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Articles we enjoyed

Moving Your Applications to Windows Azure
Lifestyle experts will tell you that moving to a new home is one of the most stressful events people undertake during their lifetime yet, given a choice between that or moving applications to a new platform, many of us would unhesitatingly start packing the china. Thankfully, however, moving your applications to Windows Azure is a breeze. For many years, Microsoft has been building highly scalable applications in datacenters around the world—applications that have global reach and high availability, and offer great functionality to users. Windows Azure allows you to take advantage of the same infrastructure to deploy your own applications, with the corresponding capabilities to reduce your maintenance requirements, maximize performance and minimize costs. Of course, people have been outsourcing their applications to third-party hosting companies for many years. This might be renting rack space or a server in a remote datacenter to install and run their applications, or it might just mean renting space on a Web server and database from a hosting company. In either case, however, the range of features available is usually limited. Typically, there’s no authentication mechanism, message queuing, traffic management, data synchronization or other peripheral services that are a standard part of Windows Azure. It might seem like all of these capabilities make moving applications to Windows Azure fairly complex, but as long as you take the time to consider your requirements and explore the available features, moving to Windows Azure can be a quick and relatively easy process. To help you understand the options and make the correct decisions, the patterns & practices group at Microsoft has recently published an updated version of the Windows Azure migration guide: “Moving Applications to the Cloud on Windows Azure” (

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Migrating ASP.NET Web Forms to the MVC Pattern with the ASP.NET Web API
While ASP.NET MVC tends to get most of the attention these days, ASP.NET Web Forms and its related controls allow developers to generate powerful, interactive UIs in a short period of time—which is why there are so many ASP.NET Web Forms applications around. What ASP.NET Web Forms doesn’t support is implementing the Model-View-Controller (MVC) and Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) patterns, which can enable test-driven development (TDD). The ASP.NET Web API (“Web API” hereafter) provides a way to build or refactor ASP.NET Web Forms applications to the MVC pattern by moving code from the codebehind file to a Web API controller. This process also enables ASP.NET applications to leverage Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX), which can be used to create a more responsive UI and improve an application’s scalability by moving logic into the client and reducing communication with the server. This is possible because the Web API leverages the HTTP protocol and (through coding by convention) automatically takes care of several low-level tasks. The Web API paradigm for ASP.NET that this article proposes is to let ASP.NET generate the initial set of markup sent to the browser but handle all of the user’s interactions through AJAX calls to a standalone, testable controller.

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NFC Tag Fun with Windows Phone 8
Near Field Communications is fun. And sometimes even useful. The idea is that you bring your phone close to an NFC tag which contains an antenna and a tiny chip which can store data. The phone reads the data and does something. You can program an NFC tag to trigger one of a variety of different actions, from opening a web page, running a program to sending an email.

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Chatting up your Windows Phone 8 Apps
Today's Mobile Monday post series by F Avery Bishop takes use to a place where we all hope and dread someday happens, real speech enabled applications. Waving your hands, touching screens, etc is nice and all, but until we can have real conversations with out devices, Star Trek like computers will remain an unfulfilled geek dream. Now I'm not saying this series gets us close to that, but every journey begins with a first step...

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Understanding IntelliTrace Part V: Advanced IntelliTrace Settings
Before we get started I want to be absolutely clear: there is nothing “advanced” about the setting we are going to talk about. The word “advanced” in this case could (and probably should) be replaced with “miscellaneous” or, better yet, “stuff you should always have turned on”. I am, of course, talking about the setting found at Tools | Options | IntelliTrace | Advanced:

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Videos we favorited

Building Web Apps with ASP.NET Jump Start – 8 Hours of FREE Training Videos

Last week Jon Galloway, Damian Edwards and myself (with a raspy throat) were up in Redmond at the Microsoft Campus filming at Microsoft Virtual Academy. They've got a whole studio there so we spent the whole day presenting LIVE. There were several thousand folks watching live and interacting with

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Libraries and Tools to the rescue

Generating Entity Data Model Diagram from EF Code First DbContext

The Entity Framework Code First approach lets the developers to build applications with Domain-Driven Design (DDD) by hand coding your Persistence Ignorance (PI) classes. At the same time, it would be great if we could see the entity model in a visual diagram, which can also ensure that our domain model is accurate and our relationships are designed properly. The Entity Framework Power Tools lets you to view a  read-only view of the Code First model in the Entity Model Designer, from a Code First DbContext class. Read more

JSON Debugger visualizer in Visual Studio 2012

Recently working a lot with JSON data. Needed a debugger visualizer for JSON. Found one at: Copy contents of the visualizer folder in the zip package to VisualStudioInstallPath\Common7\Packages\Debugger\Visualizers (on my machine this is C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Common7\Packages\Debugger\Visualizers) and working! See for other instalation options. Read more

CTP4 (March) of VS/TFS 2012 Update 2 is available

We are continuing our journey to deliver a final release of Update 2.  You can read about the CTP3 we shipped a few weeks ago here.  The most notable thing about this CTP is that it is “go-live”.  One of our big learnings from shipping Update 1 was that we really do need feedback from real customer deployments before we ship a major update.  We provided a “go-live” build to a select set of early adopters in the last CTP and got some great feedback.  In that process we found 3 or 4 significant bugs and fixed them for this CTP.  We now need a bunch more people to give it a go and report any issues they find.  If all goes well, we hope to release Update 2 soon. You can download the CTP here: Read more

Now Available: Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012

As I’ve written about previously, we’ve been developing tools for building the next-generation of apps for Office and SharePoint.  These tools manifest both as an online experience known as “Napa”, which we’ve been updating on a weekly basis, as well as a complete set of extensions to the rich Visual Studio client, extensions we’ve shared several times in preview form. Hot on the heels of last week’s announcement of commercial availability of the new Microsoft Office 365, I’m excited to announce that today we’re releasing those rich client tools, the Microsoft Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012.  You can download them now from Read more

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