In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories about new features and functionality in Windows Azure and a few other bits and pieces.

Microsoft releases new features and functionality for Windows Azure. Earlier this week, Microsoft released new features and functionally for Windows Azure, including new open source capabilities, SQL Azure Database improvements and a simplified Windows Azure billing and management experience. Developers that are partial to open source development will benefit from the first Windows Azure software development kit (SDK) that includes language libraries for Node.JS, with support for hosting, storage and service bus. For more on this story, read this Monday post on the STB News Bytes Blog and this feature story on the Microsoft News Center.

Microsoft and Nissan establish strategic relationship for next-gen dealer management system. Microsoft and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. announced on Sunday a strategic relationship to collaborate and create a next-generation dealer management system based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Using the powerful foundation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the automotive industry expertise of Nissan, the two companies will blend dealer and customer relationship management and social collaboration tools into a solution that will help Nissan develop a stronger relationship with its customers, drive dealer sales and increase market share on a global scale. To get the rest of this story, read this press release on the Microsoft News Center.

SkyDrive APIs for Docs and Photos. A few months ago as part of the preview of Windows Live for Windows 8, we announced the availability of the developer preview, the next version of the Live Connect APIs and the newly created Live SDK. A major change to the API was to address feedback we’d gotten from developers about access to SkyDrive. The primary change for SkyDrive was providing the ability for applications to fully access, upload and share documents, photos and videos from a user’s cloud storage in SkyDrive. The new version of the Live Connect APIs and the Live SDK for Windows Phone has now shipped. Read this Dec. 7th post on the Inside Windows Live Blog for the whole story.

Space & light in architecture: a conversation with Duncan McLeod. Late last week, Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton highlighted the third in a series of four videos by Microsoft UK’s developer evangelism team where architect Duncan McLeod shares his thoughts and opinions on the subject of space. “Not in a Star Trek, final frontier kind of way – in the architecture kind of way and whether that translates to digital content. It’s all part of a series of Metro inspired short films from Andrew Spooner,” Clayton writes in this Dec. 9th blog post on Next.

And in Internet Explorer news this week… The folks on the IEBlog published two recent posts Web developers probably don’t want to miss – a Dec. 9th piece on “helping Web developers directly import image, video, and sound data into Web apps” and a Dec. 7th story on “moving to standards-based Web graphics in IE10.” Check ‘em out.

That’s a wrap for this edition of The Midweek Download. Thanks for reading!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog