for yourself how easy it is to move your existing application to the cloud, this is an event you don’t want to miss. Register early as space is limited.

    Calgary
    University of Calgary, Rm 121 ICT Building
    2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB
    Saturday, April 30, 2011
    Click here to register

    Have plans? No problem! A virtual AzureFest is coming your desktop in May – stay tuned.

  • Dev Pulse

    AzureFest Meets the East Coast

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    East Coast, after many hours of logistics discussions and preparations, AzureFest is coming your way! If you haven’t yet heard of AzureFest, check out this post where AzureFest is described in full.

    Remember, AzureFest is a hands-on event. This means that you’ll be following along on your own laptop and actually deploying your solution during the event. In order to get the most out of the experience, make sure to bring your laptop, a power cable if you’re going to need to plug in your laptop, and a credit card. Don’t worry, nothing will be charged to your credit card during AzureFest. Your credit card is just required for activating your Windows Azure account.

    Here’s the information for the cities on the AzureFest East Coast Tour. If you want to see for yourself how easy it is to move your existing application to the cloud, this is an event you don’t want to miss. Register early as space is limited.

    Moncton
    Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce Board Room – First Floor
    1273 Main Street, Suite 200, Moncton, NB
    Friday, May 6, 2011 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
    Click here to register

    Presenters: Cory Fowler (@SyntaxC4)

    Fredericton
    UNB Campus
    Room 317, ITC
    Saturday, May 7, 2011 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
    Click here to register

    Presenters: Cory Fowler (@SyntaxC4)

    Halifax
    The Hub
    1673 Barrington St., 2nd Floor, Halifax, NS
    Sunday, May 8, 2011 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
    Click here to register

    Presenters: Cory Fowler (@SyntaxC4)

    We’re always looking to hear your thoughts and suggestions on the things that we do. If you have any feedback, we’d really appreciate it if you would share it with us here. We’re starting to think of the next wave of AzureFests – what would you like to see us cover in the next hands-on event? Post any and all suggestions you may have here. We’ll take everyone’s input and design AzureFest 2.0 accordingly. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Moncton, Halifax, and Fredericton developers, enjoy AzureFest!

  • Dev Pulse

    Azure At the Movies: Get In The Cloud

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    When was the last time you had a chance to go to the movie theatre during the day? More importantly, when was the last time you learned something new at the movie theatre? Well Azure at the Movies will not only get you out to the ScotiaBank Theatre on May 5, 2011 from 9 AM to noon, but it will also guarantee that you walk away having learned how to provide stability and elasticity for your web based solutions using Windows Azure.

    Join me and the gang from ObjectSharp, Barry Gervin, Cory Fowler, Dave Lloyd, Bruce Johnson, and Steve Syfuhs for a half day event in Toronto where we’ll explore how Silverlight, ASP.NET MVC, Team Foundation Server, Visual Studio, and Powershell all work together with Windows Azure to give you, the developer, the best development experience and your application the platform to reach infinite scale and success.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011
    Registration: 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
    Seminar: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
    ScotiaBank Theatre, 259 Richmond Street West, Toronto

    Click here to register.

    I look forward to seeing you there and chatting about your journey to the Cloud and how I may be able to help.

  • Dev Pulse

    Moving Your Application to the Cloud

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    Moving Your Application to the Cloud_thumb[16]

    When considering Windows Azure and the Cloud, architects and developers are often discouraged, thinking that in order to move a solution to the Cloud it must be reengineered to support the Cloud. Fortunately, that is not the case as there are different ways that a solution can take advantage of the Cloud.

    Designed For Windows Azure – Consider this option if you are in the process of planning or developing the next release of your solution. When you design your solution for Windows Azure, you take advantage of the cloud-based services available with Windows Azure – commonly Blob Storage, Tables, Queues, and SQL Azure. Going a step further, you may leverage the programmatic scalability of Windows Azure to allow your solution to scale up and down as it needs in order to handle additional traffic or increased processing loads. The Windows Azure programming model is what enables this for your solution (and the application(s) with in it) and it is worth getting familiar with it in order to optimize how your solution can leverage the power of the Cloud. To learn more, you can download the Why Develop in the Cloud: The Windows Azure Programming Model whitepaper.

    Compatible with Windows Azure – if rewriting portions of your solution to use cloud-based services is not an option or is not on the product roadmap in the near future, it does not mean that you cannot leverage Windows Azure to realize the infrastructure and cost benefits that come with the Cloud. With the Windows Azure VM role, you can run your solution in the Cloud without any modifications. Though you manage the VM completely and are required to maintain the VM (patches, fixes, etc.), you are still taking advantage of the Windows Azure environment: immediate scalability, in-place upgrades with no service downtown, and load-balanced traffic. This is a great option with which to get started on your journey to adopt the Cloud.

    Having said that, the best way to determine which areas of your solution can and cannot be modified easily to leverage Cloud services is to give it a try! Before you go ahead, make changes to your solution, and start testing those changes, you are going to want to:

    1. Make sure that you understand Windows Azure under the hood. To do that, take the Windows Azure Jump Start course.
    2. With the concepts understood, take a sample application, as in Deploying a Simple Cloud App, and migrate it to Windows Azure. This will give you an idea of the effort involved in moving an existing application to the Cloud and will allow you to extrapolate and plan migration efforts for your application.
    3. For more in-depth application of the concepts, go through the labs included in the Windows Azure Platform Training Kit. These labs will materialize those concepts for you at depth and make sure that you are ready to implement them in your application.

    When you are ready to leverage Cloud services in your solution, send me an email or a message on Twitter. I’d love to connect and see how I can help you and/or connect you with various local Windows Azure experts that can help you, and your organization, on your journey to the (Windows Azure) Cloud.

  • Dev Pulse

    Continue Your Cloud Development Learning

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    Windows-Azure-Jump-Start_thumb3If you’ve recently joined me for AzureFest in Toronto and Mississauga, thank you for coming out! I hope the session was a worthwhile experience for you and that you were able to see how your existing knowledge and skills with .NET and Visual Studio can be leveraged to develop applications for the Cloud.

    If you’re going to be joining AzureFest in another Canadian city, that’s great!

    Either way, now you’ve taken the first step and have started working with Windows Azure, why not continue and explore concepts that I didn’t cover at AzureFest?

    Windows Azure Jump Start Videos

    We’ve put together an excellent video series for you called Windows Azure Jump Start. It’s perfect for watching during a lunch break or in the evening when you need or want to think about something other than work. Each video is about 45-50 minutes and focuses on the different areas of Windows Azure: the Windows Azure environment, application lifecycle, storage, diagnostics, security, and scalability.

    Here are the links to the videos, slides, and source code:

    Session 1: Windows Azure Overview

    Video

    Slides

    Code

    Session 2: Introduction to Compute

    Video

    Slides

    Session 3: Windows Azure Lifecycle, Part 1

    Video

    Slides

    Code

    Session 4: Windows Azure Lifecycle, Part 2

    Video

    Slides

    Code

    Session 5: Windows Azure Storage, Part 1

    Video

    Slides

    Code

    Session 6: Windows Azure Storage, Part 2

    Video

    Slides

    Code

    Session 7: Introduction to SQL Azure

    Video

    Slides

    Code

    Session 8: Windows Azure Diagnostics

    Video

    Slides

    Code

    Session 9: Windows Azure Security, Part 1

    Video

    Slides

    Code

    Session 10: Windows Azure Security, Part 2

    Video

    Slides

    Code

    Session 11: Scalability, Caching, & Elasticity, Part 1

    Video

    Slides

    Session 12: Scalability, Caching & Elasticity, Part 2 and Q&A

    Video

    Slides
    (Same as session 11)


    But before you get started, I’d like to review with you these three things:

    Windows Azure Subscription

    Do you have a Windows Azure subscription yet? If not, there are three ways to get started:

    MSDN Subscription Benefits: If you have MSDN Premium, MSDN Ultimate, or BizSpark, you have complimentary monthly Windows Azure benefits that you can unlock for learning and testing. For more information on your benefits, check out my blog post, Ramp Up on Windows Azure MSDN Benefits, and activate your benefits today.

    Windows Azure Introductory Special: This one is for you if you’d like to take your time as you go through your learning and testing journey. With the Windows Azure Introductory special, you get Windows Azure hours for free each month. The Introductory special does require a credit card, but as long as you stay within the included hours and resources, you will not be charged for anything. Go ahead and activate your Introductory Special.

    Windows AzureWindows Azure Pass: If you’re a fast learner or need a forcing function to make sure that you do the training in a given period of time, you can activate a 30-day Windows Azure Pass. The Windows Azure Pass provides a comparable number of hours and resources as does the Introductory Special without the need for a credit card. However, after 30-days, your account and anything you may have deployed will be deleted. If you think that 30 days is enough for you and you don’t want to use a credit card, go to http://windowsazurepass.com, select Canada as your country, and enter the promo code CDNDEVS.

    2: Tools for the Cloud

    Once you have your subscription activated, download and install the tool add-ins that you’ll need for that rich development environment experience. You can download them from the Windows Azure Developer Center.

    3: Windows Azure Platform Training Kit

    Last but not least, download the Windows Azure Platform Training Kit.  It includes hands-on labs and several sample applications to help you quickly learn how to use Windows Azure, SQL Azure, and the Windows Azure AppFabric.

  • Dev Pulse

    AzureFest Madness Continues

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    I just came back from Vancouver where I had the pleasure of doing an AzureFest for members of the .netBC, VanTUG, and VanSLUG user groups. We had a great turn out, with 86 people showing up to learn about Windows Azure! Thank you to all of you who came.

    When I originally posted that AzureFest is back, I promised you that AzureFest would be coming to a city near you. The team and I have been working on securing more venues and more dates, and I will share those as soon as they are confirmed. Having said that, AzureFest Ottawa is now confirmed!

    My fellow developer evangelist, Christian Beauclair (@cbeauclair) will be at the Ottawa Code Camp on April 16th. Join him from 12:30 pm to 1:45 pm for a demonstration of the developer tools and deployment of an application to the Cloud. If you have a laptop and a rocket stick (unfortunately there will not be wireless at the event), you can activate your Windows Azure subscription and follow along, deploying your own app to the Cloud by the end of the talk.

    To attend AzureFest Ottawa, register for Ottawa Code Camp here. I’ve also updated the original AzureFest post to include all of the information you need in order to attend.

    Stay tuned for more dates and cities!

    Learn more about AzureFest.

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