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When Microsoft announced the commercial availability of Windows Azure during last year’s PDC, some of the companies they showcased were more of Web 2.0-ish than any enterprise scale. Even though companies from Web 2.0 and beyond were not using Microsoft technologies, it is a huge market for Microsoft to ignore. The huge success of Facebook applications made this market segment very important from Microsoft’s perspective.
In fact, Windows Azure can be very handy for such developers who want a seamless way to scale up and down based on demand, without getting their hands dirty on the nuts and bolts of infrastructure.Even though I don’t like the lock-in aspect of Azure cloud, I like the way it is set up to be developer friendly. Developers who code for social networking platforms are either individuals or small shops with a handful of people. They are not prepared for the sudden, unimaginable success that could come in through these social networking sites. Cloud Computing, in general, and Platforms like Azure and Google App Engine, in particular, can come handy for these developers.
Recently, Microsoft announced that they have partnered with Thuzi, the consultancy firm specializing on social media platforms, to offer a toolkit for running Facebook apps on Windows Azure. Named Facebook Azure Toolkit, this open source tool allows developers to get started easily and deploy Facebook applications on top of Windows Azure Cloud. This will help them focus on the development of the app without worrying about any viral impact of the Facebook platform.
This starter kit consists of
- Facebook Developers Toolkit
- Ninject 2.0 for Dependency Injection
- Asp.Net MVC 2
- Windows Azure Software Development Kit (February 2010)
- Azure Toolkit – Simplified library for accessing Message Queues, Table Storage and Sql Server
- Automated build scripts for one-click deployment from TFS 2010 to Azure
With this toolkit, the developers can either deploy directly on Azure cloud or run locally on their computers. The project can be used with Visual Studio 2010 RC and makes Facebook app deployment only a click away. Even though there are not many developers in this space building their apps on top of Microsoft technologies, this opens up another opportunity for developers. Since free markets is all about having choice, I think this is good for developer community.