# Sunday, 09 November 2014

In a previous article, I showed how to create a sample .NET client application to connect to your Azure Mobile Service. In this article, I will show you how to add authentication to this sample application.

Azure Mobile Services supports a number of different methods of authentication. A couple of them you would expect from a Microsoft platform - User can be authenticated against Active Directory or they can be directed to log in with a Microsoft account (formerly known as a "Live" account.) You would expect Mobile Services to support these authentication methods because they are created and/or maintained by Microsoft. However, Mobile Services is designed to accept authentication tokens that adhere to the OAuth standard and it is built to support Facebook, Twitter, and Google authentication - all of which conform to oAuth.

In order to use an Authentication Provider, you must enable support for that provider. You can enable support for one provider and instruct all clients to use that provider; or you can enable support for multiple oAuth providers and clients will be able to offer a choice to users, allowing them to log in with their favourite service.

Setting up each of these oAuth providers is pretty similar, so the best way to show you how is to walk through an example. I'll enable Twitter authentication but the process is not much different for other providers.

Creating An App on Twitter

In order to allow users to log into your app via Twitter, you need to create an app in Twitter. You can do so by navigating to http://dev.twitter.com and signing in with your Twitter credentials (you may need to create a Twitter account first. If so, you may be the last person on Earth to do so.) At the bottom of the page is a "Tools" section. Click the "Manage Your Apps" link in this section, as shown in Figure 1.

Zumo6-Figure 01 - DevTwitter
Figure 1

On the "Twitter Apps" page, click the [Create New App] button (Figure 2).

Zumo6-Figure 02 - Create New App button
Figure 2

The "Create an application" page (Figure 3) displays. The first 3 fields are required.

Zumo6-Figure 03 - Create An Application 
Figure 3

At the "Name" field, enter a name for your application. I usually use the same name I gave my Azure Mobile Service.

At the "Description" field, enter a brief description of your app.

At the "Website" field, enter your Mobile Service URL. You can find this URL in the Azure portal on the DASHBOARD tab of your Mobile Service (Figure 4)

Zumo6-Figure 04 - Mobile Service URL

Figure 4

Scroll down the "Create an Application" page (Figure 5), read the Developer agreement completely (in this case, you are likely the first person ever to do this), check the "Yes I agree" checkbox, and click the [Create your Twitter application] button to create the app.

Zumo6-Figure 05 - Developer Agreement

Figure 5

A page displays for your newly-created app with a tab menu across the top as shown in Figure 6.

Zumo6-Figure 06 - Twitter App tabs 
Figure 6

Click the "Keys and Access Tokens" tab to display the Application Settings as shown in Figure 7.

Zumo6-Figure 07 - Twitter Keys  
Figure 7

You will need the Consumer Key (API Key) and the Consumer Secret (API Secret) so keep this web page open and open a new browser or browser tab and navigate to the Azure Portal.

In the Azure Portal, select your mobile service and click the IDENTITY menu option as shown in Figure 8.

Zumo6-Figure 08 - Mobile Services IDENTITY menu 
Figure 8

On the IDENTITY page, scroll down to the "twitter settings" section. From the Twitter "Application Settings" page, copy the API Key and the API Secret and paste these values into the corresponding fields on the Azure Mobile Services IDENTITY page, as shown in Figure 9.

 Zumo6-Figure 09 - Twitter Settings
jFigure 9

Click the SAVE icon (Figure 10) at the bottom of the page to save these changes.

Zumo6-Figure 10 - Save

Figure 10

Your Mobile Service now supports Twitter authentication.

Force clients to login before accessing your service by setting permissions on the service actions. This is done at the Mobile Service table's PERMISSIONS page. (To access the PERMISSIONS page, select your Mobile Service in the Azure Portal; click the DATA tab; select the table you want to secure; and click the PERMISSIONS tab.)

Change the permission of each action to "Only Authenticated Users" by selecting "Only Authenticated Users" from the dropdown next to each action, as shown in Figure 11. Click the SAVE icon to commit these changes.

Zumo6-Figure 11 - Table Permssions
Figure 11

Now any client app that calls your service has no choice but to force users to log in with Twitter in order to use your app.


Open the client app that we created in an earlier article and open MainPage.cs in the Shared project.

Add the following code to the class.

   1: MobileServiceUser user = null;
   2: private async System.Threading.Tasks.Task AuthenticateAsync()
   3: {
   4:     while (user == null)
   5:     {
   6:             user = await App.MobileService
   7:                 .LoginAsync(MobileServiceAuthenticationProvider.Twitter);
   8:     }

Listing 1

Then call this method by adding the following line at the top of the OnNavigatedTo method

   1: await AuthenticateAsync(); 

Listing 2

When the user navigates to the MainPage, she will be redirected to the Twitter login page where she must successfully login before proceeding. The MobileService will remember the user and pass this information in a token with each request to the REST service. If you configure another authentication provider, such as Google or Microsoft, you can direct the user to that provider's login page by changing the MobileServiceAuthenticationProvider enum, which is passed as a parameter to the MobileService.LoginAsync method.

In this article, we saw how to configure single sign-on for our Azure Mobile Service.

Sunday, 09 November 2014 10:00:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, 08 November 2014

In previous articles, I showed how to set up a new Azure Mobile Service and how to generate a sample application.

By default, the service allows anyone with the Application Key to access this Mobile Service. This Application Key is generated automatically when the service is created. You can view the key by clicking to the "Manage Keys" icon (Figure 1) at the bottom of the Mobile Service Dashboard to display the "Manage Access Keys" dialog (Figure 2).

Zumo5-Figure 01 - Manage Keys
Figure 1

Zumo5-Figure 02 - Manage Keys
Figure 2

In the generated sample application, this access code is automatically passed to the constructor of the MobileServiceClient object that is instantiated in App.xaml.cs (Listing 1)

   1: public static MobileServiceClient MobileService = new MobileServiceClient(
   2:     "https://giard.azure-mobile.net/",
   3:     "MqJSWTxyZlOTRHdABCGOuDcQcTVqvR41"
   4: );

Listing 1

If you have created a table for your Mobile Service, you can click on the service's Data tab and manage the Permissions of that table by selecting the table and clicking the Permissions tab.

Here, you will see 4 dropdowns (Figure 3) - one for each operation you can perform on the table (INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, and READ). For each of these operations, you can set one of the following permissions:

  • Everyone
  • Anybody with the Application Key
  • Only Authenticated Users
  • Only Scripts and Admins

Zumo5-Figure 03 - Permissions
Figure 3

Below is an explanation of each Permission option


The service is not secured. Anyone who knows the URI can access the service operation. Set this on the READ PERMISSION and you will be able to open a browser, navigate to the table's URI and view the data in the table.

Anybody with the Application Key

This is the default permission. Any request must contain the Application Key in the HTTP Header of the request. The format is


where key is the Application Key of this Mobile Service.

As described above, the .NET MobileServiceClient class handles this automatically if we pass the Application Key into its constructor.

Only Authenticated Users

An authentication token from a trusted authentication provider must accompany the HTTP request to this REST service. In a future article, I will show you how to set up single sign-on with trusted authentication providers so that this token is added to each request.

Only Scripts and Admins

This allows an operation to be performed only by Administrators logged onto the Azure portal or by PowerShell scripts running directly on the Virtual Machine on which the Mobile Service is running.

You are free to set different permissions for each operation. For example, you could allow anyone to read data in your table; require the Application Key for updates; authenticated sign on for inserts; and only allow Admins and server scripts to delete data from the table.

In reality, you will likely pick a single security mechanism for the table and set all operations to this. You can then write server-side code to handle any differences between the services (allowing a user to only delete his own records, for example).


