Tuesday, January 20, 2009

OC Azure User Group Meeting Tonight

The January Orange County meeting of the Azure User Group is tonight (Tuesday 1/20/09) and will focus on cloud storage. I'll be the speaker. We'll see how to store and retrieve differnt kinds of structured and unstructured data, including BLOBs, queues, and tables.

Date: Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Time: 6pm-8pm
Location: Microsoft, 3 Park Plaza, Suite 1600, Irvine, CA 92614
Topic: Cloud StorageClick to Attend link (please RSVP): http://www.clicktoattend.com/?id=134425

Hope to see you there if you're in the area!
"You'll come for the pizza, you'll stay for the technology"

Monday, January 19, 2009

Azure Blob Sync

Azure Blob Sync is a GUI tool that syncs a local file folder to cloud Blob storage or vice-versa. Binaries, sources, and documentation are up on CodePlex.

To keep the sync fast, simple, and safe, it uses a very simple algorithm: a file or blob is not copied from source to destination if there is already an item of that name on the destination side.

Future plans for AzureBlobSync include a command line version you can use in batch jobs and a means of scheduling automated syncs.

Azure Storage Explorer Updated

Azure Storage Explorer has been updated. There are 3 items of interest in the new 0.3 preview version:
  1. It's built against the January 2009 Azure CTP.
  2. Blobs in a folder hierarchy (with prefixes) now display and can be viewed.
  3. Blobs whose names end in ".xml" (like log files) are auto-formatted as pretty XML with whitespace to make them more readable.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Azure Cloud Computing User Group - New Web Site

The Azure Cloud Computing User Group's new web site is now live at http://www.AzureUserGroup.com. This ning-based site replaces the original Community Server Express site we had been using up until now. The new user group site is Azure-themed, has an exciting new look, and offers lots of great community functionality. Theree is a local group page for each region where local meetings are happening, making it easy to find out what's going on in your area.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Azure Storage Explorer Updated

Azure Storage Explorer has been updated. Binaries and source code to "preview version 0.2" have been posted on CodePlex. This update adds some polish, has cleaned-up source code, and allows items in cloud storage to be deleted.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Azure Storage Explorer

I've been wanting an easier way to view what's in my Azure cloud storage so I decided to write a tool for the purpose. Azure Storage Explorer now exists and is available here on CodePlex.

Today Azure Storage Explorer is limited to letting you view your Azure storage (including data details of your blobs, queue messages, and table records) but eventually I'd like the tool to also allow add/rename/delete operations on storage items and import/export of data.

Here's the table storage view. Your tables are listed in the tree view at left. If you select a table, its records are displayed in the list item view at right. If you select a record, it is displayed in XML form below.

Here's the blob view. Your containers are listed in the tree view at left. Containers with no items are greyed out. Clicking on a container lists your blobs in the list item view at right. Selecting a blob shows its content below. You can use menu items or toolbar buttons to switch between a text and binary view of the data.

Here's the queue view. Your queues are listed in the tree view pane at left. Queues with no messages are greyed out. Selecting a queue lists queue messages in the list item view at right. The messages are peeked, not removed from the queue, and there's a limit of 32 messages that can be shown. Clicking on a queue message displays its data below. Again you can switch between a textual view and a binary view.

The only set up required is to specify the name and key of your storage account in the exe's configuration file.

I'll continue to improve Azure Storage Explorer over time and would love to hear feedback on it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Azure Cloud Computing User Group - January 2009 Meeting Schedule

The January meeting schedule for the Azure Cloud Computing User Group is below. Click on the link to get meeting location and time details, and to sign up that you will be attending.

RegionDateClick to Attend Link
Orange County01/20/09http://www.clicktoattend.com/?id=134425
San Diego01/08/09http://www.clicktoattend.com/?id=134383
Salt Lake City01/20/09http://cl.exct.net/?qs=1f4ae2c23c8c323fa28f0c5c69d2f8e3ebaa6fbcb1f32096a3f718c980a19ecf
New York01/26/09http://www.clicktoattend.com/?id=134423

Philadelphia is not meeting ths month but will resume in February.

Two new locations we are happy to have are Dallas and Houston.

The topic for January is cloud storage.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

"LifeTracks" Azure demo released

Today "LifeTracks" went live at http://lifetracks.cloudapp.net/. LifeTracks is a social networking web site that leverages the Azure platform for hosting, storage, and authentication with Windows Live Id. The source code and documentation have been posted on CodePlex.

LifeTracks is a social networking web site that expands on the popular "what are you doing?" status tracking feature. LifeTracks adds 2 important dimensions to that idea:

1. More Detail and Multimedia
Status information is not limited to a single sentence. Your status can also include a text note and links to multimedia (images, audio, video) and a web page.

2. Past/Present/Future Tracking and Navigation
Status information has a past/present/future aspect, allowing others to view your past activities, present state, and future plans. You can navigate content by timeline or calendar interface.

LifeTracks lets you keep a friend list, a family list, and a group list. You can view your own content as well as the content of those on your lists.

My purpose in LifeTracks was to move beyond "Hello, Cloud" and simple demos and get experience developing and operating a substantial working Azure app. I consider this a 1.0 "alpha" release that will improve over time as we work on it further and act on feedback.

No similarity or reference to existing companies, trademarks, products, or individuals is intended.