Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 2010 - August 2011 Upgrade

Last week the Windows Azure time did not only announced the availability of the Windows Azure Storage Analytics feature but also released Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 2010 - August 2011 Upgrade.

Some features that are included are:

  • Profiling the application running in Windows Azure.
  • New ASP.NET MVC 3 web role template.
  • Multi-configuration files in one cloud project.
  • More validation in the service package and deployment phase.
Download and Install

The easiest way to install the upgrade is by using the Web Platform Installer which can be found here. The WebPI will download some dependency packages besides, such as the latest Windows Azure SDK, ASP.NET MVC 3 for Windows Azure, etc.

ASP.NET MVC 3 Web Role

When creating a new cloud project you now have a  new ASP.NET MVC 3 Web Role template available. This template already added all the required  assemblies related to MVC3 and set the Copy Local = True by default.

Multiple Service Configurations

Under the cloud project we can find that there are two service configuration files (CSCFG) which are:

  • ServiceConfiguration.Cloud.cscfg
  • ServiceConfiguration.Local.cscfg

The Multiple Service Configurations feature makes it easier to switch between the local emulator and the real cloud environment. With two configuration files enabled, we can choose which one will be the service configuration file when locally debugging, packaging and deploying. 

New Package and Publish Window

Previously we choose to package or publish our windows azure project by selecting the radio button in the Publish window. In this upgrade the package and publish had been totally separated. In the context menu of the windows azure project we can create a package by using the Package menu, and use the Publish menu to deploy the application directly to the cloud.

More Validation

Because of the differences between the local emulator and the real cloud environment, deploying a Windows Azure project can be a trial-and-error process.  With the new tools update, Visual Studio helps us to validate our project and detect some common mistakes(like not setting Copy Local=True, connection to a local database, etc…).

Powered by ASP.NET Universal Providers

The ASP.NET Universal Providers extends the Session, Membership, Roles and Profile support to SQL Compact Edition and SQL Azure, which means as a developer, we can implement the business logic regardless which backend database we are using. More information in Scott’s blog post.

Go try it out yourself!

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