Dublin reMIX 2011

One of the things that really fun about my job here in Microsoft Ireland is that the team I’m on has one primary remit – to inspire the  developers or designer of Ireland. In June, we’re going to pull together a full day of the most exciting content from MIX11 as well as some cool stuff that we’re throwing in ourselves all for free.

Our goal with this content is to drive you, as someone involved in software in Ireland whether you’re a developer or designer,  as a to go bigger and faster with your applications. To help you think about development, whether that’s traditional web development, phone development or even really breaking down the walls to a natural user interface with Surface 2 and Kinect.

reMIX Dublin is on June 9th, 2011 at the RDS in Ballsbridge, D4.

It’s broken up into two separate events actually.

reMIX: Developer (9.00-13.00)

9.00-10.00

Welcome, followed by

Developing for Windows Phone 7 – From Concept to Marketplace

10.00-10.50

Developing for the Cloud

10.50-11.10

Break

11.00-12.00

Windows Phone 7.5 aka Mango

12.00-12.50

Kinect Hackables

12.50-13.00

Wrap up

reMIX: UX (14.30-18.30)

14.30-15.30

Welcome

Taking UX Further with Surface

15.30-16.20

Designing Infographics for Web Applications

16.20-16.40

Break

16.40-17.30

HTML5 Awesome Sauce

17.30-18.20

UX Lighting Talks

18.20-18.30

Wrap up

Now, this is a loose schedule at the moment and subject to a few possible changes. For example, I might have a really big name speaker coming in from Redmond that we’ll leverage in here at least, if not twice.

If you’re interested – you should register early at http://bit.ly/remix11

Camera Phone

I love having a camera on my phone. I’ve had the privilege of playing more golf this week than I did all of last year and on better courses than I’ve ever played in my life. I didn’t plan to play such nice courses and definitely didn’t foresee needing to take nearly as many pictures as I did take. The awesome part is that I have a camera on my phone, which on Windows Phone 7 I don’t even have to unlock to use.

The first course I played was the Tralee Golf Club which is an Arnold Palmer course that’s rated as one of the top 10 ocean golf courses in the world. I played this course with my team mate Michael Meagher here at Microsoft Ireland and our hosts at the Institute of Technology in Tralee. It was hands down my favorite course I’ve ever played. The picture here is on the tee box on 17. All I can really say is wow… You can see more photos at Tralee Golf Course on Flickr

The next day I got to play the Seapoint Golf Course just north of Dublin. I played this course with my fellow evangelists Dave Northey and Jeff Blankenburg. Jeff’s visiting from the states speaking about WP7 and is a big golfer. I couldn’t resist taking him out. We caught some fantastic photos such as the rainbow photo in this post.

You can see more photos at Seapoint Golf Course on Flickr

Now, all that said – I’m going to have to take my proper digital SLR Canon Rebel next time I go golfing… :)

Activating BizSpark Azure Accounts

A question that I’ve been asked a number of times recently is how to activate an MSDN Azure account and more specifically, how to do it with a BizSpark account. To make it easy, I thought I’d blog that here.

For an up to date list of benefits you should visit http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/msdn-benefits/ but currently it’s as follows:

Subscription Level BizSpark/Visual Studio Ultimate
with MSDN
Visual Studio Premium
with MSDN
Visual Studio Professional
with MSDN
Compute 1,500 hours of the Small Instance 1,500 hours of the Extra Small Instance 750 hours of the Extra Small Instance
Storage 30 GB 25 GB 20 GB
Storage Transactions 2,000,000 1,000,000 250,000
SQL Azure 5 GB 1 GB 1 GB
Access Control Transactions 500K 200K 100K
Service Bus Connections 5 5 2
Data transfers 35GB (WW) Out
35GB (WW) In
30GB (WW) Out
30GB (WW) In
25GB (WW) Out
25GB (WW) In
Annual Savings** $3100 $1300 $800

 

Signing up for BizSpark

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Starting up, if you are a start-up (defined as less than 3 years old, less than $1 million in revenue, privately held and producing technology as your primary monetization) you should be on BizSpark. BizSpark gives you access to all of the Microsoft technologies that you’d need to develop your applications such as Windows, Azure, Visual Studio, Office (in case you need to integrate with it) and more. Just go to http://www.bizspark.com and click Apply Now.

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If you have an existing LiveID, you can use that but the reality is that I recommend that you create a specific LiveID for the start-up because what happens if the person who originally signed up leaves the company? Or is out on a day when something needs to be done on the account? For that reason, I recommend creating a specific account for your BizSpark management.

2011-04-27_1023

I recommend, partly because of the number of lawyers in my family, that you read the terms and conditions but at the end, if you agree, there are two individual agreements that you need to agree to before you click next.

One of those is the BizSpark Startup Agreement and the other is the EULA.

Once you fill out the rest of the wizard, it goes into a process on our end. If you are in Ireland, that registration goes through a two phase approval process. The first phase is with a Network Partner and the second phase is currently me. :-)

2011-04-27_1038

Once you are signed up, you can log into My BizSpark and click on the Get your Free Software link which will show you a link to MSDN. Reality is that it’s just pointing to MSDN and you can go there directly if you like.

You’ll just need to sign in there with a LiveID that’s associated with a BizSpark member.

Adding new developers to a BizSpark Account

2011-04-27_1041Quick side note is that I’ve also been asked a number of times how to add additional developers to a BizSpark startup. Find the Manage section of the left hand navigation and find the Members link underneath that. Then you put in the new developer’s name and email address. That does not have to be their LiveID – it can be any email address. There will be an acceptance link in the email that will require the person to sign in with their own LiveID to access the bits and all.

Activating Your Azure Benefits from MSDN

2011-04-27_1045Once you sign into MSDN and go to the “My Account” section, you should see the “Windows Azure Platform” link. This link will take you to the Windows Azure signup process and walk you through a longish wizard. At the end of that, you will be able leverage all of the benefits of MSDN on Azure.

One thing to warn you about at this point is that the Windows Azure signup does require a credit card to cover any overages. I recommend that you closely monitor your usage to make sure that you don’t go over. :)

2011-04-27_1052Now, once you’re signed up for the Azure benefits, you can simply go to http://windows.azure.com to manage your account and deploy applications. The one portal serves as your management portal for your services, data, SQL Azure and any other services you’re signed up for such as Connect.

Have fun playing with Azure!

Join the MIX Conversation in Ireland!

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Unplug from your day job. Be inspired at MIX.

Join the conversation at MIX – see the latest tools and technologies and draw inspiration from a professional community of your peers and experts.

MIX is a gathering of developers, designers, UX experts and business professionals creating the most innovative and profitable consumer sites on the web. The conference takes place in Las Vegas, but will be streamed live online http://live.visitmix.com. Join developer peers in Ireland on the hashtag #MIX11IE.

There’ll be great prizes on offer for both in-person & virtual attendees. Local evangelist www.twitter.com/joshholmes will be tweeting questions every 30 mins during the keynote (5pm-7pm) and answers should be emailed to endaf@microsoft.com. If you get all four answers right you are in the draw to win one of the following (we’ve cleared out our storeroom and here’s what we found J):

· Xbox Kinect bundle

· Arc Touch Mouse (x2)

· Xbox Live Gold Memberships 12 months (x3)

· Microsoft Web t-shirts (loads)

Questions to www.twitter.com/endaflynn

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*competition open to residents of ROI and NI only

*entry to competition only possible before 7.30pm 12th April 2011

Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7

WinPhoneAzureThe Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 is a starter kit that was recently released out to CodePlex. Wade Wegner, one of my former team mates when both of us were in Central Region, is the master mind behind this fantastic starter. 

This starter kit is designed to make it easier for you to build mobile applications that leverage cloud services running in Windows Azure.

Screencast

In the screencast, you’ll get a great little walkthrough of the starter kit and how to get your first Windows Phone 7 application with a Windows Azure backend up and running. The toolkit includes a bunch of stuff including Visual Studio project templates that will create the Windows Phone 7 and Windows Azure projects, class libraries optimized for use on the phone, sample applications and documentation.

Why Windows Azure

Windows Azure is Microsoft’s Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering that allows you to build and scale your application in the cloud so that you don’t have to build out your local infrastructure. If you are selling an application in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace and really don’t know how many customers you’ll end up with, you might need to scale the backend dramatically to meet the demand. 

 

What you’ll need

Hopefully obviously you’ll need an Azure account and the tools to build and deploy the solution. The tools include one of the versions of Visual Studio (either Express which is free or higher), the Windows Azure Toolkit and then obviously the starter kit itself. I also recommend looking at Expression Blend for doing your Windows Phone 7 design and the like.

Good Luck!

By looking through the resources on the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 site, you’ll see lots of great little tutorials and getting started guides.

Let me know how you’re getting on with the toolkit and what you’ve done with it. I’d like to see and possibly blog about it all…

Site Pinning in IE9

IE9Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) launched last week at SxSW! I was bummed that I wasn’t there but I was one of the 2.3 Million downloads in the first day. There’s a bunch of new stuff in IE9. There’s a load of examples out on http://www.beautyoftheweb.com that show off all of the new HTML5 support to javascript performance to a ton more.

A simple one, however is site pinning. This allows you to pin a website as if it were an application on the Windows 7 taskbar. This blending and merging of the web and desktop is awesome.

Now, you can pin any website to the taskbar and get generic results but you as a website author have control to actually do something cool and customize what that pinning does. You can customize the way your site is added to the taskbar as well as add your own jump list items.

MSApplication Meta Tags

The first place to get started is customize the application name, tooltip and frame with a few meta tags:

<meta name="application-name" content="Josh Holmes" />
<meta name="msapplication-tooltip" content="Random Thoughts" />
<meta name="msapplication-window" content="width=1024;height=768" />
<meta name="msapplication-navbutton-color" content="#ff7900" />
<meta name="msapplication-starturl" content="http://www.joshholmes.com/blog/" />

That’s simple. The next step is to add in a custom task that will let people dive deeper into the site with the right click:

<meta name="msapplication-task" 
content="name=View Articles;action-uri=./articles/;icon-uri=./favicon.ico" /> <meta name="msapplication-task"
content="name=About Josh;action-uri=./aboutme/;icon-uri=./favicon.ico" />

By default, IE9 looks for your 32×32 sized version of your favicon but if it can’t find one, it it uses your 16×16 one in a 32×32 box so you should use a high-res favicon if possible…

JavaScript

If your site is pinned, you can, if you want, do more that just sit there on the taskbar. You can interact with the jumplist and more.

Checking For Pinned Mode

First thing to know is if your site is actually pinned or not:

if (window.external.msIsSiteMode()) {
 // in pinned mode
} else {
 // not in pinned mode
}

 

Activating the Taskbar Icon

Let’s say that you need your user to interact with the application to keep session alive, or need them to complete a form or for some reason you need their attention back on the site, simple activate the taskbar icon by making it glow (Win7 Users are used to this UI paradigm):

window.external.msSiteModeActivate();

If making it glow is not enough but you have actual info for the user, such as if you are running a bulletin board service and want to let the user know that 3 new messages have arrived for them or something else random like that:

// clear current overlays
window.external.msSiteModeClearIconOverlay();
// set new one
window.external.msSiteModeSetIconOverlay("./newmessage3.ico", "3 new messages match your search");

Customizing the JumpList

And if you really want to customize the jumplist like with the last few articles that your user looked at, or the last few searches that they did or something more than the static setting of tasks that we did above:

// clear current jump list
window.external.msSiteModeClearJumplist();
// name the jump list
window.external.msSiteModeCreateJumplist("Adding JumpLists");
// add tasks to list – notice that these can have custom icons as well
window.external.msSiteModeAddJumpListItem("Item 1", "page1.html", "./favicon.ico");
window.external.msSiteModeAddJumpListItem("Item 1", "page2.html", "./favicon.ico");
// display list
window.external.msSiteModeShowJumplist();

JQuery Way

Of course, if all that’s too complicated or two much typing, you can just use the JQuery plugin – http://ie9ify.codeplex.com/. :D

Conclusion

Hopefully this has been a short and sweet glance at some of the new site pinning features and the like.

ASP.NET/PHP on the Microsoft Web Platform Event in Ireland

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I’m really looking forward to moving to Ireland and I’m going to hit the ground running…

Right off the bat I’m going to be throwing an event called the “Evolution of ASP.NET and PHP on the Microsoft Web Platform”. One of the reasons that we’re throwing this event when we are is that we have Ryan Ozimek coming over to help me reprise and enhance the WebMatrix launch event.