The permissions are for a given combination of endpoint (which, in this case, points to a table) and action (INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, and READ). If you like, you could set a different permission for each action on this endpoint. For example, you could declare that anyone can read data; only those with the Application Key can update data; only Authenticated users can Insert a row; and Deleting data is reserved for scripts and Admins. To me, it makes more sense to keep the same permission for each action, unless you have a specific reason for changing it for a given action.

In this article, we showed how to set permissions on each action for a given Azure Mobile Services endpoint.

Saturday, 08 November 2014 10:00:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Friday, 07 November 2014

In my last article, I described how to use the Azure Mobile Services wizard to create a sample client application. In this article, we will look at the code created by this wizard.

I'll focus on the C#/XAML version of the sample app but all the principles apply for the HTML5/WinJS version as well.

Figure 1 shows the solution, which includes a Windows 8.1 project, a Windows Phone 8.1 project, and a project with files that are shared by the other two projects.

Zumo4-Figure 01 - Client App
Figure 1

I always compile this app before running it, because that ensures that all NuGet packages are updated.

Because this is a Universal app, it contains both a Windows 8.1 and a Windows Phone 8.1 project. The two projects do pretty much the same thing but each has a user interface appropriate to its own platform.

A screen shot of each running app is shown in Figure 2 (Windows 8.1) and Figure 3 (Windows Phone 8.1). As you can see, this app keeps track of a  user's To Do List. The list of "To Do Items" is stored in an Azure SQL Database, which is exposed via Azure Mobile Services.

Zumo4-Figure 02 - Running Win81 App
Figure 2

Zumo4-Figure 03 - Running Win81 App
Figure 3

Most of the interesting stuff happens in the Shared project.


Let's look first at the Model. It is in the Shared project because both apps use the same model. You can find it in the TodoItem.cs file in the DataModel folder (Listing 1).

   1: public class TodoItem
   2: {
   3:     public string Id { get; set; }
   5:     [JsonProperty(PropertyName = "text")]
   6:     public string Text { get; set; }
   8:     [JsonProperty(PropertyName = "complete")]
   9:     public bool Complete { get; set; }
  10: }

Listing 1

The three properties (Id, Text, and Complete) will map to columns in the SQL Server table.  Text and Complete are decorated with the JsonProperty attribute, which is found in the Newtonsoft.Json library and tells .NET how to name these properties when an object is transformed into the JSON format. Strictly speaking, this is unnecessary, but JSON objects tend to follow the
JavaScript convention of Camel casing.


The shared App.xaml.cs takes care of some basic processing when an app starts up, suspends, or has a problem.

As far as Azure Mobile Services is concerned, the important line is the MobileService field declaration (Listing 2)

   1: public static MobileServiceClient MobileService = new MobileServiceClient(
   2:     "https://giard.azure-mobile.net/",
   3:     "MqJSWTabZlOTRHeFXPRBADoQcVtqvE41"
   4: );
Listing 2

The second parameter of the constructor is the application key generated by your Mobile Service. Passing the Application Key to the constructor of our MobileServiceClient is necessary if we set permissions to only allow calls to the mobile service by clients that provide the Application Key. Whenever we call the REST service with this object, the Application Key will be passed in the header of HTTP calls to the mobile services endpoints.

This static class is available throughout the application and contains methods to communicate with your mobile service. Its main use is to create an IMobileServiceTable by calling the static object's GetTable() method, which is done in the MainPage.


Notice that all three projects contain the MainPage class, which derives from the Page object. In both the Windows project and in the Windows Phone project, this class is in the MainPage.xaml.cs file, while the class is in the MainPage.cs file in the shared project. Notice also that these are all "partial" classes and that each is in the same namespace. At compile time, both the Windows and Windows Phone projects will pull in the class from the Shared Project and use its code.

At the top of the MainPage class is the creation of two sets of our model (Listing 3).

   1: private MobileServiceCollection<TodoItem, TodoItem> items;
   2: private IMobileServiceTable<TodoItem> todoTable = App.MobileService.GetTable<TodoItem>();

Listing 3

MobileServiceCollection items is simply a collection on the client that is used to bind to a ListView control in our XAML named ListItems. 

The IMobileServiceTable interface has methods to interact with the REST API specified when the MobileService was created (which is our Azure Mobile Service API). So, the todoTable object has implementations of these methods specific to our service.

For example, the InsertTodoItem method makes a call to todoTable.InsertAsync() and passes an instance of the TodoItem. This calls our Azure Mobile Service REST endpoint (in this case, that endpoint is https://giard.azure-mobile.net/Tables/todoitem), using the POST Verb and passing

We can use Lync extension methods of todoTable to retrieve specific data into the todoTable object as in Listing 4 (from the RefreshTodoItems() method), which retrieves only todoItems for which the Boolean field Complete is false.  

   1: items = await todoTable
   2:     .Where(todoItem => todoItem.Complete == false)
   3:     .ToCollectionAsync();

Listing 4

The shared code takes advantage of the fact that the events fired in Windows and in Windows Phone are very similar and that the similar objects with similar names and events are created in the MainPage.xaml of each project. Because of this, the shared project can even contain event handlers that are appropriate for either project.  For example, Listing 5 is the event handler when you click a checkbox next to an item on either the phone or your Windows PC/Tablet to mark that item as "Complete".

   1: private async void CheckBoxComplete_Checked(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
   2: {
   3:     CheckBox cb = (CheckBox)sender;
   4:     TodoItem item = cb.DataContext as TodoItem;
   5:     await UpdateCheckedTodoItem(item);
   6: }

Listing 5

This event handler passes the checked item to the UpdateCheckedTodoItem method, which uses the todoTable object to call the REST endpoint (Listing 6).

   1: private async Task UpdateCheckedTodoItem(TodoItem item)
   2: {
   3:     // This code takes a freshly completed TodoItem and updates the database. When the MobileService 
   4:     // responds, the item is removed from the list 
   5:     await todoTable.UpdateAsync(item);
   6:     items.Remove(item);
   7:     ListItems.Focus(Windows.UI.Xaml.FocusState.Unfocused);
   8: }

Listing 6

The entire MainPage class is shown in Listing 7.

   1: sealed partial class MainPage: Page
   2: {
   3:     private MobileServiceCollection<TodoItem, TodoItem> items;
   4:     private IMobileServiceTable<TodoItem> todoTable = App.MobileService.GetTable<TodoItem>();
   6:     public MainPage()
   7:     {
   8:         this.InitializeComponent();
   9:     }
  11:     private async Task InsertTodoItem(TodoItem todoItem)
  12:     {
  13:         // This code inserts a new TodoItem into the database. When the operation completes
  14:         // and Mobile Services has assigned an Id, the item is added to the CollectionView
  15:         await todoTable.InsertAsync(todoItem);
  16:         items.Add(todoItem);
  17:     }
  19:     private async Task RefreshTodoItems()
  20:     {
  21:         MobileServiceInvalidOperationException exception = null;
  22:         try
  23:         {
  24:             // This code refreshes the entries in the list view by querying the TodoItems table.
  25:             // The query excludes completed TodoItems
  26:             items = await todoTable
  27:                 .Where(todoItem => todoItem.Complete == false)
  28:                 .ToCollectionAsync();
  29:         }
  30:         catch (MobileServiceInvalidOperationException e)
  31:         {
  32:             exception = e;
  33:         }
  35:         if (exception != null)
  36:         {
  37:             await new MessageDialog(exception.Message, "Error loading items").ShowAsync();
  38:         }
  39:         else
  40:         {
  41:             ListItems.ItemsSource = items;
  42:             this.ButtonSave.IsEnabled = true;
  43:         }
  44:     }
  46:     private async Task UpdateCheckedTodoItem(TodoItem item)
  47:     {
  48:         // This code takes a freshly completed TodoItem and updates the database. When the MobileService 
  49:         // responds, the item is removed from the list 
  50:         await todoTable.UpdateAsync(item);
  51:         items.Remove(item);
  52:         ListItems.Focus(Windows.UI.Xaml.FocusState.Unfocused);
  53:     }
  55:     private async void ButtonRefresh_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
  56:     {
  57:         await RefreshTodoItems();
  58:     }
  60:     private async void ButtonSave_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
  61:     {
  62:         var todoItem = new TodoItem { Text = TextInput.Text };
  63:         await InsertTodoItem(todoItem);
  64:     }
  66:     private async void CheckBoxComplete_Checked(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
  67:     {
  68:         CheckBox cb = (CheckBox)sender;
  69:         TodoItem item = cb.DataContext as TodoItem;
  70:         await UpdateCheckedTodoItem(item);
  71:     }
  73:     protected override async void OnNavigatedTo(NavigationEventArgs e)
  74:     {
  75:         await RefreshTodoItems();
  76:     }
  77: }

