December, 2011

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Azure + Java = Cloud Interop: New Channel 9 Video with GigaSpaces Posted

    • 1 Comments

    Today Microsoft is hosting the Learn Windows Azure broadcast event to demonstrate how easy it is for developers to get started with Windows Azure. Senior Microsoft executives like Scott Guthrie, Dave Campbell, Mark Russinovich and others will show how easy it is to build scalable cloud applications using Visual Studio.  The event is be broadcasting live and will also be available on-demand.

    For Java developers interested in using Windows Azure, one particularly interesting segment of the day is a new Channel 9 video with GigaSpaces. Their Cloudify offering helps Java developers easily move to their applications, without any code or architecture changes, to Windows Azure

    This broadcast follows yesterday’s updates to Windows Azure around an improved developer experience, Interoperability, and scalability. A significant part of that was an update on a wide range of Open Source developments on Windows Azure, which are the latest incremental improvements that deliver on our commitment to working with developer communities so that they can build applications on Windows Azure using the languages and frameworks they already know.

    We understand that developers want to use the tools that best fit their experience, skills, and application requirements, and our goal is to enable that choice. In keeping with that, we are extremely happy to be delivering new and improved experiences for popular OSS technologies such as Node.js, MongoDB, Hadoop, Solr and Memcached on Windows Azure.

    You can find all the details on the full Windows Azure news here, and more information on the Open Source updates here.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Full Support for PhoneGap on Windows Phone is Now Complete!

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    Congratulations to all the people involved in the PhoneGap community for the recent release of version 1.3 of their HTML5 open source mobile framework.

    This release includes many new features, and you can find more details here. You may remember that we announced back in Sept that Microsoft was helping to bring Windows Phone support in PhoneGap: I am happy to say we can now check
    this box!

    We’re also pleased to note that all features in PhoneGap 1.3 are now supported for Windows Phone, as you can see on their site here.

    Also, beyond the core PhoneGap features, developers can enjoy a selection of PhoneGap plugins that support social networks - including Facebook, LinkedIn, Windows Live and Twitter - and a solid integration into Visual Studio
    Express for Windows Phone.

    We have also developed further plugins to give HTML5 developers a feel for Windows Phone’s unique features like Live Tile Update and Bing Maps Search.

    Please check out Jesse MacFadyen’s blog, PhoneGap’s dev lead, on his experiences developing PhoneGap on Windows Phone.

    For more technical details of using the framework, see Glen and Jesse’s technical walk thru blogs. For a quick a spin of what PhoneGap and Visual Studio allow you to do, see this WP7 and Android camera app created in 3 minutes! Bits are located here; plugins are here.

    Looking ahead:

    As mentioned in PhoneGap’s announcement blog post, the next PhoneGap 1.4 release will be from the Cordova incubation project at Apache.  We at Microsoft are proud to be members of this project and to offer technical resources.  We welcome the involvement of Adobe, IBM and RIM and look forward to collaboratively growing PhoneGap at its new home in Apache while helping evolve an open web for any device.

    Microsoft’s commitment to HTML5 in IE9 has been instrumental in achieving this level of support. We are also building on our HTML5 investment through initiatives like bringing jQuery Mobile support as we outlined few
    weeks ago
    . Partnering with open source communities to bring this level of openness continues to be an important goal here at Microsoft.

    So, stay tuned for more news on our support for popular mobile open source frameworks on WP7.5!

    Abu Obeida Bakhach

    Interoperability Strategy Program Manager

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Openness Update for Windows Azure

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    As Microsoft’s Senior Director of Open Source Communities, I couldn’t be happier to share with you today an update on a wide range of Open Source developments on Windows Azure.

    As we continue to provide incremental improvements to Windows Azure, we remain committed to working with developer communities. We’ve spent a lot of time listening, and we have heard you loud and clear.

    We understand that there are many different technologies that developers may want to use to build applications in the cloud. Developers want to use the tools that best fit their experience, skills, and application requirements, and our goal is to enable that choice.

    In keeping with that goal, we are extremely happy to be delivering new and improved experiences for Node.js, MongoDB, Hadoop, Solr and Memcached on Windows Azure.

    This delivers on our ongoing commitment to provide an experience where developers can build applications on Windows Azure using the languages and frameworks they already know, enable greater customer flexibility for managing and scaling databases, and making it easier for customers to get started and use cloud computing on their terms with Windows Azure.

    Here are the highlights of today’s announcements:

    • We are releasing the Windows Azure SDK for Node.js as open source, available immediately on Github. These libraries are the perfect complement to our recently announced contributions to Node.js and provide a better Node.js experience on Windows Azure. Head to the Windows Azure Developer Center for documentation, tutorial, samples and how-to guides to get you started with Node.js on Windows Azure.
    • We will also be delivering the Node package manager for Windows (npm) code to allow use of npm on Windows for simpler and faster Node.js configuration and development. Windows developers can now use NPM to install Node modules and take advantage of its automated handling of module dependencies and other details.
    • To build on our recent announcement about Apache Hadoop, we are making available a limited preview of the Apache Hadoop based distribution service on Windows Azure.  This enables Hadoop apps to be deployed in hours instead of days, and includes Hadoop Javascript libraries and powerful insights on data through the ODBC driver and Excel plugin for Hive. Read more about this on the Windows Azure team blog. If you are interested in trying this preview, please complete the form here with details of your Big Data scenario.  Microsoft will issue an access code to select customers based on usage scenarios.
    • For all of you NoSQL fans, we have been working closely with 10Gen and the MongoDB community in the past few months, and if you were at at MongoSV last week you have already seen MongoDB running on Windows Azure. Head out to the 10Gen website to find downloads, documentation and other document-oriented goodies. If you’re using the popular combination of Node.js and MongoDB, a simple straightforward install process will get you started on Windows Azure. Learn more here.
    • For Java developers, take a look at the updated Java support, including a new and revamped Eclipse plugin. The new features are too many to list for this post, but you can count on a much better experience thanks to new and exciting functionality such as support for sticky sessions and configuration of remote Java debugging. Head over to the Windows Azure Developer Center to learn more.
    • Does your application need advanced search capabilities? If so, the chances are you either use or are evaluating Solr, and so the good news for you is that we just released a set of code tools and configuration guidelines to get the most out of Solr running on Windows Azure. We invite developers to try out the tools, configuration and sample code for Solr tuned for searching commercial and publisher sites. The published guidance showcases how to configure and host Solr/Lucene in Windows Azure using multi-instance replication for index-serving and single-instance for index generation with a persistent index mounted in Windows Azure storage.
    • Another great example of OSS on Windows Azure is the use of Memcached server, the popular open-source caching technology, to improve the performance of dynamic web applications. Maarten Balliauw recently blogged about his MemcacheScaffolder, which simplifies management of Memcached servers on the Windows Azure platform. That blog post is only focused on PHP, but the same approach can be used by other languages supported by Memcached as well.
    • Scaling data in the Cloud is very important. Today, the SQL Azure team made SQL Azure Federation available.  This new feature provides built-in support for data sharding (horizontal partitioning of data) to elastically scale-out data in the cloud. I am thrilled to announce that concurrent with the release of this new feature, we have released a new specification called SQL Database Federations, which describes additional SQL capabilities that enable data sharding (horizontal partitioning of data) for scalability in the cloud, under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise. With those additional SQL capabilities, the database tier can provide built-in support for data sharding to elastically scale-out data in the cloud, as covered in Ram Jeyaraman’s post on this blog.

    In addition to all this great news, the Windows Azure experience has also been significantly improved and streamlined. This includes simplified subscription management and billing, a guaranteed free 90-day trial with quick sign-up process, reduced prices, improved database scale and management, and more. Please see the Windows Azure team blog post for insight on all the great news.

    As we enter the holiday season, I’m happy to see Windows Azure continuing on its roadmap of embracing OSS tools developers know and love, by working collaboratively with the open source community to build together a better cloud that supports all developers and their need for interoperable solutions based on developer choice.

    In conclusion, I just want to stress that we intend to keep listening, so please send us your feedback. Rest assured we’ll take note!

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    HTML5 Labs Prototype Update for W3C Media Capture API

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    Today, the Internet Explorer blog posted an interesting update of an HTML5Labs prototype of the W3C Media Capture API.

     A usable and standardized API for media capture means Web sites and apps will be able to access these features in a common way across all browsers in the future.

    You can read the full post on the IE blog.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    SQL Database Federations: Enhancing SQL to enable Data Sharding for Scalability in the Cloud

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    I am thrilled to announce the availability of a new specification called SQL Database Federations, which describes additional SQL capabilities that enable data sharding (horizontal partitioning of data) for scalability in the cloud.

    The specification has been released under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise. With these additional SQL capabilities, the database tier can provide built-in support for data sharding to elastically scale-out the data. This is yet another milestone in our Openness and Interoperability journey.

    As you may know, multi-tier applications scale-out their front and middle tiers for elastic scale-out. With this model, as the demand on the application varies, administrators add and remove new instances of the front end and middle tier nodes to handle the workload.

    However, the database tier in general does not yet provide built-in support for such an elastic scale-out model and, as a result, applications had to custom build their own data-tier scale-out solution. Using the additional SQL capabilities for data sharding described in the SQL Database Federations specification the database tier can now provide built-in support to elastically scale-out the data-tier much like the middle and front tiers of applications. Applications and middle-tier frameworks can also more easily use data sharding and delegate data tier scale-out to database platforms.

    Openness and interoperability are important to Microsoft, our customers, partners, and developers, and so the publication of SQL Database Federations specification under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise will enable applications and middle-tier frameworks to more easily use data sharding, and also enable database platforms to provide built-in support for data sharding  in order to elastically scale-out the data.

    Also of note: The additional SQL capabilities for data sharding described in the SQL Database Federations specification are now supported in Microsoft SQL Azure via the SQL Azure Federation feature.

    Here is an example that uses Microsoft SQL Azure to illustrate the use of the additional SQL capabilities for data sharding described in the SQL Database Federations specification.

    -- Assume the existence of a user database called sales_db. Connect to sales_db and create a federation called orders_federation to scale out the tables: customers and orders. This creates the federation represented as an object in the sales_db database (root database for this federation) and also creates the first federation member of the federation.

    CREATE FEDERATION orders_federation(c_id BIGINT RANGE)
    GO

    -- Deploy schema to root, create tables in the root database (sales_db)

    CREATE TABLE application_configuration(…)
    GO

    -- Connect to the federation member and deploy schema to the federation member

    USE FEDERATION orders_federation(c_id=0) …
    GO

    -- Create federated tables: customers and orders

    CREATE TABLE customers (customer_id BIGINT PRIMARY KEY, …) FEDERATED ON (c_id = customer_id)
    GO

    CREATE TABLE orders (…, customer_id BIGINT NOT NULL) FEDERATED ON (c_id = customer_id)
    GO

    -- To scale out customer’s orders, SPLIT the federation data into two federation members

    USE FEDERATION ROOT …
    GO

    ALTER FEDERATION orders_federation SPLIT AT(c_id=100)
    GO

    -- Connect to the federation member that contains the value ‘55’

    USE FEDERATION orders_federation(c_id=55) …
    GO

    -- Query the federation member that contains the value ‘55’

    UPDATE orders SET last_order_date=getutcdate()…
    GO

    I am confident that you will find the additional SQL capabilities for data sharding described in the SQL Database Federations specification very useful as you consider scaling-out the data-tier of your applications. We welcome your feedback on the SQL Database Federations specification.

    Thanks,

    Ram Jeyaraman

    Senior Program Manager, Microsoft’s Interoperability Group

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Open Source OData Library for Objective-C Project Moves to Outercurve Foundation

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    As Microsoft continues to deliver on its commitment to Interoperability, I have good news on the Open Source Software front: today, the OData Library for Objective-C project was submitted to the Outercurve Foundation’s Data, Languages, and Systems Interoperability gallery.

    This means that OData4ObjC, the OData client for iOS, is now a full, community-supported Open Source project.

    The Open Data Protocol (OData) is a web protocol for communications between client devices and RESTful web services, simplifying the building of queries and interpreting the responses from the server. It specifies how a web service can state its semantics such that a generic library can express those semantics to an application, meaning that applications do not need to be custom-written for a single source.

    The Outercurve Foundation already hosts 19 OSS projects and, as Gallery Manager Spyros Sakellariadis notes in his blog post, this is the gallery’s second OData project, the first being the OData Validation project contributed last August.

    “With this new assignment, we expect to involve open source community developers even more in the enhancement of seminal OData libraries,” he said.

    Microsoft Senior Program Manager for OData Arlo Belshee notes in his blog post that the Open Sourcing of the OData client library for Objective C will enable first-class support of this important platform. “Combined with exiting support for Android (Odata4j, OSS and Windows Phone (in the odata-sdk by Microsoft), this release provides strong, uniform support for all major phones,” he said.

    In assigning ownership of the code to the Outercurve Foundation, the project leads are opening it up for community contributions and support. “They firmly believe that the direction and quality of the project are best managed by users in the community, and are eager to develop a broad base of contributors and followers,” Belshee said.

    As Microsoft continues to build and provide Interoperability solutions, Sakellariadis thanked the Open Source communities for their continued support, noting that together “we can all contribute to achieving a goal of device and cloud interoperability, of true openness.”

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