Abstract: Web development is continually evolving on the Microsoft Web Platform. This evolution has brought fantastic new features and functionality such as the new Razor syntax and ASP.NET MVC 3 on the ASP.NET side and WinCache and FastCGI on the PHP side. And great new tools such as WebMatrix and the Web Platform Installer make it exceedingly simple to download, customize and deploy many of the top OSS applications, such as DotNetNuke for ASP.NET and Joomla! for PHP, on Windows.

image004Amongst the speakers at this developer evening are Josh Holmes, the brand new Architect Evangelist for Ireland, and Ryan Ozimek, president of Open Source Matters which is the non-profit that takes care of Joomla!.

Join us for an evening diving into how web development is evolving on the Microsoft Web Platform. We’ll start with an overview of the entire platform and the recent flood of announcements. Then we’ll dive deep into the individual topics of the new ASP.NET Razor syntax, ASP.NET MVC3 and PHP on Windows.
Whether you are doing ASP.NET or PHP, whether you have years of experience with web development or are just getting started you’ll find just the right flavour of web development for you.

Date: February 8th, 2011. 6.30pm-8.30pm (registration from 6pm)

image005Location:

The Westin Hotel

35 – 39 Westmoreland Street
Dublin 2
Map: Click here for a map

Please join us for this event by registering online.

The talks will wrap-up after two hours, giving attendees plenty of time to have a drink and some food whilst networking or playing around with some of the latest Microsoft gadgets.

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It’s Your Web, The WebMatrix (and more) Launch

I was thrilled an honored to deliver the WebMatrix Launch event at CodeMash this year.

First of all, CodeMash is a conference that I love. If you are not familiar with it, it’s one of the few conferences in the world where all technologies come together explicitly to share. The idea is that we are there to “Mash, not to bash”. I’m very proud of the fact that I was on the original board and was the emcee the first handful of years. In fact, it was at the first CodeMash that I originally shaved my head (well, technically Jennifer Marsman shaved my head… :) ) But this “Mash, not to bash” concept make this the perfect place to launch WebMatrix but I’ll talk more about that in a bit.

Second, WebMatrix, Razor, ASP.NET MVC 3, all of the OSS contributions that Microsoft has been making and the whole keynote was a lot of very exciting news and technology that really remind me why I work at Microsoft!

Third, this is the first time ever that Microsoft has launched a product at a community event as well as the first time that a field Evangelist (me) delivered an launch event…

See the whole talk here:

It's Your Web - Josh HolmesNow, what did I get to talk about? The fun part is that this blog post is actually more detailed that I had time to get into myself during the talk. :)

The title of the talk is “It’s Your Web”. And this actually really well encapsulates the talk. During the course of the session, I’m really talking about how web development is evolving to work for you in the way that you want to work.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci said “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. This is a saying that really lands with me. If you’ve seen any of my talks over the past couple of years, you’ll notice that simplicity is a reoccurring theme whether I’m talking specifically about it as in my “Lost Art of Simplicity” keynote that I’ve done a number of places or talking about UX or any of the other topics that I’m very passionate about.

As with Ice Cream

Everybody likes a different type of ice cream. Some people really like chocolate and nothing else will suffice. Other people like vanilla or strawberry. Personally I like Moose Tracks with the peanut cups and hunks of amazing fudge swirled into a creamy slice of goodness. but that may have to do with my obsession with Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups as the perfect candy.

Developing with ASP.NET, 3 flavors of web development

As with ice cream, everybody has a different flavor of web development. With ASP.NET, we’ve got 3 specific flavors that we will talk about today.

ASP.NET Web Pages are simple, light and fast. These are new and we’ll talk about them quite a bit today.

ASP.NET Web Forms are familiar, reusable and productive. These have been around for 10+ years, there’s a very mature control vendor market and the original design principle was to create a very productive environment for those new to web development.

ASP.NET MVC Framework is a very powerful,  extensible, robust and agile way to do development focusing on the architecture paradigm of Model View Controller.

Developer Tools

There are also different flavors of developer tools. Specifically, we are going to focus on WebMatrix and Visual Studio today.

WebMatrix is new and we’ll be talking about it a lot today as well. It’s a very simple toolset that supports both ASP.NET and PHP.

Visual Studio, our flagship developer product, is a very powerful, flexible and integrated toolset allowing you to go from architecture through the development/test phase and on into QA in the same toolset really managing the entire life cycle of a project.

Create, Customize, Publish

WebMatrix has been in beta for a little bit so you might have seen it. But in case you haven’t, WebMatrix, as stated before, is a simple tool that allows you to focus on the task at hand and solve problems. It’s designed to create, customize and publish web content very quickly and efficiently regardless of what type of web content that happens to be.  WebMatrix Web Stack

There are three major components with WebMatrix.

The first, and most visible is the Developer Tool. This is a stream lined IDE that supports both ASP.NET and PHP.

WebMatrix comes with a light weight, yet fully functional web server that doesn’t run as a service or require administrator rights to run. It may only be a 10mb download, but it’ll run ASP.NET as well as PHP, has full support for SSL, URL Rewriting and all the other IIS 7 modules whilst running on Windows XP and above.

WebMatrix also comes with a lightweight database that makes it quick to get started building websites. It’s file-based and only runs in-memory within your web application so when you shutdown your app, the database is automatically unloaded. Even better, with a download size of 2.5mb it installs with no configuration and works with existing data APIs and ORMs. When it comes to go to production you can use the database for lightweight scenarios or easily migrate to a SQL Server or SQL Azure with a simple change of the connection string. That said, you can, if you want to, use MySql or SQL Server with WebMatrix and it will work just fine.

WebMatrix ScenariosWebMatrix is designed around three basic scenarios. Sometimes you need to create something from scratch to solve a problem that’s specific to you or your organization. Of course you can use WebMatrix to do that.

Sometimes you have existing content that you need to organize, customize and publish and of course you can use WebMatrix to do that.

The third option, which is becoming more and more popular of an option is to start with an existing OSS application such as one of the many blog engines, CMS systems, eCommerce solutions and the like that are out there that will get you 80% of the way to solving your business need. With WebMatrix, you can pull a project down directly down from the Microsoft Web Application Gallery from within the IDE, customize and publish very quickly and efficiently.

Introducing RazorWith the introduction of WebMatrix, however, is not just a tool.

When you build a website with WebMatrix and choose the ASP.NET route, you’ll be using a brand-new coding syntax called Razor. Razor has been designed by the team to be quicker and easier to write code. You’ll notice that it allows you to flow from HTML markup to code seamlessly without having to define where the code starts and where it stops. The Razor parser does the hard work for you, allowing you to do more with fewer keystrokes.

As well as being the default syntax in WebMatrix, Razor is also the new way to code ASP.NET MVC 3. This shared syntax has a number of benefits including sharing code, migrations (which we’ll cover off a little later) and also Helpers.

Introducing Helpers

Let’s imagine that you want to sprinkle some social functionality into your website with Facebook or Twitter. It’s a common thing to do, so we wanted to make it as simple as possible for you. With Helpers it becomes a snap to do, with this code we render out a Facebook Like Button for a page.

Perhaps I want to add eCommerce payments to my website using PayPal. Well there’s a Helper for that too and we’ve taken care to make the API as simple as possible.

Now, I want you to notice that using a helper leverages the Razor syntax and looks exactly the same as accessing any of your own objects and methods.

Tons of helpers

But the helpers don’t just stop at social media or eCommerce.

In fact, there’s already a vibrant, open source community of helpers ready for developers to use. As well as social and payments with Facebook, PayPal and Twitter,

there’s helpers for forms, polls, Bit.ly as well as Razor templates that I can use in my websites.

What about if I want to get feedback for my website, or add documents from online libraries? There are helpers for that too.

If you want to add the latest Geolocation information or crowd sourced deals from Groupon, there’s Helpers to make that easier.

And if you can’t find exactly what you need, there are some great foundational helpers that will allow you to talk to any service that leverages OData or even store and consume data in the cloud with Windows Azure.

Building an app from scratch

And this is the point at which James Senior (great name) did a demo using WebMatrix to create a web site mostly from scratch.

He started off with a new project created from a template showing off the cool and fairly complete templates that come with WebMatrix. Then he leveraged the database manager built into the IDE to manage and edit the database. Once the database was squared away, he finished out the site levering the Razor syntax, a template from TemplateMonster.com and a PayPal helper.

Lastly, he showed how to publish directly from WebMatrix to a host.

Microsoft Web Application Gallery

But creating a site from scratch is not the only way to create a web site with WebMatrix. You can start with any of the close to 40 applications that are in the Microsoft Web Application Gallery to create your project. To date there have been more than 2.5 million downloads from the Microsoft Web Application Gallery. Some of these applications are ASP.NET, such as DotNetNuke, Umbraco and BlogEngine.net. Others are PHP such as WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, MODx and Gallery.

Customizing DotNetNuke using WebMatrixI like showing better than telling so to show how awesome this workflow can be with WebMatrix, Shawn Walker and Joe Brinkman from DotNetNuke came onstage to demonstrate building a DotNetNuke site with WebMatrix. It was a great demo that showed off some great new functionality. They have some awesome new Razor based templates, can leverage SQL Server Compact Edition and more.

PHP and MySQL on Windows

But WebMatrix is not just for ASP.NET. It also supports PHP. Personally, I really like cross language tools like this. Microsoft’s investment in PHP over the past number of has been awesome and has made both PHP and MySql on Windows ready for prime time. IIS7, for example, has great support with FastCGI, WinCache, URL Rewrite and more. Create a Joomla! website with WebMatrix

At this point, I had the pleasure of bringing Ryan Ozimek on stage. Ryan is the president of Open Source Matters which is the non-profit organization that takes care of Joomla!. It’s amazing to me and it makes me very proud that Ryan was interested in getting up on stage during a Microsoft session and demo a Microsoft tool with Joomla!. It’s a testament to the investment we have make in PHP on the Windows stack, the PHP community and Joomla! in particular.

Ryan just slayed the demo too. It was awesome how easy it is to work with Joomla! with WebMatrix. He showed downloading, customizing and a ton more just like DotNetNuke. But another very useful thing is that he showed managing a MySql (which I know that I miss-pronounced on stage) with the WebMatrix database manager.

Announcing Microsoft WebMatrix RTM

When I took back the stage, I got to say, which I thought was awesome, that WebMatrix is released and you can download it right now from microsoft.com/web.

There’s multiple reasons that’s exciting. First and foremost, WebMatrix speaks to new audiences and fills gaps with existing audiences in a great way.

Second, this is the first time in history that Microsoft has launched a product at a community run event. There have been launches as VSLive and a couple of other pro-events that Microsoft is heavily involved with. But CodeMash is definitely an independent conference and the fact that we launched a product there is really a testament to the conference.

Third, as far as I know, I’m the first person to launch a Microsoft product that was not a member of the Microsoft executive ranks (VP/President/CXO…).

WebMatrix is available right now from microsoft.com/web and you can try it out for yourself. I’m really looking forward to hearing some from you about what you think of it and how you’re using it.

Many Flavors of Web Development

It was funny to talk to my brother-in-law, Tomas, on the weekend after the show. He runs IT for a school district in Kansas. He had downloaded and tried WebMatrix. I asked him if it was everything that I had promised that it would be. He said “Absolutely, I’ve already deployed two sites with it!”. His co-worker asked him, “Does this mean that I don’t have to buy Visual Studio anymore” and Thomas answered him “They are for very different purposes. WebMatrix does the simple things that were really hard to do in Visual Studio”. I was so proud of him. He got it.

WebMatrix is but one of the flavors of Web development that we talked about at during this event.

More Web Platform Updates

The Web Platform and Tools team have also been working hard on enhancements to our existing web stack.

We’ve added powerful features to ASP.NET MVC 3 like the new Razor syntax, Dependency Injection, Unobtrusive Ajax and jQuery Validation support, Global Action Filters and more.

With Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack One, the same web server that WebMatrix takes advantage of, IIS Express and SQL Server CE, is now included as a core part of your development environment.

Open Source ContributionsA subject that I’m very passionate about and have been thrilled to be involved with in some small part is that we’ve also been busy working on many open source projects too.

In March, Scott Gu announced that we were to begin contributions to jQuery, the world’s most popular JavaScript library. This past 10 months, we’ve contributed a new client-side templating engine, a data-linking plugin and a globalization plugin. These have been accepted as official plugins and the templating feature will be in a future version of the core jQuery library too.

In the past two months, we’ve also been working with the Outercurve foundation on a new open source package management system called NuGet. This project makes it easy to find and use the many open source .NET libraries out there. We’ve seen a massive movement around the NuGet project and there have been over 300 open source packages contributed.

And of course, we continue to drive the ASP.NET MVC project which is itself open source and has a vibrant community around it.

ASP.NET MVC 3 DemoThis was definitely the longest and most involved demo during the session. James Senior came back out to show a lot of great new things in ASP.NET MVC framework. I’m not going to drain the demo but some highlights included leveraging Nuget from Powershell right from within Visual Studio to grab packages that James needed for the demo, leveraging the Razor view engine, the slight and unobtrusive jQuery validation and more.

