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by Peter Galli on November 02, 2010 08:30am
At the annual ZendCon 2010 in Santa Clara, CA today, Zend Technologies announced general availability of Zend Framework 1.11, the latest release of its PHP application framework, which adds support for mobile application development and now includes the open source Simple Cloud API, allowing PHP developers to build portable cloud applications.
The Zend Framework is a PHP application framework with more than 15 million downloads and over 500 contributors, including Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Adobe and Google.
According to Zend's announcement, Zend Framework 1.11 gives developers access to the first deliverables for the Simple Cloud API project, including:
Windows Azure access from the Simple Cloud API is made possible by the Windows Azure SDK for PHP, a project sponsored by Microsoft and developed by RealDolmen. This is yet another example of Microsoft's continuous commitment to the openness of Windows Azure Platform by working with larger open source community.
For its part, Microsoft is pleased to see the role this project is playing in "driving adoption among PHP developers for cloud computing platforms, and hope that many of these developers will be encouraged to use Windows Azure," says Jean Paoli, General Manager of Interoperability Strategy at Microsoft Corp.
"The Simple Cloud API is an important catalyst for open and interoperable cloud computing, and Microsoft has an ongoing investment in the Simple Cloud API project, together with Zend and other contributors," Paoli says.
by Peter Galli on November 09, 2010 11:15am
In case you missed it last week, Microsoft has made the version 2.0 of the F# compiler and core libraries available under the Apache 2.0 license to help education and tool development.
The source code is published as part of the F# PowerPack CodePlex project, which now includes libraries, tools and the compiler/library source code drops. F# is a functional programming language.
The code was previously made available under a Microsoft shared-source license, and the binary versions have been available for downloading at no cost, either as a stand-alone package or as a plug-in to Visual Studio.
This release changes all that and the development team is now moving to a "code drop" model, where new versions of compiler library code will be released along with new releases of the language itself as part of the F# PowerPack.
In a blog post announcing all this, Don Syme, a principal researcher for Microsoft Research and the person who developed and maintains the code, says this release reinforces the commitment Microsoft is making to F#, including F# in Visual Studio.
"The real focus of F# is a quality experience of functional programming in Visual Studio, and that is what our team are driven to achieve and what we live for. To augment this, we are glad to be able to provide a compiler/library source drop, and are excited about the role this can play for education and tool development," he says.
by Peter Galli on November 10, 2010 01:53pm
My colleague Nik Garkusha, the Open Source strategy lead for Microsoft Canada, just posted a blog about their work to integrate the Drupal Open Source Content Management System with the Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI), Microsoft's Open Source solution for Open Data catalogues.
It's a great blog and so I'm posting it here in full.
Over the last few months our Openness Lab at Microsoft Canada has been working with David Eaves, Drupal developer experts Raised Eyebrow and his volunteer team on the next version of dataDOTgc.ca. Our objective: add a way to store, browse & access data sets via APIs. Our approach: integrate Open Source CMS platform Drupal with Microsoft's Open Source solution for Open Data catalogues: Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI) .
DataDotGC.ca is a citizen-led open government data portal for Canada, built in Drupal and using CKAN (the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network) for cataloguing the data (more on the original development here). The original v1 version did not store any datasets (only linked to them), but that capability was desired for v2, so David and his team decided to see how Microsoft's OGDI could provide that capability.
OGDI is an open-source solution to load and store open data; it uses Windows Azure cloud-based platform and includes a Data Service and a Data Browser provides an easy way to access, browse & filter datasets.
So, we decided to put the two together: Drupal + OGDI = DataDOTgc.ca (v2) !!
First, we created an OGDI instance for DataDOTgc.ca, by downloading OGDI v2 latest code from Codeplex, then building, configuring & deploying to Azure. See the videos on how-to do it here. Technically, we only needed OGDI's Data Service component, which outputs XML of the data, which means we could could then read the XML of the data sets from Drupal. But, to get started we played around by loading data from the City of Edmonton's open data catalogue data.edmonton.ca which also uses OGDI. Still, for dataDOTgc.ca we went ahead and deployed the full OGDI package
Second, we asked for some expert help from Colin at Raised Eyebrow Studios in Vancouver, who wrote some nifty code to parse the XML produced by OGDI's data service, and bring it in a nicely-formatted JQuery table right into Drupal. The code was packaged up into an OGDI Field Module, which adds a CCK field to any content type, and accepts a valid URL to a OGDI dataset as input, and outputs a slick, themed scrollable, filterable, sortable, searchable table and a map displaying that data.
The end-result is having a method of displaying data stored in OGDI instances on Drupal-powered websites. In the case of DataDOTgc.ca we could now enable loading the data using OGDI Data Loader to store a data set, like this one, and have it into appear in DataDOTgc here: http://www.datadotgc.ca/dataset/emitter_facility_data The nice thing is that we can also integrate any other OGDI-based dataset, like the one for Edmonton Historical Buildings just as easily into DataDOTgc just like this.
This project is just another demonstration of the power of mixed environments, Azure cloud & integrating open source and Microsoft solutions.
by Andrew Gordon on November 16, 2010 01:15pm
A large amount of the innovation in the software world is happening on the web and in the cloud, and in addition to that, we are seeing increased awareness and acceptance of open source software on the Microsoft Windows platforms.
Microsoft's Certified for Windows programs are well known for indicating software and hardware products that have been thoroughly tested to work well on Microsoft Windows and as of today, SilverStripe CMS is the first Open Source web application to complete the comprehensive testing necessary to achieve "Certified for Windows Server 2008 R2" status.
Sigurd Magnusson, the co-founder of the Silverstripe.org project and business relationship manager for SilverStripe.com says that the Windows Server certification highlights the fact that its product development has been done to Microsoft best practices and that an independent certification partner rigorously tested its software.
"We're proud because all of the people who have been asking for our software to run on Windows now know that it runs really well. It's also pleasing to be a global milestone in corporate IT accepting and embracing open source software," he said.
This is also a highpoint for Microsoft Windows in our ongoing efforts to provide a truly open platform that provides the broadest set of choices for everyone. This reflects the broader landscape of Open Source and Microsoft being implemented together in enterprise customer environments, and we hope this will encourage other high quality Open Source products to work towards Windows Server 2008 R2 Certification so as to underline their enterprise credibility.
A more detailed case study can be found here. Details on Microsoft's certification programs can be found here.
by Andrew Gordon on November 17, 2010 02:45pm
The Open Education Resource (OER) Foundation at Otago Polytechnic, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, and Microsoft have worked together to develop an open source extension for Microsoft Word. The extension, written in C#, allows learning material developed in Microsoft Office to be saved directly to MediaWiki based repositories such as WikiEducator.
The free tool can be downloaded here and, once installed, adds a "MediaWiki" option to the standard ‘Save As' functionality in Microsoft Word. The source code, which provides a reference for others interested in adding custom ‘Save As' functionality to Microsoft Office, is available under the OSI approved Apache 2.0 license and can be downloaded here.
Peter Harrison, Vice President of the New Zealand Open Source Society, welcomed this release. "The Internet provides humanity with an unequalled opportunity to leverage our communication technology to educate people across the globe. Through collaborative technologies such as Wiki, people can work together to create rich common resources that are open to all. By enabling users to export their content from Word into MediaWiki, Microsoft are encouraging the availability of a far wider range of educational resources online," he said.
This project demonstrates the open, extensible and interoperable nature of the Microsoft Office suite suite the underlying Windows operating system, and further demonstrates the increasing connection between open source development and the Microsoft platform.
This project is complementary to Microsoft's continued investment in innovation in education through programs such as Partners in Learning (PIL). More information about PIL can be found here.
You can also find more information about Microsoft's Openness collaborations here.
by Peter Galli on November 22, 2010 01:45pm
Microsoft Canada has used the launch of its new localized Port 25 site with a nine part video series documenting the teachings of The Yorkville Media Centre, commonly known as the YMC.
Julia Stowell, the Community Manager for Microsoft Canada, reports that over a period of nine weeks, participants embark on a journey of learning how to build a website, along with course materials, which will equip each student with the ability to teach their own “YMC” type of class - to their own communities, friends, and whoever else will listen.
The class project is to build an enhanced YMC site that will promote community building and sharing. Look for a new video each week here and follow along with the YMC family. The new YMC site will launch in January of 2011. You’ll be able to find all the resources including student discussion, links to technologies used, and session presentations.
You can read Julia's full blog post here.