# 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:

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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]  | 
# Thursday, 20 September 2012

If you like to create apps for Windows 8 and want to join the community as one big happy group in Belgium then be sure not to miss the next app-a-thon on September 28.

If you haven’t registered yet be sure to do so here.

There are some nice prices involved like:

  1. Xbox 360 + Kinect
  2. Deluxe App’ero Bongo Box
  3. Professional Sharp Knife Set

Microsoft_App-a-thon

Grz, Kris.

Thursday, 20 September 2012 13:56:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Last Monday I went to see the Microsoft Dublin datacenter together with the the azug posse and the two winners of our Windows Azure Saturday. We all signed an NDA so we’re not allowed to talk of what we saw but  I can tell you this: if you have the chance someday to visit it yourself and you’re interested in technical stuff, simply go. It’s cool to see and you get a good guidance by a Microsoft representative who’s knowledgeable and friendly. Besides that, it’s in Dublin and they have some very nice restaurants over there.

A picture that I took from http://www.globalfoundationservices.com/ which was publicly available and shows the datacenter entrance:

dublin-datacenter

The day before we landed in Dublin and one of the gang already knew a great steak restaurant so we enjoyed a great evening among friends.

photo

Grz, Kris.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012 20:23:09 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Friday, 07 September 2012

I’ve been using this little gem since the first betas a couple of years ago, delivered tons of feedback to Microsoft when they were developing the betas of the new WebMatrix 2. Seriously there’s been a ton of cool, newly added, fresh smelling awesomeness to be found in this final version 2.0 release.

What I love about it is the better Intellisense, the fact that you can now also code node.js and PHP in it, better support for databases and that one can start creating custom plugins! There are already several available and I’m certain there will be way more over time. The emulators for iPhone, iPad and Windows Phone are nicely done and it shows Microsoft has taken care of the mobile side of site development.WebMatrix2

Not only this but search has also been enhanced and now you can also connect to a running SQL Server or MySQL database. Publishing after creating something cool and share it with the world through the built in publishing tool. It’s also easy to go deploy the cloud.

For an overall view of videos recorded about WebMatrix 2 simply navigate to http://channel9.msdn.com/Tags/webmatrix.

See what others are writing about this new release at:

Want to see me present about WebMatrix 2? You can at Microsoft WebCafe on September 27th.

Not convinced yet? Simply download it and try it out for yourself. You’ll love it for sure.

A screenshot of Node.js in action:

webmatrix2_nodejs_intellisense

Have fun coding!

Grz, Kris.

Friday, 07 September 2012 13:44:45 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Ok, so today felt a bit like Christmas in summer. In case you didn’t know already Microsoft released it’s much anticipated Windows 8 on MSDN.

Not only that but also Visual Studio 2012 got released today so this guy’s a happy developer once more.

And Because Microsoft likes to hand out good stuff they also released Entity Framework 5, ASP.NET MVC 4 and Web API, …

Of course popular things couldn’t stay behind. Mads Kristensen released the new Web Essentials for VS2012 and Orchard can be proud to say to be the first CMS to be released with ASP.NET MVC 4.

I’m convinced more tools, open source frameworks building on these awesome things will find their way the coming days and weeks. So stay tuned!

So, too much too handle on a way too hot and humid night but there’s a weekend coming to test spin this stuff all around.

Grz, Kris.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012 22:40:16 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 12 August 2012

A couple of days ago LEGO turned 80 years old. Watch this short movie, a great one I assure you, on how it all started out.

For me personally, I’ve always loved this little tiny bricks, thinking out ideas, sometimes assembling things with the help of non LEGO bricks just to build something cool. I think I got my first set at the age of 5 or so from my parents. A tiny car with and the driver had a white cowboy hat and also a smiley face. The LEGO I saw before that were mostly very old bricks my grandparents bought for their children, my uncle and aunt. When I grew up I mostly asked for LEGO for my birthday, Sinterklaas, Christmas eve, sometimes I got it even for making good grades at school. I also witnessed every year more specialized blocks coming out with more dedicated purposes. Personally I still like to believe that the magic of the bricks, the imagination unleashed that came from it and my LEGO Technic sets started off the spark to become an engineer later on. Not only LEGO of course but also some other influences got me there , which is for another story one day, but it for sure did help.

Being a young adult, age 19 - 20, I remember going back home after a great party in my home town. It was around 3 am in the morning or so and while walking home I passed by a pub. A young boy, 10 years old I assume, was playing outside with, yes, LEGO. Apparently he had some problems getting some pieces together and asked for help. Coming to think of it now the situation was rather bizarre but I simply sat down on the summer’s eve, and helped out the little guy with his LEGO kit until it was finished before going further home. The sparks in the eyes of the little guy reminded me of the happiness I felt myself when I was about his age. Though I guess mine was a way more happy one as my parents didn’t go to pubs and certainly didn’t let me stay up that late playing outside on the sidewalk.

Seeing this video, and how it all started, doesn’t only show the history behind the fun bricks, it also shows determination of a family and several key people who believed in something, conquering problems and having the courage to start all over again. As a kid I for sure didn’t know about that all but as an adult, and engineer, I can hugely appreciate and sympathize with what they did. Of course I’ll try to pass on the love for the bricks to my children one day and see the magic lighting up in their eyes when they try to build their own creations and the magic that comes with that. And of course I’ll be smiling when they come over to show me them, just like my dad did when I was young, hoping that they’ll become even better engineers than their old man. But rest assured, I won’t let them do it at 3 am in the morning on some sidewalk in front of a dirty pub. There’s a time for playing with magic, but there’s also a time to fall asleep and dream about magic.

If I may, a small comparison. The last years as a developer/architect/… I’ve seen magic happening as well. Nuget is called the LEGO for developers, small little bricks, fitting together to create something cool that helps out customers in doing their business faster and better. People don’t always realize it but it’s still some kind of magic, determination of dedicated people, who make that work.

Grz, Kris.

Sunday, 12 August 2012 19:13:40 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Tuesday, 07 August 2012

If you like Orchard CMS and are free on September 8th and 9th then you might want to go and check out all the sessions being shown at the first Orchard conference Harvest.

Harvest-Orchard-Conference

Grz, Kris.

Tuesday, 07 August 2012 14:38:24 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 09 July 2012

The cloud is everywhere and now also in book format. I just noticed that Microsoft has put a couple of free books available about:

WindowsAzurePrescriptiveGuidance
Windows Azure Prescriptive Guidance provides you with some of the best practices and recommendations for working with the Windows Azure platform. Categories cover planning, designing, developing, and managing a variety of different types of Windows Azure applications, including mobile, enterprise, and consumer-based applications. It also provides guidance for developers using non-.NET applications, libraries, and stacks with Windows Azure.

E-book publication date: May 2012
422 pages
EPUB| MOBI| PDF| Source content

WindowsAzureServiceBusReference

The Windows Azure Service Bus provides a hosted, secure, and widely available infrastructure for widespread communication, large-scale event distribution, naming, and service publishing. The Service Bus provides connectivity options for Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and other service endpoints – including REST endpoints -- that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to reach. Endpoints can be located behind network address translation (NAT) boundaries, or bound to frequently-changing, dynamically-assigned IP addresses, or both.

E-book publication date: May 2012
260 pages
EPUB| MOBI| PDF| Source content

If you’re interested in more, lots more, of such free ebooks be sure to checkout: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/11608.e-book-gallery-for-microsoft-technologies.aspx.

Grz, Kris.

Monday, 09 July 2012 12:11:40 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 05 July 2012

I noticed on Twitter several people asking for this. However if you know the steps it’s pretty easy. So simply follow along and get the Orchard party started.

Preparation step – Set up a database

Normally one would simply deploy Orchard, make use of the built in SQL CE database and get going. However if you want to scale out, which is very easy in Windows Azure Web Sites, then it’s nothing more but logical to make use of a dedicated database for all deployed instances to keep your data in sync.

