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by Peter Galli on July 22, 2010 10:01am
Jean Paoli, the General Manager for Interoperability Strategy at Microsoft, delivered a keynote address at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) in Portland, OR, this morning titled "Open Cloud, Open Data."
During his keynote, Paoli addressed four foundational elements that comprise an open cloud platform: Data Portability, Standards, Ease of Migration and Deployment, and Developer Choice.
Paoli also talked about why Microsoft views these elements as a catalyst for the industry conversations about interoperability in the cloud, including how Data Portability allows customers to own their own data, whether stored on-premises or in the cloud, necessitating cloud platforms to facilitate the movement of customer data in and out of the cloud.
Cloud platforms should also support commonly used industry standards so as to facilitate interoperability with other software and services that support the same standards, while also providing a secure migration path that preserves existing investments and should enable the co-existence between on-premise software and cloud services, Paoli said.
This will enable customers to run "customer clouds" and partners, including hosters, to run "partner clouds" as well as take advantage of public cloud platform services. Cloud platforms should also offer developers choice in software development tools, languages and runtimes, he told attendees.
Microsoft also launched a new website today, designed to show these elements through supporting technical examples.
In addition, several Microsoft senior architects will use their technical sessions at OSCON to provide in-depth software engineering sessions on the technical underpinnings of the four elements for open source developers.
"We are introducing the interoperability elements of a cloud platform with a set of supporting technical examples to help frame and organize further discussions within existing industry organizations and with our customers, partners and other IT companies, including competitors," Paoli said.
Over the past two years, Microsoft has increased its open source community project work to support cloud platform interoperability, and will use OSCON to present some of the new and existing developments currently in progress that support open source developers working in mixed IT environments.
The release of Windows Azure Software Development Kits (SDK) for a number of languages including Java and PHP is one example of the work the company is doing to help developers. Microsoft also recently sponsored Java and PHP SDKs to support the Open Data Protocol (OData), a REST-based Web protocol for manipulating data across platforms ranging from mobile to server to cloud.
"Today, we're also releasing the OData Client for Objective-C (for iPhone & Mac), a new version for iPhone and Mac, with the source code posted on CodePlex, our open source code repository," Paoli said.
Also available today is the latest version of Windows Azure Command Line Tools for PHP to the Microsoft Web Platform Installer, which let developers use a simple command-line tool without an Integrated Development Environment to easily package and deploy new or existing PHP applications to Windows Azure.
CoApp, a CodePlex Foundation project, aims to create a vibrant Open Source ecosystem on Windows by providing the technologies needed to build a complete community-driven Package Management System, along with tools to make it easier for open source developers to build applications targeting the Windows platform.
There are currently 12 committers to the project and those interested in joining can get more information here.
All of this underscores Microsoft's ongoing commitment to openness, from the way it build products, collaborates with customers, and works with others in the industry, while Geeknet, Inc. recently reported that there are some 350,000 Open Source projects now compatible with Windows.
You can find an overview of Microsoft's OSCON presentations here, while more information about open source updates and technical bridges is available here.
by Peter Galli on July 15, 2010 05:59pm
Version 1.0 of the Microsoft Biology Foundation (MBF), which is licensed under the OSI-approved Microsoft Public License, has shipped.
MBF is a language-neutral bioinformatics toolkit built as an extension to the Microsoft .NET Framework, initially aimed at the area of Genomics research.
Currently, it implements a range of parsers for common bioinformatics file formats; a range of algorithms for manipulating DNA, RNA, and protein sequences; and a set of connectors to biological web services such as NCBI BLAST.
The MBF executables, source code, demo applications, and documentation are freely downloadable. The source code and development of MBF is managed on this CodePlex site, but all downloads are hosted on the Microsoft Research site here.
by Peter Galli on July 06, 2010 04:47pm
Late last week, Jean-Philippe Courtois, the President of Microsoft International, gave a talk titled "A Perspective on Openness" at the Universite du SI in Paris.
Courtois' speech explored the various definitions of openness, and how "open" and "closed" technologies can effectively coexist. "In particular, though, I shared a couple of the lessons we have learned on our journey toward greater openness. The first lesson is that choice is critical. The second lesson is actually one that transcends all of our business, which is that when the software ecosystem succeeds, we succeed," he said in a blog post.
Courtois also discussed how Microsoft's commitment to openness has influenced its approach to cloud computing. "I believe that these two lessons I discussed - choice and ecosystem - are fundamental to the success of any player who wants to lead in the cloud computing space. Choice is important because when it comes to openness, one of the concerns we hear is a fear of vendor lock-in. Choice is critical to adoption. This underlines the fact that the cloud creates both opportunities and responsibilities," he said.
You can read the full blog post here.
by Brett Shoemaker on July 01, 2010 12:57pm
Not only did a few of us spend last week in Boston for Red Hat Summit, but also we presented. Yes, Microsoft presented at Red Hat Summit ... and drew a nice crowd.
If you're a regular Port 25 follower, you are likely aware of the ongoing work we have been doing around the Linux Integration Services for Hyper-V. Well, this session was a continuation of that effort, focusing on the combined work of Microsoft and Red Hat to make our platforms run well on each other's virtualization offerings. If you're interested, it's similar to the presentation that we gave at Microsoft's TechEd 2010 conference a few weeks ago.
The reason for our presence at Red Hat Summit is a simple. We recognize that whether by design, by acquisition, or by accident, there are a mix of platforms in most IT environments. Yes, Microsoft and Red Hat compete and will continue to do so, but our customers' mixed environments require interoperable solutions.
The questions from Red Hat's attendees were no different than those from attendees at Microsoft's events. Interest is high, and customers want to know where the capabilities are today and what is coming in the future.
And, most importantly, how can I try it out (for free)? If you are wondering about the answer to that last one, you can they get the Integration Component code here and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, our free, stand-alone hypervisor, here. Plus, there are great "How to" videos and blogs for installing, running, and backing up Linux on Hyper-V (#1, #2, #3).
To be honest, I expected more looks of surprise when I told attendees that I worked for Microsoft but that wasn't the case at all. Maybe it was because Red Hat executives, in their keynotes, recognized that Red Hat Enterprise Linux often runs virtualized on Hyper-V, but I think more likely it was because it just makes sense that we would be there.
After all, we are there because our customers demand it, and Microsoft is committed to meeting the needs of our customers.
by Garrett Serack on June 24, 2010 04:21pm
It has been nearly three months since launching the CoApp project, and in that time I've been absolutely amazed at the response that we've gotten, and the community folks that have jumped on board. As a matter of fact, it's been far busier than I had hoped, and was prepared for.
Initially, I thought that we'd see a few people interested, and maybe two or three volunteer to become committers, and we'd start slowly and build up to actually producing something. Well, within a week or two of the kickoff of the project,130 people joined the developer mailing list, and we've got 13 committers.
Unexpected rapid growth causes its own problems, first being the lack of something for 13 people to actually start working on, and a definite gap between the vision that I had started with and what everyone understood to be the ‘plan'. On top of that, the sheer number of people both internally and externally to Microsoft who wanted to know more and how they could start using it made it a challenge to answer their questions, make the appearances to talk about CoApp, put enough design in place to unblock committers, and oh, wait, actually produce code!
Early on, one of the problems I had is that folks didn't quite know exactly what we would be producing, so I wrote out seven points that describe the scope that the CoApp project is focused on:
With that in mind, we could move forward.
In mid-May, Microsoft hosted the CoApp Design and Development summit, where 13 folks from around the world came to Redmond. We spent two days going over my initial vision, adding in everyone's ideas, and finally fleshing out some of the design and the plan moving forward. As is typical with this type of project, folks are more interested in coding than documenting, but we're slowly filling in the blanks. (Our rough notes on Day 1 and Day 2. Oooh--And some pictures!)
To match Point #1 on our list of what CoApp is, we have to crystallize what exactly a CoApp-style package looks like. Initially, I had thought that there would be several package types (apps, shared libraries, source code, static libraries, drivers, etc...) but during the summit we came up with a change to that.
A package can contain multiple roles; each role installs a particular type of thing. So, there are several role types (App, shared library, source code, developer library, and drivers) This subtle yet important difference allows collections of things to be versioned as a group and cuts down on the number of packages for a particular purpose. We also studied in depth how complicated things like Perl and Python will need to be assembled in order to provide the flexibility and power they require.
Some of the details (notably device drivers, the concepts of feature advertisement and product composition necessary for things like Python) we're putting off until later to have a bit of experience and understanding how well our design works for the less complex packages. So, other than that I'm fairly sure that we've got a pretty good idea of how those packages are going to look. Certainly it's enough information for me to hand-roll some MSIs that we can use for testing.
I've also spent a bunch of time setting up project infrastructure and the skeleton code and build system for the sub-projects on Launchpad. It's now possible to actually build CoApp, even though nothing actually does anything. This allows some unblocking of the developers who wanted to get cracking.
