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    Learn more about the Microsoft Platform Ready program


    If you’re not yet familiar with the Microsoft Platform Ready (MPR) program; MPR provides free technical, marketing, and certification support for companies and individuals that are developing software applications on the Windows Platform. Whether you’re building simple add-ons, rich client applications, complex client and server solutions or planning for the future with cloud services, Microsoft Platform Ready is set out to help you bring your application to the market faster.

    My colleague Nick Trogh, ISV Developer Evangelist in our team has all the details and advantages of why you should consider joining this program.

    >> Read the full story on Nick’s blog.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Announcing first ISV Cafe event: join and get your free copy of Forza Motorsport 4


    It looks like my colleagues are a fan of some gaming. Join them for the first ISV Café and spend an interesting evening on Dec 6th around Windows Phone Mango, SQL Server 2012, business sessions and partner cases. Full information follows below.


    Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of the very first edition of ISV Café, where networking meets Microsoft technology in a thrilling Forza Motorsport atmosphere. The event will take place at the beautiful ‘Espace Del Goutte’, located in Ophain near Brussels.

    In the presence of Joe Wilson, Sr. Director of the Developer and Platform Group at Microsoft Western Europe, we race through a series of 15’ sessions, providing you a mix of business and technology topics.  Joe will kickoff the event and talk about the value of the ISV-Microsoft relationship.

    For the technology-minded, we first take a look at Windows Phone 7 ‘Mango’: what’s new and what are the opportunities for ISVs.  In addition, we give you an overview of the next version of our data platform, SQL Server 2012 and highlight the licensing changes.

    But also for those interested in the business perspective, there is plenty to look out for. We first have a great session on how to enter the SaaS business: how does this impact your business model, financials, licensing, etc.  In a second session, Tri-Vizor presents their experiences in building a business in the cloud, resulting in winning the Supply Chain Partner Award!

    Of course as you all know, we never forget about the fun part here at Microsoft, closing everything off with a drink, where you’ll have the opportunity to network with other ISVs and the Microsoft ISV team.

    On top of that, the first 50 to race towards that registration button get a free copy of Forza Motorsport 4 on Xbox 360! So don’t hesitate and register immediately.


    Practical Details

    Date: December 6, 2011
    15:00 – 18:00
    Location: Espace Del Goutte
    Rue de Bois-Seigneur-Isaac 40
    1421 Ophain


    15:00 – 15:30


    15:30 – 15:50

    Key note: The value of the ISV-Microsoft relationship
    Joe Wilson, Sr. Director of the Developer and Platform Group at Microsoft Western Europe

    15:50 – 16:05

    Windows Phone 7 ‘Mango’
    David Hernie, Developer & Platform Evangelist / Jeroen Van Hees, Mobile Business Group Lead

    16:05 – 16:20


    16:20 – 16:35

    Introduction to SQL Server 2012
    Christophe Van Mollekot, ISV Partner Account Manager

    16:35 – 16:50

    Partner Azure case: Tri-Vizor “Supply chain award winner”
    Alex Van Breedam

    16:50 – 17:05

    Starting up SaaS business: knowledge, practice sharing
    Ben Piquard, Director Microsoft Innovation Center asbl


    Closing drink

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    TechDays 2011: developer session recordings and content online


    If you missed TechDays 2011, there is no way to bring you back the whole experience. That’s the bad news, the good news however is that we go a long way and bring you a recorded video of each of the sessions so you can learn from the best. From now on, you can browse all the sessions, view them online or download to your favorite media player and download the slides.
    With top speakers like Scott Hanselman, Jeff Prosise, Ingo Rammer, Vittorio Bertocci, Glenn Block, Christian Weyer, Hadi Hariri, …. and so many more. The event welcomed over 40 different speakers!

    Check out our photos of the event and a short video compilation below. You can also view the testimonials video from attendees here.

    TechDays 2011 Compilation Video

    How is the content structured?

