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Windows Azure Web Sites: Too easy and too much fun

Microsoft recently landed an incredibly powerful feature: Windows Azure Web Sites. This feature allows developers, designers, and basically anyone to deploy web sites (PHP, NodeJS, Static) to Microsoft's public cloud.

The barrier of entry has been lowered significantly and that's because of the amazing work of the Azure teams. I've attached my slide deck here. In trying to come up with some good slides, I didn't want the audience of 30 people sitting there through a bunch of slides. I wanted it to be more interactive and I wanted to really illuminate how amazingly simple the process is.

In part of the talk, I ended up doing 3 demonstrations

1. Deploying to Azure with Git (git push azure master)

  • created a static html file
  • added azure as a remote
  • pushed to azure within seconds

2. Creating a Wordpress site with a MySQL database

3. Using Express (NodeJS) to deploy a web application to Windows Azure 
  • used the express node module to generate a new site
  • installed all dependencies using npm install
  • changed the listening port to process.env.port so that iisnode can properly manage node (redirecting traffic from IIS and spawning/killing node processes)
  • showed how Azure will automatically detect package.json (and automatically pull down your dependencies)
  • went over a few of the gotchas
    • SSL on shared instances are going to land in the future
    • custom domains only work on reserved instances but this will change in the future

At the end of the talk, I think the audience was really impressed at how easy it was to get going on Windows Azure. Additionally and most importantly, the audience was extremely excited about the actual feature. This was my intention and part of my core principles as being an evangelist for any technology -- Get people excited about the technology so their teams can start adopting it.

Good luck and have fun,
Jaime Bueza

Jaime Bueza is a software engineer in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He has developed web applications for Nintendo, Starbucks, Bacardi, Nike, Electronic Arts, Ritchie Brothers, Kiwi Collections, Cox Communications and Microsoft. When he's not developing useful software that constantly evolves with business requirements, he's writing open source software and helping developers in the Windows Azure NodeJS community.
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