Moving the largest Greek bookstore to the cloud
09 Μαρτίου 13 11:02 πμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
t’s been a while since my last post and that’s because we were in the Read more
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Windows 8 application Design Templates
18 Ιανουαρίου 13 02:00 πμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
Good news to all developers working on windows 8 applications!! There are 50 “Store Ready” Read more
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MVVM in Windows 8 apps
13 Ιανουαρίου 13 05:01 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
Having implemented Meteo and Zougla apps for windows 8 using MVVM Light I found that Read more
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Countries list in many languages and formats
27 Δεκεμβρίου 12 01:17 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
t’s always a drag having to create country lists for your web sites. Thanks to WebResources.com though Read more
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Windows Azure Update
22 Δεκεμβρίου 12 12:59 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
arlier today the Windows Azure team released a number of improvements to Windows Azure.  These Read more
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Migrating workloads to the cloud
19 Δεκεμβρίου 12 05:07 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
esterday I had the opportunity to do a live meeting on how to migrate workloads Read more
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Windows 8 applications released
05 Δεκεμβρίου 12 05:17 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
’ve been working with windows 8 and Metro style apps since Microsoft released Its first Read more
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Theme update
01 Δεκεμβρίου 12 01:17 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
ack in August when I migrated my blog to Windows Azure Websites and WordPress, I Read more
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Storyboarding can save you time
17 Οκτωβρίου 12 03:03 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
It is human nature to jump right into a project without spending the necessary preparation time to ensure success. They say that 80% of the effort painting a room is preparation (laying the tarps, cleaning the walls, taping the trim, etc.). This is also the case when developing applications. If you don’t properly storyboard the [...]
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Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 is here customize it to your needs
08 Σεπτεμβρίου 12 08:46 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
With the virtual launch of Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 coming up in a few days at September 12, 2012 9:30 AM PDT (UTC -8:00) online and although there are a bunch of awesome new features tools, frameworks and APIs in it, there are still a lot of people who find it really hard to adjust [...]
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Subtext to WordPress on Windows Azure Web Sites migration
31 Αυγούστου 12 05:34 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
As you may have noticed by now I’ve changed my blog engine from subtext to wordpress. I’ve been using subtext as my blogging engine since I’ve started blogging and have been very happy with it. The reasons that led me into moving were firstly the fact that I wanted to move to a modern platform [...]
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jVectorMap
06 Αυγούστου 12 12:21 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
Before HTML5 when it came to creating rich interactive maps where one could hover or click any region and see details about them, Flash was the right tool for the job. Right now, though, it is much easier to create maps with JavaScript and, thanks to JS frameworks, it even gets much simpler and jVectorMap [...]
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Privacy Policy Generator
23 Ιουλίου 12 12:25 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
For those of you that built Windows 8 applications one thing you’ll find out (probably the hard way as I did) is that you’ll need a Privacy Policy in order to publish your app to the Windows 8 app store. So if you don’t currently have those legal documents Termsfeed will come very handy as [...]
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Icons for metro UIs
23 Ιουλίου 12 11:54 πμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
If you’re into metro development (windows phone or Windows 8) I’m sure you’ll appreciate another set of cool mono-colored very simplistic yet beautiful icons. iconmonstr offers a set which includes over 600 items with multiple variations for almost each element. Icons are mostly focused for web apps as most of them are actions, charts, badges [...]
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Fast Multidimensional Filtering for Coordinated Views
16 Ιουλίου 12 04:25 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
Crossfilter is a JavaScript library for exploring large multivariate datasets in the browser. Crossfilter supports extremely fast (<30ms) interaction with coordinated views, even with datasets containing a million or more records; Since most interactions only involve a single dimension, and then only small adjustments are made to the filter values, incremental filtering and reducing is [...]
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Welcome to a more beautiful web
10 Ιουλίου 12 01:43 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
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TechEd 2012 wrap up
09 Ιουλίου 12 12:07 πμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
Last week I attended TechEd Europe 2012 held in Amsterdam. This was my 6th TechEd but my first time in Amsterdam and the experience was, as always, great. Although there weren’t any announcements (the announcements were made earlier this month) most of the content presented had something new to teach, a small surprise for every [...]
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Events Content
04 Ιουλίου 12 12:33 πμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
A couple of weeks back I had the chance to speak at a Microsoft Dev Day event about all the cool new features announced for windows azure June release and especially those that had to do with IaaS. The room was packed and everyone seemed very interested on these long awaited new features. I had [...]
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Meet Windows Azure
16 Μαΐου 12 04:58 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   

Yesterday I had the chance to speak about windows azure at a Microsoft Azure camp event. People seemed very exited and stayed till late in the evening asking questions, writing code and publishing services to the cloud. Attendees also showed great anticipation for the spring release, and the future of the platform. So when I saw the announcement of the Meet Windows Azure online event this morning I thought “…damn missed that for a day, I could have let everyone know yesterday about the release date” Smile

Anyway this is something that you should not loose, register now and find out what’s the future of Microsoft’s cloud platform.

image

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Bring your data to any app, any platform, any device
05 Μαΐου 12 10:55 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   

Five years ago my primary hard disk failed taking some of my precious data like family pictures, videos, personal files and code away for ever. I was able to recover some but had to pay a hefty fee to the service guys. After the “melt down incident” I’ve decided to keep triplicates of my data to 2 more disks to avoid this from ever happening again. Setting this up though was quite a pain since I use a laptop and I’m constantly on the move, so I had to remember to sync everything the minute I got home to avoid losing anything.