Listing 7


Notice how much of the application logic was moved into the Shared project. This isn't surprising because both the Phone app and the Windows app do the same thing - but with different user interfaces. It should be your goal to push as much of our app as you can into the Shared project.

When you build your own app, you will almost certainly use a different model and a different user interface. However, the samples code in this generated application should provide you a template for how to do basic operations on your mobile service, such as Read, Write, Update, and Delete. Make sure you understand the sample; then copy the appropriate code into your application and modify it to fit your model.

Friday, 07 November 2014 10:00:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, 06 November 2014

In the last article, I showed how to create a new Azure Mobile Service in the portal. In this article, I will show you how to use the wizard to create an application, consisting of a new table, an HTTP endpoint to access that table, and a sample client application to access the data through that endpoint.

Log onto the Azure Portal and select the MOBILE SERVICES icon in the left menu. Figure 1 shows the Mobile Service we created last time.

Zumo2-Figure 01 - List Service
Figure 1

Click the arrow next to the service name to display details about the service (Figure 2).

Zumo2-Figure 02 - GET STARTED
Figure 2

Notice the choices you have next to "CHOOSE A PLATFORM". The Platforms listed are the various client platforms explicitly supported by Mobile Services. Remember that Mobile Services exposes data via standard interfaces such as HTTP and JSON which can be used by a wide variety of platforms and languages. For this demo, click the "Windows" button; then expand the "CREATE A NEW WINDOWS APP" link. This will reveal the 3 steps to get you started building an application around Azure Mobile Services (Figure 3).

Zumo2-Figure 03 - GET STARTED
Figure 3

Get the tools (Figure 4) allows you to download a free version of Visual Studio. If you already have any version of Visual Studio 2013 installed, you can skip this step.

Zumo2-Figure 04 - Get the Tools
Figure 4

The "Create a table" step (Figure 5) allows you to create a sample SQL Server table. Click the green button to create a new table named "TodoItem" in your database with columns to keep track if the tasks you need to do today and whether you have completed each task.

Zumo2-Figure 05 - Create Table
Figure 5

The “Download and run your app” step (Figure 6) will generate client code that will connect to your application.

Zumo2-Figure 06 - Download App
Figure 6

Select a language (C# or JavaScript) and click the Download button to download a ZIP file containing a Universal App that includes a Windows 8.1 project, a Windows Phone 8.1 project, and a Shared Code project. Depending on your language selection, these projects will either contain a user interface written in XAML and C# code-behind or an HTML5 front-end with a WinJS code-behind. Figure 7 shows the results of C#/XAML project generated by Azure Mobile Services.

Zumo2-Figure 07 - Client App
Figure 7

Compile and run this app to see it in action. Figure 8 shows a screen shot of the Windows 8 app. You can enter a new task in the textbox and click Save to send data to the mobile service telling it to insert a row in the todoitem table. A list on the right displays all tasks that are not yet completed. Click the checkbox next to an item to send data to the mobile service telling it to update the todoitem table, setting the Complete column to FALSE.

Zumo2-Figure 08 - Running App
Figure 8

Figure 9 shows the Windows Phone project running.

Zumo2-Figure 09 - Running App
Figure 9

You can see that the apps look similar because they have the same functionality. The differences are related to the size, layout, and other considerations of the specific platform on which they run. Play with each app and you will see that they function about the same, thanks to the large percentage of shared code.

In this article, we saw how to run the Azure Mobile Services wizard to generate a sample table and client application.

Thursday, 06 November 2014 10:00:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Wednesday, 05 November 2014

With Azure Mobile Services, developers can quickly create a REST interface to read and write their backend database.

The Azure portal provides a wizard for creating a sample solution built around mobile services in just a few minutes. In this article, I will walk you through the steps to create a new Azure Mobile Service.

Log onto the Azure Portal and select the MOBILE SERVICES icon (Figure 1) in the left menu.

Zumo2-Figure 01
Figure 1

Click the NEW button at the bottom of the screen (Figure 2).

Zumo2-Figure 02 - New Button 
Figure 2

This exposes a menu (Figure 3).

Zumo2-Figure 03 - Create
Figure 3

With COMPUTE and MOBILE SERVICES selected (which should already be the case) click the CREATE button.

The "Create a Mobile Service" dialog (Figure 4) displays.

Zumo2-Figure 04 - Create
Figure 4

Give a name for the service. The full name will be whatever you type in the URL textbox, followed by ".azure-mobile.net" and it must be unique. The portal will let you know if someone else has chosen the same name. Select an existing database or create a new one; then select the Region where the Mobile Service will live. It makes sense to create the service in the same region where the database resides.

Finally, select the language in which to build the backend service. If you select JavaScript, the server-side solution will be hosted in Node.js. If you select .NET, you can create a solution in Visual Studio and deploy it to Azure, where it will be hosted in IIS.

Click the arrow (Figure 5) at the bottom right of the dialog to advance to the next page, where you can specify database information.

Zumo2-Figure 05 - Next
Figure 5

Figure 6 show the page if you elect to connect to an existing database. Select the database connection string; then enter the login name and password with which you will connect to this database.

Zumo2-Figure 06 - DB
Figure 6

Click the check button to create the Mobile Service. After a few seconds, the service will show up in the portal as in Figure 7.

Zumo2-Figure 07 - New Service
Figure 7

In this article, we saw how to create a new Azure Mobile Service. In the next article, we will add a table and allow clients to retrieve and update data in that table, using this service.

Wednesday, 05 November 2014 10:00:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, 04 November 2014

Storing data in the cloud allows your application to remember information between launches and to share data among other users, applications, and devices.

Exposing that data via a REST interface makes this data accessible to applications running on a variety of platforms and written in a variety of languages. REST is an architectural pattern for allowing clients to read and update server data through a consistent API. The current implementations of REST uses an HTTP endpoint (a URL) to expose functionality and the features of HTTP (verbs, response codes, and header data) to exchange data between the client and the server.

Azure Mobile Services (ZuMo) makes it easier to expose your data as a REST endpoint by handling the "plumbing" code for you so that you can focus on your data model and your business logic.

With just a few clicks, you can create a service and map it to a database table. ZuMo will create an HTTP endpoint; map HTTP verbs to Create, Read, Update, and Delete methods; create those methods for you; and handle the transformation from JSON data into objects that map to rows in your database table. This isn't impossible code for you to write, but it can be a lot of code. And wouldn't your time be better spent writing the code that makes your application unique?

Azure Mobile Services will even generate a client application to call your new REST service and pass data to and from it. You can use this application as a starting point or you can copy and paste code from this app into your own client app. ZuMo is capable of generating a sample client application for Windows 8, Windows Phone, HTML and JavaScript, Xamarin, PhoneGap, Android, or iOS.

Azure Mobile Services is a true cross-platform solution that is simple to implement because it handles much of the plumbing code for you.

Tuesday, 04 November 2014 10:00:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 03 November 2014
Monday, 03 November 2014 10:00:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, 02 November 2014

Today I am grateful for the friends I have kept for decades. They've known me at my best and at my worst.

Today I am grateful I finally caught up editing all my videos and photos.

Today I am grateful for dinner with my niece Amanda last night.

Today I am grateful for a home-cooked meal last night.

Today I am grateful for a chance to speak at the Motor City Software Testers last night & to all who came to hear me.

Today I am grateful I attended an exciting Monday Night Football game in Dallas last night.

Today I am grateful for some authentic Texas BBQ last night.

Today I am grateful for the students at TAMUHack who show energy, imagination, and passion and built so many great projects this weekend. I'm also grateful for the Michigan State Spartans, who drove through the michigan wolverines like a spike through grass yesterday!

Today I am grateful for my first trip to College Station, TX.

Today I am grateful I was invited to speak at the inaugural meeting of the Local Variables user group in South Bend, IN yesterday.

Today I am grateful for a long hot shower on a chilly morning.

Today I am grateful to God, who helped me through the difficult times in my life.

Today I am grateful for a day with few responsibilities.

Today I am grateful for a weekend in Indiana watching football with Tim Giard

Today I am grateful for lunch yesterday with Corey Haines

Today I am grateful for an unexpected gift from the Madison Mobile .NET Developers Group .

Today I am grateful for a successfully completed trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Today I am grateful I completed 1 year at the best job I've ever had.

Today I am grateful for dinner last night with Brent Stineman

Today I am grateful for the open Wi-Fi that suddenly showed up when I'm in my apartment. I'm not sure if the apartment complex added a repeater or if I have a new neighbor, but I appreciate it.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was published 35 years ago today! I am fortunate to have met the book's author before his passing.

Today I am grateful for dinner and drinks last night with Patricia and Gary.

Today I am grateful to the folks a the Schaumburg Microsoft .NET Technologies Meetup for inviting me to speak last night

Today I am grateful for a great audience yesterday at the first Azure Dev Camp in St. Louis.

Today I am grateful that my son called me yesterday just to say "Hi".

Today I am grateful to Velichka, who brought me chicken soup when I was sick.

Today I am grateful for 12+ hours sleep last night that I desperately needed.

Today I am grateful for dinner with friends, a ticket to the Nebraska game, and a Spartan victory!

Sunday, 02 November 2014 15:03:28 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, 01 November 2014

A few months ago, I migrated this blog to Azure Web Sites.

I was aided by the fact that I use Das Blog as a blogging engine. This gave me two advantages:
1. I could select a Das Blog template from the Azure Web Site gallery, automatically configuring the appropriate settings for my site; and
2. Das Blog uses XML files instead of a database to store blog posts, so I was able to xcopy my entire blog to Azure.

The only real work was changing my DNS settings to point to Azure, which took a few minutes. I set the site to user the SHARED hosting plan, which lets me point a custom domain to it. More popular blogs (like yours) may need to use the BASIC or STANDARD Web Hosting Plan, but I stuck with the cheap one and it works fine for me.

The story here is what a non-story this migration was. My site was down less than an hour and most of that was because I messed up the DNS settings the first time. It is servicing requests just fine and I am saving money because this hosting plan is cheaper than what I paid to my old provider.

Currently, I'm not using any advanced features, such as Scaling, Autoscaling, and Web Jobs but those are available to me if I need them.

I love the simplicity of Azure Web Sites. If you are considering using Azure, this is a good place to start.

Saturday, 01 November 2014 23:27:51 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, 27 October 2014
Monday, 27 October 2014 23:17:10 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)