Microsoft Platform Ready provides technical and marketing
resources for companies building applications for the Microsoft platform.
Currently they are working with The Code
Project on a promotion that will pay $250 USD to companies for their FIRST
Windows Azure Application that is verified compatible using the Microsoft
Platform Ready testing tools. The contest is valid only through 21 June 2011
12:00 PST in the US only, but the walkthrough I’m about to show will work for
any company who wishes to confirm and verify to customers that their
application is running correctly on Windows Azure.
You’ll need to install the latest Azure developer tools for
Visual Studio. You can get these at Azure.com – just click
the Get Tools & SDK link. You’ll find walkthroughs for creating and
deploying applications at this location as well. Once you have the tools,
create a new Azure application, or download my
sample application and adjust it to suit your needs. In my case, I wrote a
very simple MVC-based web application that displays some very basic profile
information from my Code Project profile. You can easily change the code to
show your own Code Project profile by substituting your profile ID for mine.
Build and test your application locally using the local
Azure tools. The sample application provided literally only has this bit of
code – it’s pretty close to a Hello World app. To be sure, you can build much
more involved applications and leverage additional services such as Azure
Storage or SqlAzure.
Get an Azure Subscription and Deploy Your App
You can get a 30
day pass for Windows Azure by clicking on this link and then entering promo
code CP250. You don’t need a credit card or anything to get started
using this promo code and URL.
It includes the following. You just need to sign in with
your Windows Live ID in order to get started, and then fill out the small form
Accept the agreement…
Now get started:
Note that it can take 2-3 business days for you to
receive an email letting you know that your 30 day pass account has been set
up. The rest of this walkthrough assumes this has occurred, or that you
otherwise have access to an Azure account (paid, via MSDN, etc.).
At this point if you’ve been following along, you’re ready
for step 4 shown above, Deploy Your Application to the Cloud. To do this,
you’ll need to log in to your Windows Azure
Management Portal at windows.azure.com. You access the portal using the
same Live ID you used to get your pass (or that you otherwise have associated
with your Windows Azure account). The relatively new version of this portal is
If you are going to be taking advantage of Microsoft Platform
Ready testing (in order to qualify for the $250 USD marketing funds offer), you
will need to ensure that your account has a certificate and a storage account
set up in addition to your application’s web or worker roles. We’ll look at
getting these set up after we show how to deploy the application. To deploy,
we’ll need to create an application package and a configuration file.
Back in Visual Studio, open your Windows Azure solution,
right click on the cloud project, and choose Publish.
Choose the option to Create Service Package Only.
Once the build and package steps complete, a Windows
Explorer window will open showing you the files that were produced. Click on
the address bar and Copy the address to your clipboard.
Now in your browser in the Azure Management Portal, click on
New Hosted Service. Fill in the options however you see fit. If you created a
30-day pass, you should see it as an option in the Choose a subscription
dropdownlist at the top of the form. The URL prefix must be unique (among all
Azure deployments, not just yours).
For Package location, choose Browse Locally and Paste
the address where your published package is located, and then choose your
.cspkg file. For the Configuration file, choose Browse Locally again, Paste
in the address again if necessary, and choose your .cscfg file.
Click OK. This can take a bit of time, but once it’s done,
verify that your application is working properly at the URL you chose above.
Create a Storage Account
Whether the app uses one or not, we will need a Storage
Account for Platform Ready. Click on the Storage Accounts link in the Azure
Portal, then choose New Storage Account from the ribbon menu. Fill in the
options similar to the Hosted Service, with a unique URL prefix and a subscription
Click OK and the account should be created after a short
Install a Certificate
Another requirement for Windows Platform Ready is the
presence of a certificate with your Azure account. You don’ t need to purchase
a certificate – you can use a self-signed one that you can easily create with
IIS on your local dev machine. David
Aiken has a nice blog post on how to create a certificate for Windows Azure
that I used for these steps.
First, open IIS Manager and click on your computer name.
Then double-click on Server Certificates from the IIS section in the main
window, as shown here:
Next, click on the Create Self-Signed Certificate option on
the right. Specify a name for the cert (e.g. “AzureCert”). You should then
see it listed in the list of Server Certificates:
Close IIS manager and open Certificate Manager (Start ->
Run -> certmgr.msc). Open the Trusted Root Certification Authorities and
click on Certificates. Locate your certification by sorting on the Friendly
Name column and finding the name you provided.
Now right click on your cert and choose All Tasks ->
Select No, do not export the private key and click Next.
Select DER encoded (the default) for the file format and click Next. Specify
the file name and path (e.g. c:\AzureCert.cer) making sure to name it with the
.cer extension. Verify the options and click Finish.
Now back in the browser, in the Azure Management Portal,
click on Management Certificates. Choose Add Certificate from the ribbon
menu. Be sure the correct subscription is selected, then browse to the .cer
file you just exported, and click OK.
Your application is now ready for MPR testing and
Verify Application with Microsoft Platform Ready
Go to MicrosoftPlatformReady.com,
choose your location (only US is eligible for $250 contest) and sign in using
your Live ID. Fill in the form, making sure to specify Code Project for the
How did you hear about MPR? question:
Click Save and Submit to continue.
Next, add your application to MPR and fill the form, noting
that the Microsoft Platform(s) used by your application include Windows Azure
Platform (Windows Azure, SQL Azure & App Fabric). Then, click on the Test
tab. You’ll need to download and install the Microsoft Platform Ready Test
Tool, which you’ll find a link to once you click on the Test My Apps link on
Install the test tool and run it. Give your test a name and
select Windows Azure as the technology in use, then click Next.
Now click the Edit… link in the Details column. Here you
will need to provide your subscription ID, your certificate file (that we
created above), and optionally the URL to your application.
You’ll find your subscription ID in the Azure Portal on the
right, as well as listed with your Management Certificate.
Once you’ve selected your subscription ID and certificate,
click the Verify button. You should see this:
Close this window and then click Next. Your Test
Prerequisites should say Pass now. Click Next to move on to test execution.
Now you will need to verify that your application works correctly. This is not
automated – it’s up to you to perform this test. When completed, click the Yes
checkbox and then click Next.
Ideally you should now see a Test Result of Pass. If you
didn’t set up a storage account, you may see a test failure noting that your
account does not have a storage account associated with it. In that case,
shame on you for not following direction – go back and add one, then repeat the
steps to run the test. Click Next.
Now we’re almost done. You can view the test results, but
note that the test results file is not what you are going to upload to the
Microsoft Platform Ready web site. Trust me, I tried, it doesn’t work. To
submit the results of your test to Microsoft, you need to click on the Reports
button in the screen below.
Choose the passing test that you want to package, then click
Click Next again on the resulting screen, and then enter in
your Application Name and Version on the next screen. Click Next again. Now,
check the Create Test Results Package checkbox and provide a name for the
package, but more importantly, enter in the Application ID from the Microsoft
Platform Ready web page. Fill in the rest of the form and click Next.
After a few seconds, you should see the Finish screen:
On the MPR web page, click the Choose File button, navigate
to the Test Results Package Location shown in the Finish screen of the test
tool, and upload the test results package.
Next you should see that the upload was successful and the
results are queued for processing. Click Refresh after a bit, and you should
see something like this showing your Passing test.
Now you’re ready to request your $250. Take a screenshot of
the entire page showing the Test tab and the View My Reports tab showing that
your application passes. Then fill out this email template with your company
information and paste/attach the screenshot to the email, and send it in. If
you have questions about this offer, please
review the terms and conditions here.
Congratulations! You just created and verified your first
Windows Azure application!