Spyhouse Office Hours

March 6, 2013

coffeeshop_coders

Just a reminder that next Wednesday I’ll be holding office hours from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Spyhouse Coffee in Uptown. This

isn’t anything formal you have to sign up for, there are no presentations, just feel free to drop by and chat.

If you’re the kind of person that needs to get this on your calendar or you won’t remember and/or show up, you can do so here.

You can see my full list of Spyhouse Coffee office hours here.

I hope to see you there!

What’s that you say? You haven’t even start writing your Windows 8 app? No worries! Here’s a couple of great resources to help you on your way:

  1. Download Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8 – it’s free!
  2. Sign up for the 30 to Launch program for great tips and tricks

(Pssst…If you still haven’t tried Windows Azure what are you waiting for? Let me give you some encouragement. How about 90 days for free on me. Just go here to learn more.)

If you live in or around Cincinnati I invite you to attend next week’s Windows Azure IaaS Bootcamp. If you aren’t close to Cincinnati find a location closer to you here.

Whether you build apps or support the infrastructure that runs the apps, the cloud can be a really big place. For some, it’s a natural evolution for their application and infrastructure to embrace the power and scale of the cloud. For others, it’s a journey that has to begin with a single step.

Windows Azure provides that first step with a scalable, flexible platform for deploying your applications your way. With our Infrastructure as a Service platform (IaaS) called Windows Azure Virtual Machines, you get the flexibility to choose between Windows and Linux with full control over the operating system configuration and installed software, matched with the portability of Hyper-V disk images. Windows Azure Virtual Machines provide the perfect environment for meeting all of your Infrastructure-as-a-Service needs.

To learn more about our Infrastructure as a Service platform, we invite all developers and IT Professionals to join local Microsoft cloud experts as they introduce you to the Microsoft Cloud Platform, dive deep into Windows Azure Virtual Machines, and help walk you through a hands-on demonstration of the power of IaaS on the Windows Azure platform.

You can register for the event here.

Session Requirements

Be sure to bring a modern laptop that is capable of running the following to make the most of your time at the Bootcamp:

The lab portion of this exercise will require you to connect to the Windows Azure Portal via a modern web browser where you will provision three separate virtual machines in the cloud and configure them each via a Remote Desktop client connection. The lab materials are all online, so no special software is required to install or use them.

If you want to work on other labs while you’re here, you might also want to install the various tools and frameworks that are part of the Windows Azure SDK. Check out various downloads here. Installers are available on that site for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. Details on system requirements for those SDKs can be found by following that link.

All participants registering for the event will get a FREE 90-day trial of the Windows Azure platform and services, including access to the Virtual Machines preview.

All participants that successfully complete the lab and demonstrate their running application to the instructor will be put into a drawing for some amazing prizes!

Seriously? You still haven’t tried Windows Azure? No worries, I can help you with that! For a free 90 day trial just go here.

wams_android

Overnight the Windows Azure Mobile Services team released official support for Android. Along with the SDK Microsoft has also written a number of tutorials to help you get started. The best place to start if you’ve never used Windows Azure Mobile Services before is the Getting started with Mobile Services tutorial. After you complete the initial walkthrough, there are a number of options you can look at depending on what your specific needs are:

Data

Get started with data – Learn how you can use Mobile Services to store and retrieve data from an app.

Validate and modify data using server scripts – You can use server scripts to validate and modify data when you are inserting and updating it. This tutorial show you how to define and register server scripts with mobile services and how to modify your app to take advantage of the new behaviors you define through the scripts.

Adding paging to your queries – This tutorial shows how you can use paging to manage the amount of data that Mobile Services returns to your app.

Users

Get started with authentication – Learn how to authenticate users in your app through a variety of identity providers, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft, and then leverage profile data to add features like greeting users by name.

Use scripts to authorize users – You can use scripts to authorize particular activities for authenticated users. This tutorial demonstrates how to create and register a script that filters data query results based on a userID, to ensure that users only access data that matches their userID values.

Push

Get started with push – Push notifications let you deliver information to your app’s users through tile, badge, and toast notifications. This topic shows you how to use Mobile Services to send push notifications to an Android app. In this tutorial you add push notifications using the Apple Push Notification service (APNS).

Services

Send email from Mobil Services with SendGrid – Learn how to add email functionality to your Mobile Service using the SendGrid email service. This topic demonstrates how to add server side scripts to send email using SendGrid.

Schedule backend jobs in Mobile Services – Learn how to use the Mobile Services job scheduler functionality to define server script code that is executed on a schedule that you define.

Tools

Automate mobile services with command-line tools – This topic shows how to use use the Windows Azure command-line tools to automate the creation and management of Windows Azure Mobile Services. It describes how to install the tools and how to perform common tasks including creating a new mobile service, creating a table, registering a script on a table operation, deleting a table, and deleting an existing mobile service.

help_chalkboard

Next Monday I will be holding office hours from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM at the Microsoft Store at the Mall of America. I will be there to help you take your Windows 8 app from an idea in your head to a killer app in the Windows Store. This isn’t anything formal you have to sign up for, there are no presentations, just feel free to drop by and chat.

If you’re the kind of person that needs to get this on your calendar or you won’t remember and/or show up, you can do so here.

The Microsoft Store is on level 1 of the Mall of America next to Lego, across from Guest Accessories. You can get more information on the store here.

You can see the full list of upcoming office hour events here.

What’s that you say? You haven’t even start writing your Windows 8 app? No worries! Here’s a couple of great resources to help you on your way:

  1. Download Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8 – it’s free!
  2. Sign up for the 30 to Launch program for great tips and tricks

This may have flown under your radar, but several weeks ago we (that’s the royal Microsoft WE) launched a new hub for Windows Azure on Channel 9. This hub serves as an index and entry point for all video content related to Windows Azure. Since the launch we have already made progress on building a video library to help developers get started learning Windows Azure. Introduction videos have been created for core services like Mobile Services, Web Sites, Cloud Services, and SQL Databases. This page also features three video series: Cloud Cover, Web Camps TV, and Subscribe!. Finally, this page highlights videos that have been recorded at events like BUILD and TechEd. I encourage you to check it out at http://channel9.msdn.com/WindowsAzure.

I think the introduction video series we created will be the most beneficial to you, especially if you’re new to Windows Azure. Below is a description of each series as well as direct links to each series.

Windows Azure Mobile Services Windows Azure Mobile Services
(14 videos)
This series is designed to help you learn about, and keep you up to date on, the latest from Windows Azure Mobile Services – a powerful turnkey backed for your Windows Store, Windows Phone 8 and iOS applications (Android coming soon).
Windows Azure Web Sites Windows Azure Web Sites
(4 videos)
Quickly and easily deploy sites to a highly scalable cloud environment that allows you to start small and scale as traffic grows. Use the languages and open source apps of your choice then deploy with FTP, Git and TFS. Easily integrate Windows Azure services like SQL Database, Caching, CDN and Storage. You can try out what you see in this series with 10 Web Sites for FREE!
Windows Azure Virtual Machines & Networking Windows Azure Virtual Machines & Networking
(4 videos)
Easily deploy and run Windows Server and Linux virtual machines. Migrate applications and infrastructure without changing existing code.
Windows Azure Storage & SQL Database Windows Azure Storage & SQL Database
(9 videos)
Windows Azure offers multiple services to help manage your data in the cloud. SQL Database, formerly known as SQL Azure Database, enables organizations to rapidly create, scale and extend applications into the cloud with familiar tools and the power of Microsoft SQL Server™ technology. Tables offer NoSQL capabilities at a low cost for applications with simple data access needs. Blobs provide inexpensive storage for data such as video, audio, and images.
Windows Azure Cloud Services Windows Azure Cloud Services
(8 videos)
This series is a mini online course that teaches you Windows Azure Cloud Services from beginning. We’ll start our cloud journey by setting up development environment, and then continue to explore some fundamental concepts of Windows Azure Cloud Services. The series builds a solid foundation for you to create highly-available, scalable applications and services using Windows Azure’s rich PaaS environment, and to deliver great SaaS solutions to customers anywhere around the world.
Windows Azure Media Services Windows Azure Media Services
(3 videos)
Create, manage, and distribute media in the cloud. With Windows Azure Media Services businesses can now quickly build a media distribution solution that can stream audio and video to Windows, iOS, Android, and other devices and platforms.
Windows Azure Service Bus Windows Azure Service Bus
(2 videos)
Applications and Services are increasingly connected and require integration across platform and network boundaries. Windows Azure Service Bus provides rich messaging and connectivity features for todays connected devices and continuous services. In this series learn about the latest improvements and features available and get in-depth guidance on how to implement rich messaging patterns with Windows Azure.

Be sure to stay tuned to the Windows Azure Hub on Channel 9 for new content!

tips word in wood type

Do you want to really impress the users of your Windows Store applications with a single line of code? If you answered yes, and I’m assuming you would, then read on. If you answered no, well, then, I don’t really know what to say, but I would encourage you read on as well.

One of the cool features in Windows 8 is the Search charm. This allows you to search across the system and within apps to find exactly what you’re looking for. As developers we can leverage this by implementing the Search contract. This contract allows you to add a search pane to your apps that enables users to search within your app both while the app is running as well as from anywhere in the system. Adding the search capability is fairly straightforward and I have some links at the end of this post that can get you on your way. However, if you follow the tutorials you will be left with a suboptimal implementation. Your apps will have a search, but the user will have to activate the Search charm either by using the mouse and dragging the cursor to the upper or lower right hand corner, by using touch and swiping from the right edge of the screen, or by using the keyboard shortcut (Windows Key + Q). This is how the native Windows Store, Music, and Video apps implement search today. While all of the options work, it’s one extra thing the user has to do when what he or she really wants to do is search. Instead, wouldn’t it be better if search would just start when the user starts typing on the keyboard (either a physical keyboard or the onscreen keyboard)? Well you can with just one line of code. Here it is:

I know, I just blew your mind right?! Hope it helps!

(Yes, I know the gist has more than one line of code in it, but I wanted to put it context of where you would use it. In this case I wired it into the OnNavigatedTo event of a page.)

Resources for adding Search to your Windows Store apps:

(Pssst…If you still haven’t tried Windows Azure what are you waiting for? Let me give you some encouragement. How about 90 days for free on me. Just go here to learn more.)

If you live in or around Indianapolis, IN I invite you to attend next week’s Windows Azure IaaS Bootcamp. If you aren’t close to Indianapolis find a location closer to you here.

Whether you build apps or support the infrastructure that runs the apps, the cloud can be a really big place. For some, it’s a natural evolution for their application and infrastructure to embrace the power and scale of the cloud. For others, it’s a journey that has to begin with a single step.

Windows Azure provides that first step with a scalable, flexible platform for deploying your applications your way. With our Infrastructure as a Service platform (IaaS) called Windows Azure Virtual Machines, you get the flexibility to choose between Windows and Linux with full control over the operating system configuration and installed software, matched with the portability of Hyper-V disk images. Windows Azure Virtual Machines provide the perfect environment for meeting all of your Infrastructure-as-a-Service needs.

To learn more about our Infrastructure as a Service platform, we invite all developers and IT Professionals to join local Microsoft cloud experts as they introduce you to the Microsoft Cloud Platform, dive deep into Windows Azure Virtual Machines, and help walk you through a hands-on demonstration of the power of IaaS on the Windows Azure platform.

You can register for the event here.

Session Requirements

Be sure to bring a modern laptop that is capable of running the following to make the most of your time at the Bootcamp:

The lab portion of this exercise will require you to connect to the Windows Azure Portal via a modern web browser where you will provision three separate virtual machines in the cloud and configure them each via a Remote Desktop client connection. The lab materials are all online, so no special software is required to install or use them.

If you want to work on other labs while you’re here, you might also want to install the various tools and frameworks that are part of the Windows Azure SDK. Check out various downloads here. Installers are available on that site for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. Details on system requirements for those SDKs can be found by following that link.

All participants registering for the event will get a FREE 90-day trial of the Windows Azure platform and services, including access to the Virtual Machines preview.

All participants that successfully complete the lab and demonstrate their running application to the instructor will be put into a drawing for some amazing prizes!

Seriously? You still haven’t tried Windows Azure? No worries, I can help you with that! For a free 90 day trial just go here.

(Pssst…If you still haven’t tried Windows Azure what are you waiting for? Let me give you some encouragement. How about 90 days for free on me. Just go here to learn more.)

If you live in or around Austin, TX I invite you to attend next week’s Windows Azure IaaS Bootcamp. If you aren’t close to Austin, TX find a location closer to you here.

Whether you build apps or support the infrastructure that runs the apps, the cloud can be a really big place. For some, it’s a natural evolution for their application and infrastructure to embrace the power and scale of the cloud. For others, it’s a journey that has to begin with a single step.

Windows Azure provides that first step with a scalable, flexible platform for deploying your applications your way. With our Infrastructure as a Service platform (IaaS) called Windows Azure Virtual Machines, you get the flexibility to choose between Windows and Linux with full control over the operating system configuration and installed software, matched with the portability of Hyper-V disk images. Windows Azure Virtual Machines provide the perfect environment for meeting all of your Infrastructure-as-a-Service needs.

To learn more about our Infrastructure as a Service platform, we invite all developers and IT Professionals to join local Microsoft cloud experts as they introduce you to the Microsoft Cloud Platform, dive deep into Windows Azure Virtual Machines, and help walk you through a hands-on demonstration of the power of IaaS on the Windows Azure platform.

You can register for the session here.

Session Requirements

Be sure to bring a modern laptop that is capable of running the following to make the most of your time at the Bootcamp:

The lab portion of this exercise will require you to connect to the Windows Azure Portal via a modern web browser where you will provision three separate virtual machines in the cloud and configure them each via a Remote Desktop client connection. The lab materials are all online, so no special software is required to install or use them.

If you want to work on other labs while you’re here, you might also want to install the various tools and frameworks that are part of the Windows Azure SDK. Check out various downloads here. Installers are available on that site for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. Details on system requirements for those SDKs can be found by following that link.

All participants registering for the event will get a FREE 90-day trial of the Windows Azure platform and services, including access to the Virtual Machines preview.

All participants that successfully complete the lab and demonstrate their running application to the instructor will be put into a drawing for some amazing prizes!

Seriously? You still haven’t tried Windows Azure? No worries, I can help you with that! For a free 90 day trial just go here.

Weekly Windows 8 Office Hours

February 25, 2013

help_chalkboard

Next Monday I will be holding office hours from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM at the Microsoft Store at the Mall of America. I will be there to help you take your Windows 8 app from an idea in your head to a killer app in the Windows Store. This isn’t anything formal you have to sign up for, there are no presentations, just feel free to drop by and chat.

If you’re the kind of person that needs to get this on your calendar or you won’t remember and/or show up, you can do so here.

The Microsoft Store is on level 1 of the Mall of America next to Lego, across from Guest Accessories. You can get more information on the store here.

You can see the full list of upcoming office hour events here.

What’s that you say? You haven’t even start writing your Windows 8 app? No worries! Here’s a couple of great resources to help you on your way:

  1. Download Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8 – it’s free!
  2. Sign up for the 30 to Launch program for great tips and tricks
  3. Sign up for the XBOX Ultimate Experience contest as a little extra motivation to get you app in the store

Windows 8 coffee and c0de

February 22, 2013

Next Monday Jeff Brand and I will be hosting a coffee and c0de session at the Microsoft Technology Center in Edina, MN. If you have questions about the Windows 8 app you’ve been working on this is your opportunity to sit down and get your questions answered by Microsoft experts. Come for the entire morning or stop by for a quick cup of coffee and some tech talk, the choice is yours. Come and share a cup of coffee and talk some code!

Sign up and learn more about this and future events here.

What’s that you say? You haven’t even start writing your Windows 8 app? No worries! Here are some great resources to help you on your way:

  1. Download Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8 – it’s free!
  2. Sign up for the 30 to Launch program for great tips and tricks
  3. Sign up for the XBOX Ultimate Experience contest as a little extra motivation to get you app in the store