Partner Technical Services Blog

A worldwide group of consultants who focus on helping Microsoft Partners succeed throughout the business cycle.

May, 2013

  • SQLite WinRT wrapper for Windows Phone

    Wanted to share a very nice posting from our friends over at the Windows Phone Developer Blog.  If you are thinking about ways to build a cross-platform enterprise solution, consider the SQLite WinRT wrapper.  Full post at the link:

  • Developer Partners, I Want Your Feedback

    Calling all developers. I’m one of the Product Managers who determines what kind of technical content we should produce for you, the development partners, during the year.  It could be short training, blogs, videos, white papers, chalk talks, web casts, etc. So, I want to hear from you.  There are two questions.  Use the comments below to submit feedback. 

    1. What are topics that are important to your business that you’d like to learn more about in the next few months?  Is it Azure, Windows Store Applications, Migrating old apps from Windows XP, Dynamics, or something else?

    2.  What are the top ways you prefer to learn new things?  Are you happy with short videos, long videos, blogs, etc?  Any examples or links to things (no advertising your own stuff please Smile) that were done well?

    Thanks for your feedback. 

    Oh, and one more thing.  If you want to send me feedback directly send it to  And, if  you are going to WPC in July, I’ll be there and would love to meet you, so drop me a line!

    Happy Developing.

  • Premier Field Engineering Shares their Development Experiences

    Microsoft has a team of highly skilled engineers that are out there in the trenches every day working with customers.  The development focused folks on that team are sharing some of their experiences on the team blog.  If you haven’t seen this blog I highly recommend you follow it.  It is a great place to spend some time understanding some of the challenges (and hopefully) solutions these Premier engineers are experiencing.

    Happy developing!

  • Windows 8 App Mashup Webcast Series (free live workshops)



    Join Microsoft Technical Evangelists for four app mashup webcasts designed to walk you through start to finish for your Windows 8 app in one hour. Featuring starter kits based on APIs from Yelp, Bing, Mashery, Facebook, Twitter and Meetup, these workshops are great for students, hobbyists and professional developers who want to learn the basics of app development and publish their first app to the store.

    Each session will run from Noon - 1pm EDT. Attend one or all four webcasts, you decide. For more details or to register, choose a webcast below.

    6/5/2013 | Windows 8 App Mashup : Exploring the Mashery APIs
    In this workshop you will learn how to develop Windows 8 apps using Mashery API's including Tom-Tom, Edmunds, Rotten Tomatoes and We will provide an overview of Mashery the industry leader in API management. We will cover how to access these web service API's from code, deserialize the response into a set of runtime objects that you can bind to Windows 8 UX Controls such as the GridView and the ListView.


    6/12/2013 | Windows 8 App Mashup : Exploring the Social Networking APIs
    In this workshop you will learn how to develop Windows 8 apps using the Twitter, Meetup and Facebook APIs. Twitter, Meetup and Facebook are the premier social networking sites and their API's provide access to Tweets, Meetups and Friends. What a great combination!


    6/19/2013 | Windows 8 App Mashup : Exploring the Yelp API
    In this workshop you will learn how to develop Windows 8 apps using the Yelp API. Yelp is a local business directory service and review site with social networking features. People use Yelp to search for everything from the city's tastiest burger to the most renowned cardiologist.


    6/25/2013 | Windows 8 App Mashup : Exploring the Bing Maps API
    In this workshop you will learn how to develop Windows 8 apps using the Bing Maps API. Bing Maps gives you a rich set of tools to help you create amazing map experiences perfect for mash-ups.


    Don't forget to check out the "Keep the Cash Rewards" offer to see how you can get $100 for publishing your app(s) in the Windows Store and/or Windows Phone Store. Publish your app before June 30, 2013 and you can get a $100 virtual Visa card for every qualified app you enter (up to $2000*). Learn more.

  • WebView Magic Tricks: Zoom Levels

    One of our experts, Matt Small, has just posted an excellent 3 1/2 minute video on using zooming in WebView when building modern style applications.  Matt’s post is copied below:

    One question I've heard a few times in the MSDN Windows Store App forums is about how to resize the content of the WebView.  In my second post of the WebView Magic Tricks series, I explain how we can manipulate the content by using CSS that is fully supported by WebView and apply it without much hassle.  Source code is attached to the post for your convenience.


