One Year of Windows Azure FREE with WebsiteSpark; Free E-Book "Introducing Windows Server 2012"; P&P Best Practices on Continuous Delivery with VS 2012 & TFS 2012; Working with XAML AppBar in Blend and VS 2012

Microsoft WebsiteSpark, now offering members "one year of free Windows Azure - up to $1,400 in annual savings" enabling, members design, develop and deploy their sites in the cloud with Windows Azure.For those not aware, "WebsiteSpark is a program for small web development and design companies launched today provides web designers and developers a jump-start […]

WebsiteSpark offering free one year of Windows Azure - up to $1,400 in annual savings

Microsoft WebsiteSpark, now offering members "one year of free Windows Azure - up to $1,400 in annual savings" enabling, members design, develop and deploy their sites in the cloud with Windows Azure.

For those not aware, "WebsiteSpark is a program for small web development and design companies launched today provides web designers and developers a jump-start by providing the tools and resources needed to build great websites, free of cost."

"Membership includes free access to software including Visual Studio, Expression, SQL Server Web Edition, Windows Web Server, as well as dedicated support from Microsoft engineers and Network Partners around the world. Members can also increase their visibility through automatic enrollment in the WebsiteSpark Partner Catalog & Microsoft Partner Network," Microsoft stated.

Benefits includes, per month:

  • 375 hours of a small compute instance
  • 20GB of storage capacity; 1M storage transactions
  • 1GB Web Edition SQL Database
  • 25 GB out (worldwide) CDN; 500,000 CDN transactions

You can sign up, by visiting WebsiteSpark website.

Microsoft has released a free e-Book "Introducing Windows Server 2012" -- "For IT professionals looking for an early, high-level view of Windows Server 2012, there's no better resource than the Microsoft Press e-book. Based on the beta release, this guide introduces its new features and capabilities, with scenario-based insights demonstrating how the platform can meet the needs of your business," Microsoft stated.

Free eBook Introducing Windows Server 2012

The Introducing Windows Server 2012 (Based on Beta) ebook is available in following formats:

Patterns & Practices Paper for implementing Continuous Delivery using Visual Studio 2012, Teaf Foundation Server  2012

And, the Patterns & Practices team at Microsoft has just published a document on best practices for implementing Continuous Delivery using VS & TFS 2012.

"This guide describes how testing has been changing over the years and how the testing infrastructure you can build with Visual Studio 2012 RC will help you achieve continuous delivery of your software projects," Microsoft stated.

It will help testers and developers use Team Foundation Server effectively as an application lifecycle management solution for testing and supporting products:

  • Understand how testing is changing with the new tools available to testers.
  • Set up the testing infrastructure.
  • Use the tools for unit testing.
  • Understand how the lab environment works and how it supports a project.
  • Understand the power of the manual testing tools.
  • Learn to use the tools for automated testing.
  • Use the tools in the testing toolbox.

Check "Testing for Continuous Delivery with Visual Studio 2012 RC" it out…at MSDN.

Working with the XAML AppBar in Blend and Visual Studio 2012

Finally, XAML Designer in Blend & VS enables you to intuitively design XAML AppBar controls and content.

"AppBars provide the user with easy access to commands when required. The user can swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen to make app bars appear and can interact with their content to make app bars disappear. App bars can also be used to show commands or options that are specific to the user's context," Microsoft explains.

Check out the video below to see how to design a XAML AppBar in Blend for Visual Studio, which is similar to the one in the Music App in Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

And, also check out this complete set of Guidelines and Checklist for app bars published on the Windows Developer Center, and official Windows SDK XAML AppBar control sample.