# Monday, 29 October 2012

Last week there was already the news that .NET 4.5, the latest version of the framework at this moment, was deployed on Windows Azure Web Sites. However what confused a lot of people was that it didn’t show up in the portal. As of now it does.

So instead of seeing this under the Configure tab:


You’ll now see:


Now only the current version of node.js needs to be added to the portal. Btw, that’s 0.6.20.

Also be sure to check out this screencast at Channel 9 about the upgrade to .NET 4.5.

Grz, Kris.

Monday, 29 October 2012 12:13:17 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 21 October 2012

Today I gave a presentation in Milan, Italy at WebNetConf. The atmosphere was great and there was a big audience and almost no no-show which is great.

The talk itself was the last one of the day and you can see I was very much focused:


I really enjoyed the day, the interaction, the sushi and pizza they served during noon and the simply the whole event. I got to know people from all over the world as 11 nationalities were represented and there was quite a lot of interaction which I find great.

The presentation itself had the following description:

Orchard CMS, distilled in the secret laboratories at Microsoft but later on open sourced, is a great way to start building sites with a CMS topping. This session will show you how to set it up, create custom modules and put it on Windows Azure with a little help of WebMatrix.

Update: I got to know that my sessions scored a 4.5 / 5. Cool!

Grz, Kris.

Sunday, 21 October 2012 00:02:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 04 October 2012

Yesterday Microsoft celebrated the launch of Windows Server 2012 at a dedicated event. Besides the WS2012 track there was also a great Windows Azure tracks, http://www.microsoft.com/belux/technet/demo-azure/, where I was one of the speakers. The presentation I talked about was Windows Azure Web Sites. One of the new features on the Windows Azure platform that I like a lot as it makes it super easy to deploy all kinds of web related technologies onto like classic ASP, ASP.NET based sites, PHP and node.js. I created professional websites with the first three environments and am now looking into node.js as well.

The topics I talked about were the following:

  • Setting up Wordpress with ease with a MySQL backed database through the portal
  • Deployment via FTP (classic ASP), Git (node.js) and Web Deploy via WebMatrix 2 (node.js based site on the Express template)
  • Publishing via Visual Studio 2012. Starting from a empty ASP.NET MVC 4, adding a Presentation model, making use of the Nuget packages EntityFramework and MvcScaffolding. Then creating a nice website, scaffolded, publishing it with EF migrations turned on so that the database gets generated in the linked SQL Database. Then updating the model, rescaffolding the views and updating the database and then again a redeploy.
  • Scaling. An important part as it can have significant meaning of capabilities
  • Pricing. I showed off a nice comparison between the different modes: Free, Shared and Reserved and what potential implications it might have on cost and how to save money with doing some calculations.
  • Architecture. Windows Azure Web Sites or short WAWS is a great piece of technology which is built on top of Windows Azure components which have been around for quite some time now. Abstracting away parts might give a bit less flexibility but one simply gets a lot for that in return so that one can get things up and running very easily and fast as well.
  • Questions and Answers.

If you want to take a look at the slide deck then download it from here: http://www.krisvandermast.com/downloads.html. Or watch it on Slideshare:

Also be sure to check out the blogs of other speakers like Kristof Rennen and Mike Martin. Both two homies of AZUG as well.

Me in action:

Kris van der Mast presenting about Windows Azure Web Sites

Grz, Kris.

Thursday, 04 October 2012 20:13:25 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Tuesday, 02 October 2012

If you’ve already opened the new portal of Windows Azure then you’ll probably have noticed that both the .NET version and PHP version installed on Windows Azure Web Sites are filled in. However there’s no such thing currently for which version of node.js can be run on it. Bummer.

Of course, it’s not that difficult to find out for yourself, or find out near the end of this article. The steps involved make use of Git deployment as I just wanted to play around with that but FTP or web publishing can also be used of course.

Step 1: Create a new Windows Azure Web Site

Navigate to the portal:


Click on the CREATE A NEW WEBSITE link or on the big + NEW sign in the lower left corner, where I usually start my journey. Select WEB SITE > QUICK CREATE and give it a unique url. Select a region and press the CREATE WEB SITE button:


Once the initialization phase has passed you have the following result:


Step 2: Prepare for Git publishing

Click on the darker blue part which states the name of your freshly created web site. Then click on link Set up Git publishing. If needed you can always reset your deployment credentials when you forgot your username and password to deploy:


After having selected the Set up Git publishing link and it’s done its behind the scenes voodoo magic you’ll be presented the following screen. See that GIT URL? Well that’s going to be important in a couple of steps so either copy and paste it right now into notepad or keep in mind where you can easily find it back.


Step 3: Make a node.js script that shows the running version

This is the little script part that will show which version you’re running. Either locally, always safe to test there, and on Windows Azure.

Create a new folder on your hard disk and create in that folder a file named server.js. Open notepad or your favorite editing tool of choice and type in the following code (note that it’s javascript hence case sensitive):

var http = require('http');
http.createServer(function(req, res){
	res.writeHead(200, {'content-type': 'text/plain'})
	res.end('Version - ' + process.version);
}).listen(process.env.port || 1337)

Step 4: Getting Gitted and pushing it to Windows Azure Web Sites

If you haven’t installed Git yet, then do so now. If you’re on Windows I suggest you install Github for Windows as it also has a handy shell which hooks into Powershell.

If you opened the Git commandline and changed to the directory where you put the file server.js, start typing in the following commands:

  1. git init
  2. git add .
  3. git commit –m “Initial commit”
  4. git remote add azure   GIT URL (yes, that’s that url I told you to keep a hold on or keep it handy in notepad)
  5. git push azure master

That’s it. Open the portal again and if not finished already it’ll soon be and you’ll get to see your deployment:



Step 5: Le moment suprême: Hit that BROWSE button

Yes, that’s it, don’t be afraid. Click that BROWSE button at the bottom and get to see which version of node.js is running:


And the lucky winner is: v0.6.20.


This article simply showed how to create a small node.js script, make use of Git and easily deploy it to Windows Azure Web Sites and uncover the hidden version number of the running node.js version.

A tip: if you want to start with node.js and have some fancy debugging capabilities and easy web publishing, or ftp, to Windows Azure Web Sites then make use of the new cool tool on the block: WebMatrix 2.

For more instructional videos be sure to check out http://www.meetwindowsazure.com/DigitalChalkTalks and http://www.youtube.com/user/windowsazure.

Grz, Kris.

Tuesday, 02 October 2012 20:08:04 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 28 September 2012

Yesterday evening I gave a presentation at Microsoft WebCafe in front of around 120 attendees. The topic I had was WebMatrix 2. Microsoft WebCafe meetings are of a different concept than traditional presentations. It’s fast paced, 10 minutes time boxed sessions with which they try to get the attention of a group of people which usually don’t come to regular sessions or Tech Days.

The stuff I showed during that very limited amount of time was:

  • WebMatrix 2 – the tool (database tooling, reports, requests)
  • Bakery based website (ASP.NET web pages)
  • Plugins (iPhone + iPad)
  • Node.js and debugging capabilities
  • publishing to WAWS + updating of only those changed pages via Web Deploy
  • Less + plugin from orangebits to transform it to css

If you would like to see more about WebMatrix 2 and what it can mean for you be sure to check out the videos about it on WebCamps TV.

If you’re interested in the slide deck I used during my presentation be sure to check out the Downloads page.

Grz, Kris.

Friday, 28 September 2012 14:58:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, 26 September 2012

On Monday we already had the pleasure of having Brady over for a nerd dinner in Mechelen and yesterday Brady delivered a great presentation about Windows Azure Web Sites. The talk was mainly about the architecture behind the screens, deployment and pricing. Brady was warned up front that a Belgian audience is usually very quiet, extremely attentive but lacks interaction. Well, not so at AZUG! We were indeed all very attentive but definitely not quiet and without interaction. Quite some laughs / jokes flew back and forth and both the audience and Brady had a great time during the evening.

We also had a lot of new faces coming to our latest AZUG event and that’s just awesome as that’s why were hosting these sessions for: you, the community. The AZUG crew hopes to see you again soon at one of our next events: http://www.azug.be/events.

Brady in full action:



If you want to know more about Windows Azure Web Sites be sure to check out these resources:


Grz, Kris.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012 14:11:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  |