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Setting up Windows Azure .net development environment

Posted by Ramprasad Navaneethakrishnan on February 21, 2013

I recently started Azure development and thought maybe this post would be useful for future developers. It’s basically about setting up Windows Azure development environment for .NET

  1. Download and Install Windows Azure SDK.
  2. Download and Install NuGet package Manager. Nuget package manager is a easy way to download and reference the needed libraries to your project.
  3. Setup a Windows Azure account from Windows Azure Website. Microsoft provides 90 day free trial to use the Azure cloud resources. During the registration process, it asks for credit card details to validate the authenticity. They do not charge the card.

Assuming you have Visual Studio already installed, that’ pretty much it. 

Posted in MOSS 2007 | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Silverlight 2 DataGrid – Frozen Columns

Posted by Ramprasad Navaneethakrishnan on January 31, 2009

Not long ago, we had a requirement in our project where a datagrid should hold 14 columns, out of which the first column should be static and the remaining should be scrollable.

ASP.NET datagrid does not support such requirements or for that matter no control in ASPNET toolbox. So ultimately we had to deal with multiple tables and messy javascripts to satisfy that requirement. Now that piece of code is difficult to manage and not friendly for change.

Now, Silverlight 2 DataGrid is released which comes with new in-built features like Auto-Sizing, Multiple-Column Sorting, Frozen Columns etc..

Frozen Column:

Forzen Column makes the column to freeze(remain static while other columns are scrolling). When you have 14, 15 columns in a datagrid, you might want the first column or the first two column to remain static while scrolling thorough the other columns.

FrozenColumnCount:

The FrozenColumnCount property of the Silverlight 2 DataGrid takes the number of columns the user want to freeze starting from the left most column.

Example:

This is my Silverlight 2 DataGrid..

<my: DataGrid
x:Name=”myDataGrid”>
</my: DataGrid>

It has 10 columns and by default all the columns are scrollable..

Silverlight 2 DataGrid

Silverlight 2 DataGrid

When FrozenColumnCount is set to 1, the first column will remain static and the scroll bar appears only for the remaining 9 columns.

<my: DataGrid
x:Name=”myDataGrid”
FrozenColumnCount=”1″>
</my: DataGrid>

this is how the DataGrid looks

Silverlight 2 DataGrid with Frozen Column

Silverlight 2 DataGrid with Frozen Column

In case, if we want to make the first two columns to remain static, then the FrozenColumnCount should be set to 2.

<my: DataGrid
x:Name=”myDataGrid”
FrozenColumnCount=”2″>
</my: DataGrid>

Silverlight 2 DataGrid with Frozen Columns

Silverlight 2 DataGrid with Frozen Columns

Posted in Silverlight | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Next Generation Applications – The Microsoft Way

Posted by Ramprasad Navaneethakrishnan on June 11, 2008

Doing business is difficult, more so in today’s open era it is even more difficult. And things are not going to be any easier in the future. If you have to work twice as hard to stay in your current place, then what would you have to do in order to move ahead of competitors???. Not many businesses are enjoying significant market shares and most of the businesses are living on the edge. One bad quarter, One bad quarter is all it takes to let your market share go down and let your competitor take your position. You will need the next quarter to straighten out the things that went wrong in the previous quarter. By that time, you would have lost the race in the current quarter!. This is how business is now. If you sell products, you have to sell more products in the coming quarter which calls for introducing newer products into the market, aggressive marketing for existing products and so on. There is one easy way to do all this. If the customer, instead of just liking, loves your product, then doing business is easy!. At least relatively!.

There is a saying like ‘Men always go behind beautiful women and Women always go behind rich men!’. Like that, a customer always goes behind a product that is both

  • Rich (in features) and
  • Beautiful (in User Interface).

So coming to the industry, whose employees get blamed for the increase in house rent, vegetable prices and auto fares, also the industry which is famous for its rapidness in growth and change, The Software Industry; the number of applications available in the market to perform a set of business needs are in large number. Further, many applications can be customized to target specific customer needs have also begun to crop up. So what will drive a customer to choose a particular product or application? Here are some of the attributes..

  1. Rich Feature Sets
  2. Rich User Interface

There are innumerable numbers of other attributes like cost, marketing, services etc. As they are not within the scope of this blog, let’s focus on Rich Feature Sets and Rich User Interface.

Rich Feature Sets. Hmm. Now who has product that will do a wide range of functionalities that are not even present in another product? Or how many features that a product have over its nearest competitor? Even if the product has a lot additional features, what is its significance? One product in a segment? or two? . But not more than that. In this present world, the number of products and the competition between them is so huge than no one gives his competitor a significant lead by letting him have additional features that he don’t have in his product. Everyone continuously innovates or at the least tries to innovate. Everyone learns from others. Every product has one or more features inspired from a competitor’s product. So, the rich feature sets in your product is not going to give you a competitive edge in the near future, as almost everyone has it.

Aestheticism:

If this was the 1930’s, aestheticism would be synonymous to Howard Hughes.After all, who would ruin a billion dollar airplane contract, just because he did not feel good with the shape of the Yoke! (Rent a DVD and watch “The Aviator“). However today(and also for the past two decades), if there is one thing that rings a bell when we think of aestheticism, it has to be APPLE Inc.

Why do people buy Apple products? What is the primary reason? Why is an Apple product costly, despite the fact that its performance is similar to that of its competitor? Why do people pay more to get an Apple? Why are people proud to own an Apple? Is it because Apple products have features that no other products have? No. It’s because of its superior, incomparable and elegant User Interface. You would have heard of the saying that an An Apple’s back is more beautiful than many other products front!. True.

Over the past two decades, Apple has never failed to impress its dedicated followers, and also many others with its products that is rich in User Interface. Why should it, as its founder and CEO, Steve Jobs’s only professional certification being “Calligraphy”!.

The reason for all the above adjectives (examples) is to stress the verb (fact) that the product which is rich in user interface and also easy to use is what is going to give a competitive edge to the business! Gone are the days where you can tell System configurations, Network bandwidth, and Browser features as reasons for not building applications that are not rich in user interfaces.

So by looking at an application’s GUI, the user should fall in love with it. When ever the user sees the application’s screen, his face should light up. Whenever he performs an operation in the application, it should be as easy, as the blink of the eye. Simply put, the user should look forward to use the application again and again.

We are done with the part ‘Why rich user interfaces are needed?’. Now comes How? How do you build a product that is rich in GUI, at the same time being efficient and quick? Although many technologies and tools are available, as a .net guy, I want to go by Microsoft’s way as I feel this is the easiest, efficient and fastest way of application development. Microsoft bets its life with the ROI on these technologies!

Hence I am introducing here, The Windows Presentation Foundation ( WPF ), though there is not going to be any tutorial here.. 🙂

WPF is Microsoft’s answer to building applications with rich UI needs like graphics and animations. WPF is a part of Microsoft’s ‘Next generation technologies’ or ‘WinFx technologies’ or ‘.net Framework 3.0, 3.5’. Others included are Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) , Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) and Cardspace.

Through WPF and EXtended Markup language (XAML), it has never been easier to create Rich UI, 2D, 3D animations and other UI gimmicks.

For example,Can u create an animation with a fewer lines of code than this?

<Page.Storyboards>
<SetterTimeline
TargetName=”
myButton ”
Path=”(Button.Background).(SolidColorBrush.Color) “>
<ColorAnimation
From=”
Blue ”
To=”
Yellow ”
Duration=”
0:0:5 ”
RepeatBehavior=”
Forever ” />
</SetterTimeline>
</Page.Storyboards>

To have a look at the the amazing features that WPF can provide, download the WPF samples from the following link.

http://wpf.netfx3.com/files/folders/applications/default.aspx

You will Relish!

So stop with ASP.NET. Start of with WPF, XAML and .NET 3.5. In future, not many customers are going to need a login page with just captions, labels, two textboxes and a Submit button!

Posted in The Future | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »