Q&A: Can you develop for the Windows Azure Platform using Windows XP?

Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.


This question has come up several times recently as we take several hundred UK developers through 6 Weeks of Windows Azure training (sorry – we are full).

Short answer: In the main, yes

Longer answer:

The question is sparked by the requirements as stated on the Windows Azure SDK download page.


Supported Operating Systems: Windows 7; Windows Vista; Windows Vista 64-bit Editions Service Pack 1; Windows Vista Business; Windows Vista Business 64-bit edition; Windows Vista Enterprise; Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit edition; Windows Vista Home Premium; Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit edition; Windows Vista Service Pack 1; Windows Vista Service Pack 2; Windows Vista Ultimate; Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit edition

Notice there is no mention of Windows XP. However things are not quite that simple.

The Windows Azure Platform consists of three released technologies

  • Windows Azure
  • SQL Azure
  • Windows Azure platform AppFabric

The Windows Azure SDK is only for one of the three technologies, Windows Azure. What about SQL Azure and AppFabric? Well it turns out that you can develop for both of these technologies just fine with Windows XP:

  • SQL Azure development is really just SQL Server development with a few gotchas – and for local development you can simply use SQL Server 2008 R2 Express (other versions will also work).
  • AppFabric also has no local simulation environment and the SDK will install fine on Windows XP (SDK download)

Actually it is also possible to do Windows Azure development on Windows XP if you are willing to always work directly against the real Azure cloud running in Microsoft datacentres. However in practice this would be painful and time consuming, hence why the Windows Azure SDK installs a local simulation environment. Therefore if you want to develop for Windows Azure I would recommend you either upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 or… you use a virtual machine running Windows 7.

If this is a temporary requirement, then you could consider building a virtual machine using the Windows 7 Enterprise 90 day eval. Or you could download a pre-configured VHD – but I can’t quite find the link for a Windows 7 VHD. Pointers welcomed. Thanks.


Great User Group if based near Gloucester + Links from Entity Framework 4.0 session

Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.


I had a really fun evening doing “my final” EF 4.0 session last night (26th May 2010) at GL.NET based out of Gloucester (although secretly I made it into a IronRuby and Windows Azure session).

They are a great crowd and Jimmy makes for a fantastic host + it is a very nice venue (Symantec offices in Gloucester, lots of parking, good room etc) + free pizza + free SWAG + trip to pub afterwards (the topics were very varied!). What more could you ask for?

The next session is June 16th and will be on multi-tenanted ASP.NET MVC and comes highly recommended.

Links from my session:

Conversation with David Chappell on Windows Azure and Cloud Computing

Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.


My colleague David spent some time with David Chappell recently and recorded a short interview which is now available on Channel 9.

Watch now on Channel 9.

They cover off:

  • IaaS vs PaaS
  • Private vs Public Cloud
  • Applications that are not a great fit for Windows Azure and those which are.
  • The threat of Public Cloud to IT departments

Not bad for 10minutes 🙂


Q&A: Does it make sense to run a personal blog on the Windows Azure Platform?

Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.


I keep seeing people wanting to do this (or something very similar) and then being surprised at how much it might cost them if they went with Windows Azure. Time for a Q&A.

Short answer: No, definitely not. Madness, sheer madness. (Hopefully that was clear enough)

Longer answer:

No because It would cost you a heck of a lot more than just about any other approach to running a blog. A site that can easily be run on a shared hosting solution (as many blogs do today) does not require the rich capabilities of Windows Azure. Capabilities such as simplified deployed and management, dedicated resources, elastic resources, “unlimited” storage etc. It is simply not the type of application the Windows Azure Platform has been designed for.

Related Links:

Windows Azure BidNow Sample – definitely worth a look

[Quicklink: download new Windows Azure sample from http://bit.ly/bidnowsample]

On Mondays (17th May) in the  6 Weeks of Windows Azure training (Now full) Live Meeting call, Adrian showed BidNow as a sample application built for Windows Azure.

I was aware of BidNow but had not found the time to take a look at it nor seems it running before. Adrian convinced me it was worth some a further look.


In brief

  • I like it 🙂
  • It is more than Hello World, but still easy enough to follow.
  • Bid Now is an online auction site designed to demonstrate how you can build highly scalable consumer applications using Windows Azure.
  • It is built using Visual Studio 2008, Windows Azure and uses Windows Azure Storage.
  • Auctions are processed using Windows Azure Queues and Worker Roles. Authentication is provided via Live Id.
  • Bid Now works with the Express versions of Visual Studio and above.
  • There are extensive setup instructions for local and cloud deployment

You can download from http://bit.ly/bidnowsample (http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/BidNowSample) and also check out David original blog post.

Related Links

Edd strikes again – IronRuby for Rubyists on InfoQ

Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.


Colleague, friend and generally top guy on IronRuby Edd Morgan has just been published over on InfoQ.

To wet the appetite… a snippet or three.

IronRuby for Rubyists

IronRuby is Microsoft’s implementation of the Ruby language we all know and love with the added bonus of interoperability with the .NET framework — the Iron in the name is actually an acronym for ‘Implementation running on .NET’. It’s supported by the .NET Common Language Runtime as well as, albeit unofficially, the Mono project. You’d be forgiven for harbouring some question in your mind about running a dynamic language such as Ruby atop the CLR – that’s where the DLR (Dynamic Language Runtime) comes in. The DLR is Microsoft’s way of providing dynamic language capability on top of the CLR. Both IronRuby and the DLR are, as part of Microsoft’s commitment to open source software, available as part of the Microsoft Public License on GitHub and CodePlex respectively…


Metaprogramming with IronRuby

The art and science of metaprogramming — especially in Ruby, where it’s an absolute joy — is something that could very easily span an entire article. As you would hope, IronRuby code is fully able to manipulate itself allowing you to bend your classes to your whim just as you would expect with a good dynamic language…


Riding the irails?

So let’s get to the point. I think it’s a solid bet to make that a large proportion of Ruby programmers are familiar with the Rails framework – perhaps it’s even safe to assume that most were first led to the Ruby language by the siren song of the Rails framework itself.

Long story short, IronRuby is compatible enough to run your Rails app…

Now… get yourself over to the full article and also check out some of Edds other work below.

Related Links: