Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 3 is here – with hardware accelerated canvas support and plenty more


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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A couple of weeks back I was at Web Directions manning a stand showing off Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview 2 (check out a post I did at the time including videos to watch on IE9 development).

The developers and designers present were in general impressed with the progress we were making with IE9. Way faster than IE8, far better standards support, focus on being great at HTML5 etc. IE9 is big news. Seriously big news. Its existence (once finally released) will significantly change how developers will build rich UX for the web, especially the web “outside the firewall”.  However Platform Preview 2 still was missing several key features which prevented a number of sites we tried out during the two days at the conference from rendering/working correctly – and just about everyone asked “will we implement canvas?”

The good news is yesterday we released Platform Preview 3 which adds a bunch of those features along with some great demos to show them off. You can install Preview 3 now alongside IE7/8 and check out the demos yourself. They are very impressive – my personal favourite being 250 gpu accelerated fish at near 60fps using <canvas>:

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But others such as Amazon Book Shelf come a close second:

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Related Links:

Q&A: Where can I get architectural guidance on building applications for the Windows Azure Platform?


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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This question has come up a lot in recent weeks as early adopters move from prototyping with the platform to actually needing to deliver real applications.

Whilst fundamentally you are using the same approaches and best practices for the Windows Azure Platform as you would use for a Web application or service (A good IIS7/ASP.NET based architecture is likely a good Windows Azure Platform architecture), there is still plenty of differences which impact on architecture.

Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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6 Weeks of Windows Azure comes to and end – and some stats to ponder on


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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On Monday (21st June) we had our last Live Meeting for the 6 weeks of Windows Azure training virtual training we have been running out of Microsoft UK. Monday pretty much hit the mark of what we were after for the final day – good technical content mixed with a fair old sprinkling of fun. As a reminder, Adrian lost 3-1 in the “Students vs the SME” homework battle. Admittedly I was determine to make sure Adrian lost :-)

This may sound a little corny, but I did want to thank all those who took part during the 6 weeks – attendees and mentors – to make this pilot a great success. Plus a special thanks to my partner in crime, David Gristwood, who shared the load 50:50 throughout and as always, is a pleasure to work with and Adrian Jakeman for his tech savvy and great sessions he delivered.

But the real stars were “the students”. The dedication they have shown has been awesome – individuals completing homework while on holiday, sending in homework late because of child birth (Congrats!), cramming several weeks of study into a long weekend and even taking annual leave just to complete the training. Amazing stuff.

As I mentioned, this was a pilot. Which means we have been very diligent in collecting lots of feedback and stats to understand behaviour when 500 people sign up to this format.

We plan to look in detail at the feedback and the stats, but I thought folks might be interested in a mid point “pulse” we took 3 weeks in.

And finally, as part of yesterday we also gave away some books. FYI they went out (randomly – ish) to:

  • Paul Hadfield
  • Bhaarath Balraj
  • Trevor Fawcett 
  • Mahesh Devjibhai Dhola
  • Gavin Meiklejohn
  • Brian Watson

First 3 weeks “pulse”

We had 500 people registered for the training with an option to attend a weekly Live Meeting or watch the recording. Each week a new study guide was released and each week the students submitted homework.

Engagement – did the 500 actually do something :-)

Live Meeting attendees

  • Week 1 130
  • Week 2 63
  • Week 3 45

Live Meeting On Demand Viewings/Downloads

  • Week 1 191, 162, 173 (We published as 3 separate LMs)
  • Week 2 276
  • Week 3 143

Guide Downloads

  • Week 0 270 (Overview)
  • Week 1 676
  • Week 2 404
  • Week 3 234

Meeting Notes downloads

  • Week 1 200
  • Week 3 98
  • Week 3 108

Homework answers downloads

  • Week 1 141

Useful – did folks learn stuff?

A consistent poll we did on the LMs throughout the course was “Would you recommend this course to a colleague?”. I love this question above all others – “recommend” is just a powerful word.

I am pleased (TBH amazed) that every week 100% voted “yes” to this question. Wow. Thanks all!

Locations – did we help UK developers?

This was intended primarily for UK developers but we didn’t turn away folks from elsewhere.

  • Week 1 Guide – 66% of downloads from UK
  • Week 2 Guide – 70% of downloads from UK

Misc

Browsers and OS usage:

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Inaugural Financial Services Microsoft Architects/Senior Developer Community meeting, London July 1st


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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A new community has popped onto my radar, created and delivered by James Burns, a top chap I have known for many, many years. The aim of the community is to foster dialogue between Architects and Senior Developers across Financial Services in the UK. The format of the first event is a mix of short high level presentations on hot topics that we hear across Financial Services and networking with a few drinks and canapés. It is free to attend for all Architects and Senior Developers. If you wish to attend please email James.Burns@microsoft.com. IMHO, worth a punt, if only for the free canapés and a change to network.

Time 6pm-8pm
Date Thursday 1st July

Location SQS UK,7 – 11 Moorgate, London EC2R 6AF (MAP)

Agenda

Welcome

The Microsoft Application Platform         20 Minutes      Jim Burns

  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • AppFabric
  • SharePoint 2010
  • SQL Server 2008 R2

The .Net Framework                                      20 Minutes      Simon Thurman

  • What is the .Net Framework?

Microsoft Development Tools                    20 Minutes      Richard Erwin

  • Visual Studio 2010
  • Languages
  • Application Lifecycle Management

Discussion on topics for the next event

The future is looking brighter – debugging Windows Azure in the cloud with IntelliTrace


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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One of the “warts” on Windows Azure development has been that once your application was deployed to the cloud, if things went wrong it was pretty tough to figure out the root problem. I knew for sometime we had a solution coming for Visual Studio 2010 users and I couldn’t wait to tell folks about it once it became public. I planned to do a detailed post subsequent to briefly mentioning it when I talked about the 1.2 SDK release. However … other stuff just keeps on getting in the way.

Hence I have decided to point at Somas blog post on just that. Enjoy.

Check out Peering into the cloud with IntelliTrace 

NB: You will need the Ultimate Edition of Visual Studio 2010 to use this feature. Sorry.

WordPress is now nicely supported on SQL Server (and SQL Azure for that matter)


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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WordPress is enormously popular for blogs and full websites thanks to an awesome eco system which has built up around it, the simplicity (relatively) of getting it up and running plus the flexibility to “bend it” in all sorts of directions. When I say bend, check out the following which are all WordPress sites

WordPress users typically run their sites on Linux and MySQL, although PHP (the language in which WordPress is written) can be happily run on Windows. Both fine technologies in their own right, but for me (and probably a fair few others) I would love to use WordPress but with the technologies I know best (aka Windows, IIS and SQL Server). However, that has proven to be actually rather tricky in practice to get working – until now.

Earlier last month OmniTI released a patch for WordPress which provides SQL Server and SQL Azure support.  In parallel with that some fine folks inside Microsoft have also created http://wordpress.visitmix.com which contains information about running WordPress on the Microsoft platform with a particular focus on SQL Server and SQL Azure.  Top stuff!

To run WordPress with SQL Server:

And then you will quite likely need to migrate:

Enjoy

Related Links

If PHP is not your thing, then the following Blog engines are .NET based

New SQL Azure Development Accelerator Core promotional offer announced


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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This is (almost) a straight copy and paste but represents an important announcement worthy of a little more “exposure” :-)

Starting August 1, 2010, we will release a new SQL Azure Development Accelerator Core promotional offer.  This new offer will give you the flexibility to purchase commitment quantities of SQL Azure Business Edition databases independent of other Windows Azure platform services at a deeply discounted monthly price.  The offer is valid only for a six month term.  You may purchase in 10 GB increments the amount of our Business Edition relational database that you require (each Business Edition database is capable of storing up to 50 GB). 

The offer price will be $74.95 per 10 GB per month.  This promotional offer represents 25% off of our normal consumption rates.  Monthly Business Edition relational database usage exceeding the purchased commitment amount and usage for other Windows Azure platform services for this offer will be charged at our normal consumption rates. 

Please click here for full details of our new SQL Azure Development Accelerator Core offer. 

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Details of 5GB and 50GB SQL Azure databases have now been released, along with new price points


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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Like many others signed up to the Windows Azure Platform, I received an email overnight detailing the upcoming database size changes for SQL Azure. I know from our work with early adopters over the last 12 months that the 1GB and 10GB limits were sometimes seen as blockers, especially when migrating existing application to SQL Azure.

On June 28th 2010, we will be increasing the size limits:

  • SQL Azure Web Edition database from 1 GB to 5 GB
  • SQL Azure Business Edition database will go from 10 GB to 50 GB

Along with these changes comes new price points, including the option to increase in increments of 10GB:

  • Web Edition:

    • Up to 1 GB relational database = $9.99 / month
    • Up to 5 GB relational database = $49.95 / month
  • Business Edition:
    • Up to 10 GB relational database = $99.99 / month
    • Up to 20 GB relational database = $199.98 / month
    • Up to 30 GB relational database = $299.97 / month
    • Up to 40 GB relational database = $399.96 / month
    • Up to 50 GB relational database = $499.95 / month

Check out the full SQL Azure pricing.

Related Links:

I’m speaking at Software Architect 2010 in October


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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I’m very pleased to report I have managed to slip past the quality police and get to speak for the third year in a row at the excellent Software Architect conference in London. Which makes it the only “long running” conference that I have a 100% record on speaking at year on year which gives it an extra special significance. How much longer before I am found out :)

This conference attracts some great speakers including the likes of Kevlin Henney, Neal Ford and Tim Ewald (oh – and me). If you are a software/solution architect then I would definitely recommend you check out whether the sessions this year are something that would help you grow and make great technology/architecture choices in your organisation.

I am delivering a brand new session – which means I need to create it :-)

10 things every architect needs to know about Windows Azure
In this session we will look at the 10 most architecturally significant features of the Windows Azure platform which directly impact how you architect solutions if you plan to deploy in the Cloud.

Maybe see you there…

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Internet Explorer 9 Preview 2 link + webcasts for developers


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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At Web Directions last week in London (10th and 11th June 2010) I promised several folks I would put up a blog post to more information on IE 9. True to my word (albeit a little later than I had hoped), here is what I was thinking of:

Install

First up, Install Preview 2 and try out the demos I was showing at the conference. Remember that IE9 Preview installs side by side with IE8/7 etc. It is not a beta nor is it intended to be a full browser. It is a … preview :-)

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Including good old SVG-oids :-)

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Learn

And then check out the following webcasts which were recorded in March this year at MIX:

In-Depth Look At Internet Explorer 9

High Performance Best Practices For Web Sites

HTML5: Cross Browser Best Practices

Internet Explorer Developer Tools

SVG: The Past, Present And Future of Vector Graphics For The Web

Day 2 Keynote containing IE9