    On the TechDays website you can find the video recordings split up by Developer/IT-Professional and then further by track.

    Next to the tracks you can also browse scenarios:

    • Application Lifecycle Management – sessions from the ALM deep dive and the normal conference around Visual Studio ALM.
    • Cloud – this scenario delivers you sessions that go from a general overview of the Windows Azure platform, updates in Windows Azure 1.3, to SaaS, SQL Azure, on- and off-premise and AppFabric.

    Browsing the content on Channel 9

    Channel 9  TechDays 2011
    (note: Channel 9 contains all developer sessions, for IT-Professional content you can find it on TechNet Edge)

    All session videos lead you to a Channel 9 TechDays 2011 Event page. Channel 9 also has a landing page for the whole event, which allows you to browse and do free-text search.
    You can also take advantage of commenting on the video and in this way have a conversation with other viewers or even get feedback from some of the speakers.

    Happy learning!

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    TechDays 2012: 80% of agenda online and 1 more week to benefit from 15% discount


    Just 1 more week to benefit from a 15% discount on your ticket for TechDays 2012: the Early Bird pricing ends on December 21. Registrations are coming in strong, so be sure to secure your spot before we sell out!

    Top Speakers

    Developer Track
    Alex Turner

    Brian Keller

    Jeff Prosise
    IT Pro Track
    Corey Hynes

    John Craddock

    Adam Hall

    We are happy to confirm speakers like:

    - In the Developer track: Alex Turner, Brian Keller, Bart De Smet, Gill Cleeren, Jeff Prosise, Maarten Balliauw, Matt Milner, Ben Riga, Steve Sanderson, Nikhil Kothari, Rob Miles, Tarek Madkour, Wade Wegner

    - In the IT Pro track: John Craddock, Kurt Roggen, Ilse Van Criekinge, Adam Hall, Corey Hynes, Kim Oppalfens, Mike Resseler, Dan Holme 

    International speakers are teamed up with our local experts to give you a top content mix.

    TechDays program: 80% of agenda is finalized

    This year promises to bring a lot of new content from Microsoft. Looking at the next versions of tooling, languages, OS and management you know this is not a standard TechDays event. Our content is split into current and upcoming technology.

    Deep Dives (February 16)

    Peter Himschoot and Jurgen Postelmans (U2U) will be delivering a full day .NET 4.5 and Visual Studio (Dev11) Futures for Web Development Deep Dive covering all the latest and greatest in .NET 4.5, focusing on Web Development with ASP.NET, HTML5 and WCF.

    Rhonda Layfield will be delivering a full day deep dive covering all the different tools and techniques to deploy Windows 7, she will also cover the upcoming Windows OS deployment tools.

    Mike Resseler & Tom Shinder will deliver a full day covering private cloud topics, including Management and Operations of your private cloud infrastructure.

    About TechDays 2012

    Join our 10th anniversary edition in a new location (Kinepolis Imagibraine - Braine l'Alleud) and learn about:
    • Windows & Internet Explorer
    • Windows Server 8 & Hyper-V
    • Windows Phone 7 development
    • System Center 2012 & Windows Intune
    • Tooling and languages with Visual Studio, C# and VB Futures
    • Next generation apps
    • Cloud development with Windows Azure Platform
    • Web development with HTML5, JavaScript and ASP.NET
    • ...


    Hope to see you at the TechDays 2012!

    Questions? Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook or simply via e-mail.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    New Windows Azure Site and Features Available (cross-posting)


    Cross posting from my colleague Bart Vande Ghinste’s blog.

    Yesterday Microsoft released the new Windows Azure Website with improved billing, management and SQL Azure capabilities. The site is in English today with localized versions planned to roll out next year

    A highlight of the new features include:

    • Implementation of “Spending caps” where you can eliminate the risk of being charged by setting a €0 cap or reduce risk of large bills from unexpected usage by setting a higher cap and receiving alerts as they approach the cap.
    • SQL Azure database size increased from 50GB to 150GB and lowered prices
    • SQL Azure also has a new sharding feature along with SQL Azure Federation that enables you to build applications that are virtually unlimited in size
    • Open Source Experience with an updated Java SDK, a new SDK for Node.js that makes Windows Azure a first-class environment and new limited preview of Hadoop on Windows Azure
    • Simplified billing/reporting experience that integrates directly into the Management Portal
    • ISO 27001 complaint (public certification coming next month)

    On Tuesday December 13th after European Business hours, Microsoft will be holding a special Windows Azure event for developers. Join us LIVE from the Microsoft Redmond Campus to learn how to get started building applications for the cloud from Microsoft technical leaders Scott Guthrie, Dave Campbell, and Mark Russinovich. More details can be found here.

    You can start building your application on it in some simple and easy to do steps:

    1. Setup an Account:

    Set up an account and obtain a free subscription for accessing the online portals for Windows Azure an SQL Azure. You can sign up and get the trial from

    Note: With the new capping functionality available you are assured that no charging is happening once your trial offer has expired.

    2. Create your First application and Deploy it on the Windows Azure Platform:

    Download the tools and learn how to create an application using .NET, JAVA, Node.js or PHP and deploy it on Windows Azure at

    When all steps are executed successfully you should have running your first application on the Windows Azure Platform.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    JIT for Christmas, Lumia 800 for WP7 project call participants


    Some folks are getting an extra Christmas present this year Smile 
    Read further what my colleague David Hernie has the pleasure to announce! And don’t hesitate to participate next time.

    The Microsoft Innovation Center organized in 2011 four Windows Phone 7 project Calls. The objective of this initiative is to stimulate and support developer, student or company to develop innovative apps on the Windows Phone 7.5 platform.


    The contract was simple –

    • Participate to the training,
    • Subscribe to the Marketplace,
    • Develop at least 6 applications before Dec 31
    • Tweet about it on #wp7be & #micbelgique.


    I’m really pleased to announce

    1. Matthieu Vandenhende
    2. Glenn Versweyveld
    3. Alice Cloquet
    4. Bart Smets


    A phone is waiting for you at the Microsoft Office at Zaventem – 9th floor – Reception Desk. (Available from Tuesday noon)- Please come with a valid ID


    You want to participate to our next project call - Very simple

    Save the date, the next one will be organized in February after the TechDays.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Silverlight Analytics Framework


    If you have been building Silverlight applications for public facing sites, chances are you need to measure its usage and in that way maybe monetize. Until now if you wanted to integrate analytics into Silverlight you were left to extra development effort or integration with JavaScript calls to the host page.

    Good news, last month at MIX the Silverlight Analytics Framework (SAF) was released. It supports a range of analytics vendors including Google Analytics, Nedstat, Comscore and many more.
    This framework is ready to be used directly in Expression Blend with custom behaviors so you can add tracking without having to write any code. You can use the framework for normal Silverlight sites and applications but it also integrates with the Microsoft Silverlight Media Framework so you can track media usage.


    • Supports Out-of-Browser
    • Supports Offline Scenarios
    • Supports multiple analytics vendors simultaneously
    • Supports Design Tooling for Expression Blend
    • Supports A/B Testing
    • Supports Analytics in SketchFlow applications  

    Download and see more details at the framework’s homepage on CodePlex.

    Also recommended: watch the MIX 2010 session on the framework presented by Michael Scherotter who has done a great job with this framework.

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Azure Spotlight: Numeri’zik Robot Stream Goes Cloudy (cross posting)


    Leveraging an interesting post from my colleague Nick with a case on Numeri’zik’s project on Windows Azure.


    Numeri’zik is a Belgian startup company that is involved in the digitization of media and new ways of communication. They are a member of the Microsoft BizSpark program, through which they have access to Microsoft software, support and a worldwide ecosystem of peers and partners.Numerizik Logo

    Robot Stream LogoCompanies need to communicate to their employees about internal events, organizational changes, HR-related announcements, etc. Often email or other electronic communication is not appropriate and a more personal approach is needed. However, bringing all employees together in one physical location may not always be possible for different reasons.

    Numeri’zik has built the Robot Stream application, which provides companies and institutions with an Enterprise Radio that gives them an innovative, fun and informal way to communicate with their employees. Through Robot Stream, you can integrate information messages in a music stream and target them at all or specific groups of employees, regardless of their location. Whether it’s in the coffee corner, during lunch in the cafeteria, on the PC or smartphone, you can reach anyone, anywhere in the organization.

    With support from the Microsoft Innovation Center in Mons, Numeri’zik has developed the Robot Stream solution using Microsoft’s Cloud Computing platform. The streaming server is hosted in Windows Azure and which can communicate with an on-premise Robot Stream appliance (NumeriBox).

    By leveraging Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Numeri’zik can offer its customers a solution that is highly available without having to invest in and manage a server infrastructure. At the same time, as the number of Robot Stream users fluctuates the platform can flexibly scale up or down, optimizing the operational cost.

    Follow Numeri’zik:



    Do you want to be the next one to feature your cloud application here?  You can get started with the Windows Azure platform in 2 easy steps:

    1. Setup an Account:

    Set up an account and obtain a free subscription for accessing the online portals for Windows Azure an SQL Azure. You can sign up and get the free trial from
    Note: With the new capping functionality available you are assured that no charging is happening once your trial offer has expired.

    2. Create your First application and Deploy it on the Windows Azure Platform:

    Download the tools and learn how to create an application using .NET, JAVA, Node.js or PHP and deploy it on Windows Azure at

    When all steps are executed successfully you should have your first application running on the Windows Azure Platform. Let us know about it and maybe you’ll be in the spotlights!


  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Deadline approaching for student competition “The Imagine Cup 2012” (cross posting)


    If you are a student or a teacher, this is something you should make sure to read. My colleague Lieve Goedhuys has the full post on the Academic Belux blog.

    Leveraging the information below:


    image The StudentsAppsVenture contest has just been closed, or another very renowned international competition is waiting for you : “Imagine Cup 2012”. In addition to the prestigious category “Software design”, there are 4 other very interesting competitions in which you can participate as individual student or in groups up to 4 participants.

    Sign up for the Imagine Cup. It is an amazing experience!

    What makes it so exciting ?

    • You work on a topic that interest you the most – though related to “millennium development goals” ( eradicate poverty and hunger, education for all, sustainability, improve maternal health, reduce child mortality, ..)
    • You will use all various skillsets : project management, technical development and communication skills
    • You discover in-depth the technology and will be encouraged to go the extra mile, via e-learning and or coaching
    • You will be able to network with peers ( participating students and academic coaches)
    • Big prizes : the best Belgian teams in each category will be able to join the international contest in Sydney from July 6-10. Travel and participation costs will be completely covered for you. On top of that, the best international team (being the winners of each category) can win a prize ranging from 3.000USD up to 25.000USD!

    How can you participate ?

    There are different categories, with focus on different technologies. You will certainly find the category that fits best your core skills/interest.

    Have a look at the different categories, presented in a nutshell.

    You can still register, but act now : select carefully your category and topic to work !


    Short description


    DEADLINE for registration and 1st round

    Software design

    In this ultimate category, participants will develop innovative, dynamic and powerful software applications. It is the ideal competition to demonstrate your ideas and technical ingenuity.


    March 13, 2012

    Windows Phone Challenge

    Develop a Phone App (Imagine Cup theme). Ensure it is a practical application with a strong content and an appealing look and feel.


    March 13, 2012

    Azure challenge

    Use the Azure Cloud computing platform in an innovative way to develop a powerful web application that answers one of the challenges of the millennium targets.


