Connected System Developer MVP Alan Smith

From: Sweden

Time as a MVP: 8 years

How did you first get started in community?
I published a free e-book “The Bloggers Guide to BizTalk” compiled of content from the best
bloggers in the
BizTalk development community.

As there was very little documentation on using BizTalk Server at the time the guide became
a great success.
I updated it everymonth or two, and it evolved to over 300 articles from
about 50 contributors.

Which technical community or communities are you most active in?
I run the Sweden Windows Azure Group (SWAG). I tweet as @alansmith, host a website at

www.cloudcasts.net and I blog at geekswithblogs.net/asmith. I am a regular speaker at
conferences and user
groups in Sweden.

What’s the best technical tip you have today for implementing a cloud
deployment?
Whatever experience you have in .NET development you will find a way to apply your skills
to develop using
Windows Azure. The best tip I have is to get your hands dirty, create a
trial or MSDN account, and work
through some hands-on tutorials.

I started with a simple tutorial to create an Azure ASP.NET application for uploading and
displaying photos. After a couple of quick code changes I modified it to upload
and display
videos. Three weeks later I launched an Azure hosted community
webcast site
(www.cloudcasts.net).

When considering using the Cloud, what do you tell people if they aren’t sure about
moving to the Cloud?
I tell them that there is always the option to “Extend to the Cloud” rather than
“Move to the
Cloud”.

Extending to the cloud involves developing hybrid applications that leverage the capabilities
of cloud based platforms. Many of the Windows Azure solutions
developed today involve
extending the capabilities of existing applications and
infrastructure to leverage the
capabilities of Azure.

These hybrid applications allow developers to combine the best of both worlds. Existing IT
infrastructure can be utilized and the capabilities of cloud platforms
used to extend the
applications. This can provide enhanced functionality at minimal
cost and low risk.

I have delivered sessions in “Extending to the Cloud” at conferences and user groups, and
have heard feedback from attendees that they have started to use Azure in their
projects
after seeing my presentations.

I’ve recorded some of the demos I use in these sessions as webcasts.

3D Animation Rendering using Azure Worker Roles
http://www.cloudcasts.net/ViewWebcast.aspx?webcastid=2521151757355602379

Source Control Provider using Azure Storage
http://www.cloudcasts.net/ViewWebcast.aspx?webcastid=2521140395426551779

Large File Transfer musing Azure Storage
http://www.cloudcasts.net/ViewWebcast.aspx?webcastid=2521176611509322274

All three of these are scenarios where on-premise applications extend their functionally
using capabilities in Windows Azure.

Do you have a blog/website link to Cloud related Tips or deployment stories you
would like to share?
I published a free e-book covering development using the Azure Service Bus:

http://www.cloudcasts.net/devguide/Default.aspx.

I launched and maintain an Azure hosted community webcast site: www.cloudcasts.net.

I have blogged a number of walkthrough articles on using the Windows Azure Service
Bus on my blog geekswithblogs.net/asmith

Speaking from your experience, what words of advice do you have for new MVPs?
Welcome to a great community! Make the most of the MVP Summit; it’s the best place to
make contact with others in your area of expertise who share your passion.