Windows Azure sessions from the BUILD conference

Although the BUILD conference was primarily about Windows 8, there was still a lot of great sessions on Windows Azure. Now… how do we collectively find the time to watch them 🙂


Windows 8 and Windows Azure





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Hello Windows 8… wow!

My Lenovo W520 (nice machine by the way) now has the Windows 8 Developer Preview running on it.

After 30mins of use can I just say … wow!


A 4.8 GB Download and setting up boot from VHD got me:

  • 64-bit Windows Developer Preview
  • Windows SDK for Metro style apps
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Express for Windows Developer Preview
  • Microsoft Expression Blend 5 Developer Preview
  • 28 Metro style apps including the BUILD Conference app

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Silverlight 5 RC with a touch of Mike Taulty

The release candidate for Silverlight 5 is now available for download over on the Silverlight.NET site.  Check out the new features and then head over to where you will find:

And thanks to my old bud Mike Taulty we now have some more details on the back of his busy weekend of blogging!

  • Silverlight 5 RC–Low Latency Sound Effects

    Back on the Silverlight 5 beta, I ported an old Expression Blend sample to use the new XNA low latency sound effect classes in SL5 ( post is here ). I thought I’d take a look at it under the Silverlight 5 RC – the only changed that I had to make was (it seems…

  • Silverlight 5 RC–TrickPlay and Media Remote Controls

    At the time of the Silverlight 5 beta, I’d put together a simple demo around some of the new media capabilities (not all of them as I’ve never been too hot on the DRM stuff) in Silverlight 5. This demo involved playing the trailer from the then new X-Men movie…

  • Silverlight 5 RC–MarkupExtensions and DataContextChanged

    When the Silverlight 5 beta shipped, one of the things that I wrote about was trying to use a markup extension in order to link between something like a Click event on a Button and a method to be invoked on the ViewModel rather than on the view. And so if I…

  • Silverlight 5 RC–Platform Invocation

    One of the big features of Silverlight 5 for me is platform invocation. If you’ve been around .NET for a while then you’ll know that this has (since day 1) represented the “get out of jail free card” because it allows .NET code to call into pretty much any…

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Universal ASP.NET Providers??? Getting SQL Azure to handle your Session State

While pulling together this post on the August release of the Windows Azure Tools I noted that the ASP.NET MVC 3 template included “the new universal ASP.Net providers that support SQL Azure”. Which made me pause and think … “What universal ASP.NET Providers?”

Looks like their existence completely passed me by 🙂

Scott Hanselman summarised the purpose of the Universal Providers back in June. Simply put they extend Session, Membership, Roles and Profile support to include SQL Compact Edition and SQL Azure. In all other ways they work like the existing SQL-based providers. They are released via a NuGet Package (something else I need to dig into more).

What this means is we now have a supported way of doing session state with SQL Azure, rather than via workarounds (e.g. this one from Wayne)

By default, the NuGet package sets the connection string to use a SQL Server Express database:



Initial Catalog=aspnet;

Integrated Security=True;

User Instance=True;



For SQL Azure you simply change to:

“data source=myDNSName;

Initial Catalog=myDatabase;

User ID=myUserName;






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Back to the future with HTML, JavaScript and CSS – amazon take my money now…

Back in 1996 I joined Microsoft to primarily work on SQL Server. By 1997 I was heavily involved in the “Browser wars” – and spent a lot of time exploring and talking on IE, HTML, DHTML (yey!), VBScript (cough!), JScript (cough) and good old IIS.

After many years away from the web UX technologies a return to my “UX” roots is needed, welcome and timely (Hint Build conference this month).

Hence I started skimming through my bookshelf of HTML and JavaScript books – and suddenly realised I had nothing published post 2000!

Off to Amazon I went. The following are now on the way. Note I slipped in a book by the awesome Neil on Azure Smile

Should see me through the Winter months Smile

HTML5 and CSS3: Develop with Tomorrow’s Standards Today (Pragmatic Programmers) – Brian P. Hogan;

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide (Definitive Guides) – David Flanagan;

CSS Pocket Reference (Pocket Reference (O’Reilly)) – Eric A. Meyer;

jQuery Pocket Reference – David Flanagan;

Microsoft Windows Azure Development Cookbook – Neil Mackenzie;

Download IE10 Platform Preview 2

Internet Explorer 10 was voted highly in a small survey last week of UK ISVs looking at the significance of new Microsoft technologies to their own product roadmaps. Hence it is a timely to point out that last week we released IE10 Platform Preview 2 which is is now available for download at

There are plenty of new demos to look at but I also recommend you check out:

Channel 9 Videos:

ASP.NET MVC 3 Preview 1 has landed

Quick Link: download ASP.NET MVC Preview 1

It is a an exciting time to be a web developer. There are lots of new technologies from Microsoft coming out for the browser (IE9 changes everything), in the area of tooling (the brand new WebMatrix) and for the server – with ASP.NET MVC 3 Preview 1 released today (27th July 2010).

Download and install side by side with MVC 2

If you have Visual Studio 2010 (The FREE Web Developer edition is fine) then you can safely download ASP.NET MVC Preview 1 (download + install takes a few minutes). ASP.NET MVC 3 is designed to be installed side-by-side with ASP.NET MVC 2 which means you can install today’s Preview 1 release on your machine without it impacting existing MVC 2 projects.  Once installed you will have a new set of ASP.NET MVC 3 project templates show up within Visual Studio 2010’s “New Project” dialog.


MVC 3 Preview 1 includes:

  • View improvements: Select a view engine, new view engine “Razor”
  • Controller Improvements: Global filters for “cross cutting” logic, new ways to pass data to views, new ActionResult types
  • JavaScript and AJAX improvements: built-in JSON binding and more
  • Model Validation improvements: .NET 4 DataAnnotations and more
  • Dependency Injection improvements: Making it easier to do DI/IOC work to simplify testing of controllers

Once you have played, please give feedback

Preview 1 is about getting feedback. Post your feedback and any bugs/issues you find to the ASP.NET MVC forum at Thank you.

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P.S. Oddly, I only just received my copy of the excellent Pro ASP.NET MVC 2 by Steven Sanderson last week. It arrived before I had got round to finishing the first edition on ASP.NET MVC 1. MVC 3 Preview 1 arrived before I had read 20 pages of the second edition. I need to speed up 🙂

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

Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.


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>:


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


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