I’ve just spent ages setting up the initial application, only to find I cannot link the database backend to the front – because Azure does not support .Net 4.0 yet.
Why use .Net 4.0, 3.5 does support ADO.Net Entity Data Model? Well I can create the Entity model, but I can’t create the associated Domain Service. This is the bit I want and will provide the Data Access/Business Rules layer.
The first time I knew there was an issue was when trying to link the Silverlight Client Application, to the WCF Ria Services backend. Visual Studio kept moaning that the backend was a higher Framework than the client. Huh? I created .Net 4 projects what is it talking about?
It seems that when you create an Azure project in .Net 4.0 the template aware Azure does not yet support that .Net version, changes it to .Net 3.5!
If you are using C# you can check the target framework from the properties of a project.
- Right click on the Project within the Solution Explorer.
- Select the Properties option in the popup menu.
- Select the ‘Application’ Tab from the left
Checking the Framework version
After a lot of google (try as I might I still find better results with Google than Bing – so at the moment Google is my search engine of choice but I kind of prefer the display of Bing) and even more cursing – I eventually found this – http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en/windowsazure/thread/f9fd7247-0893-447e-bb5a-494bc9543e8a – which would indicate it is coming, but only when VS2010 goes from Beta to Live – this should be April this year according to http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=4981
As it is possible to use convert standard applications to Azure – that is what I am going to do. Develop an application as a standard Web Application – and then convert for running under Azure when .Net 4.0 support is available.
As a 20 year Microsoft developer you might expect me to be anti-Apple but far from it. Apple kit has always been well designed, but back in the early days of the PC apple had a really big chance to define the PC and it blew it. While Bill Gates made probably the best deal in business history with MS-DOS and the design of the PC evolved into an open platform. Apple blew it by closing off development with the Mac. and the rest as they say is History.
Apple have not learnt.
This last week saw the release of the new iPad. And what a sexy good looking bit of kit it is. To be perfectly honest the tech geek in me was drooling. This a bit of kit I could see me using and wow would my app look good on it. Then reality raised it’s boring head.
Apple control things so that you have to get ‘approval’, only certain apps are allowed and one of the biggest ones missing is Flash. OK my final site will not run on Flash – but a large chunk of the web does. That means I’m going to go around with great lumps taken out of a page because not only do you not have Flash you can’t install it if you wanted to.
If I want to develop software for my Blackberry RIM make it really easy – I can go to the Blackberry site and download a library that works with Visual Studio for the some total of absolute nothing – as I already have a PC, and I already have Visual Studio I can be developing Blackberry Apps in a few minutes and an outlay of absolute nothing.
For the Apple, nope – OK they launched an SDK but I can’t see a way of installing it on my PC. So that means an Apple Mac – don’t get me wrong – all things being equal I would much rather the MacBook Air on my desk than the boring PC Laptop – but businesses use PC’s so I do.
My outlay then is going to be at least £1000 before I can’t start developing for the iPad – and that is before I have bought the iPad!
Which means for this development I will wait before developing a version of the iPad no matter how sexy it looks. Vodaphone, who I use for my mobile phone will be providing the iPhone soon so when my current contract runs out I will no doubt get one; but development will have to wait until the application starts making money. Now how many other developers are going to make the same economic decision. The closed eco-system of Apple strikes again. Apple if you really want to make inroads into Microsoft – open things up a little.
The closed environment of the Apple strikes again
I’ve been working with Microsoft Azure while it has been in Beta. I like the idea of Azure. For the small single developer being able to host a site at relatively low cost allows me to develop on-line applications and for my hosting to grow with the requirements of the application – rather than a steep upfront cost.
The internet today is a treasure trove of APIs which provides the developer with a lot of opportunity to develop functionality. The application I am working on will provide a one-stop site that integrates a host of tools to help the small businessman, including accounts, Contact Management, diary, statatory returns; integration with IM. Above this I will also be adding a series of Web Services; allowing 3rd Party developers to create tools – meaning that the portal information can be made available from stand-alone apps, MS Office applications, your iPhone, Blackberry or Mobile phone.
By the time I’m finished this should detail the technical, and practical issues that arise in getting an application from writing the initial code to getting it to market.