    If you enjoyed this video, please check out all of our videos at our YouTube channel and be sure to follow us on Twitter @wsdevsol

  • SharePoint Online, External Sharing End-to-End (Ignite Webcast)

    Time/Date: Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 @ 10am PT (60 minutes)

    SharePoint Online has a revamped experience for sharing documents, folders and sites. Users can now share with people outside the company using Guest Links (anonymous) and External Access (authenticated) invitations. And there are key controls for IT administrators to comply with their company’s business preferences, with granular controls unique to individual business units. In our latest Ignite webcast we will share and show the new experiences for sharing, permissions, access requests, external invitations, and how IT can flexibly manage the experience end to end. This is a great opportunity to join Microsoft employees and other Office 365 users for a productive discussion.

    Our webcast will be led by Mark Kashman. Mark is a Senior Product Manager on the SharePoint team focusing primarily on SharePoint Online and SharePoint Mobility – Microsoft’s business collaboration platform in the Cloud. He has worked at Microsoft since 2000, starting with the Academy team – whose focus is on internal training and readiness for the Microsoft Field – then worked for a few years building an asset management solution built on top of SharePoint 2007 before moving to the SharePoint team and into the SharePoint Online role. This is a great opportunity to join a discussion with our Microsoft presenters. Bring your questions!

    And stay until the end for a fun Office Doc scavenger hunt - chance to win a gift card.

    Speaker: Mark Kashman, Senior Product Manager – SharePoint (@mkashman)

    Link to all info & “add calendar reminder”:

  • Dynamics CRM - Creating Workflows (free training)

    The Microsoft Services team is excited to bring some free training on Dynamics CRM 2011.  This training is based on common questions we get from our business partners. This course, "Dynamics CRM 2011 Creating Workflows", will help you understand how to create custom workflows in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  This session will cover some of the common settings and scenarios related to workflow.  You will also get to see live demonstrations of workflows being created and used.

  • Office 365 PowerShell Series

    For Partners only, we have a series of 3 training videos that have just been released to the Partner Learning Center.


    Office 365: PowerShell Series Part 1 - Introduction to PowerShell

    Automation is the key to efficiency. Microsoft Windows PowerShell ® provides a more powerful method of accessing the intimacies of Microsoft Online Services whilst also opening up the possibility to automate Office 365 administrative tasks. This webinar is part 1 of a 3 part PowerShell series. In Part 1 we provide an introduction to PowerShell usage with Office 365. This includes how we connect of Office 365 using PowerShell and an Overview of Office 365 PowerShell cmdlets.

    Office 365: PowerShell Series Part 2 - Digging into PowerShell

    In Part 2 of the PowerShell webinar series we cover essential concepts that are required to get the best understanding of how to interact and use PowerShell. This includes Windows PowerShell Navigation, Working with Objects and PowerShell ISE.

    Office 365: PowerShell Series Part 3 - Dynamic PowerShell Scripts

    In Part 3 of the PowerShell webinar series scripting concepts are introduced to provide the essential knowledge required to dynamically automate and / or simplify repetitive or lengthy tasks. PowerShell functionality covered includes Looping, Conditional Statement Flow, Working with external data and Creating Reusable Scripts.

    For everyone else, make sure to check out Jon Horner’s PowerShell for Common Office 365 Operations, an excellent primer on how to administer Office 365 from the command line!

  • Migrating Mailboxes to Office 365

    In the previous Office 365 Mailbox Migration Strategies session, Gabor discussed the options for migrating mailboxes to Office 365, considerations for choosing a particular migration strategy, and provided an overview of basic and advanced migration methods.

    Now, he dives into how to perform the migration itself:

    Session PowerPoint available here: Migrating Mailboxes to Office 365

  • Lync Online Hybrid Deployment

    Interested in learning more about your options for deploying Lync in a Hybrid configuration with Office 365?

    Join Partner Solution Consultant Saleesh Neduvayalil as he discusses how Microsoft envisions the Lync Hybrid offering in the marketplace, and the various functionality introduced with the offering.  This session covers different scenarios which might require a hybrid deployment of Lync 2013, as well as the requirements and approaches for deploying and migrating services.  The course will conclude with a review of the feature parity between deployment models, user profiles associated with each, and a brief review of the shift from Hybrid Voice to Split-Domain.

    Session PowerPoint Deck available on SkyDrive here:

    Lync Online Hybrid Deployment

  • Is Your App Failing Certification?

    The Microsoft Services team is often called in to help when an application fails certification.  In the videos below, we’ve compiled some of the top reason’s we’ve seen an app fail certification. If you are building a Windows Store application it just might be worth your time to spend a little time watching these videos.  If you have other tips to avoid certification blockers, please share them in the comments below.

    Windows Store - Preparing for Certification (Part 1)

    Windows Store - Preparing for Certification (Part 2)

    Happy Developing.