Currently, we're working on Point #2, which is split into a couple of separate tracks. The CoApp client engine (which is the client component that handles all the magic at install time) is being led by Elizabeth Smith. Elizabeth is a well-known open source (PHP, gtk and others) developer who has wide expertise in C and Windows. The other track is the developer tools where I'm working with a handful of developers to begin fleshing out their design and start cranking out code over the summer.
I would also like to thank all of the committers who came out to the Design & Development Summit in May: Elizabeth Smith, Rafael Rivera, Adam Kennedy, Trent Nelson, Philip Allison, Adam Baxter, Jonathan Ben-Joseph, Ted Bullock, Nasser Dassi, Trevor Dennis, Olaf Vanderspek, Kevin Moore, Mark Stone and Rob Mensching.
Your efforts are greatly appreciated, and I'm looking forward to continuing to work together.
by Peter Galli on June 15, 2010 09:25am
Scott Guthrie, a Corporate Vice President in Microsoft's Developer Division, has announced on his blog that a prototype of a new jQuery Globalization Plugin has been released to the community as open source.
You can download the prototype for the jQuery Globalization plugin from the Github repository here, and download a set of samples that demonstrate some simple use-cases with it here.
The release of this latest plugin follows the news last month that Microsoft was starting to make code contributions to jQuery and the first code contributions it was working on: jQuery Templates and Data Linking support.
"I'm excited about our continuing participation in the jQuery community. This Globalization plugin is the third jQuery plugin that we've released. We've really appreciated all of the great feedback and design suggestions on the jQuery templating and data-linking prototypes that we released earlier this year. We also want to thank the jQuery and jQuery UI teams for working with us to create these plugins," Guthrie said.
by Peter Galli on June 11, 2010 08:45am
My former colleague Ryan Naraine over at ZDNet wrote a blog last week about Microsoft's Anti-Cross Site Scripting Library v3.1, an open source Web Protection Library consisting of a set of .NET assemblies designed to help developers protect web sites from cross-site scripting attacks.
The RTM version of the Anti-Cross Site Scripting Library v3.1 was released last year under the Open Source Microsoft Public License, and contains a number of new features.
In its overview of the Anti-Cross Site Scripting Library V3.1, Microsoft says it is an encoding library designed to help developers protect their ASP.NET web-based applications from XSS attacks. It differs from most encoding libraries in that it uses the white-listing technique - sometimes referred to as the principle of inclusions - to provide protection against XSS attacks.
"This approach works by first defining a valid or allowable set of characters, and encodes anything outside this set (invalid characters or potential attacks). The white-listing approach provides several advantages over other encoding schemes.
"New features in this version of the Microsoft Anti-Cross Site Scripting Library include an expanded white list that supports more languages, performance improvements, performance data sheets (in the online help), support for Shift_JIS encoding for mobile browsers, a sample application, a Security Runtime Engine (SRE) HTTP module, and HTML Sanitization methods to strip dangerous HTML scripts," it says.
The binary can be downloaded here, and more information can be found on the project's CodePlex site.
by Peter Galli on June 03, 2010 05:05pm
The Interoperability Strategy team today announced that it has produced, in partnership with PHP developer Cal Evans, the Bing 404 for WordPress plugin. This new plugin leverages the Bing Search Library for PHP, which was released earlier this week.
When added to a WordPress based website, the Bing 404 for WordPress plugin, which Microsoft is making available through the WordPress Plugin Directory, ensures that visitors to the site who request a page that would normally produce a 404 error, will now get a custom page with dynamic Bing search links related to the information they were looking for.
You can find more information about the Bing 404 for WordPress plugin on Microsoft's Interoperability blog and on this tutorial posted by Cal Evan.More information on the Bing Search Library for PHP can be found here.
by Peter Galli on June 01, 2010 07:59pm
For those of you interested in Windows Azure, an open platform on which applications written in .NET, PHP, or Java can run, the Windows Azure team has just posted a new video to MSDN on how to create and run a Java application in Windows Azure.
In the video, Scott Golightly creates a simple Java application that runs under Apache Tomcat, and then shows how that can be packaged up and deployed to the Windows Azure development fabric.
by Peter Galli on May 24, 2010 12:34pm
Microsoft today announced the availability of two new open source projects - the PST Data Structure View Tool and the PST File Format SDK - both of which are available on CodePlex under the Apache 2.0 license.
