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by Peter Galli on January 14, 2010 01:16pm
The Canadian City of Edmonton has become the first North American city to use Microsoft's Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI) solution, and is working with the company to develop the region's first public open data catalogue, an online site that will give citizens and developers easier and more transparent access to information and allow them to develop new solutions and suggest ideas that enhance public infrastructure and services.
The solution for the City of Edmonton uses open source components along with Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud operating system, and was quickly implemented at a low cost. The use of open standards and application programming interfaces lets local developers and City IT staff easily retrieve data for use in new and innovative online applications or mashups that can help improve citizen services, enhance collaboration between the City and private organizations, and increase City transparency.
According to Chris Moore, the CIO of the City of Edmonton, the open data catalogue underscores its commitment to enhancing engagement and collaboration with the citizens and community developers of Edmonton. "By moving to a more open model and working with Microsoft, we hope to harness the talent and innovation that resides locally to drive Edmonton forward," he said in a press statement.
John Weigelt, the National Technology Officer for Microsoft Canada, is also upbeat about the positive effects of cloud computing on cost and complexity. "OGDI-based solutions not only provide easy access to government data, but also demonstrate how cloud computing can help significantly reduce the cost, complexity and time to market for solutions that consume the data. Citizens and community developers will now be able to help solve the business needs of the City of Edmonton, resulting in new solutions in a very short amount of time," he said in the press statement.
Microsoft announced the OGDI initiative in May 2009, with the goal of reducing the cost of publishing government data while simplifying data access by leveraging cloud computing and open standards, which is exactly what has been achieved with Edmonton. More information on OGDI can be found here.
by Jialiang on January 18, 2010 12:33pm
Are you looking for good and well documented working code samples of Microsoft development technologies? Well, if you are, the Microsoft Community Support team has prepared an all-in-one code framework for you, which is easy to learn and use - the essence of development.
The All-In-One Code Framework, which is licensed under the OSI-approved MS-PL, delineates the framework and skeleton of almost all Microsoft development techniques through typical sample codes in three popular programming languages:Visual C#, VB.NET, Visual C++.
Each sample is selected, composed, and documented to demonstrate a coding scenario that is frequently-asked for, tested, or used, based on the community team's customer support experience in MSDN newsgroups and forums.
There are already over 300 code samples in the set. They cover 24 Microsoft development technologies, including Silverlight, Windows Forms, and WPF. The collection is growing at a rate of some six samples a week.
You can find the up-to-date list of samples in All-In-One Code Framework Sample Catalog, or follow the project on Twitter.
For example, here is the layout of code samples for the Microsoft Component Object Model (COM) technology:
Here is what you get in the Silverlight download for September:
This sample code project has the following unique features:
Besides these unique features, the code examples in the All-In-One Code Framework are typical, extensible, structured, complete, well-documented, and easy to understand.
If you have any feedback on the project or questions about its samples, please post them on the project Discussion board, or via the project feedback address.
More information about All-In-One Code Framework can also be found at the following resources:
All-In-One Code Framework Homepage and Download
Project blogs on MSDN
All-In-One Code Framework KB articles
All-In-One Code Framework Twitter
by saraford on January 20, 2010 01:29pm
In my previous post, I discussed how "not designing the full 100 percent is a true blessing in disguise" that enables Course Correction in an Agile team. In this post, you'll learn how the CodePlex team puts Agile to work in developing the CodePlex software.
Putting It All Together: How We Build the CodePlex Software
On CodePlex.com, we deploy every three weeks using five week deployment cycles, as shown below. We spend approximately two weeks of new feature work, with one week of bug fixing/ course correction/ adding more work. Next, we cut the Release Candidate (RC), where we fork the code, so the test team can start the full test pass (regression testing) on the RC bits, and the devs can start new feature work on the "Main" code branch. If we find bugs in the RC, we fix both the RC branch and the Main branch.
Besides our three week deployments, the biggest advantage of Agile to me, as the Program Manager, is that we all sit in one team room, with the idea being that the most effective means of communication is key. Got a question? Ask the room. Never be blocked due to communication.
As shown below, all the devs sit together at the pairing stations (to the right), and over on the left is where the test team sits. A few months after taking this photo, I changed seats with the development lead so that I could face the corner. I'm a very visual person, so sitting in the corner is less distracting for me. Just like our feature designs, we even apply the "course correction" concept to our own internal processes, like making this desk change tweak.
While, for our internal processes, we're using a variation of Extreme Programming (XP), we are following the XP process about 90 percent of the way. Other agile aspects include:
If I could go back in time, this post on my personal blog is what I wished I could have told myself about Agile development on my first day on the CodePlex team. Of course, I realize that every Agile team is different, and the concept of Agile itself has its own challenges, just like any other software engineering methodology.
It is my hope that if you are on an Agile team outside of the development role, these series of blog posts has helped you in some way. I hope that, at least, you've learned that you are not alone in figuring out what agile means to the non-developer disciplines.
by Peter Galli on January 23, 2010 08:00am
The CodePlex team announced last night that it now supports Mercurial, a distributed source control management system. New projects created on CodePlex.com will now be able to use either Team Foundation Server or Mercurial as the source control repository.
Current project owners who want to switch to Mercurial can do so by contacting CodePlex Support with the project name, and the team will gladly assist.
Mercurial is a Distributed Version Control System (DVCS) and, unlike Team Foundation Server, DVCS has a very different model for collaborating on an open source project:
So, why the need for another option? According to Sara Ford, the Program Manager for CodePlex, adding DVCS to CodePlex has become a top feature request from users as the popularity of DVCS for open source development has grown significantly.
"Mercurial is one of the most popular distributed version control systems and offers great support for Windows based tools as well as works very well as a hosted service," she says.
by Peter Galli on January 28, 2010 05:12pm
Zend Technologies today released the Zend Framework 1.10, the latest version of its open source PHP web application framework, which includes support for Windows Azure cloud services - a project that was started last year when Microsoft announced the Windows Azure SDK for PHP CTP release and upcoming support in Zend Framework.
Developers can now use the new Zend_Service_WindowsAzure component contributed by Microsoft to the Zend Framework open source project, to easily call Windows Azure APIs from their PHP applications to accelerate web application development and scale up on demand.
Zend_Service_WindowsAzure provides interfaces for all Windows Azure storage services, including Blob Storage, Table Storage and Queue Service. These services enable persistent, redundant storage in the cloud.
Zeev Suraski, the Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Zend, believes that the ubiquity, simplicity and flexibility of PHP make it ideal for building cloud applications. "Native Windows Azure support in Zend Framework 1.10 brings the power of Windows Azure to a substantial community of Zend Framework users," he said in a press statement.
For his part, Jean Paoli, the General Manager for Interoperability at Microsoft, says that Microsoft’s decision to contribute PHP-based Windows Azure components to Zend Framework helps demonstrate the company's commitment to openness and interoperability by providing greater choice and opportunity for Microsoft customers and partners.
This news also means that PHP developers now have great choice when it comes to writing web applications targeting Windows Azure. As Vijay Rajagopalan, a Principal Architect at Microsoft notes in his blog on the news, besides the Windows Azure SDK included in Zend Framework, there is the Windows Azure SDK for PHP which is already prepackaged in Windows Azure tools for Eclipse and the simpler Simple Cloud API.
All of this is also particularly well aligned with the Windows Azure Interoperability approach, as well as to Microsoft's overall interoperability effort around PHP.
The Zend Framework 1.10 can be downloaded here.