  • Dynamics CRM - Customizations (free training)

    Once again the Microsoft Services team is excited to bring you some training.  This training, "Dynamics CRM 2011 Customizations", is based on real-life scenarios and questions that have been sent to us.  This course will help non-developers learn how to extend the Dynamics CRM system through the built-in customization options.  In this course you will learn how to add new entities, fields, forms, and many other options.  You will also learn how to export, import, and publish customizations.

  • Dynamics CRM - Creating Dialogs (free training)

    The Microsoft Services team is pleased to bring you some Dynamics CRM training.  Based on real-world questions, the course "Dynamics CRM 2011 Creating Dialogs" will help you understand how to design, build, and implement dialogs.  Dialogs are designed to help Dynamics CRM users manage data process flows with ease.  This session will give you tips on how to get the most out of dialogs, and show you live demos on how to create dialogs.

  • Windows Store App Development - Skill Builder Training

    In case you missed the kickoff to our Windows Store Skill Builder Series, head on over to part 1 to check it out.  In the Intermediate portion of this training we’re excited to bring two new videos. 

    Intermediate Part 1

    In this workshop you’ll learn how to work with Tiles, Snapped Views, and Fill Views when building your app.

    Partner Learning Center - full course.


    Intermediate Part 2

    In this workshop you’ll learn how to implement sharing and search in your app.

    Partner Learning Center - full course.

    Happy Developing!


    The Advanced Videos are now available, be sure to check them out.

  • Spotlight – Windows Dev/Design Center

    If you have ever built a Windows Store application without browsing to Design Center: and Dev Center: then you have missed out on some of the best practices and a wealth of resources you could have leveraged.



    These two sites should be the first destination for anyone building Windows Store Apps. These sites include detailed guidance on:

    User Experience Design

    UX Templates

    UX Patterns


    Design Assets like Adobe Photoshop Files

    Sample Applications

    And more…

    For developers, the sites can be overwhelming when you first visit them as they contain a lot of information for anyone to absorb on a single visit. I recommend you start at the basic tutorials here:

    Create your first Windows Store app using C# or Visual Basic

    Create your first Windows Store app using JavaScript

    Or there is a fantastic HOL for building a Contoso Cookbook.

    For UX designers, the site provides planning & guidance based on already successful apps.

  • How to Demonstrate Office 365 to Customers

    In the past, it could be difficult to demonstrate the Office Server products (SharePoint, Lync, or Exchange) to prospective clients.  You had to setup up your own server, load some demo data, add some sample users, decide what to demo, and carry around a beefy laptop with enough RAM and hard drive to run those servers.

    Fortunately, in an Office 365 world, the process is much simpler.

    As a Microsoft Partner, you have access to the Microsoft Office Demos site at site.


    This site has been set up to allow you access to a demonstration environment and guide materials for the new Office and Office 2013 without requiring a full installation locally.

    Your Microsoft Office demo environment consists of a personalized Office 365 trial tenant created, configured, and populated with demo-ready content by a special provisioning tool (accessible from the Create Demo page of this site). That tenant includes access to trials of the latest Office client products as well. Once your Office 365 tenant is set up, it can be used along with a demo guide to deliver an effective demo to a customer or partner that covers the full range of Office products – including backend (Exchange, SharePoint, Lync) and client (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) products.

    Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) images of the Office 2013 server and client products are hosted on the web and also available for download for those who cannot use Office 365 to perform their demos.

    Your personalized Office demo environment uses the following:

    • Office 365 Enterprise SKU trial tenant (note: this tenant is subject to trial restrictions, including a 30-day expiration) or VHD environment
    • Office Enterprise Hero Demo guide which provides talking script and clicking guidelines

    The set of demo personas and preconfigured content deployed by the provisioning tool correspond to the demo guides and Hands-on Labs created for the new Office and Office 2013 environment. These demos focus on a small set of "hero" personas which are used to walk through the demo steps with minimal changes of user context.

    Talking script and click guideline documents for these demos and Hands-on Labs, as well as more information on the Office demo environment, can be found here.


    With the Demo Content Provisioning wizard, you can create a new demo environment from scratch (which includes setting up and configuring a trial tenant), refresh a demo (so the demo “dates” on e-mails and newsfeed posts are up-to-date), or load the demo content on an existing tenant.  Choose a location for the demo and pick a tenant name, and then sit back and relax as the tenant is provisioned


    While the tenant is provisioning, head over to the Resources page and download the demo guides.  There are separate demo scripts for Enterprise, Small and Midsize Business, as well as for each individual product.