To accomplish this simply navigate to the portal and select from the left side menu the option SQL DATABASES. Click on the CREATE A SQL DATABASE.

Give it a meaningful name:

orchardonazure02

Then provide a login name and a password (make sure to make up a good one):

orchardonazure03

After the creation you can take a look at the details of the database and either stay on the first page or go to the DASHBOARD. Here you can see the connectionstring which is needed later on so be sure to copy that down or know where you can find it in the portal once you need it:

orchardonazure04

Ok, that concludes for the first part, let’s move on to the next one.

Preparation step – Create the new Web Site

Either make use of the big + sign in the lower left of the portal or click on CREATE A WEB SITE from the WEB SITES menu item in the portal. Select the FROM GALLERY and in there select Orchard CMS:

orchardonazure05

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Configure the application you’re about to set up. Give it a unique name and select a region:

orchardonazure07

Let it spin and after a while you’ll notice the message that your site has been created. You can look up the web site in the portal:

orchardonazure08

 

Preparation step – Link the database with the Web Site

Ok, now while in that last screen select LINKED RESOURCES. From there on create a new one by clicking on LINK A RESOURCE:

orchardonazure09

Select for the option Link an existing resource and select there for the SQL Database option:

orchardonazure10

In the next screen select the database which was created in the first preparation step:

orchardonazure11

Provide the LOGIN NAME and LOGIN PASSWORD and finish.

Final step – Run the Web Site

Ok, we made it this far already which is great. Now select in the left hand menu the item WEB SITES. In the last column of the overview of your web sites select the url and let a new browser window open:

orchardonazure12

This is the oh-so-familiar startup screen of Orchard CMS itself. Fill in the required fields but instead of opting for the standard selected SQL Server Compact, select Use an existing SQL Server (or SQL Express) database.

Remember I told you to copy the connection string earlier on? Well, here’s where it’s needed. Fill in the connectionstring and make sure you fill in the right password as well. I chose for the default recipe for Orchard in my case and then clicked the Finish Setup button. Let the recipe cook up the Orchard CMS website and you’re in business:

orchardonazure13

As you can see, it’s pretty easy to do if you know the steps.

Checking the database

If you want you can connect to your database server and open the MyOrchardDB database. Be sure however to add the IP address you’re using at this moment in the firewall rules or else you won’t be able to connect to it. The portal will provide a warning and an option to directly add your current IP address to the allowed list which is a nice feature.

As you can see all the needed tables where created when cooking the recipe to be able to run Orchard CMS:

orchardonazure14

Grz, Kris.

Thursday, 05 July 2012 12:35:15 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, 04 July 2012

When deleting a VM from your Windows Azure account as you might not need it anymore and you want to cut down on costs you can simply navigate to the portal, select the VM and press the Delete icon at the bottom:

storagedeletionerror01

That’s only the VM but when I set it up initially I chose to have a the Storage account to be auto generated. As a good housekeeper I didn’t only want to delete the VM but also the associated Storage as that might also still incur costs which I don’t want.

However when I tried to do so I got the following:

storagedeletionerror02

Clicking the i for more information it gave me the following error message:

Storage account portalvhds0xgvcb5chg1gf has 1 container(s) which have an active image and/or disk artifacts. Ensure those artifacts are removed from the image repository before deleting this storage account.

Descriptive, but not really showing what I needed. It turned out to be that there’s also still a disk attached to the VM, but there was no indication in the portal that there was still something lying around. Simply navigating to Virtual Machines > Disks showed the associated disk:

storagedeletionerror03

Deleting this one and then going to the storage overview again I could delete the extra storage without problems:

storagedeletionerror04

I gave this back as feedback to the people at Microsoft and apparently it was listed as a bug but not yet taken care off. I’m sure it’ll be ironed out soon but in the mean time you can simply follow this little check to make sure you don’t have to pay extra costs when deleting a VM in total.

Grz, Kris.

Wednesday, 04 July 2012 19:28:37 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  |