IT Bookworm Blog


November 18, 2013  3:30 PM

Book excerpt: Building Windows 8 Apps



Posted by: Michael Tidmarsh
Book excerpt, Windows 8

“This excerpt is from the book, Building Windows 8 Apps with C# and XAML by Jeremy Likness, published by Addison-Wesley Professional, October 2012, ISBN-10: 0-321-82216-1. For more info please visit the publisher site: http://www.informit.com/store/building-windows-8-apps-with-c-sharp-and-xaml-9780321822161

The New Windows Runtime

THE WINDOWS RUNTIME (WINRT) IS AN ENTIRELY NEW framework for Windows that provides developers a multi-language API for creating  applications on Windows 8. Windows Store applications are full-screen applications that are tailored for specific devices, touch interactions, and the new Windows 8 user interface. Windows Store applications are also referred to as tailored applications because they adapt to the target device. It is also possible to build traditional desktop applications on Windows 8. The term “Windows 8 application” in this book will refer to the non-desktop, Windows Store version of applications that use WinRT. The introduction of WinRT is one of the largest paradigm shifts in the Windows development world since the introduction of .NET in late 2000.

In this chapter, you will look back at prior development frameworks for Windows and learn how the rising popularity of Natural User Interfaces (NUI) prompted Microsoft to respond with the bold new Windows 8 platform. You will learn about Windows 8 applications and the various languages in which they are written. I will also share how existing XAML-based technologies like WPF and Silverlight fit into the new Windows runtime.

Looking Back: Win32 and .NET

“I can change my mind faster than Bill Clinton.”
—Jay Leno at the Windows 95 Launch Party, referring to the new Windows task bar

In 1985, the first version of Windows was released without much fanfare. It wasn’t a full operating system, but a layer that sat on top of the console-based MS-DOS and was called MS-DOS Executive, as shown in Figure 1.1. A decade later, things changed dramatically with the launch of Windows 95. Bill Gates appeared on a massive stage in front of the now iconic “Start button” for Windows with talk show host Jay Leno and demonstrated the powerful new operating system. It caught on quickly to the tune of the Rolling Stones’ song “Start Me Up” and left close competitors like Apple behind in its wake.

Windows 95Figure 1.1: MS-DOS Executive

To write software for Windows 95, shown in Figure 1.2, developers used an Application Programming Interface (API) that had been developed several years earlier known as Win32. At the time, Microsoft was bridging the gap between legacy 16-bit systems and the newer 32-bit machines and conveyed the new support in the name of their API. Win32 exists today (now more appropriately referred to as the Windows API) at the core of all Windows operating systems despite the introduction of newer frameworks and platforms that abstract it away. The API was considered extremely powerful and flexible at the time it was introduced but placed a tremendous burden on the developer to handle many low-level operations required to display a form and interact with the user.

Windows 95-2Figure 1.2: Windows 95

The following code is all that is required to print the text “Hello, World” using the C++ programming language:

#include
int main()
{
cout << "Hello World" << endl;
return 0;
}

October 8, 2013  7:26 PM

Book excerpt: Windows Server 2012 Unleashed



Posted by: Michael Tidmarsh
Book excerpt, Windows Server 2012

“This excerpt is from the book, Windows Server 2012 Unleashed by Rand Morimoto, Michael Noel, Guy Yardeni, Omar Droubi, Andrew Abbate, Chris Amaris, published by Addison-Wesley Professional, September 2012, ISBN-10: 0-672-33622-7. For more info please visit the publisher site: http://www.informit.com/store/windows-server-2012-unleashed-9780672336225

Chapter 1: Windows Server 2012 Technology Primer

In This Chapter

Windows Server 2012 Defined

When Is the Right Time to Migrate?

Versions of Windows Server 2012

Improvements for Continuous Availability

Enhancements for Flexible Identity and Security

Enabling Users to Work Anywhere

Simplifying the Datacenter

Addition of Migration Tools

Improvements in Server Roles in Windows Server 2012

Identifying Which Windows Server 2012 Service to Install or Migrate to First

With the release of Windows Server 2012, some questions immediately come to mind for IT professionals: “What’s new?” “How do I leverage the new version of Windows in my business environment?” “How do I make the new stuff work?” The challenging part for IT professionals is that not only is Microsoft releasing a new operating system every couple years, but applications are being updated on a regular basis, and the influx of cloud-based technologies provide alternatives for organizations to choose their technology platform.

So, where’s one to start?

The focus of this book is to identify what’s new, what’s the same, and what’s the difference in Windows 2012 compared to earlier versions of Windows, and then drill down into tips, tricks, and best practices from early-adopter lessons learned for the planning, implementation, and support of old and new technologies built in to Windows Server 2012.

To start, Windows 2012 is built on the same base technology that Windows has been running on for years. Granted, Windows Server 2012 is now solely a 64-bit operating system, so there’s no 32-bit version of the code, but much of the feature set adds enhancements in providing high availability, redundancy, high performance, and scalability for the enterprise.

With Windows Server 2012, Microsoft is shipping an entire platform based on a common code-base that includes Windows 8 for tablets and client systems through Windows Server 2012 for datacenters in enterprises. The similarities start with a common user interface with the new Windows Metro style menu, but that’s about where the similarities also end. Obviously, client systems are targeted toward the touchscreen interface and user apps, whereas Windows Server 2012 focuses on datacenter and cloud-based back-end infrastructure.

This chapter provides an overview of what’s in Windows Server 2012, explains how IT professionals have leveraged the technologies to improve IT services for their organization, and acts as a guide for where to find more information about these core technology solutions in the various chapters of this book.

Windows Server 2012 Defined

Windows Server 2012 is the next generation of the Windows Server operating system. Upon initial boot, shown in Figure 1.1, Windows Server 2012 looks like any other version of Windows relative to having a taskbar at the bottom and a console screen displayed. In fact, on Windows Server 2012, rather than booting to a blank screen, Windows 2012 boots to the Server Manager console. From Server Manager, an IT professional can add server roles, configure server settings, and launch management tools, which are all things that are done by the Windows administrator.

Windows Server 2012

FIGURE 1.1 Windows Server 2012 desktop screen.

However, as mentioned, Windows Server 2012 has the Windows 8 “Metro” interface similar to what is shown in Figure 1.2, and as such, the Start button is no longer on the bottom left as it has been “forever.” Instead, a “charm” at the bottom right of the screen pops up a series of quick launch buttons (including ones to search or configure settings on the system). Chapter 3, “Installing Windows Server 2012 and Server Core,” and
in Chapter 18, “Windows Server 2012 Administration,” cover the Windows Metro style interface in more detail.

Windows Server 2012-2

FIGURE 1.2 Windows Metro style interface in Windows 2012

Under the surface, though, and covered through the pages of this chapter are the new server, datacenter, cloud-based technologies, and capabilities built in to Windows Server 2012.


August 28, 2013  5:49 PM

Book excerpt: Essential SharePoint 2013



Posted by: Michael Tidmarsh
Book excerpt, Microsoft SharePoint

“This excerpt is from the book, Essential SharePoint 2013: Practical Guidance for Meaningful Business Results, 3rd Edition by Scott Jamison, Susan Hanley and Chris Bortlik, published by Addison-Wesley Professional, August 2013, ISBN-13 978-0-321-88411-6. For more info please visit the publisher site: http://www.informit.com/store/essential-sharepoint-2013-practical-guidance-for-meaningful-9780321884114

Your Reading Journey

SharePoint 2013 is the next version of Microsoft’s popular content -management and collaboration platform. With this version of the product, Microsoft has made the platform more Web-friendly, more mobile-friendly, and more social. They’ve also added a major deployment option: the cloud. A fast-moving, ever-changing platform like SharePoint deserves careful planning and guidance. Consider this book your guide.

What does it take to be successful with SharePoint? A quality SharePoint 2013 rollout relies not only on the structured design provided by an architect, but also on the collective content contributions of the user community. Through key activities like providing original content, ranking content that they like, collaboratively creating documents, and tagging content with their own taxonomy, users have the opportunity to improve an organization’s ability to deliver and share knowledge and best practices. Successfully getting users to contribute content effectively should be one of your key goals.

Some features in SharePoint 2013 will be new to users of past versions of SharePoint. That said, many users will feel right at home with the platform because of its similarities to most Internet sites, which encourage users to actively participate rather than simply read static content. SharePoint 2013 recognizes the global nature of information and enterprises, making it easier to support multiple languages, on multiple browsers, and on multiple platforms, such as handheld devices. This book is designed to help you navigate this new world of SharePoint.

If you have read Essential SharePoint 2007 and/or Essential SharePoint 2010, you will find a significant amount of new information in this book—not just about SharePoint’s latest features, but also about key topics we’ve developed further by working with hundreds of clients who use SharePoint every day to solve real business problems. For example, since Essential SharePoint 2010 was published, we’ve learned a great deal about effectively creating and deploying governance plans, operating and managing SharePoint from an IT perspective, and which SharePoint metrics really measure business value.

What Is This Book About?

Most books are designed to address the “how” behind SharePoint, from either an administrative perspective or a programming perspective. This book complements the typical SharePoint book with some of the “what” and “why” of SharePoint, provides insight into targeting business needs with collaboration technologies, and helps you understand how those needs might be addressed by using SharePoint.

This book addresses the multitude of decisions that must be made about topics within SharePoint in a way that speaks in simple language and bridges the gap between business and technical topics. Navigating the various client and server offerings from Microsoft can be confusing and daunting; this book will help you navigate these waters, providing direction and understanding. Specifically, this is a book about Microsoft’s SharePoint offering, with a particular focus on four commonly requested topics: a business-focused overview, guidance for setting a proper strategy, governance and user deployment, and a business-focused discussion on how to apply SharePoint’s key features. This book was written because collaboration, information management (knowledge and content), and Web accessibility are three of the most sought-after features in a corporate software solution — and addressing those needs in a successful way is often no small feat. If you want to deploy SharePoint in your enterprise or upgrade from previous versions, or if you need a concise yet comprehensive introduction to collaboration solutions with SharePoint, you’re starting in the right place. This book provides a great user-level guide to Microsoft’s latest version of SharePoint, along with usage strategies and some insight into the technologies involved. This book is intended to be a tutorial as well as a handy reference.


July 31, 2013  1:52 PM

Book excerpt: Mobile Strategy



Posted by: Michael Tidmarsh
Book excerpt, Mobile

“This chapter is from the new book, Mobile Strategy: How Your Company Can Win by Embracing Mobile Technologies by Dirk Nicol, published by Pearson/IBM Press, April 2013, ISBN 9780133094916 For more info please visit the publisher site: http://www.ibmpressbooks.com/store/mobile-strategy-how-your-company-can-win-by-embracing-9780133094916

Chapter 9: SoCloDaMo (Social + Cloud + Big Data + Mobile)

SoCloDaMo is the evolution of four key technology trends—social, cloud, big data, and mobile—that has begun to converge into a new IT delivery platform. It is driven by consumer behavior, smaller IT budgets, and unending supply of connected smart devices. Most people see these forces working in their personal and business lives; however, there are profound implications to IT leaders.

There is a growing interdependence and convergence between social networking behavior and mobile interactions, enabled by “around the clock” availability through cloud and big data. Social, cloud, big data, and mobile come together to reinforce each other, and when combined deliver greater value than they do individually. Mobile brings location, context, always-on capability, and convenience. Mobile reinforces—and is a vehicle for—social networks and collaboration. Social networks link people to each other to work in new and interesting ways. The cloud offers a utility that provides an always-on platform for mobile and social interaction. The multitenant nature of the cloud enables everyone to interact with the same application at the same time, thus reinforcing social interaction. The cloud also delivers a platform for collecting and analyzing information. The mobile device is generating information that gives the context for behavior. Sensors are collecting information as a result of GPS coordinates, social interaction, and past buying behavior. This information is then generated as a result of the tasks people perform on their device. The resulting data then gives the enterprise new insight about behavior that can provide new value to customers and employees in the form of new features, new offers, improved processes, and customer retention. The reality is that a SoCloDaMo platform is here to stay and will grow in prominence in any mobile solution. You must consider the key ways that SoCloDaMo can contribute to an overall mobile strategy and use it appropriately.

This chapter outlines the key capabilities and trends around cloud, social, and big data as it relates to mobile. The chapter then covers how these four major trends come together to offer a set of new capabilities for businesses that compliments an overall mobile strategy.

Continued »


July 9, 2013  2:52 PM

Book excerpt: Cloud Computing



Posted by: Michael Tidmarsh
Book excerpt, Cloud computing

“This chapter is from the book, ‘Cloud Computing: Concepts, Technology & Architecture‘ authored by Thomas Erl with Zaigham Mahmood and Ricardo Puttini, published by Pearson/Prentice Hall Professional, May 2013, ISBN 0133387526, Copyright 2013 Arcitura Education Inc. For more info please visit: http://www.informit.com/store/cloud-computing-concepts-technology-architecture-9780133387520

11.1 Workload Distribution Architecture

IT resources can be horizontally scaled via the addition of one or more identical IT resources, and a load balancer that provides runtime logic capable of evenly distributing the workload among the available IT resources (Figure 11.1). The resulting workload distribution architecture reduces both IT resource over-utilization and under-utilization to an extent dependent upon the sophistication of the load balancing algorithms and runtime logic.

Cloud service consumers

A redundant copy of Cloud Service A is implemented on Virtual Server B. The load balancer intercepts cloud service consumer requests and directs them to both Virtual Servers A and B to ensure even workload distribution.

This fundamental architectural model can be applied to any IT resource, with workload distribution commonly carried out in support of distributed virtual servers, cloud storage devices, and cloud services. Load balancing systems applied to specific IT resources usually produce specialized variations of this architecture that incorporate aspects of load balancing, such as: Continued »


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