    To help get you started with your Demo, Partner Solution Consultant Jon Horner has recorded a session on “How to Demo Office 365”.  Check it out!

  • Advanced Windows Store App Development using C# Jump Start

    Coming soon is a GREAT opportunity to join us for some exciting learning. This Jump Start provides an accelerated overview of Advanced Windows Store App Development Using C#. This is a course for intermediate to advanced learners and will help you prepare for Microsoft exam 70-485. Microsoft Technical Evangelist Jerry Nixon and the co-founder of Crank211, Daren May will share numerous demos and samples of simple and complex techniques on how to add animations and transitions in a Windows Store app to improve the user experience, how to optimize various storage mechanisms, choose a suitable caching strategy for their Windows Store app, to name a few topics. Get ready for a packed fun and fast paced event!

  • Dealing with Documents: How (not) to use the documentsLibrary capability in Windows Store apps

    Check out the recent post from one of our escalation engineers, Rob Caplan.  If you are building a Windows Store App or know someone who is this just might prove helpful.

    Dealing with Documents: How (not) to use the documentsLibrary capability in Windows Store apps

    Happy Developing!

  • End user training resources for Office 365

    Although we share quite a bit of deep technical training resources here on the Partner Technical Services blog, many of our partners need to train their customers on the basics of using Office 365 or individual applications in the Office 2013 suite.  To that end, the following resources are publicly available and free, and can be shared with your customer as they make the move to Office 365:

    Training resources for Office

    Office 2013 logo

    Office 365

    If your organization signed up for Office 365 and you need to start reading email, sharing documents, and more, see the following resources to get started with Office 365:

    Video (play button) icon

    Office 365 videos

    The following Office 365 videos are available:

    Also available is the following downloadable Office 365 training course, which includes the preceding Office 365 videos to help you learn about Office 365, how to use mail, share documents, and more:

    Office 2013 logo

    Office 2013 suite

    See the Office 2013 clean, new look. The features that you know and use are still there—together with some new features that are big time savers. To get started with Office 2013, see the following resources:

    Access 2013

    Access 2013

    Access 2013 apps are built for the web for easier sharing and collaboration. Access Web App is a new type of database that you build in Access, then use and share with others as a SharePoint app in a web browser. To learn about Access 2013 see the following resources:

    Excel 2013

    Excel 2013

    Excel 2013 has a brand-new look and it's also designed to help you get professional-looking results quickly. To learn about new features in Excel 2013, see the following resources:

    Lync 2013

    Lync 2013

    To learn about getting started with IM, presence, and contacts, and how to set up, join, or share during a Lync 2013 meeting or set up your audio and video, see the following resources:

    Office 2013 logo

    Office Web Apps

    Microsoft Office Web Apps are a part of most Office 365 plans. Depending on the Office 365 plan that you purchase, you can use view and edit documents on the web. To learn about Office Web Apps, see the following resources:

    OneNote 2013

    OneNote 2013

    OneNote 2013 has a fresh, clean look. It is fully integrated with the cloud to enable you to free your files from your computer’s hard disk drives so that your notes and information are saved and searchable wherever you go, on almost any mobile device, tablet, or browser. To learn about OneNote 2013 see the following resources:

    Outlook 2013

    Outlook 2013

    Outlook 2013 has a brand-new look that is cleaner, and helps you focus on what’s important by providing a clear view of email, calendars, and contacts. To learn about Outlook 2013 see the following resources:

    PowerPoint 2013

    PowerPoint 2013

    PowerPoint 2013 has a brand-new look and is optimized for use on tablets and phones so that you can swipe and tap your way through presentations. To learn about PowerPoint 2013 see the following resources:

    Project 2013

    Project 2013

    Project 2013 is a brand-new look and features that include a new set of customizable reports, built-in Lync features, and a task path feature that enables you to highlight how tasks interlink in complex projects. To learn about Project 2013 see the following resources:

    Publisher 2013

    Publisher 2013

    Publisher 2013 provides new ways to work with your pictures. You can use the new picture and text effects to move or swap pictures, and add visual effects to your publications. To learn about Publisher 2013 see the following resources:

    Visio 2013

    Visio 2013

    Visio 2013 has updated diagram templates, new styles, themes, and other useful tools to help you cut the time, you spend drawing. You’ll also find more ways to collaborate on Visio diagrams, and new commenting features. To learn about Visio 2013 see the following resources:

    Word 2013

    Word 2013

    Word 2013 allows you to add an online video, open and edit a PDF file, and easily align pictures and diagrams. The new Read Mode works really well on tablets. Word includes improved collaboration features, and has direct connections to your online spaces and streamlined review features such as Simple Markup and comments. To learn about Word 2013 see the following resources:

    Office Touch Guide

    Users who are new to Office with Windows 8 on a touch screen can learn about touch and gestures in the Office Touch Guide.

  • Build Your Skills and Windows Store Apps Too

    Hi Everyone.  We are excited to bring you the Windows Store Skill Builder Series.  This series is designed to help everyone build some more skills around Windows Store application development.  If you’ve never built an app, this is the place for you.  We’ll start with the basics and let you learn at your own pace.  We’ll throw in some hands on labs and give you the chance to build an app and add in features each step of the way.

    There will be 4 levels of videos in this series.  We’ll start with the 4 part Beginner series and move on to Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert levels. 

    If you want the full online course experience head on over to the Partner Learning Center (PLC).  If you want the quick version, then the YouTube post is for you.

    Beginner Part 1

    In this workshop you will learn some of the fundamental concepts that every Windows Store Application Developer should know. Including: The attributes of a great Windows Store application. The common Windows Store Application Development Terminology. Getting Started with your first Windows Store Apps. Characteristics of what makes a great Windows Store Application.

    Partner Learning Center – full course.


    Beginner Part 2

    In part 2 you will learn about the available tools for building a Windows Store application. Including: Visual Studio 2012, Blend, Emulation, and Remote Application Debugging.

    Partner Learning Center - full course.


    Beginner Part 3

    Part 3 will help you build your skills to use Visual Studio 2012 and the C# templates to start building a Windows Store application. In addition, you will see a demo of a sample application that you will begin building in the hands on labs in future installments of the Windows Store Application Development Skill Builder Series.

    Partner Learning Center – full course


    Beginner Part 4

    Part 4 of this workshop will provide you with additional demos and hands on labs for building the Woodgrove Bank sample Application. Topics include: Customizing the App and Adding Data, Using Semantic Zoom, and Using the App Bar.

    Partner Learning Center – full course


    In the intermediate courses we’ll cover Tiles, Live Tiles, Snapping, and Embedded Search.

  • Are you a Partner and Developer - I want your feedback.

    Hi everyone.  I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself.  I’m a product manager on the Partner Services team.  One of my focus areas is you the developer.  I’m responsible for bringing content (like videos, blogs, etc) to our partners as well as designing services for you to take advantage of to build great solutions (code reviews anyone?). 

    In the coming weeks and months I’ll be sharing some of the great resources our Partner Consultants have been building for you.  A great deal of it is free (never hurts to be free right).  We’ll cover Windows Store Application Development, Azure, Windows Phone, Visual Studio, Dynamics, and plenty more, so stay tuned.  I’ll also be sharing some of the ideas we have for things we want to bring to you over the rest of 2013 and asking you for your feedback.

    Will you be at WPC?  Then I’d like to meet you! Smile  I’ll share more on how we can do that soon.


  • How to Convert a Web Service to an Azure Cloud Service

    Attention developers and aspiring developers, one of Partner Services very own, Laurence Moroney, has created a fantastic video for moving web services to Azure.  Hit this link to check it out. 

    Also, be sure to follow Laurence’s blog for lots of great developer focused postings.  We’ll also do our best to highlight them here on the partner blog.

  • WebView Magic Tricks: Highlight a Search Term

    If you are doing any type of Windows Store application development, you should check out the blog from the Windows Store Developer Solutions Team.  If you haven’t met this team, they are a group of top level support engineers with some excellent insights into the world of developing for the Windows Store.

    In this latest post, Matt Small, kicks off a series of 3-5 minute videos showing some of the coolest tricks for getting the most out of WebView in your Windows Store Apps.  Check it out!  If you like the post or have questions be sure to let Matt know.

  • Office 365: Configuring DirSync and Single Sign On with ADFS

    In this 300 level session, you will learn the various options for managing identities, authorization, and authentication with Office 365 and Windows Azure Active Directory. We’ll review the considerations involved in understanding a customer environment and the implications for choosing what authentication method to use. We will demonstrate how to assess and prepare the on-premises Active Directory for synchronization with Windows Azure Active Directory, and will show how to configure Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) and the Directory Synchronization (DirSync) appliance.  Finally, we will discuss directory synchronization best practices and how to troubleshoot common synchronization problems, equipping you to see an Office 365 directory synchronization project through to completion.

    Part 1

    Part 2

    Session PowerPoint Deck available on SkyDrive here: