Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

It's all about community!

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Talking LightSwitch Shop with Richard


    While I was at TechEd last month, I sat down (twice) with Richard Banks and recorded an episode of Talking Shop Down Under about LightSwitch. Richard's been hoarding his TechEd recordings and releasing them slowly. This one came out today.

    Check it out.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    SwitchedOn LightSwitch and Azure briefings for Wellington and Auckland


    I thought I was 33% of the way into the SwitchedOn briefings for LightSwitch and Azure, but today I found out that I'm only 25% through. New cities, Wellington and Auckland have been added to the event, and I'm looking forward to seeing my Kiwi mates and having them commiserate with me about our Rugby team. I expect they'll be gentle.

    Wellington: 16 November 2011 Register

    Auckland: 17 November 2011 Register

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    SwitchedOn Briefing Slide Decks - LightSwitch and Azure


    I've just finished the first of the SwitchedOn briefings (Adelaide) - we built a LightSwitch application (u:Adelaide, p:Pass@word1) and deployed it on Azure.

    I've uploaded the slide decks:

    Session 1 - LightSwitch Morning (2.2Mb)

    Session 2 - both Azure decks (13.5Mb)

    Session 3 - LightSwitch Afternoon (4.9Mb)

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    LightSwitch and Azure Around Australia in October and November



    The Power of LightSwitch on Windows Azure

    Update 10/10 - Now with Adelaide Details

    Introducing Microsoft Visual Studio LightSwitch, a simple self-service tool that allows developers and business professionals to build business applications quickly and easily for the desktop and the cloud- without the need to code!

    Come along to our Switched ON briefings in your city to find out what your business can do with LightSwitch to power Windows Azure.

    We’ve designed the briefings to include a variety of topics that you can select to suit your individual needs. Please be sure to choose the session(s) you are most interested in when you register for the event.


    7:30 – Registration opens (will run throughout the day)

    8:00 – 9:00 – Business Applications and the “Un”-Professional Developer: LightSwitch on Windows Azure

    9:00 – 9:30 – Breakfast

    9:30 – 10:30 – Discover Windows Azure Platform Part 1: Business Overview

    10:30 – 11:00 – Morning Tea

    11:00 – 12:00 – Discover Windows Azure Platform Part 2: Technical Overview

    12:00 – 13:00 – Break (lunch will not be provided)

    13:00 – 15:00 - Build your first Azure application using Visual Studio LightSwitch – with (almost) no code!

    Session 1: The Power of LightSwitch on Windows Azure
    8:00 - 9:00am

    In this comprehensive 1-hour breakfast briefing you will learn about the End User Developer and how Visual Studio LightSwitch allows these domain experts to quickly create scalable, forms-over-data business applications on the desktop and the cloud with little technical expertise and development skills.

    This session is targeted primarily at Business and Technical Decision Makers, and is also valuable for Developers and Development Managers.

    Session 2: Discover the Windows Azure Platform
    9:30 – 12:00pm

    These sessions will help you understand the opportunities for the cloud and Microsoft’s Cloud Computing offerings with the Windows Azure Platform. Sessions will cover both the technical & business benefits as well as help you understand how you can get started using the Windows Azure Platform today.

    The target audience for these sessions includes BDMs, TDMs, Architects, and Development leads.

    Session 3: Build your first Azure application using Visual Studio LightSwitch – with (almost) no code!
    1:00 – 3:00pm

    In this demo-heavy session, you will see end-to-end how to build and deploy a data-centric business application using LightSwitch. We’ll also go beyond the basics of creating simple screens over data, by demonstrating how to:

  • Create screens with advanced capabilities
  • Extend LightSwitch applications with your own Silverlight custom controls and RIA services
  • Create a fully-functional application running in the cloud on Windows Azure and SQL Azure
  • This session is targeted both at individuals with basic programming and technical experience, as well as professional developers.

