Microsoft releases Visual Studio LightSwitch: a fascinating product with an uncertain future

Microsoft has released Visual Studio LightSwitch, a rapid application builder for data-centric applications.

LightSwitch builds Silverlight applications, which may seem strange bearing in mind that the future of Silverlight has been hotly debated since its lack of emphasis at the 2010 Professional Developers Conference. The explanation is either that Silverlight – or some close

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The frustration of developing for Facebook with C#

I am researching a piece on developing for Facebook with Microsoft Azure, and of course the first thing I did was to try it out.

It is not easy. The first problem is that Facebook does not care about C#. There are four SDKs on offer: JavaScript, Apple iOS, Google Android, and PHP. This has

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Microsoft Office 365: the detail and the developer story

I attended the UK launch of Office 365 yesterday and found it a puzzling affair. The company chose to focus on small businesses, and what we got was several examples of customers who had discovered the advantages of storing documents online. We were even shown a live video conference with a jerky, embarrassing webcam stream

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Three questions about Microsoft’s cloud play at TechEd 2011

This year’s Microsoft TechEd is subtitled Cloud Power: Delivered, and sky blue is the theme colour. Microsoft seems to be serious about its cloud play, based on Windows Azure.

Then again, Microsoft is busy redefining its on-premise solutions in terms of cloud as well. A bunch of Windows Servers on virtual machines managed by

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Getting started with VMWare Cloud Foundry

I have been meaning to post about VMWare’s Cloud Foundry, a new cloud platform for Spring Java, Ruby on Rails and Node.js applications. Good, incidentally, to see Node.js getting increasing attention – see my post from December when I heard Ryan Dahl present on the subject. I signed up for Cloud Foundry when it was

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Trying out Remote Desktop to a Microsoft Azure virtual machine

I have been trying out Visual Studio LightSwitch, which has an option to deploy apps to Windows Azure.

Of course I wanted to try this,  and after a certain amount of hassle generating certificates and switching between Visual Studio LightSwitch and the Azure management portal I succeeded.

I doubt I would have made it

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What will it take to get developers to try Windows Azure? Microsoft improves its trial offer

Microsoft has announced an improved introductory trial for Windows Azure. You can now get:

750 hours of an Extra Small Compute Instance 25 hours of a Small Compute Instance 500MB storage 10,000 storage transactions 500MB in / 500MB out data transfer 1G Web Edition SQL Azure database

The offer lasts until the end of June,

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Single sign-on from Active Directory to Windows Azure: big feature, still challenging

Microsoft has posted a white paper setting out what you need to do in order to have users who are signed on to a local Windows domain seamlessly use an Azure-hosted application, without having to sign in again.

I think this is a huge feature. Maintaining a single user directory is more secure and more

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Salesforce.com acquires Heroku, wants your Enterprise apps

The big news today is that Salesforce.com has agreed to acquire Heroku, a company which hosts Ruby applications using an architecture that enables seamless scalability. Heroku apps run on “dynos”, each of which is a single process running Ruby code on the Heroku “grid” – an abstraction which runs on instances of Amazon EC2 virtual

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The Microsoft Azure VM role and why you might not want to use it

I’ve spent the morning talking to Microsoft’s Steve Plank – whose blog you should follow if you have an interest in Azure – about Azure roles and virtual machines, among other things.

Windows Azure applications are deployed to one of three roles, where each role is in fact a Windows Server virtual machine instance. The

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