Implementing federated security with Azure Access Control Service

I believe it is time for a really heavy blog post, and if you have ever read one of my other blog posts you are probably getting scared now. My posts are normally big, but this might actually be even bigger… Sorry! But it is an interesting topic with many things cover…

But before we can start looking at code, there are 2 things I want to do. First of all, I want to thank my colleague Robert Folkesson (warning, blog in Swedish) for getting me interested in this topic, and for showing me a great introduction.

And secondly, I want to give a quick run-through of what federated security and claims based authentication means…

Federated security means that an application relies on someone else to handle user authentication, for example Windows Live or Facebook. These identity providers are responsible for authenticating the user, and returning a token to the application, which the application can use to perform authorization.

More...

Configuring Azure Applications

Configuring your application when running in Azure can be a little confusing to begin with, I agree. However, it isn’t really that complicated as long as you understand what config goes where and why.

In Azure, you have 3 places that affect your configuration. Actually it is in more places than that if you count machine.config files and stuff like that, but I’ll ignore that now… And to be honest, it is only 2 places, but you need to tweak 3 places to get it to work…

When you create a new Azure web application project, you get 2 projects in your solution, one “cloud project” and one Web Application Project for example, and both have some form of configuration going.

More...

Dynamic IP-address filtering for Azure

Putting applications in the cloud is great, and offers a lot of benefits (as well as some complications). We get great scalability, elasticity, low cost of ownership etc. One problem however, is that the cloud is very public. I guess this isn’t a problem in most cases, but if what you are putting up there is supposed to be secret, or at least needs to limit who gets to use it, it becomes an issue.

I am currently working on a project like this. I am not going to talk about the project as such as it is under NDA, but the fact that it is is a service in the cloud that should only be used by certain clients is not uncommon.

The service has a front end that consists of WCF services, hosted in a web role, which is what we need to secure. The worker roles behind the web roles are by default secure as they do not communicate with the outside world at all.

More...

Windows Azure Service Bus - Lost in Intro

I have recently posted a few posts on how to use some of the new features of the Azure Service Bus. They seem to have been somewhat popular, which is fun. They are however very light weight introductions, and not that I am going to dig a whole lot deeper at the moment, but there are a few little things I want to mention.Mainly around brokered messages.

As you know from the previous posts, a brokered message, is a message that is sent to the bus from a client, and picked up by a service at some point. The message can contain a body, which could be more or less any class that you would like, as well as metadata about the message. The only thing to remember with those things, is the fact that the message size is limited to 256kb.

More...

Using the Windows Azure Service Bus - Topics and Subscribers

I guess it is time for another Azure Service Bus post. The previous ones has been relatively popular, so I thought I would do one more post to cover one last feature in the bus. (I say one last now, but I am pretty sure I will be back…)

Topics and subscribers are the basic units behind the Service Bus implementation of the pub/sub pattern. And as expected from a “simple” pattern like this, it should be simple to implement, and it is. The basics would be, create a topic, add subscribers that subscribe to messages from the topic, and finally push some messages to the topic, which are then relayed to the subscribers. Simple as…

More...

Using the Windows Azure Service Bus - Queuing

I guess it is time for another look at the Azure Service Bus. My previous posts about it has covered the basics, message relaying and relaying REST. So I guess it is time to step away from the relaying and look at the other way you can work with the service bus.

When I say “the other” way, it doesn’t mean that we are actually stepping away from relaying. All messages are still relayed via the bus, but in “the other” case, we utilize the man in the middle a bit more.

“The other” way means utilizing the message bus for “storage” as well. It means that we send  a message to the bus, let the bus store it for us until the service feels like picking it up and handling it.

There are several ways that this can be utilized, but in this post, I will focus on queuing.

More...

Using Azure Service Bus relaying for REST services

I am now about a week and a half into my latest Azure project, which so far has been a lot of fun and educational. But the funky thing is that I am still excited about working with the Service Bus, even though we are a week and a half into the project. I guess there is still another half week before my normal 2 week attentions span is up, but still!
So what is so cool about the bus, well, my last 2 posts covered some of it, but it is just so many cool possibilities that open up with it.
This post has very little to do with what I am currently working on, and to be honest, the sample is contrived and stupid, but it shows how we can use REST based services with the bus.

Using the Windows Azure Service Bus - Message relaying

My last post was a bit light on the coding side I know. I also know that I promised to make up for that with a post with some actual code. And this is it! Actually, this is one of them. My plan is to walk through several of the features over the next few posts in the n00b kind of way.

