Azure, Cloud, Design, Development, Events, Oklahoma, TechFest, Tulsa, user group, Windows 8

Tulsa TechFest 2012

Tulsa TechFest is the premier technical conference in eastern Oklahoma, boasting “the broadest topics in the United States, maybe the world”. Sporting a healthy 18 separate tracks across multiple disciplines including  architecture, software and web development, databases, project management, security, social media, mobile, enterpreneurs, managers, BI & reporting, mentoring and even  a special Windows 8 Track, Tulsa TechFest is one of the largest events of its kind.

It’s primary focus is to provide training/teaching sessions that are immediately beneficial to the broadest range of IT professionals in their day-to-day jobs. They accomplish this with over 40 national/international speakers covering this wide range of topics over 90 to 120 75 minute sessions.

As with all conferences of this type, there is a cost associated with attending.  This year, in keeping with the traditions of the previous 4 years, attendance at the Tulsa TechFest will require you to pay your choice of $2, to be donated to the John 3:16 Mission, or 2 cans of food, to be donated to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. Last year, the event collected 469 pounds of food, and our target this year is to DOUBLE that amount, so please bring whatever you can to support these worthwhile charities.

This is the one that started it all, folks – since their first event, many other communities have been following our example by hosting their own TechFest events including VancouverTechFest, HoustonTechFest, DallasTechFest, AlbertaTechFest, IndyTechFest, and NWA TechFest.

I myself will be featured in the Cloud track talking about Windows Azure, including deep dive sessions on Windows Azure Caching, Access Control Service, Service Bus and Windows Azure Mobile Services.

This is one event you *won’t* want to miss – so sign up today at!

Azure, Development, Open Source, Product Announcements, Videos, Web

Announcing TypeScript Preview for Visual Studio

Today, Soma announced on his blog the preview release of a new, open source project called TypeScript.  TypeScript adds optional types, classes and modules to JavaScript so that developer can make better tooling for large-scale JavaScript applications.  TypeScript comes with a cross-platform compiler that allows developers to code in TypeScript and output standards-based JavaScript for any browser or host.

Along with the language features of TypeScript itself, Microsoft is also announcing the release of an extension for Visual Studio 2012 which provides a cool tooling experience with Intellisense, refactoring support and as-you-type error reporting, just like you’d expect from Visual Studio.

You can learn more about TypeScript via the following links:

Go get it – it looks really cool!

Azure, Cloud, Development, MVVM, Open Source, Silverlight, USCloud, Windows, Windows 8, WP7, WP8

Scaling Collaborative Applications

One of our local MVPs, Michael Perry, has written a great article about scaling collaborative Windows 8 applications with Correspondence and Windows Azure.

Azure is a great way to quickly deploy and scale your web sites. Correspondence is a rich framework for bringing collaborative experiences to multiple platforms. When these two come together, amazing things can happen.

For those that don’t know, Correspondence is Michael’s innovative collaboration framework for occasionally connected smart clients and web applications. Correspondence is hosted on CodePlex at and samples can be found on Michaels blog at

Azure, BootCamp, Cloud, Dallas, Development, Events, Featured, Houston, Launch, Texas, Training

Cloud OS Signature Event Series

I hope to see many of you tomorrow and Wednesday at the Microsoft Cloud IS Signature Event Series in Dallas and Houston. For those attending, here are some helpful tips on getting ready to attend.


Although we don’t expect that you have a lot of background on Cloud Computing, or Windows Azure specifically, this event is primarily a HANDS-ON event, so it’s important to come physically prepared.  You’ll need a computer with at least Windows Vista SP2 pre-loaded with the Windows Azure software.  You can get the software from – just click the .NET link from the menu of choices to get started. Any prerequisites for running the Windows Azure Development SDK will be installed automatically for you, thanks to our awesome Web Platform Installer technology.  PLEASE do this BEFORE you come to the event as it will save a BUNCH of time getting you ready for the labs.

Azure 90-day Free Trial

You can also get a FREE 90-day Azure Trial to use for this event, and your experimentation in Windows Azure. Just following the following link to get started:

Once you get signed up, navigate over to your Account page and choose the “Preview Features” link at the top. From here you can sign up for Windows Azure Web Sites, Virtual Machines, Mobile Services and more. These requests can take some time to process, so you should sign up sooner rather than later to make sure you’re account is ready to go.


As I mentioned before, this event is primarily a hand-on experience, so you’ll need to get copies of all the labs prior to firing up Visual Studio.  The labs are kept in a GitHub repository called WindowsAzure-TrainingKit.  The TrainingKit contains a METRIC TON of content, so to make things easy, here are links to the labs so that you can download them without hunting through the entire list.

  1. HOL – Introduction to Windows Azure Cloud Services
  2. HOL – Introduction to Windows Azure SQL Database
  3. HOL – Introduction to Windows Azure Virtual Machines
  4. HOL – Introduction to Windows Azure Access Control Service
  5. HOL – Service Remoting with Windows Azure Service Bus

These links take you to the “home page” for each of the labs.  If you’re familiar with GitHub and how to use Git, you can clone these repositories locally and open the assets from there. Alternatively, you can click the big ZIP button on each page and download a ZIP version of each of the HOLs. If you want to start over, you can just download a new ZIP file and be on your way.