    ADELAIDE – 18 Oct
    Microsoft Office Auditorium
    L2, Westpac House,
    91 King William St,
    Adelaide SA 5000

    BRISBANE – 19 Oct
    Microsoft Office
    North Stradbroke, L28
    400 George St
    Brisbane QLD 4000

    CANBERRA – 25 Oct
    Microsoft Office
    Theatre 1, L2
    Walter Turnbull Building, 44 Sydney Ave
    Barton ACT 2600

    MELBOURNE – 26 Oct
    Microsoft Office
    Exhibition Room, L5
    4 Freshwater Place
    Southbank VIC 3006

    PERTH – 2 Nov
    Microsoft Office
    Enex 100 Seminar Room
    100 St Georges Terrace
    Perth WA 6000

    SYDNEY – 10 Nov
    Microsoft Office
    Bushranger Room, LG
    1 Epping Rd
    North Ryde NSW 2113


  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Azure Announcements at Build


    Early this morning at the Build Conference we announced some exciting new Windows Azure tooling and service enhancements.

    Check out the announcement on the Windows Azure team blog.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Cool LightSwitch Extensions from Aussie Developer


    Aussie developer Yann Duran has just published his second Visual Studio LightSwitch 2011 extension. The Luminous Controls extension is currently a TextBlock and a GroupLayout control.

    This is the second LightSwitch extension Yann's published, the first being Luminous Themes. He's in the process of writing Pro Visual Studio LightSwitch 2011 Development for Apress with Tim Leung.

    Way to go Yann!

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Visual Studio 2010 Tips and Tricks Session


    As part of our developer readiness outreach, our Visual Studio Product Manager, Ibrahim Hamza, has organised what sounds like an excellent session on maximising your productivity with Visual Studio 2010.

    Learn how to become a Visual Studio coding guru! In this fast-paced session, learn to write code faster than a speeding bullet, leap around large projects in a single bound, and become more powerful than a locomotive with the debugger. We take a wild ride through C# and Visual Basic IDE features in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and indispensible out-of-the-box solutions that will help you get your job done better and faster.

    This is an online session that, unusually for this kind of thing, is running in daytime hours in Australia! Might even be worth gathering your development team and making a training afternoon of it.

    Tuesday 27 September 2011, 14:00-16:00 AEST

    Sign up here.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    TechEd 2011 Video Encoding Process and Status Update


    Update (12 Sep)

    All of the session videos are now up and the high-quality video files are linked to the thession pages - Step 11 is COMPLETE

    The encoding process is proceeding apace and last I looked, there are 10 sessions to complete encoding - Step 12 is 93%

    I now need to a final pass through the system and find any videos that had errors in encoding. I'll do this over the next few days. If you find a session with missing formats or with incorrect links, feel free to leave a note here or directly on the session page.


    A couple of days ago, I blogged about uploading and encoding the session recordings from TechEd Australia 2011.

    Some people have had a less than optimal experience streaming the videos. That's because the original WMV file for each session is about 200MB and the Smooth Streaming version isn't available yet.

    This post is a little more detail on the process itself, as well as a look at where we're at in the process and how long it's likely to be before all of the sessions are up in all their formats.

    The Process

    1. Send the Channel 9 team details of the event so they can create an event landing page
      • Create a banner and a bunch of other artefacts to conform to their standard format and to match the theme of the event
      • Get admin access to the site, and then make sure that admin access includes the sub-parts of the site
      • Done pre-conference
    2. Record the sessions (all 160 of them)
      • whatever goes to the screen and whatever comes through the speakers to a 640x480 WMV
      • Retrieve each raw file from each room after each session and give it to the editor
      • Sessions were captured onto a dedicated PC by putting a USB pass-through video capture card directly into the AV stream and using Expression Encoder 4.
      • Done
    3. Top and Tail the recorded sessions (all 160 of them)
      • cut out the 10 minutes between when record was hit and when the speaker started and the 10 minutes from when the speaker stopped to when the stop button was hit
      • Re-encode
      • This was done on-site at TechEd and over the following weekend by one person dedicated to the task (thanks Nick - you're a legend)
    4. Transfer the Edited Files (all 160 of them, about 50GB in total)
      • From the editor to the processing team
    5. Sanity Check 1
      • check that the naming conventions are right and that the files are a sensible size
    6. Retrieve the final decks from the speaker manager
    7. Upload the Slide Decks to Azure Blob Store (all 160+ of them, about 890MB in total)
      • Use a custom uploading app written by the Channel 9 team
    8. Upload the Edited Files to Azure Blob Store (all 160 of them, about 50GB in total)
      • Use a custom uploading app written by the Channel 9 team
    9. Create a Spreadsheet with
      • Session Details (Code, title, abstract, date and time of session, Speakers)
      • Name of the WMV file and the PPTX file (generate a URI based on some assumptions)
    10. Sanity Check 2
      • Check that the URI for each of the files generated in the spreadsheet doesn’t 404 using a link checker I wrote for the purpose
      • Fix any mis-named files, either in the blob store or in the spreadsheet
    11. Send the Spreadsheet to the team at Channel 9 so they can create the individual pages for each session
      70% Complete 
      • This step can be repeated any time info changes, new files are added, etc
    12. Encode the WMV file
      40% Complete
      • multiple other formats
        • Smooth Streaming
        • Low resolution WMV
        • MP4
        • Low resolution MP4
        • WMA
        • MP3
        • JPG thumbnail (multiple sizes) from the first frame of the video
      • Upload the encoded formats back to Azure blob storage and get it out to the CDN
      • Link to the various formats from the session page when they’re done
      • This is all done automatically and asynchronously using background processes. We can monitor the status of the encoding jobs
    13. Deal with exceptions manually
      • Speakers needing session recordings removed/edited
      • File name changes/errors
    14. Explain the process to as many people as possible
    15. Monitor Twitter and the comments on the sessions themselves so anyone who hasn’t read this can be pointed at it

    Where We're At

    Steps 8 through 15 are repeated as more and more files become available.

    Steps 8-10 (file upload): At the moment, we've uploaded 152 of the video files up to the blob store and 157 of the slide decks, so there are only a few exceptions to track down. We'll call this part pretty much done.

    Step 11-12 (update by Channel 9 folk and encoding): The session details for all sessions, the slide decks for all sessions and the video files from Wednesday and Friday at TechEd have been submitted via spreadsheet to Channel 9 and have therefore kicked off the encode process. The encode process is (as you might imagine) fairly processor intensive. There are 4 machines dedicated to encoding Channel 9 videos and each session takes about 2 hours.

    Step 13 (Exceptions): There have been a few of these, but dealing with them manually has been pretty straight forward.

    Step 14-15 (communication): This post is part of that, but I'm also monitoring the #auteched tag on twitter, the individual comments on the sessions and direct emails to me and the rest of the TechEd team. If you see someone who doesn't understand the process or is wondering about when things will be "finished", please point them here. If you've got questions about any of this, please feel free to leave a comment here and I'll do my best to clarify.

    Bottom Line

    By my calculation, if the process continues to go as smoothly as it has to date, we should have the rest of the links to the high-quality (but slow to download) videos up by Thursday evening AEST (8 Sep), and the encoding to multiple formats done by Sunday evening AEST (11 Sep). If that changes, I'll update this post.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Visual Studio LightSwitch GDR for SQL Azure


    While we were at TechEd (talking, by the way, about Visual Studio LightSwitch, twice), the LightSwitch team released a GDR (General Distribution Release, aka update) to "resolve an issue encountered when publishing to SQL Azure"

    "This is due to a recent SQL Azure server upgrade which caused the version incompatibility"

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    August 2011 Windows Azure Releases


    While I was overseas, the Windows Azure team announced the availability of the

    Grab 'em while they're, if not hot then at least luke warm.

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