# 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:

nodejsversion01

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:

nodejsversion02

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

nodejsversion03

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:

nodejsversion04

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.

nodejsversion05

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:

nodejsversion06

Cool!

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:

nodejsversion07

And the lucky winner is: v0.6.20.

Summary

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:

r600x600

 

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]  |