Archive for March, 2016

Designing UWP apps

When the Microsoft design language was introduced with Windows 8, we tried to help out with an extensive set of guidelines around design and User Experience. These guidelines were in the beginning very restrictive, which resulted in lots of apps with squares. With Windows 8.1 we explained that guidelines means guidelines, not “the law”. And although the app certification team looks at the usefulness of an app, they never disqualify an app because “it’s ugly”.

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When you run a PHP website on Azure Web Apps performance can be a concern. When you use PHP frameworks like Symphony or Laravel, the complete solutions is made up from lots of PHP files that are read from the local disc all the time. But in Azure storage is build for scale and works a bit differently. Data is stored on Azure blob storage. Getting a lot of (small) files from blob storage is expensive (in time). To make this work faster to speed up the website, local cache needs to be enabled. There were some ways to configure some caching possibilities, but they were not extensive.

Luckily this gotten a lot easier with a new feature in Azure Web Apps. By using specific Application Settings variables in the configuration, it’s now very easy to setup local cache. But, you still need to know what it means to fully understand the consequences of those settings.

For more information, there is a very good instructional video on Channel, Episode 201: Azure App Service Local Cache with Cory Fowler. The documentation of using the local cache can be found on MSDN.

There are lots of samples and answers to be found around creating WebAPI’s with ASP.NET, MVC etcetera. But I kept missing out on a simple walkthrough of (what I think is) a common scenario from start to finish. I have a database, and I want to give access to that data through a WebAPI with security enabled. Then I want to use that WebAPI from a Windows client. So I’m publishing a few posts now to write down the path I took using the latest, greatest.

The new development around websites on the server side is with ASP.NET 5 on .NET Core. The beauty of these new implementations is that they are open-source and cross-platform (Windows, MacOS and Linux). So you can use this technologie in the environment you like. As this is currently [March 2016] still in development, the documentation is still in development too. But it helped me to get started quickly. The documentation can be found on docs.asp.net.

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