Announcing many web platform updatesAt the end of this demo, I had the great privilege of announcing that all of the technologies that we talked about are available right now for download at microsoft.com/web. That includes ASP.NET MVC Framework 3, IIS Express, SQL Server Compact, NuGet and Orchard.

We didn’t talk much about Orchard but that project dropped a 1.0 release on the same day as the WebMatrix launch.

Download your flavor of web development today...To recap, during the session you got to see a lot of different individual technologies in action but more importantly you saw how as a whole, from ASP.NET with ASP.NET web pages to ASP.NET MVC 3 to PHP, web development on the Microsoft Web Platform is evolving.

Go to microsoft.com/web to download your flavor of web development today.

You can watch it the presentation and all the demo online at http://channel9.msdn.com/Shows/Web+Camps+TV/CodeMash-2011-WebMatrix-Launch-Keynote.

Off to Ireland…

It’s with great excitement that I let you know that I’m opening a new chapter in my families life. We’re moving to Ireland!

I’ve taken a job with Microsoft Ireland as an Architect Evangelist with a heavy focus on startups, web and cloud computing all of which are hot topics in Ireland right now.

Quick FAQ:

  • Are you staying with Microsoft?
    • Yes – I’m staying with Microsoft. Actually, I’m even keeping the same job title of Architect Evangelist.
  • Are you still going to be an evangelist?
    • See the previous question – I’m even keeping the same job title… :)
  • Are you Irish?
    • Some small percentage probably but not enough that it matters. My wife is about half Irish though. She’s traced back her family tree, O’Healy and O’Hearn, to Country Clare and County Roscommon but we’re not in contact with any remaining relatives in Ireland. Most of them are in Canada, Australia or the US so honestly, that wasn’t one of the major factors in us moving over.
  • Then why Ireland?
    • I’ve felt a deep connection to Ireland since the first time that I visited almost two years ago. I really enjoy the people, the culture, the scenery and the spirit of the country. There’s a true “Work Hard, Play Hard” mentality that’s been my philosophy since I was a kid. I’m really excited about the opportunity to work with the extremely innovative and passionate people in Ireland.
  • Isn’t Ireland’s economy in a touch of trouble right now?
    • Dude. I currently live in Michigan. I understand poor economies. Besides, that’s one of the reasons that I’m really excited to work with startups in my new position.
  • Where will you live?
    • For right now we, Phoebe and I, are concentrating on looking in the South Eastern part of Dublin which would place us within easy striking distance of the Microsoft office and a short train ride downtown. Also, as Phoebe has pointed out to me more than once, that’s where Bono lives. :)
  • Is this a permanent move?
    • Honestly, no idea. We are selling the house in Michigan (anyone want a big and cheap house in Manchester, MI?) as part of the move so this is a long term (well over a year) move. That does not mean that we’re moving over forever but we don’t have a specific length of time that we are looking at.
  • What’s your biggest concern?
    • I’ve got two. Selling my house in Michigan  (the housing market here is, to put it lightly, soft) and getting decent coffee. I’ve already been warned that I’ll likely have to convert over to tea but that’ll be at tough sell for me. It’s not that I have anything against tea, it’s more that I’m such a coffee addict and I’m fairly particular about it.
  • Are you going to disappear completely?
    • Yeah, you know me. I hide on the web and never go to conferences… No, wait, strike that and reverse it.
    • No, you know me. I’m very active on the web and go to a ton of conferences and I don’t expect that to change.
  • When will I see you again?
    • It depends… If you’re in Ireland, soon! If not, I need to work out my travel and conference schedule still. I will be at CodeMash and I’ll be at Symfony Live in Paris. Beyond that, I’m not sure yet.

I’m really looking forward to living and working in Ireland and making all kinds of new friends. I’m sad to be moving away from my great friends and co-workers here in the US, Michigan in particular but technology is a wonderful thing and we can stay in contact.

My email address won’t change. It’s josh(period)holmes(at)microsoft(period)com.
Connect to me on Plaxo and that’ll update my phone number when I get the new one.
My twitter handle is joshholmes.

If you’re in Ireland, all the same contact info applies – please reach out. I’m looking forward to meeting you!!!