That is, I am going to go through the basics for each of the features I deem interesting, making it easy to follow for people who are new to the Service Bus. And please don’t be offended by the “n00b” comment. We are all “n00bs” at some point in every thing we do.

More...

What is the Windows Azure Service Bus?

For the last year, there have been few things in the development space I have heard as much about, as I have heard about Windows Azure. Microsoft has been pushing the Azure platform hard, we all know that, but not all of us have had the chance to try it out though.

Luckily I have had the fortune of being on a few projects that have been using it, but to be honest, I haven’t been really blown away yet. Yes…it does offer some awesome features that work extremely well in certain scenarios, but I would still claim that it isn’t for everyone. Having that said, I admit that I have only scratched the surface of the platform…

Lately however, more or less every time I hear Azure, it comes bundled with the term Service Bus. Either in “this would be such a great scenario for the service bus”, or in “wonder if we can get the service bus in there so that we can try it out”. Ok…so one of these are ok, the other isn’t to be honest… Playing with the service bus isn’t hard, as I will show you in future posts, and thus does not need to be added to a project to be tried. But before I start coding, I want to have a little rant about what it is. Or at least a rant about how I have understood it…

More...

Sessions for MIX11

Earlier today I got word that some of my sessions, that I had sent in as a part of the Open Call for MIX11, had gone past the initial round and are on the MIX11 website for voting. And the sessions that get the most votes gets to be presented at MIX11.

So this obviously means that I need a LOT of votes. And that means that I need you to vote on any of my sessions  that you find interesting. Or all of them if you just want to help me to get the possibility to present at MIX11…

The sessions are available here: http://live.visitmix.com/OpenCall/.

And what are my sessions? Well, I am glad you asked. They are…

Silverlight and Windows Azure - Tips from the Trenches
Join Chris Klug as he share his expertise in combining Windows Azure and Silverlight. This session will provide practical insights on using Silverlight with Windows Azure. It will include guidance on using Silverlight applications with Azure Web and Worker roles as well as approaches for using Windows Azure storage directly from your Silverlight app. This session will also cover the use of Windows Azure as a delivery mechanism for Windows Phone 7 push notifications and as a delivery mechanism for streaming media. Vote

From Phone Zero to Phone Hero in 60 minutes
Join Chris Klug & Chris Auld from Intergen as they build a real Windows Phone 7 app from scratch in 60 minutes. This is a hard core, dual data projector, coding marathon. Chris and Chris will build a Windows Phone 7 series application including Windows Azure hosted push notifications, a rich Silverlight UI and partner integration. You'll see how to take an idea from concept to the Windows Phone Marketplace in just an hour. In other words, not your general 'Hello World' application. Vote

MVVM - The Naked Truth
Model-View-ViewModel is the pattern of choice when writing Silverlight, WPF and Windows Phone 7 applications. It offers the developer a structured way to implement UI functionality and logic. It especially well with the mentioned technologies, as it uses built in features to enable a clean separation between form and function. During this session you will join Chris Klug, a Silverlight Solution Specialist from New Zealand, as he tells all about how you get started with MVVM. The goal is to get an understanding of why it is useful and how it can make your life simpler. And it will be presented in a naked form, no frameworks or helpers, enabling you to focus on the basic ins and outs of the pattern. Vote

Building Composite Silverlight Applications
Silverlight is a great platform for rich internet applications, but a lot of developers seem to forget that we can use many of our advanced desktop app approaches too. By adding a plug-in architecture we can make our apps easily extensible for future requirements. This session provides an introduction to plug-in approaches in Silverlight. It explores both PRISM and MEF as tools for implementing this pattern. You'll leave with the practical knowledge you need to add a plugin mechanism to your new and existing applications. Vote

The Phone Zero to Phone Hero will probably not be presented together with Christ Auld though as he probably won’t be able to go to MIX this year. But I will try and find a worthy replacement if that session were to get picked. And I really hope it is, cause it is a very entertaining session that is very far from your normal session. And also because it seems to polarize the crowd a lot. We have got feedback that ranges from more or less “the worst session ever attended” to “the best session ever attended”. Luckily, the good feedback seems to come from people who go to a lot of conferences and have a bit of experience, which is sort of required to grasp the information at the speed that it is presented…

That’s it for now. More coming soon… I hope… I have a little too much to do at the moment…