These two new open source tools complement the technical documentation recently released for Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders (.pst) and, combined, advance interoperability with data stored in .pst files, reflecting customer requests for greater access to data stored and shared in digital formats generated by Microsoft Outlook and for enhanced data portability.
The PST Data Structure View Tool allows developers to browse the internal data structures of a PST file and is designed to assist people who are learning the .pst format and help them to better understand the documentation, while the PST File Format SDK is a cross platform C++ library for reading .pst files that can be incorporated into solutions that run on top of the .pst file format. Going forward, the ability to write data to .pst files will be added to the SDK.
Developers can use these resources to more easily build solutions, including competitive products, that run on top of the .pst file format, unlocking data stored in .pst files in simple and more complex scenarios, including archive search, e-discovery and corporate compliance, and uploading data to the cloud.
The technical documentation makes it easier for developers to read and write data out of .pst files on any platform, regardless of whether Microsoft Outlook is installed. Until now, developers could access the data stored in .pst file format using Messaging Application Programming Interface and the Outlook Object Model - a set of connections to data stored by Outlook and Exchange Server and available when Outlook was installed on the desktop.
The .pst file format documentation reflects feedback from a community of reviewers and is available here. It follows the publication of thousands of pages of protocols provided since the release of the 2007 Microsoft Office Suite Service Pack 2 and the publication of the Outlook Personal Folders File Format (.pst) Structure Specification under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise.
Increasing access to information and transparency is central to the Microsoft Interoperability Principles announced in 2008. More information about the .pst File Format SDK and .pst Data Structure View is available here.
You can also watch a White Boarding session on YouTube, as well as learn more about the story behind the PST Open Source projects on Channel 9.
by Peter Galli on May 21, 2010 02:02pm
The good work on the Interoperability front continues with today's release of a WordPress plugin that enables WordPress to use Windows Azure Storage Service to host media for a WordPress-powered blog.
This plugin was developed directly by Microsoft's Interoperability team and released to the WordPress community.
The Windows Azure Storage plugin for WordPress allows developers running their own instance of WordPress to take advantage of the Windows Azure Storage services, including the Content Delivery Network (CDN) feature. It provides a consistent storage mechanism for WordPress Media in a scale-out architecture where the individual web servers don't share a disk.
This scenario could also be very compelling to any other web application where there's a need to load balance across a number of web servers without shared disk.
This is yet another good example of how Microsoft is actively participating in, and contributing to, the Open Source community.
You can find more information on this at the Interopeability blog, and developers can try it out here.
by Peter Galli on May 10, 2010 11:38am
More good news on the Interoperability front: the new phpBB release is now available for installation from the Windows Web Application Gallery and Web Platform Installer (Web PI) for Windows, IIS and SQL Server.
Version 3.0.7-PL1 of phpBB takes advantage of a number of features for PHP applications on the Microsoft Web Platform with Windows, IIS and SQL Server, including SQL Server Driver for PHP 1.1, which provides key interoperability for PHP applications to use SQL Server or SQL Azure for data storage, and is released under the OSI approved MS-PL license and available on CodePlex.
It also takes advantage of WinCache Extension for PHP 1.0.1, which provides increased performance for PHP applications on Windows and IIS, and which is released under the BSD license and available from the PHP Extension Community Library (PECL) website.
This is just another example of Microsoft's commitment to enabling interoperability of the Microsoft Web Platform. As part of the process, Microsoft contributed a patch to the phpBB project to allow it to interoperate with SQL Server using Microsoft's SQL Server Driver for PHP, and then worked very closely with members of the phpBB core team to accept our patch contribution.
The SQL Server Driver for PHP 1.1, released in October 2009, provides UTF-8 support, Multiple Active Record Sets (MARS) and the option to leverage SQL Azure and to deploy as a full or partial cloud solution.
Microsoft also worked with the phpBB Core Team to help enable phpBB to leverage the WinCache Extension for PHP. WinCache provides performance benefits for PHP applications on Windows and IIS and is released under the BSD license, with the source hosted and maintained on the PHP Extension Community Library (PECL).
For more information on this news, you can read the Web Platform blog, the SQL Server PHP blog, Josh Holmes' blog, and the phpBB blog.
This release by the phpBB community is another great example of how Microsoft is working with the PHP community to provide higher levels of interoperability and performance as well as providing customers the choice of running the applications they want on the Microsoft Web Platform.
by Peter Galli on May 06, 2010 12:08pm
The latest update to CodePlex, Microsoft's Open Source software project hosting repository, brings integration with PreEmptive Solutions' Runtime Intelligence Service, which lets users instrument their applications to get analytics on their runtime usage.
While CodePlex has long offered reports on what user activity occurs on the project Web site, what happened after the user downloaded the software was unknown. Now, using the analytics capability of this application, CodePlex users can see information like how many people are using the application.
The Runtime Intelligence Service lets developers inject usage instrumentation directly into application binaries. When the application is run by an end-user, the instrumentation will collect analytics data from the application, but no personally identifiable information is ever collected, and applications can include opt-out dialogues.
You can read more about this news on the CodePlex blog.
It is also important to point out that while this application monitoring will be available to every CodePlex project (there are currently more than 14,000 of these), it is not required. Also, developers using Visual Studio 2010 do not need to license any additional software, while other development teams can use the commercial Dotfuscator edition to inject instrumentation.
Developers can find additional documentation and a tutorial here.
This update follows one earlier this year where CodePlex announced support for Mercurial, a distributed source control management system. New projects created on CodePlex.com can now be use either Team Foundation Server or Mercurial as the source control repository.
by Peter Galli on April 19, 2010 04:08pm
Microsoft today announced at DrupalCon 2010 the release of a Community Technology Preview of the new SQL Server Driver for PHP 2.0 with support for PHP Data Objects.
This is a new technical bridge for PHP developers that will make it less complex for them to target multiple databases, and make it easier for PHP applications like the upcoming Drupal 7 release to interoperate smoothly with SQL Server 2005 and all later versions.
The CTP release gives developers the chance to check out the tool and provide feedback ahead of the release of the final version in the second half of this year.
Drupal is an open source Content Management System written in PHP software. In order for SQL Server to work with Drupal 7, it needs a PDO driver and Drupal Abstraction Layer for that database.
Microsoft is providing the PDO driver for SQL 2005 and later, and the Commerce Guys, a company that provides ecommerce solutions with Drupal, is releasing the Drupal Database Abstraction Layer for SQL Server 2005 and later.
The Commerce Guys presented at DrupalCon 2010 a beta version of Drupal 7 running on SQL Server using this new SQL Server driver with PDO.
Being able to access SQL Server through PDO will benefit PHP developers by reducing the complexity of targeting multiple databases and will make it easier to take advantage of SQL Server features such as business intelligence & reporting as well as SQL Azure features like exposing OData feeds.
For more technical information on this latest technical bridge, read Ashay Chaudhary's blog post, as well as the SQL Server Driver for PHP team blog.
This latest initiative is just one of many that underscore Microsoft's broad commitment to openness through expanding choice and opportunity for customers, partners and developers.
by Peter Galli on April 15, 2010 05:29pm
Silverlight 4 was released to the Web today. Developers can use Silverlight 4 to create great applications and rich, compelling user experiences, both on and off the Web.
The release-to-the-Web edition can be downloaded here at no cost.
Some 90% of the most commonly requested features were incorporated into Silverlight 4, which is currently installed on almost 60% of all internet devices and more than half of US broadband PCs, Scott Guthrie, a Corporate Vice President in Microsoft's Developer Division, said earlier this year.
A number of customers, including Snapflow, Seesmic and H&R Block, as well as numerous Microsoft properties such as Xbox, Bing and MSN, are all already using Silverlight to create compelling user experiences.
Silverlight 4 also extends beyond the browser, and brings improved out-of-browser capabilities, enabling new experiences that reach deeper into the desktop without additional code or runtimes required.
Webcam and microphone with local recording capability opens new possibilities for innovative interactive media experiences, while native multicast support enables efficient enterprise-wide training and internal communications behind the firewall.
Full support for Silverlight in Visual Studio 2010 gives enterprise developers a tried and trusted development environment and languages that scales for mission-critical enterprise scenarios, while integration with Microsoft Office and Microsoft SharePoint bring the benefits of Silverlight interactivity to a broad enterprise install base, Guthrie said.
Enhanced printing, networking, databinding, reporting and charting capabilities satisfy common business needs, while Silverlight has a growing library of over 60 customizable controls to create rich, interactive applications to rapidly build attractive, functional business applications.
Microsoft also has extended support for Google's Chrome browser with Silverlight 4.
Microsoft is also working with the open source community to ensure that Silverlight content is available to them. Earlier this year, Moonlight 2.0 was released. Moonlight is an open source project that gives Linux users access to Microsoft Silverlight content, and is available for all major Linux distributions, including openSUSE, SUSE Linux Enterprise, Fedora, Red Hat, and Ubuntu.