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Microsoft Updates Windows Cloud Tooling

Microsoft released the second community technology previews (CTPs) of its Software Development Kit (SDK) and Visual Studio extensions for the new Windows Azure cloud services platform.

Azure, which consists of an operating system and a developer services platform, took center stage at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference in late October. The technology was made available to all PDC attendees immediately after the show, although many developers had to wait several weeks to get the tokens needed to access the Azure platform. The Azure previews were opened to a larger group of MSDN subscribers after Microsoft provided access to interested PDC attendees.

The Azure SDK includes the development fabric controller and storage services needed for building and testing cloud apps locally in Visual Studio 2008 SP1 with the Azure VS extensions. Developers need to register with Microsoft to receive the tokens required to "publish" apps to the Azure cloud.

The Azure SDK January 2009 CTP and the Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio January 2009 CTP consist primarily of performance and bug fixes, according to Microsoft's Azure team members.

Gus Perez, the principal development lead for Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio, outlines some of the key VS fixes in his blog:

"• Code/Build/Run/Debug cycle
• Support for Silverlight debugging on Web Roles
• Improved Development Storage Service integration
• Service definition and configuration file errors are now detailed in VS
• Bug where publishing a package that was above a certain size would fail has been fixed."

Jim Nakashima, program manager for the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio team, offers an extensive overview of the performance and bug fixes in VS extensions and the Azure SDK in his Cloudy in Seattle blog. He notes that many of the SDK fixes were responses to customers' requests. The SDK January 2009 CTP also offers better integration with Visual Studio for the Storage services, according to Nakashima.

The latest bits underscore Microsoft's commitment to working with early testers in the developer community to advance the Azure platform. Blogs, forums and Azure user groups are starting to build a community around the new technology. Developers can find more information on Perez's Azure links page. Microsoft will also host MSDN Developer Conferences in many cities during the next several months to introduce the technologies that were announced at PDC.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards is the editor of RedDevNews.com and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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