From time to time I considered moving my data to the cloud to avoid all the hassle and worries of syncing the data but to also be able to access those from where ever I was. There were a couple of services I’ve looked at but two things were keeping me from going through with this, the price, and the trust (not that someone would steal my data – who would care about my children photos after all, but what happens if the company is sold, closes, its hardware fails and so on).

Microsoft’s SkyDrive would have been the perfect solution for my problems, it was free (now it’s very cheap - free for 25GB and 100$/year for 125GB) and I could trust Microsoft with my data, but it didn’t have a desktop client that would automatically sync those to the cloud, well… that is till last week. Last week Microsoft released preview versions of SkyDrive for Windows and Mac, along with updates for iOS and Windows Phone. With SkyDrive on my desktop, I can now store and access files in the cloud right from any of my PCs or anywhere in the world and not worry of loosing anything.

But that’s not all, what’s most important is that together with the release of SkyDrive desktop app Microsoft released a set of REST based APIs - the next version of the Live Connect APIs and the newly created Live SDK that can be consumed by any platform and device bringing my data to all my devices Desktop, Windows 8 Tablet and Windows Mobile Phone 7.

0654_User_Content_Model_thumb_05057890

Here is a sample HTTP request to retrieve a list of a user’s entire set of folders in SkyDrive:

GET https://apis.live.net/V5.0/me/skydrive/files?access_token=ACCESS_TOKEN 
HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: Fiddler
Host: apis.live.net 

The above request returns the following JSON result set for my SkyDrive account: 

{"data": 
 [{
    "id": "folder.616444ee7a34f417.616444EE7A34F417!12045",
    "from":{"name": "Dare Obasanjo",
    "id": "616444ee7a34f417"},
    "name": "Wave 4 Feedback",
    "description": null,
    "parent_id": "folder.616444ee7a34f417",
    "upload_location": "https://apis.live.net/v5.0/folder.616444ee7a34f417.616444EE7A34F417!12045/files/",
    "count": 14,
    "link": "https://skydrive-df.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=616444ee7a34f417&page=view&resid=616444EE7A34F417!12045&parid=616444EE7A34F417!1967",
    "type": "album",
    "shared_with":
    {
       "access": "Everyone (public)"
    },
    "created_time": "2010-07-14T13:28:48+0000",
    "updated_time": "2011-07-18T03:40:07+0000"
 }
]} 

Uploading files is similarly straightforward. Applications can use either HTTP PUT or POST requests to upload documents, photos or videos to SkyDrive at the folder’s upload location. It should be noted that not all file formats are supported for upload to SkyDrive.

Below is an example of uploading a text file using HTTP PUT:

PUT https://apis.live.net/v5.0/me/skydrive/files/HelloWorld.txt?access_token=ACCESS_TOKEN 
Hello, World! 

and here’s what the same upload looks like using HTTP POST:

POST https://apis.live.net/v5.0/me/skydrive/files?access_token=ACCESS_TOKEN 
Content-Type: multipart/form-data; 
boundary=A300x
--A300x
Content-Disposition: form-data; 
name="file"; 
filename="HelloWorld.txt"
Content-Type: application/octet-stream 
Hello, World!
--A300x--

These are just a few examples of how easy it is to interact with SkyDrive using nothing but regular HTTP. Other operations such as editing, copying or sharing files are similarly straightforward. For an easy way to try the Live Connect REST API for yourself, visit the interactive SDK.

So what do you think, ready to write your application using SkyDrive as the storage engine?

Cloud Ninja Multi-Tenant Metering Block (CNMB)
02 Μαΐου 12 02:30 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   

One of the challenges any company faces when developing multi tenant applications based on Windows Azure is how much will the tenant be charged for the services offered. The problem is more apparent in cases where the customer is not charged with a fixed monthly rate but according to the service usage (pay as you go model). Till today one had to manually track and monitor service consumption in order to be able to establish each tenant cost and adjust the billing accordingly.

meteringToday though the Azure ISV team in DPE announced public availability of Cloud Ninja Multi-Tenant Metering Block (CNMB).  CNMB enables SaaS ISVs to meter tenant-level consumption of various Windows Azure resources such as bandwidth, storage, SQL Azure, and compute.  CNMB provides tenant-level meters, application level aggregates, rich query model based on OData, extensibility to implement customer meters.  It comes with out-of-box meter providers for bandwidth, storage, SQL Azure, and compute.  In future CNMB will add providers for Tomcat and CDN.  Also it is very easy to write custom provider if ISV wants to meter application specific resources.  CNMB includes an HTML5 portal to visualize tenant and app level usage.  But all data can be queried using OData API, which enables interesting mash-ups in PowerPivot and integration with external systems like billing. 

mettering2You can try Live Demo here and download full source code from CodePlex.  The live demo is currently metering our Cloud Ninja application.  When you try the demo, check out links on home page to app-level, tenant-level usage, PowerPivot dashboard, and OData feed.

CNMB is:
1.    Easy to Use: CNMB works with existing multi-tenant SaaS application in a non-intrusive manner.  It needs simple configuration to point to SaaS application’s storage account and SQL Azure database and simple regular expressions to associate tenants with resource consumption. 
2.    Economical:  CNMB can be deployed in a single web role, which hosts UI, Web Services, and metering workers.  Data schema is optimized so that 1GB SQL Azure database can hold an entire year’s worth data for thousands of tenants.
3.    Standards Based: All data in and out is via authenticated OData API.  OData allows rich query model on top of meter data.  We support both JSON and Atom payloads.  This enables 3rd party apps like PowerPivot and external systems like billing to consume meter data through industry standard API.
4.    Extensible: CNMB has multiple levels of extension points from writing your own tenant resolver, defining customer meters, and developing customer meter providers.

Another great tool added in our arsenal to help us maximize our cloud usage benefits by adopting the Multi-Tenant model for our applications.

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Windows Azure Media Services announced
16 Απριλίου 12 06:37 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   

Today I’m really excited as Microsoft announced Windows Azure Media Services, a new collection of PaaS services coming soon to Windows Azure.  Windows Azure Media Services simplifies the creation, management, and delivery of media to almost any device including Microsoft Xbox, Windows Phone handsets and Windows PCs, as well as non-Microsoft platforms such as smart TVs, set-top boxes, MacOS, iOS, and Android.  Content providers and media partners can take advantage of the cost benefits and cloud capacity found with Windows Azure, and provide customers massive amounts of digital media in the variety of formats they require, when they require it.  Windows Azure Media Services’ ready-to-use services allow customers to simplify the creation of complex media workflows built on the Microsoft Media Platform and third-party technologies.

For additional details on today’s announcement, please take a look at the following resources:

Can’t wait to get my hands on this and start testing.

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Patterns &amp; Practices Symposium
19 Μαρτίου 12 05:34 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   

Windows-Live-Writer_Join-us-online-on-April-24-for-the-patte_EEC6_image_7

Microsoft patterns & practices symposiums are held regularly in the U.S. and abroad, with top speakers on current topics. Most of the speakers are from Microsoft patterns & practices (p&p) team. The event is aimed primarily at software architects, developers, and technical managers. Patterns & practices develops applied engineering guidelines to help software developers and architects build great solutions on the Microsoft platform.
The April 24th online p&p symposium program 2012 will include keynote sessions and technical sessions focusing on building scalable applications in Azure, mobile development, node.js, CQRS, .NET Gadgeteer and a general overview of p&p roadmap.*

Planned Schedule: *

schedule

All sessions will be streamed live, but we will also record them all for those unable to attend the event.

* Currently planned and approved sessions. Topics and times subject to change. All times pacific.

Twitter hashtag #pnpsym

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Patterns & Practices Symposium
19 Μαρτίου 12 05:34 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   
Microsoft patterns & practices symposiums are held regularly in the U.S. and abroad, with top speakers on current topics. Most of the speakers are from Microsoft patterns & practices (p&p) team. The event is aimed primarily at software architects, developers, and technical managers. Patterns & practices develops applied engineering guidelines to help software developers and [...]
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WM7.5 Hackathon
19 Φεβρουαρίου 12 11:32 μμ | spantos | 0 σχόλια   

image

This weekend I had a chance to participate in the first Athens Windows Mobile 7.5 Hackathon. This was the first time Microsoft hosted an event that aimed in helping and encouraging developers in building actual applications and I have to say that I was really impressed with the participation and outcome.

I’m guessing that more than 150 developers patiently attended the whole two days event, listened to 20 mini tutorial style sessions and finally 32 of them came up with very interesting ideas and application for the windows mobile platform, although some of my favorite applications didn’t make the top 6 (I guess my criteria are different from the judging committee one’s Smile).

If you didn’t make it, you can catch a glimpse of what happened from the following image gallery.

I was assigned three slots where I presented

  • Application Bar & System tray
  • Isolated Storage
  • Launchers and Choosers
  • Live Tiles & Push notifications

You can find the slide decks as well as the demo code I used here:

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