    March 13, 2012

    Game design: Xbox/Windows

    Create a “fun game” that illustrates the Imagine Cup themes. Above all, the game should be fun to play and illustrate how technology can impact positively the world in which we live.


    February 14, 2012

    Game design phone competition

    Develop a creative and technically unique phone game in line with the Imagine Cup themes. Do not forget a high fun factor !


    February 14, 2012

    For all categories, except Software design, the will be a first and second round, managed completely by Microsoft Corp. Please read carefully through the info on each category to find out:

    Good luck.. and hope to see you and your teammates in Sydney !

  • Katrien's MSDN Blog

    Azure API Management - Using PowerShell for backup and restore


    Automation is the new Black, as "said" by Mark Russinovich during AzureCon.

    One of the ways to automate in Azure is by using PowerShell tools for Azure, next to other options. I've been working with Azure API Management for some customers lately, and one interesting short post caught my attention: Full set of Windows PowerShell cmdlets for Azure API Management API. This means that now a number of functions to manage API Management have been made available as PowerShell cmdlets, making it easy to use in automation tasks.
    Backup and restore is one of the features I’ve been using. While its primary use is for having a backup of your current API Management account, for example making sure this is done very regularly as a way to recover in the event of failure. Another use for the backup/restore feature is when going from development to a staging environment.
    Official documentation for doing backup/restore shows us how to do this using the Azure Resource Manager based API Management REST API. But it also requires creating an Azure AD application, setting the right permissions and getting a token for authenticating requests to Azure Resource Manager. Stuart Leeks has an interesting blog post with an alternative non-supported way to use PowerShell, and now with the official cmdlets this is exactly what we can do.

    So why not give that a try?

    Creating a backup requires the following information: your API Management account, the resource group name and a storage account to which to save the backup to as well as the container in which it will go.

    Prepare for the backup

    1. Make sure you have configured PowerShell and connected to your subscription.

    2. Connect to the storage account and make sure to create the container to which you will store your backup to. Note the name. You can do this through the Azure Management Portal, or using a Storage explorer tool. Also take note of the type of Storage that you are using. There are currently two types, one used in the current Management Portal, and the new mode using Azure Resource Manager.

    3. Identify the name of the Resource Group in which your API Management account is created: use to navigate to the subscription. The resource group name has automatically been created, and is in the form of 'Api-Default-{service-region}'.
    Run backup

    Create a Storage Context.

     if ($ARMStorage)
      Switch-AzureMode AzureResourceManager
         $StorageAccountKey = (Get-AzureStorageAccountKey -ResourceGroupName $StorageAccountResourceGroupName -Name $StorageAccountName).Key1
      Switch-AzureMode AzureServiceManagement
         $StorageAccountKey = (Get-AzureStorageKey -StorageAccountName $StorageAccountName).Primary

    $StorageAccountContext = New-AzureStorageContext -StorageAccountName $StorageAccountName -StorageAccountKey $StorageAccountKey

    Run backup

    Switch-AzureMode AzureResourceManager

    Backup-AzureApiManagement -Name "myAPIMaccount" -ResourceGroupName "Api-Default-West-Europe" -StorageContext $StorageAccountContext `
                           -TargetContainerName "mycontainer" `
                           -TargetBlobName "myapimbackupddmmyy"

    Typically you’d create variables for the above values, but for testing we can hard-code them.
    For automating the backup you can use something like Azure Automation, currently you’ll need some manual work to support Azure Resource Manager though.

    Run restore

    To run a restore, simply run the following command.

    Restore-AzureApiManagement -Name "myAPIMaccount" -ResourceGroupName "Api-Default-West-Europe" `
                            -StorageContext $StorageAccountContext `
                            -SourceContainerName "mycontainer" `
                            -SourceBlobName "myapimbackupddmmyy" -Verbose

    Do read through the notes on the official documentation to understand some of the constraints, including the fact that a restore is only guaranteed maximum 7 days after backup.







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