Thursday, May 28, 2009

May 2009 O.C. Azure User Group Meeting Tonight

The May 2009 Azure User Group meeting in Orange County is Thursday May 28th and will be about Azure Design Patterns.

The topic for the next Azure User Group meeting is Design Patterns for cloud computing on the Azure platform. As we've seen in prior months, Azure provides oodles of functionality that spans application hosting and storage to enterprise-grade security and access control. Design patterns help you think about these capabilities in the right way and how they can be combined into composite applications. We'll cover design patterns for hosting, data, communication, synchronization, and security as well as composite application patterns that combine them. We'll be doing hands-on code demos of a number of composite applications, including a grid computing application.

If attending, please be sure to RSVP at the link below so we can properly plan ordering of pizza and beverages. We hope to see you there!

Meeting details:

Time: Thursday, May 28, 2009 from 6pm to 8pm
Location: QuickStart Intelligence
Street: 16815 Von Karman Ave, Suite 100
City/Town: Irvine, CA
RSVP Link:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Speaking at San Diego .NET User Group 5/26

I'm speaking on Tuesday 5/26/09 6-9pm at the San Diego .NET User Group. Our topic will be the Azure developer experience. Directions can be found here:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Azure Design Patterns Talk at So. Bay .NET User Group

This Thursday evening (5/14/09) I'll be speaking at the South Bay .NET User Group in Torrance on the topic of Azure Design Patterns. We will review the many design patterns in Azure and look at a several application code demos that illustrate them, including a grid computing application.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Azure Storage Explorer 2.1 Now Available

Azure Storage Explorer 2.1 is now available on CodePlex.

Although Azure Storage Explorer has become a popular tool for viewing Azure cloud storage, the most requested feature has been an ability to modify what's in storage. Version 2.1 provides the capability to create or delete blob containers, blob items, queues, queue messages, tables, and table items.

2.1 is only a first step towards cloud data editing and there is more planned. In a future update look for a more refined editing UI and features to better support bulk creation, editing, and deletion of multiple items.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Azure Sudoku now on CodePlex

Azure Sudoku is now available on CodePlex. This is an Azure-hosted Silverlight implementation of the popular game Sudoku. Various Hawaiian backgrounds accompany each new game.

The significance of this project isn't entertainment. It combines Azure, Silverlight, and WCF in the same solution--something that takes a lot of work (and work-arounds) to get right. If you're attempting to combine all 3 technologies for the first time, this project may be helpful to look at and will hopefully save you some of the headscratching I went through.

I could have implemented Azure Sudoku without the WCF service, but since this is meant to be a reference project I wanted to include WCF for an important reason: Silverlight can't directly access Azure's RESTful services. That means when you work on Azure-hosted Silverlight solutions the only way you'll be able to make use of cloud storage and other Azure services is if your solution contains a WCF service that Silverlight can go through to get to Azure services.

While we're on the subject of Sudoku, you may be surprised to learn that it isn't a Japanese invention. The game originally known as "Number Place" first appeared in the U.S. in Dell Pencil Puzzles and Word Games magazine in 1979 but didn't command a lot of attention. It made its way to Japan at some point where it became a major hit, and the rest is history. It's really Howard Garns of Indianapolis we have to thank for Sudoku. Thanks Howard!


Monday, May 4, 2009

AzureMortgageService now on CodePlex

I've written a demo WCF service that calculates mortgage schedules, along with a WPF-based desktop app for invoking the service and displaying the results. The demo is on CodePlex at If you're looking for a working Azure service with a real-world scenario that's clean and simple, you might find this useful.

Azure Developer Contest

Microsoft has just announced a contest for Azure developers! Now this should be fun. The contest is called "new CloudApp()" and has an official site at

Both PHP and .NET applications can be submitted. The .NET and PHP category applications will be judged by industry leaders, Om Malik and Michael Cote. Entries will be evaluated based on user experience and user interface, innovation and creativity of the application, applicability to cloud computing, and real-world applicability of the application. The overall Community winner will be decided by public voting.

Key Dates:

• Monday, May 4: Contest Open
• Thursday, June 18: Submission deadline
• Friday, June 19: Community voting starts
• Thursday, June 25: .NET & PHP category winners announced at Structure 09
• Monday, June 29: Community voting ends
• Tuesday, June 30: Community winner announced

So what do winners get?

• Featured on as well as at major Microsoft events
• Featured in a video interview on Channel 9 with the application author
• Winners will be announced at Structure 09
• Receive cash ($):
  o NET Applications Category winner: $5,000 Visa gift card
  o PHP Applications Category winner: $5,000 Visa gift card
  o Community winner: $2,500 Visa gift card

Contestants can choose to submit one entry into either the .NET or the PHP applications category. Azure applications that have already been built can be submitted for the contest.

Valid submissions are limited to residents 18 years and older of the 50 United States and District of Columbia.

Friday, May 1, 2009

InfoQ Article on Azure Grid Computing

InfoQ is running my recent 3-part article series on Azure grid computing with some expanded content.

Part 1 went up today, the other parts will run at 2-week intervals.