What’s behind WordPress.com and iCloud? Try Azure for free

Did you know that WordPress.com and its 350,000 blogs is running on Windows Azure cloud infrastructure? And there are hints that even Apple’s new iCloud solution is using part of it… Get a 30-day Windows Azure Platform Pass and try by yourself the Azure platform.

And if you want to know how much it will cost you to deploy your IT stuff on the cloud, use the Windows Azure Pricing Calculator.


Elephants love mangoes

I only had two missing apps to be completely satisfied with my Windows Phone 7, Skype and EverNote (there are still a lot of missing features that Mango, the upcoming update, will mostly provide). Skype has already been announced and will be available (probably with the Mango update) in Autumn and now EverNote released their first version for WP7. A simple but very useful EverNote client that can handle my basic needs. Not bad at all.

Detailed functionality here: Evernote for Windows Phone 7 Is Here! « Evernote Blogcast.

Read a detailed technical post about Evernote (and development) on WP7: Elephants love mangoes – a look behind our Windows Phone 7 client | Evernote Tech Blog. Damian Mehers, the developer of the WP7 version of EverNote writes:

Superb Tooling

As WP7 developers, we are spoiled.  Not only do we have a powerful, mature and rich IDE in Visual Studio, with great plugins such as Resharper, but we also get a fast emulator, and also a complete, standalone design tool in Expression Blend.

The emulator actually runs as a proper Virtual Machine, using the hardware virtualization features of your computer.  The upside to this is that you get snappy performance, but the downside is that you cannot develop inside a virtual machine, since the emulator will not run inside a virtual machine.

Blend lets you design, animate and tweak your app’s UI.  Although it was primarily created as a “high-end” tool for designers, there was such an outcry from developers, that Microsoft have made it available for free for WP7 developers.  It is a joy to work with, letting you focus on the look and feel of your UI, building storyboards and animations, without worrying about code.

Great Community

The existence of a strong community around WP7 development is far from unique to WP7, however perhaps because Windows Phone is something of an underdog right now, the community feels particularly tight.

Beyond the usual suspects such as Stack Overflow, and Microsoft’s own forum, there are sites such as Windows Phone Geek that provide a constant stream of high quality tips and tricks and articles.

Do you want Android on your PC? Or Mac?

If you are a developer on a tight budget and need access to various Android environments, there is now a solution. Thanks to the Android-x86 Project team you can have your own Android PC or even better a virtualized environment (or two, or more) to test your apps.    You can install Android-x86 next to a Windows installation on an NTFS filesystem but I prefer and recommend to run it alone on a PC or under VirtualBox. I also liked the fact that my multitool Thinkpad X61t is supported (it also runs MacOSX!).

The current version is based on Android 2.2.2 (Froyo branch). Kernel is updated to 2.6.38. For more information, have a look here: Android-x86 – Porting Android to x86.

Bring the power of Hotmail, Messenger, and SkyDrive to your site

Almost everybody wants to integrate popular social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to their own site. Microsoft has made this task very easy for Live Messenger, Hotmail and Skydrive through some Javascript and the appropriate API. If you can handle some code, it’s fairly easy. If not, then just ask your nerdy dev friend to make the “adjustments”.

I liked this part:

Websites typically don’t just offer integration with one service provider. It is common for a website to want to enable sharing to multiple sites like Facebook and Twitter, or allow users to upload their photos from Flickr, Facebook, and SkyDrive.

One of the challenges with supporting services that identity multiple providers on a website is what many have dubbed “the NASCAR effect,” which is when a site has so many logos from so many different providers that it looks a little like a race car with too many corporate sponsors. This practice often ends up confusing users due to the paradox of choice.

To help with this, we make it easy for your app or site to check if a customer uses one of our services before even offering the option to connect.

More details and how to do the actual integration here: Developers: just a few lines of JavaScript connects your site to Hotmail, Messenger, and SkyDrive.

Mono project: Take #2

It’s just a few days after I wrote about the Mono project and seems that my timing was not very good. The whole team was “disassembled” in the beginning of May due to the takeover of Novell by Attachmate. Mono is the implementation of  the .NET platform for Linux.

Fortunately Miguel de Izaca, the developer in charge of the project, took everything under a new startup called Xamarin and they have already started coding again. They promise us a commercial .NET solution for iOS and Android (probably MonoTouch under a new brand name), full support of the open source Mono and Moonlight (the Silverlight implementation) projects and a possible implementation of Moonlight for mobile devices and the Mac appstore. All Novell’s proprietary code will be rewritten. Waiting eagerly…

More here: Mono lives … in new startup Xamarin | ZDNet and at Miguel’s blog: http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2011/May-16.html.

Linux? What Linux?

You may have not noticed it but nobody is talking about Linux any more (which by the way is not a good thing, because I do not consider a closed and controlled system like MacOSX a competitor of Windows – Linux could offer much more).

The last time that I heard “normal” people talking about Linux was when netbooks where everybody’s aspiration. Netbooks with Linux – because soon they realised that netbooks with Windows could run their favourite (or mandatory) applications. That was more than two years ago in late 2008. The Linux netbook era lasted for about a year and a half…

Now we (almost) all wait for the latest “tablet” with Android. Some wait for a Windows tablet but we need some time to have something decent and remarkable. Android is based on Linux but who knows that? The name of the OS is Android and the company is Google. Who even knows that Google bought the company that developed Android and its star developer Andy Rubin (who by the way had previously founded Danger, the company that cost Microsoft about a billion dollars) back in 2005? There is nothing there for a consumer to know and devs seems to have a very short memory nowadays.

No wonder why Novell has turned the efforts of its Mono project team from Linux to Android. Moonlight is the open source implementation of Microsoft’s Silverlight for the Linux platform (actually, Mono is the implementation of .NET Framework based on the ECMA standards for C# and the Common Language Runtime). Now, it’s the immplementation for the Android platform which makes even more sense. Novell also unveiled MonoDroid, a developer tool for .Net development for Android. Do the older guys remember the fights between Novell and Microsoft? These times have passed and unholy alliances have emerged.

Read the whole article here: Novell’s Moonlight shines on Google Android | Application Development – InfoWorld.

Ανάπτυξη παιχνιδιών για συσκευές με Windows Phone 7

Διαβάστε τι λέει ένας έλληνας developer, o Μάριος Καραγιάννης, για τις εμπειρίες του από την ανάπτυξη 2 παιχνιδιών για WP7. Δοκιμάστε και εσείς, δεν είναι κάτι εξωτικό… 

“Για πρώτη έκδοση πάντως, πιστεύω ότι η Microsoft, αν και αργά, (ξανά)μπαίνει πολύ δυναμικά σε μία αγορά που πολλοί λένε ότι έχει χάσει ήδη. Αν σκεφτούμε ότι το iOS 1 (τότε iPhone OS) δεν είχε καν τη δυνατότητα εγκατάστασης εφαρμογών (το App Store εμφανίστηκε στη δεύτερη γενιά iPhone), ενώ η πρώτη έκδοση του Android (για όποιον την είχε δει ποτέ) δεν είχε τα πιο βασικά πράγματα, πιστεύω ότι υπάρχει και μερίδιο και μέλλον για όσους θα έχουν την υπομονή να μπουν τώρα που είναι νωρίς, χωρίς να περιμένουν πολλά ως αντάλλαγμα.”


Διαβάστε όλο το κείμενο στο xblog.gr: Ανάπτυξη games για Windows Phone 7 smartphones.

Adobe prepping “Creative Suite 5.5 Digital Publishing” for iOS, Android development

Flash has finally entered iPhone and iPad through the back door. Flash Pro CS5 is already packaging flash apps for iOS but don’t expect to have the exact functionality (and performance) you can have on a desktop machine. Especially animations are very sloooow… We are waiting the next Flash Player version from Adobe and their new suite CS5.5. As they promised, it will be optimised for mobile devices. Let’s see.