Recent Windows Azure Project Highlights: HTML5, Autoscaling, iOS, and more!

Slalom Consultant Joel Forman

Slalom Consultant Joel Forman specializes in cloud computing and the Windows Azure Platform.

It has been almost 3 months since I last wrote a blog post. Where does the time go? On the heels of my last post, Building and Deploying Windows Azure Project with TFS and MSBuild, I became absorbed in numerous different Window Azure projects. It has been a lot of to get back to being heads down in project delivery, and barely have time to come up for air. I thought it would be appropriate to get back into posting by summarizing some of the exciting work I have been doing. Each one of these deserves its own post in itself, something which I plan to do in the near future.

Project Highlight: Autoscaling in Windows Azure
Recently I had the opportunity to dive into the autoscaling space for a client. After migrating a piece of a solution that was running in a VM role into separate scalable worker roles, the question quickly turned into how to automatically scale these worker role instances appropriately depending on the amount of load on the system. After investigating multiple autoscaling solutions, we decided to use the newly released Windows Azure Autoscaling Application Block (WASABi) from Microsoft’s pattern’s & practices enterprise library. Out-of-the-box support for service and scaling rule definitions was great. The extensibility of the block was even better. We implemented an “autoscaler” then ran inside a Windows Azure worker role leveraging the building block.

Project Highlight:  Rich HTML5 Voting Application Leveraging Windows Azure and SQL Azure
Design for view on either PC browser or tablet, this web-based voting application felt more native than any app I have built to date.  HTML5 and jQuery came together very quickly inside an ASP.NET MVC3 .NET web application. We hosted the application inside a Windows Azure web role, and leveraged BLOB storage for media used within the application. Relational data was stored in SQL Azure. The application also featured an HTML5 slide viewer, rendering images from BLOB storage, and allowing users to flip through slides from the tablet. This application makes a strong case for building an application to take cross-platform.

Project Highlight: Native iOS Application Leveraging Access Control Service, Windows Azure, and SQL Azure
I can’t say I have built an iOS application yet, but this is the closest I have been. With help from one of our mobile developers, we built an iOS application for the iPad for enhancing a guest check-in experience at events. A guest list can be loaded prior to event. Then at the door, guests can check-in via any available iPad held by our greeters.  A host inside the event can see the entire guest list, with attendees updating in real-time. All of the iPads are kept in sync because the native app leverages a .NET REST service layer running in Windows Azure with relational data stored in SQL Azure.  Furthermore, the application supports a federated security model with authentication for our administrators performed via ADFS and the .NET service layer leveraging OAuth.

Project Highlight: Rich HTML5 Application Leveraging Windows Azure and Dynamics CRM 2010 Services
This project involved bringing a new, custom UI experience to life on top of Dynamics CRM 2010. Designed for the retail space, this HTML5 application enhances a CRM experience through a great customer and sales associate experience delivered on the web via browser or tablet. An ASP.NET MVC3 web application running inside a Windows Azure web role communicates with CRM 2010 web services, either on-premise or online. Data is delivered back to the browser asynchronously via JSON. Again, a web-based application providing a native feel brings CRM to life for the retail community.

These are just some of the creative, innovative solutions I have been working on over the past couple months, all leveraging the Windows Azure Platform. I will be diving into these solutions and more in upcoming posts.

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About Joel Forman
Joel Forman is a Solution Architect at Slalom Consulting and specializes in cloud computing and the Windows Azure Platform.

One Response to Recent Windows Azure Project Highlights: HTML5, Autoscaling, iOS, and more!

  1. Cwk says:

    Hi, I always encountered membership authentication problem in SQL azure, but running local emulator works fine. Do u hv such problem? Thks.

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