The #windowsazure story continuous … in integration and delivery … TFS + VS online #mvpbuzz

Today a totally new feature was pushed to the datacenters
and thus also to your Windows Azure portals and accounts. Can you spot the new
kid in town?
Can you see it? Watch closely … Do you see it now?
Yes you did see it. An online Visual Studio. Now before you’re
going to say: "wait, that’s the name for TFS online, right? " , no it
isn’t! It’s a real online visual studio editor. Well not a fancy as VS 2013 but
it has some nice features and capabilities included. Let’s find out.

How do I get it, me wants it, me needs it, … my precious…

Well first of all you need to create a WAWS (Windows Azure
Website) before you can actually use it. Open up the management portal, create
a new website of choice and then go to the configure page after the creation.
Enable the above "switch" and save your
Once done, go back to your dashboard page and a new item will
appear momentarily under the "Quick glance" section:
You now have the power to edit your website in Visual Studio
Online (fairly easy steps, right?) There’s a catch though, call it a little
cosmetic error but when you want to log in to the VS online part, you need to
enter your publisher credentials, but WITHOUT the site name. So it’s not quite the
same as logging in on the FTP site of your website. KEEP THAT IN MIND :-)

Now that I have it, is it one tool to rule’em all?

Or in other words: what can I do with it …
Well … on first looks we got a couple of things to play with,
let take a look at the tool’s anatomy shall we:
As you can see there are some similarities with the normal
visual studio. We’ve got following tools available:

  • Explore window
  • Show output windows
  • And the console window
Next to that you can also run (and auto save) your sources and
have Git integration (logical because Kudu seems involved)

Editing something is a breeze, edit and run and your
changes are saved! It is smooth

And gives the desired result

Now another cool thing is intellisense … yes it has it :-) in both the editor and
the console window … wait … WHAT? Indeed full intellisense support … pretty

And even color scaling for that :-)
End even tag closing :
Below you can see that a lot of things can be run in the command line,
with native support for Nuget, MSBuild and so on and so on. Powershell can be
run on scripts and even node is in there (it must be christmas!)
Ground control to source control …. Ground Control to source

It would be a continuous platform if it didn’t have some
sort of integration with source control. The choice is Git for starts but I can
imagine this will be expanded over time. Although it’s Git integration through
TFS online (the other Visual Studio Online ;-) ) The cool thing is that you can
either commit/push/pull either in the graphical way or in the console way. And
that makes it a very pleasant experience. If you’re going to use Git
integration then don’t forget to enable basic authentication in your TFS Online

The integration of the source control happens in the same
way all the other integrations happen:

Click on the Git Icon and the on the connect to visual
studio button:

Select your subscription:

Accept the policy and authorize the app

and you’re set. Then it is up to your git knowledge on what
to do with it ;-)
Above you see the console push with a security screen/for
implemented for authenticating. And you can see the commands were entered
through the console.

Even the commits and their comments have a similar

The top menubar gives you all info on pulls pushes and

As you can see there’s a lot to discover, but it’s all
pretty straightforward. We can truly say that 2013-11-13 is the Visual Studio
launch on every aspect.

Enjoy the new toys!!




Use BING … the right way (and so as everything else related to Microsoft (and not only online))


If you’re a Microsoft fan (as I am) and fed up with that one thing that always seems to be more “innovative” than the stuff you use, well then maybe it’s time to explain to people on how to use stuff correctly. I hate Google and am not fond of Apple either, because they always give the intention of being innovative, but they aren’t. And those followers of the latter are the ones resilient to change (cause they like to hipster more than we do I guess). But trust me , the guys from Redmond are more innovative than the SF guys ;-)

Having said that, let’s get to the core of the issue in my case. I live in Belgium, and for most services that’s and issue as such … PERIOD. I mean, come ON! Living in Belgium doesn’t automatically make me a French talking guy (or a Walloon). I speak DUTCH (Flemish, and more precise ANTWAARPS! J). Now why Am I saying this all to you? Well since dino’s ruled the world, the Belgian people have always wanted to use software in their own language on their own keyboards with their own settings. Which is fine, up to some point …. But believe me guys, the software you use is build OUTSIDE of your comfort zone and translated software is always crappy (yes MS also yours, sorry!!)

Since the beginning of time all localized software SKU’s have been issue full or not working the same as their brilliant US originated counterparts (especially Office …. Boy that’s terrible in Dutch). So accept the fact, stop using localized stuff and learn some English J (and with that you’ll get the advantage to understand us, the IT guys, a lot better and easier too J #FTW) Localized content yes, localized software no!!! J

I’m using Bing for quite some time now and believe me the results are way better than the Google ones, and less commercial push too.

Now a lot of people addressed me today on this question : How? (reason was of the nice Halloween site the US created, with some cool interaction on it) Cause I always get redirected to the BE site. Well since any browser looks at your region and also your originated IP (yes it does), it will try to give you the closest possible local version. E.g. if I start up a clean browser or private/pr0n browser session I get this:

It’s bing allright, not going to argue there … but somehow the results aren’t the same as if you’re using Bing us …

It has full HTML 5 interaction features and media available and the main screen can change easily (plus the pictures you’re getting are awesome)

No how do I change these settings not redirecting me always to BE instead of going to the US site? Well easy:

  1. Open a browser, and go to
  2. Then click the small gear in the right upper corner in the browser windows so not next to your home or favorites buttons!

  3. This takes you to the settings page of your Bing search prefs:

  4. Click on the WERELDWIJD(WORLDWIDE) menu item
  5. Choose the Verenigde Staten – Engels / (United States – English) region

  6. That’s it, you will be automatically be redirected to the US site from now on, but except for when you clear your browser history/cache/cookies and when doing a Pr0n/Private mode browser session.

Now you have the power to use your search engine with more feist and power than before. Hey even the Wolfram Alpha engine is now better integrated e.g.

The same applies for any other service online from Microsoft BTW, MSDN and TechNet pages are way better in the US region compared to the European Counterparts. So next whenever you’re buying a new MSFT soft or using it’s online services, try to do it immediately in English and be amazed how smoother things will work.

I know I ranted at the beginning of my post, but please at least give it a try and then, maybe, you’ll also see why I rant J

Yours truly,

The Local MickeySoft Bunny J

It’s another release of #windowsazure tools galore …. Or how teams can excel in continuous delivery mode!

051313_0924_Didyouknowh1.pngToday another couple of major releases have been thrown at the world. And not the least to be honest! Different teams within the Windows Azure Delivery Team in Redmond have created several new packages at your disposal/use/fingertips:

  • A new release of the Windows Azure SDK already now on version 2.2. It returns us all the features we had for 2.1 in Visual Studio 2012 but now also in version 2013! Plus now everything can be found underneath the Windows Azure tree instead of websites as a separate childitem.

    In Visual Studio 2012 – SDK 2.1 you had:

    Now in Visual Studio 2013 – SDK 2.2 you have

    One of the new features also in there is the possibility to logon with you credentials instead of certificates

    The connect will do the same things as explained in next release topic J, hang in there !

    Another handy thing is that for Windows Azure SQL Databases you no longer need to pass throught the management portal in order to have access to your databases

  • There’s also an update available for all you Powershell lovers out there: Windows Azure Powershell 0.7.0, an upgrade to the Augustus release of the cmdlets/tools. One of the better and newer things is the support for WAAD authentication support, so no more need for publishingfile downloads or certificates in order to manage your Windows Azure assets! How does it work?

    Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Install the new Powershell tools
  2. Open the Windows Azure Powershell commandline (or a normal powerhell console and do import-module Azure)
  3. Use the Add-AzureAccount cmdlet, and it will open up a window where you need to enter your account name (LiveId or org id)

    After entering your ID, then it could be that your account is recognized either as a Live ID, Org ID or even both. If so choose the most appropriate one you’d like to use:

    Enter your password :

    And you’ll be returned to the prompt:

  4. Of course you can not only add but also Get-AzureAccount

    and Remove-AzureAccount (with a prompt of course!)

What else is in their changelog: 2013.10.21 Version 0.7.0

  • Windows Azure Active Directory authentication support!
    • Now you can use your Microsoft account or Organizational account to login from PowerShell without the need of any management certificate or publish settings file!
    • Use Add-AzureAccount to get started
    • Checkout Add-AzureAccount, Get-AzureAcccount and Remove-AzureAccount for details
  • Changed the file format which is used to store the subscription information. Information in the original file will be added to the new file automatically. If you downgrade from 0.7.0 to a lower version, you can still see the subscriptions you imported before the 0.7.0 upgrade. But anything added after the 0.7.0 upgrade won’t show up in the downgrade.
    • Changed the assembly name and namespace from Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Commands.*
    • Select-AzureSubscription
      • Now you can use it to select or clear either the current subscription or the default subscription
      • Replaced the -Clear parameter with -NoCurrent parameter
    • Set-AzureSubscription
      • Removed -DefaultSubscription and -NoDefaultSubscription parameters. Go to Select-AzureSubscription with -Default and -NoDefault parameters.
    • New-AzureSqlDatabaseServerContext
      • Replaced the -SubscriptionData parameter with -SubscriptionName parameter
  • Upgraded Windows Azure SDK dependency from 1.8 to 2.0
  • Added support for a new virtual machine high memory SKU (A5)
  • Next to the Windows env’s favorite commandline, there’s also a new Crossplatform tooling edition available (already at v0.7.3!!)

    Biggest new thing available is the ability to shutdown a VM on stop.

  • And then for the master piece, or like the French are willing to call it: La Piece de Résistance: The Windows Azure Service Management Libraries

    Yes you heard it folks: no more need of calling the API directly, MS now packaged (or started packaging) the Management API in an easy to use library distributed throught Nuget packages. For adding the packages just run Install-Package
    Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Management and all the API goodness will be coming dripping into your project at your disposal J (if you want to take a look on the available ones separate you can do so either through the package manager GUI or through the PowerShell NuGet cmdlets BUT … you need to keep in mind these are PreRelease version packages. So to get these you need to either select “Include Prerelease” or run the cmdlet Get-Package -ListAvailable -Filter –IncludePrerelease (the IncludePrerelease is the key here J )

    What comes with the package so far:

    The base needed :

    Nuget Package:        Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Common

    Description:         Provides infrastructure for common error handling, tracing, configuration, and HTTP/REST-based pipeline manipulation. The package also exposes the CloudContext type, which enables centralized discovery of available Windows Azure libraries.

    Supported Platforms

    • .NET Framework 4.5, 4.5.1
    • .NET for Windows Store apps
    • Windows Phone 8
    • Silverlight 5
    • Portable Class Libraries

    Nuget Package:        Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Common.Dependencies

    Description:         Provides popular portable components for a common HTTP pipeline and JSON parsing. This package is included as a dependency to other libraries such as the Windows Azure Management Libraries and should not be directly added to your project.

The goods:

Nuget Package:        Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Management

Description:         Provides Windows Azure infrastructure and data center management operations, including the ability to create and manage affinity groups.

Nuget Package:        Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Management.Compute

Description:         Provides virtual machine and hosted service management capabilities to developers. Launch, restart, scale, and manage VMs, hosted services, virtual disks, operating system images, and more.

Nuget Package:        Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Management.Libraries

Description:     This set of packages open up a rich surface area of Windows Azure services, giving you the power to automate, deploy, and test cloud infrastructure with ease.These services support Windows Azure Virtual Machines, Hosted Services, Storage, Virtual Networks, Web Sites and core data center infrastructure management.

Nuget Package:        Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Management.Storage

Description:         Provides storage management operations for Windows Azure, including the ability to create, delete, and configure storage service accounts and credentials.

Nuget Package:        Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Management.VirtualNetworks

Description:         Provides virtual network management capabilities for Windows Azure.

Nuget Package:        Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Management.WebSites

Description:         Provides management capabilities for Windows Azure Web Sites. Deploy, configure, debug, and scale your websites using familiar APIs.

The cool thing is that the new PowerShell release immediately implements the above new created Packages in order to keep everything aligned. If you want an in to depth blogpost on the topic read the program owner for this solution , namely Brady Gaster (@bradygaster)

  • With all the abovely mentioned new “offline” toys there’s also a new version of the portal available; The Portal now runs on version 3.11 instead of 3.10 (uh? Portal versions you say? Well yes .. Press CTRL-A and you get to see the version numbers and more info regarding the portal )

    The biggest improvement or new thing can be found in the settings pages. Here’s what:

    In v 3.10

    You had this familiar screen

    But in the “newer” version or v3.11

    You see the addendum at your left hand site:

    Where you can now attach your subscription(s) to a domain, which makes multi-tenancy more manageable in the future

    • Check you Usage per subscription

    • Change the domain assigned to the subscription
    • Also on filtering this allows you to filter multi subscriptions by domain

As you can see a lot of new toys to play with and a lot of tiny tweaks in everything that makes our life’s way more easy.

A new Dawn … the partnership with Oracle on #windowsazure

051313_0924_Didyouknowh1.pngSince today Microsoft and Oracle are showing their partnership more public. The VM image portal on Windows Azure now as a large catalogue of Oracle flavoured VM’s available. Ranging from Java servers to Oracle DB’s to Weblogic servers.

a clean installed oracle Server looks like this:


there’s already a good amount of information available on the MSDN pages to work with this environment, so use it to your needs :-)

get-help azure : A smaller list but with great #windowsazure resources …

051313_0924_Didyouknowh1.pngSince it’s what we call in Belgium “komkommertijd” (literal translation “cucumbertime” aka silly season, who comes up with these expressions anyway … J ), I thought of another Windows Azure list blog post. A list on great cheat sheets and web resources to help you in your daily struggle / workload with the platform.

  • Doctor Doctor gimme the WAWS, I got a bad case of loving you –

    This cheatsheet is so complete and so handy to wok with, it does need some attention! If you’re a Windows Azure lover, with roots in PHP or cross platform then you’ll love and dig this the most! Written and maintained by Cory Fowler (MSFT), he manages to give you great advice and cheats for WAWS. Do check it out!!

  • By the Powers of Shell, I got the Power(shell)! –

    I’m a powershell lover, and so is former MSFT employee Michael Washam. He wrote a lot of great articles and blogpost on Windows Azure and Powershell and even added a full reference page. Do check his scripts out if you’re in need of any guidance.

  • I just can’t do it capt’n , she ain’t got the soft installed! –

    Don’t you just hate if something doesn’t work when building your stuff? We all know dependencies matter and sometimes theres no other way around of installing stuff on your build server. But what is you use integrated build services from TFS online. Will my stuff build or break? (“koffekoeke” anyone ) . It might be interesting that we know what’s available on the build machines before even starting then, right? Now you can. There’s a nice website with a nightly refresh of what’s installed on the bbuilt machines of TFS online. Check it out and check your dependencies for yourself!

  • Have I done this? Check! – (Work in progress)

    When doing azure stuff you need to keep in mind a lot of things. Therefor some people have create the (owner currently is my buddy Brady Gaster (MSFT) ) based upon the hit by Mads Kristensen (MSFT). It’s intend is to create a checklist (with guidance), for your deployments and setup.This can be forked on GitHub. So please feel free to add to it!

  • A small list for man, a learning for mankind –

    This llist is more an addendum to get you better acquainted with the platform. This is more about what’s in it and what it all means (and it ‘s crispy fresh since yesterday (26/08/2013) J). It’s a blogpost written by Scott Hanselman and explains all the concepts and is a full glossary of all the Windows Azure items available. So, if you totally get lost on naming things within Windows Azure, then this is the reference in a simple way

Little free gem … #windowsazure SQL Reporting Succinctly

051313_0924_Didyouknowh1.pngEvery once in a while you bump in to some free stuff that’s more than totally worthwhile taking a look at (but then again isn’t free stuff always worthwhile #statingtheobvious?). Last year I got to learn to know a component company named Syncfusion and this through their wonderful free tool named Metro Studio, an icon and graphics generation tool to generate Windows 8 style icons and graphics for tiles. It so happens that Syncfusion also have an extensive library of free ebooks on a varia of subjects, ranging from git, to TypeScript over to Lightswitch (an excellent one btw written by a friend named Jan Van der Haegen ) and many more.

The goal of Succinctly series ebooks is simple: a series of concise technical books that targeted at developers working on the Microsoft platform. Syncfusion believes, given the background knowledge such developers have, that most topics can be translated into books that are between 50 and 100 pages. Just to get on the road fast and furious (no pun intended) with new tech.

It so happens to be that, since a short while, there’s one released on Windows Azure. And more specifically on Windows Azure SQL Reporting. The author is Stacia Misner, a Microsoft SQL Server MVP and an expert in Microsoft BI-related technologies (read mostly SQL Server and all of it’s components).

Windows Azure SQL Reporting by Stacia Misner

So what’s this book all about?
Well for starters the author the author nailed it from the beginning, by kicking off with the main differences between Windows Azure SQL Reporting (WASR) and SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). From there out she gradually moves on to the configuration and usage of WASR, by guiding you step by step through the process. Next to that she also explains you some important other features that you might need while using WASR. Also on the list is the security factor and how you can integrate with everything else.

I’ve included the table of contents for your convenience:

  • Chapter 1 Introduction to SQL Reporting
    • What Is SQL Reporting?
    • How Does SQL Reporting Compare to Reporting Services?
    • Why Use SQL Reporting?
      • Small Company
      • Large Company
      • Limited Project Lifespan
      • Cloud Application Developer
  • Chapter 2 Getting Started
    • Windows Azure Setup
    • SQL Database Setup
    • Data Migration Options
      • Deploy Database Wizard
      • Database Script
      • Windows Azure Data Sync
      • Data-Tier Application Export and Import
      • Windows Azure Blob Storage Account
    • BACPAC Export
    • Migration into SQL Database
    • SQL Server Integration Services
      • Bulk Copy Utility
    • SQL Reporting Setup
  • Chapter 3 Report Development
    • Tools
    • Report Development Fundamentals
      • Report Projects
      • Report Items
      • Expressions
      • Report Parameters
      • Filters
      • Query Parameters
      • Subreports and Drillthrough
      • Interactivity
      • Pagination
    • Report Builder
      • Getting Started Wizard
      • Report Development in Report Builder
    • ReportViewer Control
      • On-Premises Application
      • Windows Azure Application
  • Chapter 4 Report Management
    • Report Deployment
    • Redeployment
    • Data Source Management
    • Execution Log
    • Server Usage Statistics
    • Report Server Properties
      • General Properties
      • Execution Properties
  • Chapter 5 Report Parts
    • Benefits of Report Parts
    • Report Part Creation
      • Report Part Deployment
      • Deployment from Report Designer
      • Deployment from Report Builder
      • Report Part Redeployment
    • Report Part Management
    • Report Part Gallery
    • Update Notification
  • Chapter 6 Security
    • Role-Based Security
      • Item Roles
      • System Roles
    • Users
    • Report Server Item Permissions
  • Chapter 7 Report Access
    • Web Service URL
    • Rendering Formats
      • Excel
      • Word
      • MHTML
      • PDF
      • TIFF
      • CSV
      • XML
    • My Reports Folder
    • URL Access
    • Report URL
    • URL Access Parameters

I know WASR and this book really show you how to act on every aspect. It’s written in a very comprehensive way and lives up to the statement of the 100 pages maximum accomplishment.

You can get the ebook here: all you need to do is register and then download. Have fun reading!!!!