About nick.harris

Nick Harris is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft specializing in Windows Azure. Before Microsoft, he founded his own startup AdGAC a mobile advertising company developed utilizing Windows Azure, WP7 and ASP.NET MVC. In the 9 years prior, Nick worked as both a consultant and Senior Software Engineer delivering smart client applications, distributed enterprise applications and airborne software systems. While not working you can find him blogging or on Twitter about Windows Azure along with a diverse range of related technical content.

TechEd North America 2013 sessions

Hi All,

Yep its been a couple really busy months of events.  TechEd, /BUILD and ImagineCup. Thanks for coming to my TechEd North America 2013 sessions back in June.  If you missed the sessions below you can find the respective Channel 9 videos and slide decks if you feel like presenting to your local user group.

Developing Connected Windows Store Apps with Windows Azure Mobile Service: Overview (200)

Join us for a demo-packed introduction to how Windows Azure Mobile Services can bring your Windows Store and Windows Phone 8 apps to life. We look at Mobile Services end-to-end and how easy it is to add authentication, secure structured storage, and send push notifications to update live tiles. We also cover adding some business logic to CRUD operations through scripts as well as running scripts on a schedule. Learn how to point your Windows Phone 8 and Windows Store apps to the same Mobile Service in order to deliver a consistent experience across devices.

Watch directly on Channel9 here and get the Slides here

Build Real-World Modern Apps with Windows Azure Mobile Services on Windows Store, Windows Phone or Android (300)

Join me for and in-depth walkthrough of everything you need to know to build an engaging and dynamic app with Mobile Services. See how to work with geospatial data, multiple auth providers (including third party providers using Auth0), periodic push notifications and your favorite APIs through scripts. We’ll begin with a Windows Store app then point Windows Phone and Android apps to the same Mobile Service in order to ensure a consistent experience across devices. We’ll finish up with versioning APIs.

Watch directly on Channel9 here and get the Slides here

ping me on twitter @cloudnick  if you have questions – Thanks, Nick Harris

Mums and Ayrtons Stories

My mum recently forwarded an email from my great uncle (grandmothers brother) Harry Sunderland, a man which I respect and love dearly for all he has done for our family. Within the email was the story written by Harry about their late brother – Ayrton Sunderland and his journey as a prisoner of war during WW2.

As a child I spent a lot of time on my grandmothers farm on few occasions I remember hearing Ayrtons name in passing.  Later in life when I had moved to Sydney my youngest brother spent a great deal of time with my grandmother in her last few years.  She told him many stories of the old days and some were about her brother Ayrton.  From my brothers conversations I found out that he went to war but I had never known more then that until now.  This post details the story of Ayrton Sunderland in the words of my great uncle Harry Sunderland.  I am posting this to preserve Ayrtons memory and my family history.

The title of this post and remaining content are Harry’s words from the aforementioned email:

I checking through some history and relatives have often asked me about my Late Brother, Ayrton Sunderland who was a prisoner of war during WW2 and whilst being transported by unmarked ship by the Japanese to Japan to carry out further work, the ship was torpedoed by the Americans…… These records are taken from information retained by my Late Mother and some from the internet.

Our kindest regards Heather and Harry.

Mums and Ayrtons Stories

I can remember when I was going to Primary School having to listen to the wireless about stories of people who went to war and their parent’s anxious wait for any kind of news about their son or sons. After we heard the stories the children who could afford six pence bought a cloth Anzac badge to wear at the Anzac Day Ceremony. This money went to help the Legacy Club care for children whose fathers were killed during the war.This story is about Ayrton Gibson Sunderland which is Harry and Mary’s brother and Di’s uncle.

AyrtonSunderland_BenSunderlandAyrton lived on a farm in Nimbin not far from Casino when the war started he enlisted into the Army in Nimbin on the 4th June 1940 and did his Army training at Paddington, Sydney.

His army mates nicknamed him Ben and this was the name he was known as for the rest of his war life.

Sometimes Ben had week end leave. He visited some of his relations in Sydney. One of his relations wrote to his mother and father telling them of his news and how splendid he looked they said that he has turned into a lovely handsome polite man which all the girls were in love with. They all went to the Saturday night movie together.

(We must remember that not many people had phones in those days and mail was the only way they could receive information about their loved ones.)

