The Role Of The PM

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Windows Phone Mango Silverlight developer toolkit released

WindowsPhoneThe Silverlight toolkit for Windows Phone’s Mango update has been released. You can download the toolkit here.Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit offers developers additional controls for Windows Phone application development, designed to match the rich user experience of the Windows Phone 7.1 SDK.

New Components for Aug 2011

  • Smooth new LongListSelector designed for Windows Phone 7.1 OS
  • MultiselectList
  • LockablePivot
  • HubTile
  • ExpanderView
  • LocalizedResources
  • DateTimeConverters
  • DateTimePickers
  • HeaderedItemsControl
  • PhoneTextBox
  • Improved Transitions performance
  • Improved ContextMenu performance
  • ListPicker supports multiselect
  • Various bug fixes

Components in the Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit

Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit Components

  • AutoCompleteBox
  • ContextMenu
  • DatePicker
  • DateTimeConverters
  • DatePicker
  • ExpanderView
  • GestureService/GestureListener
  • HeaderedItemsControl
  • HubTile
  • ListPicker
  • LocalizedResources
  • LockablePivot
  • LongListSelector
  • MultiselectList
  • Page Transitions
  • PerformanceProgressBar
  • PhoneTextBox
  • TiltEffect
  • TimePicker
  • ToggleSwitch
  • WrapPanel
Get the tools

You can download the new release straight from the CodePlex site at http://silverlight.codeplex.com/ – it requires the latest ‘Mango’ developer tools as well.

The release is also available on NuGet as the SilverlightToolkitWP package.

Challenges Current CTOs Are Experiencing

rubiks_cubeDuring my meetings with CTOs in ISVs (and I have a lot Smile) I try to help them to solve their challenges.

First, what is CTO?

A Chief Technology Officer (or Chief Technical Officer; CTO) is an executive-level position in a company or other entity whose occupant is focused on scientific and technological issues within an organization. It typically involves overseeing Research and Development (R&D) activities, and formulating long-term visions and strategies at the officer level. Essentially, a CTO is responsible for the transformation of capital – be it monetary, intellectual, or political – into technology in furtherance of the company’s objectives. They typically combine a strong technical or scientific background with business development skills.

source:Wikipedia- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_technology_officer

Now, when we know what is the definition of CTO, I’d like to summarize the current challenges CTOs are experiencing as I understand them:

  • Recruiting talents is one of the most challenging endeavor.If you have great talent you could probably be a mediocre manager and still excel! I do believe that people is the most important asset we have. However, there is plenty of talent in supply. What might be lacking are:
    • Ability to attract talent
    • Ability to recognize talent
    • Ability to train/coach/grow talent
  • Alignment of technology and business strategy: "What we can do does not sell, and what sells we cannot do." Need to navigate the markets.Seek to discover gaps between the realized and potential value of the applicable technologies to our customers. Technology product development is effectively the organization and packaging of available technology.
  • Execution. We are in the age when companies compete based on their execution capabilities (product development infrastructure) rather than products themselves. Building an efficient infrastructure requires systemic thinking and good system engineering practices. Not every CTO is a system engineer by birth.
  • Technology: technology is getting much simpler and more complex at the same time.But it is almost always the case that problems and opportunities get less expensive every month. So the challenge is to plan (predict) when changes to tools and infrastructure should occur.
  • Cloud! “how do I get distributed processing power in the cloud?".
  • Global market: where you are collecting data from many differing countries with differing infrastructure capabilities, where is the processing power?
  • Simplicity over Functionality: People/Customers always want a system that does it all for them rather than make the important parts efficient and effective. That is partially why SaaS is becoming more and more important everyday.

There are many challenges for a modern CTO. I summarized here my opinion, but of course, the challenges vary greatly by the industry and business size. Use the comments mechanism to add your insights.

Windows Azure Tools, Developer Training Kits Updated

windows_azure_smallUpdates have been released for Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and Windows Azure Platform Training Kit for developers.

  • You can download the tools here using the Web Platform Installer.
  • You can download the updated developer training kit here.

The release of the tools was made at Announcing the August 2011 Release of the Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010.

New in this release of the tools:

  • Profile applications running in Windows Azure.
  • Create ASP.Net MVC3 Web Roles.
  • Manage multiple service configurations in one cloud project.
  • Improved validation of Windows Azure packages.
Updated Training Kit

The Windows Azure Platform Training Kit has been updated for the new tools. The Windows Azure Platform Training Kit includes a comprehensive set of technical content including hands-on labs, presentations, and demos that are designed to help you learn how to use the Windows Azure platform.

The August 2011 update of the training kit includes:

  • Labs and Demos
    • All the labs and demos have been updated to leverage the new Window Azure Tools 1.4.
    • Updated SSMS dependency of affected labs to SSMS SP1.
  • Windows Azure Deployment
  • Building ASP.NET Applications with Windows Azure
    • Changed the way the membership password was encrypted to fix minor bug when deployed to azure.
  • Exploring Windows Azure Storage
    • Updated the code to support deleting snapshots.
  • Windows Azure CDN
    • Applied fix to a minor bug in the Overview section.
Key Updates To Azure Tools

With profiling support in the Windows Azure Tools you can easily detect performance bottlenecks in your application while it is running in Windows Azure.

If you want to maintain different settings for different deployment environments, the Windows Azure tools now support multiple service configurations in the same Windows Azure Project. This is especially useful for managing different Windows Azure Storage connection strings for local debugging and running in the cloud.

the new tools will help you avoid some of the common problems when you deploy your application to Windows Azure. If you are forgetting to include a local assembly in your package or you publish with a local Azure Storage connection string. The tools will let you know.

Windows 8 Engineering Team Launches ‘B8’ Blog

Microsoft’s Windows Engineering Team recently created this blog post to keep you updated on Windows 8. All the official news, information, details will be shared to everyone via this blog. The goal of this blog is to start a dialog about design choices, real-world data and usage, and new opportunities that are part of Windows 8. There’ll be regular posts throughout the development of Windows 8, focusing on the engineering of the product.

Steven Sinofsky, President of Windows and Windows Live Division, has penned the first posting on a new Building Windows 8 blog.

Keep up with the new posts by following @BuildWindows8 on Twitter.

Hadoop Connectors Coming for SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse

SQL Server team blog posted about Parallel Data Warehouse News and Hadoop Interoperability Plans. In a nutshell, Microsoft announced its intentions to bring Hadoop to SQL Server and Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW).

The connectors provide interoperability between SQL Server/PDW and Hadoop environments, enabling customers to transfer data between Hadoop and SQL Server/PDW. With these connectors, customers can more easily integrate Hadoop with their Microsoft Enterprise Data Warehouses and Business Intelligence solutions to gain deeper business insights from both structured and unstructured data.

You can read the announcement about these connectors from here.

How to Deploy Web Roles Quick & Easy

WAAWebRoles_logo

Creating a new role has two stages:
1. Create a new VM with Windows Server 2008 installed
2. Install your application on it.

The Windows Azure Accelerator for Web Roles makes it quick and easy for you to deploy one or more websites across multiple Web Role instances using Web Deploy. The accelerator includes a Visual Studio project template that creates a Windows Azure web role to host one or more websites. Once you have deployed this Web Role you can deploy your websites to Windows Azure using Web Deploy. Deployments to Windows Azure using Web Deploy take only about 30 seconds. Additionally, this tool will work with roles that have a single or many instances so you can scale up to handle as much traffic as you need.

The Web Host project template included with this project also has a user interface for managing your IIS applications, certificates, and site bindings. You can create new sites using only the web interface and then deploy directly to your site using Web Deploy. Additionally, the web interface has some basic UI to display logging information. The web interface can be used as is or extended to fit your exact needs.

In this screencast you will learn:

  • How to deploy this accelerator to Windows Azure
  • How to use the accelerator’s administrator portal
  • How to deploy a web site to Windows Azure using Web Deploy

To start using this accelerator, check out the step-by-step tutorial here.

Requirements

You must have the following items to run the project template and the sample solution included in this toolkit:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional (or higher) or Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2010 Express
  • Microsoft ASP.NET MVC3
  • Internet Information Services 7 (IIS7)
  • Windows Azure SDK 1.4 (March 2011)
  • Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 (March 2011)
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