Cloud Services With Azure

Cloud Computing has been among the biggest buzzwords of the last 5 years and while over this time, I have managed to get a decent fundamental and conceptual understanding, practical implementation has always been an issue (usually due to the cost factor). That is until now!

I’ve been really messing around with the Windows Azure platform and my employers have also helped out by providing me with a free subscription as well as a group of peers who are as passionate about the technology as me and who are more than willing to share their knowledge. This has been the biggest driver to motivate me and help me learn about the core concepts of Cloud Computing in a practical way, so that no matter what the Cloud platform is in the future, Azure, Google Compute, Amazon EC2, etc., I can be agile enough to adapt to any of them.

From a high level, Azure provides us with a lot of pre-built templates. Things such as Cloud powered Websites, Cloud Mobile Services, Cloud Media services, Virtual Machines, SQL Storage and a lot many more, just makes the lives of developers really easy. Over that, the Azure SDK integrated so well with my Visual Studio that I didn’t have to waste any time configuring and could get to producing code in no time.

As for the techniques, the fundamentals of Service Bus with Queues, Topics, and Relays for message passing, running remote Virtual Machines, storing large files as Blob storage in SQL Databases, opened opportunities to me to really implement some of the ideas in my head, which had seemed infeasible to me before.

Add to that a cloud powered IDE, a sleek web interface to monitor all my resources and multiple programming language support (yes, I did all my cloud coding in Python!!) complimented with amazing and easy to understand documentation on MSDN really made the whole learning experience that much more enthralling.

The point of this post is not to show off the capabilities of Azure. Rather I want you to go out and pick a cloud computing platform of your choice, and really learn of the amazing capabilities provided to you and realize the brilliant ways in which you and others can leverage these capabilities to make the whole world a much better place!

Hope to hear some success stories in the comments. Eviva!

2 Month Notice

Well, technically it’s been more than 2 months since I joined my new workplace, but I guess it is high time I gave an update as to what I am up to.

As expected from working at one of the top tech companies in the world, there is a lot of work (and fun), but there is a great potential for learning as well. And man have I learned a lot!! In my first month here, I worked on a Windows 8 Modern UI app and understood the architecture of building a Modern app hands-on. Not only that, but I also had to integrate the app with a web service using Javascript (which, by the way, is my weakest programming language), and after a lot of fumbling in the dark, I can now bend JS to my absolute will (Evil laughter)!!

In my free time, I got together with a senior of mine, Prakhar Gupta, who works at the same company albeit in the Bangalore office, and quickly coded up a Windows Phone 8 app. The app basically acts as a birthday reminder for all those like me who are poor at remembering dates. Expect to see the app in the Windows Marketplace soon! Along the way, I have also been drawn to Cloud Computing, thanks to the amazing Windows Azure (they have tutorials on creating Android apps with an Azure back-end), and hope to soon gain certifications in Cloud Computing. This along with some other projects that I really can’t talk about (Non Disclosure Agreement, you see) have made my life coding bliss!!

Oh, and did I mention that I have also started development on the Leap Motion? Expect to see more on that and Kinect development in my next few posts. This is from a practical standpoint. From a knowledge standpoint, I am learning everyday. I have learned about good design and best practices while coding in C# and am also re-exploring functional programming with F#. SQL and database querying now seem to come more naturally than ever, and I have also started looking into query execution plans to further optimize my SQL code. I have also been trying to read up on the Common Language Runtime (CLR) which so far looks great with the way the CLR handles managed modules and the variety of support provided for different languages, but with all the work and coding going on, I am having a hard time actually removing time for myself to read more. Will have to stretch more on the reading front!

In the pipeline are some more apps (maybe on Android?) and reading papers and texts on NLP (for WishWasher) and Computer Vision (which is still my favoured field). I do seem to be loaded with work, but hopefully, I will keep inventing things and inspiring you to try new things. Keep an eye out for more on this domain.