For each of the labs, there is a setup.cmd file that you’re supposed to execute to get your machine prepped for the labs with all required dependencies. Unfortunately for some, these labs are still set up to expect Visual Studio 2010, not Visual Studio 2012, so the setup.cmd will FAIL on those.  If you’re running VS2010, run setup.cmd and you should be good to go.  If you’re running VS2012, here’s how you get your environment updated:

Option 1 – Snippets Only

  1. Open the Lab folder in Windows Explorer
  2. Locate the Source\Setup\Scripts\snippets\ folder (if none exists, there are no snippets for that lab)
  3. Manually run the VSI file to install the snippets.

Option 2 – Major Surgery

  1. Locate the Source\Setup\Scripts folder
  2. Edit the installCodeSnippets.ps1 file in Notepad, or your favorite text editor
  3. Replace all occurrences of “Visual Studio 2010” with “Visual Studio 2012”
  4. Run the Setup.cmd from the root folder, ignoring errors about the compilation of the SecurityTokenVisualizerControl
  5. Locate the Source\Assets\SecurityTokenVisualizerControl folder
  6. Open the SecurityTokenVisualizerControl.sln file
  7. Rebuild the solution – it *should* compile just fine
  8. From within this same solution, open the Toolbox window
  9. Right-click on the empty toolbox area and select “Add Tab…”
  10. Type in “ACS” into the new tab
  11. Right click inside the tab and choose “Select Items”
  12. When the toolbox loads, press the “Browse…” button, and navigate to the bin directory of the SecurityTokenVisualizerControl project folder.
  13. Select the SecurityTokenVisualizerControl.dll and press “OK” to close.

Additionally, the Identity and Access controls for Visual Studio 2012 are much different than the Add STS Reference controls from Visual Studio 2010. You will have a completely different process for enabling ACS in your VS2012 project than you did in VS2010.  To this end, I will probably walk through a sample application in Dallas or omit the session all together. The labs take a lot of time anyway, and feedback from the first 2 events was that we have WAY too much in the agenda already 🙂


I hope this helps you get what you need downloaded and installed for the sessions this week. You can, of course, download everything prior to attending, which would REALLY help move things along during the sessions.  In Houston, we’ll have a slightly different schedule in that we’re removing the ACS session in favor of boosting the times for some of the other sessions, but you’re welcome to work on whatever makes sense to you at your own pace. That’s the beauty of the Hands-on Lab approach – you can get hands on with the technology in a semi-structured environment as well as having the ability to go home and work on this stuff at your own pace on your own schedule.  I’ve personally learned a lot from these HOLs as I’ve ramped up on Azure over the past few months, and I highly recommend them to you.

Azure, Cloud, Dallas, Development, Events, Featured, Open Source, Students, Texas, Training, user group, Windows 8, WP7

Upcoming User Group Meetings

There are a couple of great-sounding User Group meetings coming up this week that I thought you all might be interested in:

Windows Phone App Developer Group – DFW Dallas TexasSeptember AT&T Mobile App Hackathon Education (Dallas)Friday, 5:00 PM Sep 14
Dallas PHPAn Illustrated Git PrimerTuesday, 7:00 PM Sep 11
DFW C++ User Group, meeting at NCR’s officeLeak Free C++Tuesday, 6:00 PM Sep 11

If you a new to Git, I highly recommend attending the PHP User Group’s presentation. The speaker and I have had numerous conversations about Git, and he does a really good job of explaining the basics. I was going to go and try to ask some of my newer questions about different workflow strategies, branching and such, but a prior family obligation is going to keep me from attending any groups on Tuesday night.

If you’re a Windows Phone or Windows 8 developer, I’ll also recommend the AT&T Mobile Hackathon. I’ve participated in these before and they are very well run by the gang over at AT&T and I know you’ll have an amazing time participating. The prizes are usually pretty good too, so bring your great idea and be ready to crank out some code!

These are just a couple that popped into my Inbox this morning, but there are plenty of other amazing activities to be found around TX, OK, AR and LA – just check and for more details.

Azure, Cloud, Development, Product Announcements, Web

WebMatrix 2 + Windows Azure

WebMatrix 2 shipped this week with some new Windows Azure-related features!

For all the details, visit

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Download Windows Azure Web Site applications to WebMatrix
    Windows Azure allows you to download your existing Windows Azure Website project into WebMatrix to work on locally or help you create a new project from the Application Gallery, or from a set of pretty cool templates.
  • Publish to Windows Azure
    Once you have an application downloaded, created from template or application gallery, or created from scratch, you can use WebMatrix to publish right back up to Windows Azure. You can import publish settings as downloaded from your Windows Azure Website dashboard, and publish right back up to the cloud. It’s really simple to use, and WebMatrix, like Visual Studio, is smart enough to only push the changed bits back to the cloud, optimizing the upload performance and getting your changes up and running as fast as possible.
  • Publish your Database
    Your application have a database with it? No problem! In addition to your published code, WebMatrix can also publish the scheme or database with your application

Congrats to the guys on the WebMatrix team! WebMatrix does more, of course, than just support Windows Azure applications, but you can learn more about that on the Web Matrix website as well as the new release announcement.

