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We delivered Community TechDays (CTD) across different cities recently. It happened in Mumbai and Pune on 3rd Oct and 4th Oct respectively.  I got a chance to be there at both places and present on Windows Azure. In Mumbai, we had the developer track in the morning, starting with the UG lead (Dhaval) re-launching the website with hopes of getting the Mumbai UG getting active! We hope to have UG meet once every month to share the latest technology trends as well as get to hear from you all.

Mumbai CTD

The first session of the day was on "SilverLight 3 - sketch flow" by Vikram Pendse, one of our MPVs and it was well outlined and received. Vikram demoed the deepzoom composer, Expression Blend 3.0 & sketch flow concept. Following that, I delivered a session on Windows Azure Platform. More on this later. The third session was on VS2010 by Dhaval. It was primarily on ASP.net 4.0 & .NET 4.0. Developers enjoyed this session as well. The afternoon session were ITPro focused, with sessions on Windows 7 and Forefront Stirling!

Pune CTD

Pune , had similar agenda with developer track in the morning. There was SQL Server BI tools by Gouri Sohoni, Trainer, MCT in SQL. This was followed by my session on Windows Azure. The last session was on Win7 API code pack for developers. We had a developer round table post the sessions to hear your feedback, queries and concerns with our products.   Ramkumar Pichai from our senior leadership team was present and patiently listened to the Developers’ feedback.  The 2nd half of the day was on ITPro stuff, on forefront stirling By Ravi Sankar and Direct Access & Branch cache in Windows server 2008 R2 by Aviraj.

The Windows Azure session was targeted to beginners. The idea was to give a clear understanding to cloud computing, its transformation in the past years, various cloud terminologies & demystify them. The meat of the session was about the latest offering by Microsoft which is the Windows Azure. This is our operating system on the cloud. We had a quick look at the infrastructure behind the scenes, a datacenter view of Windows Azure and later explored the architectural hierarchy as well as programming for Windows Azure.

Here is a video on getting started and creating a hello world cloud application :http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/dd327648.aspx
At the end of this video, you would be able to develop your first cloud application.

Steps to Develop your first cloud application
1.. Get the pre-requisites

Windows Vista /Win 7/ Windows Server 2008 / Windows Server 2008, IIS 7.0 with ASP.NET / WCF HTTP Activation, Visual studio 2008 /Visual Web developer Express,.NET 3.5 SP1, SQL Server 2005/2008 (Express / Full).

2. Download the latest Windows Azure SDK & Tools from the links below.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=AA40F3E2-AFC5-484D-B4E9-6A5227E73590&displaylang=en

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=8D75D4F7-77A4-4ADF-BCE8-1B10608574BB&displaylang=en )

3. Write a simple cloud application and view it from the development fabric

Next steps after developing is to deploy the application onto the cloud
1. You need windows Azure tokens which you can get from http://www.connect.microsoft.com .  Look for "Azure Services Invitation home" and you will land to a similar page based on your login "https://connect.microsoft.com/site/sitehome.aspx?SiteID=681"

2. You will receive the token at the Live ID that you used in the step above, shortly.

3. To redeem this, visit "http://lx.azure.microsoft.com/"  sign-in with your live id ; go to windows Azure section ; and claim your token to get 2 storage & 1 hosting service applications.              

4. You are now ready to create your project and deploying it on to the cloud.

The best place to start is the Azure services training kit which can be downloaded from : http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=413E88F8-5966-4A83-B309-53B7B77EDF78&displaylang=en

Demystifying My Demo

This was a demo to create a simple "slideshare" webpage that will share power point slide deck and we can view them online. The sample consists of 4 projects.

1. The webpage - is a asp.net web cloud application that will display all the slide decks that have been uploaded on the blob in a grid view with CRUD operations and we can play, save, delete the files.

2. A SilverLight player that will play the particular slide deck in a slide show fashion and give handlers to thumb nail, full screen and other operations. This Silverlight Player (slide.show2) is a CodePlex project (www.codeplex.net) with slight modifications to the code

3. A WCF web service project that is hosted in azure , containing web services for
    a. Creating a storage container that will store one entire slide deck.
    b. Creating a blob which will correspond to each slide of the slide deck
    c. Creating a placeholder XML file that will be the input for the SilverLight player to create a slideshow of all the slides in a slide deck

(Above 3 steps are done every time a power point slide deck is being uploaded onto Azure storage)

d. Return the xml file for a particular slide deck that will be the input for the SilverLight player to create a slideshow of all the slides in a slide deck

4. A visual studio VSTO Project that creates an custom add in for power point with a button & few fields. On clicking the button, the currently opened power point will be uploaded to Azure Storage, using the WCF service calls explained in step a, b & c.

You can download my presentation and the sample files from the links below.

PowerPoint Presentation

Sample Demo