Like all the solders Ben loved receiving news of his home town. He wrote to his family thanking them for the papers they sent to him (Northern Star). In one of the papers they told about Nimbin having trouble with the Italians which Australians called Dagos. A number of Dagos were taken to court for insulting words.

Ben wrote back and said that he hoped the Dagos were not like the Dagos in Sydney they hate solders and do everything but spit on us and it is because of the Dagos that all leave has been cancelled.

He said he received Nancy’s socks and are very nice. (Nancy and Ben became engaged) He said his mates have all got blisters on their feet and wanted to know why he hasn’t any. Ben told them that he doesn’t wash his feet. His mates thought this was true so they didn’t wash their feet. After 4 days the smell was so great he had to tell them the truth. He also wrote that the bugs were so bad they were getting into the ink bottle. InkAndPen(those days people wrote with ink and pen).

After the training at Paddington Ben joined the 2/15th Field Regiment at Rosebery Racecourse Sydney. The regiment began training at Ingleburn with 18 pounder guns the type used during the First World War, and many of which, as noted comically in the regiment’s history, were “older than the gunners”.



In January 1941 the regiment moved into the new camp in Holsworthy. Ben sent a Mother’s Day greeting from this Camp.


Ben finally got some leave and went home to his family.

ArytonBenSunderlandHome On 29 July the regiment left Sydney on board the troop ship Katoomba for Perth.

HMAS Katoomba – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMAS_Katoomba
Ben (Ayrton) in Perth tallest back row

Ben (Ayrton) tallest back row, in Perth, WA Australia

They were put on a ship called “Sibajak” Which were a part of a Convoy of ships that left Australia for an unknown destination. Ben and his friends were horrified when they saw the sleeping quarters on board the Sibajak.


Unlike the Katoomba where there was plenty of room and good food. The Sibajak had rows and rows of hammocks so close together that if you had to go to the toilet during the night you would not be able to find your hammock.

It was very hot and stuffy inside the ship and the food was terrible. One of the soldiers died from sea sickness and a server tummy bug.

The ship went through heavy seas and half way to Singapore the soldiers were told where they were going. Some soldiers were shocked but others were expecting to go to Singapore.

Even though they were on a ship with rough seas they had to practise shooting. Balloons were flown in the sky as targets for the solders.

On the 15th August they arrived at the harbor of Singapore. There were a lot of ships anchored outside the port one was a Japanese Tanker flying the Rising Sun flag. No doubt they reported the Convoy to Tokyo.

Many soldiers became sick with tropical sickness and the Wanganella was converted into a hospital ship.

Wanganella converted to hospital

The 2/15th went into camp at Nee Soon, Singapore, where the men trained and were able to familiarize themselves with the jungle. It was not until 23 November the regiment received its first 25-pounders. Shortly afterwards a new battery, the 65th Battery, was formed.


Ben had some leave in Singapore and wrote to his family and sent this picture.


Ben also managed to send some letters home.


Ben sent a Christmas Greeting home to his family.

AyrtonChristmasCardSentHome Christmas Day was the first time the soldiers had Christmas away from home. Some soldiers were lucky enough to receive parcels and mail from home.

Dec. 29, 1941 The Regt came under fire for the first time. The night of Jan 30/31, 1942 saw the 2/15 Regt leave the mainland of MALAYA and cross over the CAUSEWAY to SINGAPORE Island.

Feb 8, 1942. Jap shelling in the Regt area was by now so intense that it was almost impossible to leave the protection of the slit trenches. Heavy rain had fallen during the last couple of days and trenches and bomb shelters were flooded.

Feb 15, 1942 At 1045 hours the CO was called to TANGLIN Barracks and informed by the A/CRA Lt Col McEachern of dropped messages by the Japanese calling for the British Army to surrender in the interests of humanity and to save the civil population from further slaughter and suffering.

At 1830 hours the CO was again called to TANGLIN Barracks and informed that a surrender had been arranged.

tanglin barracks


The order issued to the Regt in connection with capitulation may be summarised as follows:

Strictest discipline and control of troops to be maintained. Officers to move about amongst the men and keep control. Japanese Officers must be saluted by those inferior in rank. Care to be observed that disparaging remarks were not to be made in hearing of Japs, as many of them spoke English.

Warning was also given that the Japs were rounding up stragglers and that no one was to make any attempt to escape.

Feb 17, 1942. The Japanese ordered the prisoners to commence to march to CHANGI at 1530 hours, a distance of 16 miles. Each man carried all his private gear, water bottle and two days rations.

Staff cars carried officers of the rank of Brigadier or over. All others marched with the men. Just as the column was about to move off, a verbal message was received by the CO to leave behind all vehicles except the water carts. This was ignored and the vehicles laden with gear and food moved with the column and arrived intact at CHANGI with their loads, which in the weeks and months to follow were a very valuable addition to the meagre rations and medical supplies issued to POW’s by the Imperial Japanese Army.

In the early hours of Feb 18, 1942 the 2/15 Field Regiment arrived at hutted camp, very much damaged by fire, and entered into occupation of that portion of CHANGI known as BIRDWOOD CAMP.

The Japanese wanted to build a railway line between Bangkok, Thailand and Myanmar to support its forces. They had about 18000 Asian Labourers they told these Asian Labourers that they would pay them so they could get them into the jungle to work on the railway as soon as they arrived they were treated the same way as the POW’s. The Japs had no intention of paying them.

More men were needed to build the railway so they made the POW’s work on the railway. There sent 60,000 Allied POW’s to work on this railway.

An estimated 9,000 Asian Labourers and 16,000 Allied POW’s died as a direct result of the project. (2,815 Australian soldiers were killed. This is why the Burma Railway is referred to the Death Railway.

Ben and his mates were some of the POW’s that were made to work on this Railway. For 5 days and nights prisoners were packed into steel freight cars 36 to a car with only enough room to crouch down, in the stinking heat and humidity with only one opening for ventilation. Illness, particularly dysentery became common.

P0W in steel freight carts

When the train stopped they were made to walk 190 miles to the site where they would work on the railway.

George Aspinal was one of the soldiers who wrote a diary and took pictures whenever possible. This is his diary (source – http://www.abc.net.au/changi/history/burma.htm)

We used to cover about twenty-five or thirty miles each night. We tried to get some sleep during the day, but it was usually impossible because the Japanese always wanted to have a tenko – a check parade. So every few hours they would line everybody up and count them to see if they were all there. There was nothing much in the way of huts in the staging camps, and we used to try and snatch a few hours’ sleep under a bush or anything with a bit of shade.


If any straggler did fall behind, he got belted by the Japanese guards. I’m sure a number who could not keep up were beaten and left to die in the jungle. Some of the people who dropped back were never seen again and we did hear shots fired on a number of occasions. The guards might have been firing at wild animals, but we suspected a number of our people were shot.


The Burma Railway

The Japanese considered these men fit for work. The man on the right can’t do his shorts up because his stomach is swollen with beriberi. Ossie Jackson (centre) has wet beriberi in his legs, which are virtually the same diameter from his ankle up to his thighs. Benjamin Pearce (left) is also suffering malnutrition and beriberi.

Conditions working on the railway were horrendous. POW’s were given even less food than they had been getting in Changi, and they were forced to work in two 12 hour shifts. Cholera, beriberi and tropical ulcers were common.

The Burma Railway Tropical Ulcers
The Burma Railway Tropical Ulcers

Tropical ulcers were a constant problem for men on the railway. Few if any had boots and the constantly wet conditions meant that any scratch could quickly turn into an ulcer. There was little available to treat ulcers. Often the rotting flesh was scooped out with a sharpened spoon or men were told to stand in a river to let flesh eating fish pick at the rotting flesh. Sometimes ulcers could get so big that amputation was the only option. Few survived the shock.

These were some of the last pictures George was able to take with his camera. The railway was completed in November 1943. The survivors, including George were then sent back to Changi. It was on the way back that his group were searched by the Kempei Tai, the Japanese military police. They were much more thorough in their searching than the guards and George could well have been caught with his camera.

cholera isolation hospital
cholera isolation hospital

This photograph brings back many traumatic memories. It shows the cholera isolation hospital area at Shimo Sonkurai No 1 camp. Cholera patients were housed under canvas on the left of the photo. In the centre is the operating table used for amputations, ulcer treatment and post-mortems. A mosquito net was hung over the cross bar above the table to try and keep the blowflies away. The box on the table contains what surgical instruments were available. If someone died, the body was carried on a bamboo stretcher (there is one to the right of the hospital tent) over to the small holding tent on the right. Later the bodies were burned in an area towards the back right-hand-side of the picture.

I decided to break my camera up. I pulled it to pieces as much as I could, broke it up, mutilated it, and threw it down a deep well… and that was the end of the camera.

After the part of the railway line that Ben and his mates were working on was finished they were sent on a Japanese Hell Ship to work in the Japanese mines. (This was approx. May 1942).

A hell ship is a ship with extremely unpleasant living conditions or with a reputation for cruelty among the crew. It now generally refers to the ships used by the Imperial Japanese Navy and Army to transport Allied prisoners of war (POWs)

Many died due to asphyxia (Their body was deprived of oxygen) prisoners were often crammed into cargo holds with little air, food or water for journeys that would last weeks, with little food and water starvation or dysentery was common. These unmarked prisoner transports were targeted as enemy ships by Allied submarines and aircraft.

More than 20,000 Allied POWs died at sea when the transport ships carrying them were attacked by Allied submarines and aircraft. Although Allied headquarters often knew of the presence of POWs through radio interception and code breaking, the ships were sunk because interdiction of critical strategic materials was more important than the deaths of prisoners-of-war.

SunkPOWShipUnfortunately Ben was one of these many soldiers who lost his life when a USA Submarine sank the Hell Ship which he was on.

His parents were notified that he was missing and they searched desperately for and information about their son.


The soldiers were who were found were transferred to a hospital in Australia.

MarySunderlandAyrtonsSisterAyrton (Ben) sister Mary worked in a hospital as a nurse. This was the same hospital that the survivors were sent to.

Mary was on night shift (in those days they didn’t have electric lights and the nurses carried lanterns. The nurses had name tags and one of the soldiers asked Mary if she had a brother who was a POW.

He told her that Ben survived the ship being torpedo and managed to make a raft out of some wood floating in the water. Unfortunately he floated in a different direction to the ones who were rescued and wasn’t seen again.

Meanwhile Ben’s parents were doing some investigating on their own they found out that Fred Mills was one of the soldiers that was in Ben’s unit and wrote to him seeking information on their son. Fred wrote back to them:-

I received you letter and will try to tell you what happened.

I know for a fact the Ben (as we called your son) received some mail in February’44 and July 44 and from memory I think we sent 3 cards home only.

We were sunk 200 miles off the coast and I’m afraid there was no chance of reaching land unless one had a boat.

I saw Ben on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd days missed him on the 4th and saw him again on the 5th day in the water.

He was sitting on his raft and was taking the whole show very quietly.

A typhoon then started and separated us again.

I was rescued the next day by a submarine and they searched the area for two days and then had to leave owing to shortage of fuel. Before they left they threw tins of food and water over in case anybody may have been alive, and unfortunately missed.

Trusting this helps you in your sad loss in such of a fine son. I will close now offering you my deepest sympathy.

Yours faithfully

Fred Mills.

Ayrton’s parents received the dreaded telegram (during the war a telegram was sent to love ones by the Ministry for the Army informing them that their loved one was missing or killed. This caused great stress on the love ones as they dreaded the telegram man coming to their homes some people fainted when the saw the telegram man and some even had heart attacks).

AyrtonTelegramReportedMissingBelievedDeceasedThe telegram read.

It is with deep regret that I have to inform you that NX27932 Gunner Ayrton Gibson Sunderland previously reported missing believed deceased is now reported became missing and is for official purposes presumed to be dead on 16th September 1944 and desire to convey to you the profound sympathy of the Minister of the Army.

After the families were informed of their loved ones it was common to put the soldiers names who were casualties of war in the Newspaper.

Latest Casualties

They also received this scroll.


After the war his parents were informed that his name would go on the honour wall at the Canberra War Memorial including a little vase to place a Poppy into.

Australian War Memorial Courtyard

Australian War Memorial Courtyard

Poppies are flowers which is used to remember all the fallen soldiers in all wars. Poppies are red and the redness of the flower stands for all the blood that was spilt during all wars. This tradition comes from World War 1.


The eastern gallery is covered with the names of those who died in World War II and more recent conflicts.

Ayton’s plague reads








Ben’s parents also received medals which Ben had earned during his time in the Army.

Ayrton (Ben) Gibson Sunderlands WWII medals

Ayrton (Ben) Gibson Sunderlands WWII medals

Ayrtons/Bens family photo [Note: Flo is my grandmother and Harry, the young boy, infront of her is the author of this post about Ayrton (ben)]

Sunderland Family Photo

Sunderland Family Photo.
Back Row: Florence (Flo), Mary, Christine (Chris), Gordon
Front left: Henry (Harry), Father Ivy, Stanton (Jack), Mother Elvira (Vera), Ayrton (Ben)

His family donated a lectern to the Nimbin Church of England in remembrance of Ben (This was the church that Ben was christened)

Nimbin Church of England

Nimbin Church of England

Church of England Nimbin, Lectern donated in remembrance of Ayrton (Ben) Gibson Sunderland

Church of England Nimbin, Lectern donated in remembrance of Ayrton (Ben) Gibson Sunderland

Ayrton (Ben) Gibson Sunderland Christening document

Ayrton (Ben) Gibson Sunderland Christening document

There is also a memorial stone in Labuan Memorial cemetery Malaya of Ayrton


it reads

Faster Save Experience Editing Scripts in the Windows Azure Mobile Services Portal

How many times have you hit Ctl+S in the Windows Azure Mobile Services Portal while editing scripts, because your used to doing it in VS right, and you get the save webpage dialog coming up.

It used to frustrate me immensely and now its fixed giggidy! You will be happy to know Ctl+S will now save your changes or CMD+S for those on Mac.

#thatisall, #drinkingbeercoding #betterthenvegemite #yay :)

Build Websites and Apache Cordova/PhoneGap apps using the new HTML client for Azure Mobile Services

Today Scott Guthrie announced HTML client support for Windows Azure Mobile Services such that developers can begin using Windows Azure Mobile Services to build both HTML5/JS Websites and Apache Cordova/PhoneGap apps.

The two major changes in this update include:

  • New Mobile Services HTML client library that supports IE8+ browsers, current versions of Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, plus PhoneGap 2.3.0+.  It provides a simple JavaScript API to enable both the same storage API support we provide in other native SDKs and easy user authentication via any of the four supported identity providers – Microsoft Account, Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Cross Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) support to enable your Mobile Service to accept cross-domain Ajax requests. You can now configure a whitelist of allowed domains for your Mobile Service using the Windows Azure management portal.

With this update Windows Azure Mobile Services now provides a scalable turnkey backend solution for your Windows Store, Windows Phone, iOS, Android and HTML5/JS applications.


To learn more about the new HTML client library for Windows Azure Mobile Services please see checkout the new HTML tutorials on WindowsAzure.com and the following short 4 minute video where Yavor Georgiev demonstrates how to quickly create a new mobile service, download the HTML client quick start app, run the app and store data within the Mobile Service then configure a custom domain with Cross-origin Resource Sharing (CORS) support

Watch on Channel9 here

If you have any questions please reach out to us via dedicated Windows Azure Mobile Services our forum.


Nick Harris

Devices + Services: Near Realtime Sensor Data with Windows Azure Mobile Services, .NET MicroFramework, Pusher and ASP .NET MVC

It’s no surprise to people around me that I have a strong desire to code more, so I did just that on a Saturday several weeks back and here is what I built – a new devices + services scenario using a Gadgeteer, the .NET MicroFramework, Windows Azure Mobile Services and Pusher and Windows Azure Web Sites.


Lets build this:


and get some live graphs that look like this – note up to you to do some better styling :)

graphs2 – see it live here

The idea I set out with was to open up the power (and ease) of Windows Azure Mobile Services to embedded devices that can run .NET MicroFramework.  The scenario I come up with was to capture some sensor data, insert it into a Mobile Service to store the data for historical purposes and also provide a near real time stream of data for clients such as your web browser using Pusher one of our Windows Azure Store Partners.

Capturing Sensor Data

For this scenario I am using the GHI Gadgeteer FEZ Spider and I have already installed all the pre-req software from GHI   An embedded device that runs the .NET MicroFramework and has a bunch of plug and play sensors for rapid prototyping.  To collect the sensor data is quite straight forward

use the designer to wire up your sensors


The following code block will show how to open the network and capture sensor data in this case light, humidity and temperature – is quite straight forward and resides within Program.cs.

With that we have now captured our sensor data which is good, but to be useful to me I wanted to store this data off the device. To do this I decided to use Windows Azure Mobile Services

Storing the Sensor Data in Mobile Services Ok the first thing that you will need to do is Create a Mobile Service. Within the Windows Azure Portal Click New+  


Select Compute, Mobile Service, Create


Provide a subdomain name for your Mobile Service. This will be the endpoint that your device writes sensor data to and complete the wizard


Once your Mobile Service is provisioned.  Click on it and select the Data Tab and click Add a Table AddATable

Call this table SensorReading and save


Great, with that done we now have a Windows Azure Mobile Service ready to receive our data from our embedded device.  Interestingly Windows Azure Mobile Services already has client SDKs for Windows Store, Windows Phone and iOS apps.  If your an Android dev support for Android coming soon – giggidy. 

All of these client SDKs consume the REST API that Mobile Services provides for you out of the box.  One of the powerful things that the client SDKs offer is a really simple client API for consuming these services for things like data storage and Auth. 

My goal was to provide something that gives a similar experience to .NET MicroFramework devs because hey if you’re already writing software for embedded devices which is hard enough why shouldn’t you get an easy backend too? I invested a Saturday afternoon on this and provided a quick v-slice for the Insert operation.  To do this I took the Windows Phone Client SDK for Mobile Services and started porting it to .NET MicroFramework.  Man I must say I feel for you .NET MicroFramework devs:

  • no<Generics>
  • no LINQ
  • no JSON Serialization
  • limited Reflection capability – where did the GetProperties method go in .NET MF, I noticed PropertyInfo was there but couldn’t actually find GetProperties?

It was like coding back in the dark ages .NET 1.1 ah yes I remember those days. Quite  a wakeup call of how far we have really come!  So needless to say the Saturday afternoon was longer and not as productive as expected, sort of typical right?  Anyhow I got out a partial port that provides Insert functionality and a quick and pretty dirty JSON Serializer.  So here is what it looks like to use it to insert data to your Mobile Service. First we’ll need to add a reference to the (unofficial) Microsoft.Azure.Zumo.MicroFramework assembly. You can find the class library for this in the Where’s teh codez section towards the end


Now create a class SensorReading.cs, this will be the entity you will insert in your Mobile Service

To interact with our mobile service lets now create a new instance MobileServicesClient in your Program.cs

One thing you will note here is that I have not looked into how https is handled in the .NET MF so I am just using the http protocol for writing up to the Mobile Service I still need to investigate support for https on .NET MF. Now lets update temperatureHumidity_MeasurementComplete to create a new sensor reading and store insert it into your Windows Azure Mobile Service (backed by a Windows Azure SQL Database)

That’s it pretty easy right! You’ll note from an API consumer perspective that its pretty close to the experience you get for the Win Store and WP client SDKs minus the fact that I didn’t write a JSON Deserializer yet so I am not currently rehydrating the entity that was passed to the Mobile Service with the updated Id or updated properties…

So now that I had my sensor readings being stored in Windows Azure Mobile Services I wanted to look at how I could visualize this data.

Sending the sensor data to listening clients using Pusher

This is where things get pretty sweet. I wanted to visualize my sensor data in a graph as it arrived in my Mobile Service. Recently we announced a new Windows Azure Store partner – Pusher a  WebSocket Powered Realtime Messaging Service.  Within the Windows Azure Store you can quickly provision a Pusher account and utilize it from Mobile Services within minutes as follows.

Press New+


Select Store


Select the Pusher add-on


Walk through the remainder of the Wizard to select your plan and get your keys


Note: if the Windows Azure Store is currently not available in your region you can sign up directly on Pusher.com

Next in the Windows Azure Portal select your SensorReading table and click the script tab and set the dropdown to Insert. This will allow us to write code, called Server Scripts, that will be executed every time our Gadgeteer inserts data into our SensorReading table in Mobile Service.


Next we replace the insert code of our script to do two things save the data to our database and then use Pusher subscription to send our sensor data as it is received to all listening clients.


Graphing the data received via Pusher in a web client running on Windows Azure Web Sites

So now we had our sensor data collected, inserted and stored in Mobile Services and then pushed using pusher to any listening clients.  What I wanted was a web client to visualize the data in a graph as it arrived. You can learn how to create a free Windows Azure Website using ASP.NET MVC and deploy it to Windows Azure here – http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/develop/net/tutorials/get-started/

The following code shows how you can write a quick, not so pretty code+UI wise,  graph that will receive the sensor data live via Pusher and update the graph.  To do this I am using jqplot and the Pusher JavaScript library. First add your script references to _Layout.cshtml

Then add your jquery.jqplot.min.css to your /Content folder. Next we need to Update our Home/Index.cshtml view to listen/bind to our Pusher Channel and then redraw our jqplot graph as data is pushed directly from Pusher.

If you read through the code you will see pretty clearly that the Pusher implementation is 3 lines of code only – to me this is extremely cool. Itty bitty amount of code, phenomenal cosmic power!

So that’s it now we have live graphs on our website, you can checkout a running version of this code and it live graphs that I deployed to a Windows Azure Web Site here – http://microframework.azurewebsites.net

How much does it cost

Everything that I did here can be done for free with Windows Azure Windows Azure Free Trial and/or the great free tier offerings for Windows Azure Web Sites, Windows Azure Mobile Services and Pusher.

Where’s teh codez?

This is unofficial, is not supported – I did it in my free time and it Works on my machine! :)  disclaimers all being said I really hope that this does open up a lot of doors for you for building out a whole new range of devices + services scenarios using Windows Azure and our Store Partners You can download the .NET MF lib and sample code from this github repo


I hope this has opened the door to great new devices+services scenarios you can build out for your .NET MicroFramework solutions. With few lines of code and powerful services like Windows Azure Web Sites, Windows Azure Mobile Services and Pusher you can make working in the emerging embedded devices + services space a lot easier then it has been in the past. Please do let me know if you have built something awesome in this space on the Twitterz @cloudnick

Building Mobile Apps with Windows Azure Content from BUILD 2012

//BUILD 2012 was an awesome event! this post is a little late.  Although late this content is still extremely relevant if you are building Connected Mobile Apps. Here are a couple of sessions you should watch:

Keynote Demo of Windows Azure Mobile Services
During //BUILD 2012 I was fortunate enough to be to be on point for delivering the day 2 Mobile Services keynote demo app Event Buddy.  If you have not watched this keynote demo I would recommend you check it out – the Mobile Services Demo starts about 10mins 30 seconds in

Direct Video link on Channel9.  Event Buddy is now also available as a Code Sample that you can download here.

Developing Mobile Solutions on Windows Azure – Part I

Watch Josh take a Windows Phone 8 + Windows Store application and light it up with cloud services to handle data, authentication and push notifications – right before your eyes with Windows Azure Mobile Services. Almost all demo and no slides, this session is designed to take you from zero to Mobile Services here in 60 minutes.

You can also watch this video directly on Channel 9 here.
Developing Mobile Solutions on Windows Azure – Part I

In addition to this I also presented with fellow baldy – Chris Risner.  In this session we took the output of Part I  from Josh and demonstrated how you could extend your existing applications to support common scenarios such as geo-location, media, and cloud to device messaging using services from Windows Azure.   Here a summary of the content of this presentation that I humbly grabbed directly from a prior post by Chris

  • We took pictures and uploaded them to Blob Storage.  For this we used a web service layer, running in Windows Azure Websites, to get a SAS (Shared Access Signature) which allowed us to securely upload to blob storage.
  • We then got the location of the device and used that information to geo-tag the pictures we just uploaded.
  • We added a web page to our web service which allowed a user to select a geographical area on a map and request a push notification be sent to anyone that had taken a picture inside of it (this used the Bing Maps API and Queues from Windows Azure Storage)
  • We deployed a worker role to Windows Azure Cloud Services which would check the queue and then figure out who should be notified (using Entity Framework’s geospatial support) and sent out the actual push notifications to both the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 clients.

Here is the direct link to watch on Channel 9 and Chris has also made the code available here

Nick Harris