Azure, Cloud, Development, Windows 8

New Azure Stuff – WAMS and WATK

Hey – I’ve been travelling and presenting this week, so the Azure team decided it would be a good time to make a bunch of udpates!

Here’s a quick overview of what’s new, and where you can find more information:

Windows Azure Mobile Services

Windows Azure Mobile Services is a fantastic new feature added to the Windows Azure pantheon of services to provide an easy way to integrate a Windows Azure backend to new or existing Windows 8 clients.  Using the WAMS SDK, a developer can easily create a Windows 8 application that incorporates a Windows Azure SQL Database backend, WPNS and integrated Authentication & Authorization in a matter of a few minutes. The WAMS SDK comes with an upgrade to the Windows Azure Portal allowing the developer to configure the WAMS application’s Azure resources including SQL Database, Push and Authn/AuthZ API keys. Really simple to use and abstracts away all the complexities of connecting to a SQL Database instance from a Win8 app.  Definitely check this out!

  • Log into your Windows Azure account at
  • Click on the “Preview Features” tab on the secondary navigation, just below the main nagvigation
  • Scroll down until you see the Mobile Services section and click “Sign Up”.

Activation doesn’t usually take too long, so you should be up and running in no time!  Once you’re activated, step through the WAMS tutorial on the Windows Azure website to get a full view of everything WAMS provides. This is going to be a big help to you Windows 8 developers out there, so get cracking!

Windows Azure Training Kit

A new version of the Windows Azure Training Kit dropped on Wednesday of last week.  The new kit is represented as the August 2012 Refresh, and contains some important updates including

  • Added the Windows Azure Device + Services 1-day event agenda
  • Added the Windows Azure ITProCamp 1-day event agenda
  • Added 2 presentations designed for Windows Azure Mobile Services
  • Added 15 Demos with Demo Scripts for content delivery

You can download the installer, or visit their project on GitHub to get just the pieces you want.


Azure, Cloud, Development, Events, Oklahoma, TechFest, Tulsa

Tulsa TechFest 2012

The conference season is really heating up!  I’ve just submitted a few sessions to Tulsa TechFest 2012 – so mark your calendars and sign up today!

When:  Friday, Oct 12, 2012
Where:OSU Tulsa Campus
How Much: $2 bucks, or 2 cans of food (donated to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma)

David and company put on a great event every year – it’s got to be at least 8 years old now, and going as strong as ever! Make sure you sign up today, and tell all your friends about it!

Be sure to follow Tulsa TechFest on all the major networks:

Twitter Facebook LinkedIn


Azure, Cloud, Development

Azure in the Blogosphere

Here is a great list of (mostly) new Azure resources to share.

  1. How to use CakePHP on Windows Azure Web Sites
  2. Windows Azure Web Sites Modern Application Sample – Cloud Survey
  3. The MyPictures Sample
  4. Using PEAR with Windows Azure Websites and PHP
  5. Task Scheduling with Windows Azure Web Sites using a Cron Job Service
  6. Cory Fowler Joins Webcamps TV and Introduces the Node. js CLI Tools
  7. Running Nancy on Windows Azure Web Sites
  8. Accessing App Settings Configured in Windows Azure Web Sites using PHP and Node.js
  9. Windows 8 Notifications – Leveraging Azure Storage

This should have been posted last week, but got lost in my drafts folder during all the chaos with my eye surgery.

If you have some awesome Azure content, and are interested in getting some help getting it syndicated (and it’s really, really awesome) let me know and we can chat about options.

Azure, Cloud, Development, DevLink, Events

Azure Bootcamp at DevLink!

Aug 28, 2012 at the Chattanooga Convention Center in Chattanooga, TN

Windows Azure Bootcamp at DevLink 2012!

To the Cloud!

Spend a day with your head in the cloud as you learn how to build web applications that run in Windows Azure. We will show you how to sign up for FREE time in the cloud, and how to build a typical web application using the same ASP.NET tools and techniques you already use today. We will explore web roles, cloud storage, SQL Azure, and common scenarios. We will save time for open Q&A and some hands-on activities.

Since this  will be a hands-on event you will need to bring with you a laptop pre-configured with the required tools and SDKs. We will have help onsite to get the right bits installed as well if you run into trouble. Lunch and prizes will also be provided.

Session Requirements

  • A computer or laptop running at least Windows Vista SP2 or later (XP is NOT supported, Windows 7 or Windows 8 RP is recommended)
  • Sign up for a FREE Windows Azure Trial Account at
  • One click install of Windows Azure SDK and required software using Web Platform Installer via
  • The sample code and lab manuals can be found at To reduce paper consumption and save a few trees, no printed versions will be made available at the event.

Consider bringing your own power strip too, just in case 🙂

Check-in begins at 8:00, the event starts promptly at 9:00.  If you have any questions, please reach out to Chris Koenig ( as he is hosting the event and will be able to answer your question promptly.