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Quiz Engine powered by Azure cloud

, 13 May 2013 CPOL
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NY Trivia Quiz w/backend Database migration to Azure cloud

Please note

This article is an entry in our Windows Azure Developer Challenge. Articles in this sub-section are not required to be full articles so care should be taken when voting. Create your free Azure Trial Account to Enter the Challenge.

Introduction

The article is an entry to Windows Azure Developer Challenge, addressing both practical and didactic aspects of Azure project development:

  1. First Challenge: Getting Started. Done  
  2. Second Challenge: Build a website. Done (link)
  3. Third Challenge: Using SQL on Azure. Work in progress
  4. Fourth Challenge: Virtual Machines. On schedule 
  5. Fifth Challenge: Mobile access. On schedule 

The main goal of this Azure challenge project is to upgrade the application backend to run on more powerful SQL engine (expecting better scalability/responsiveness) and migrate the app to Azure cloud platform (expecting simplified application maintenance, monitoring and change management).

BENEFITS FROM MIGRATION TO AZURE 

  • From a Web developer perspective, it's like a web hosting service, but a really good one. I found web deployment and change management to be rather straightforward and reliable process.
  • Scalability would be another potential benefit of migration to Azure cloud.
  • Intrinsic modularity of Azure platform is adding huge value to web development, and future project enhancements/upscaling. 
  • Multiple web project integration on Azure seems to be relatively easy process due to modularity (mentioned in the previous line item 3) and efficient resource sharing. 
  • Data Layer is of particular interest to me. There has been an issue with my current host service provider when I tried to find reliable/simple SQL server backup/restore/migration procedure pertinent to my multiple remote DB. I hope that Azure team has properly addressed that quintessential issue. In particular, I would like to have installed multiple file-based DB (like "good-old" Microsoft Access .mdb, or the latest newcomer SQL Server 2012 Express edition .mdf files), which I can simply copy-paste to another web app upon necessity with minimal DB-connectivity headache.
In the meantime I am rather satisfied by my practical experience of creating the first fully-functional web application (algorithm-centric online Engineering Calculator VOLTA [5]), and now am in a process of creating this essentially data-centric app on Azure platform.

Background 

Existing app (NY Trivia Quiz) is currently implemented as ASP.NET/HTML5 web application powered by synergetic technology set: ASP.NET, C#, ADO.NET, SQL, CSS3, Ajax and jQuery (see the sample screenshots, linked to the fully-functional web application):  

Online Quiz Engine: Azure Contest Article

Fig. 1. NY online trivia-quiz, updated daily (sample screenshot)

Online Quiz Engine: Azure Contest Article

Fig. 2. NY online trivia-quiz, updated daily (sample screenshot)

Online Quiz Engine: Azure Contest Article

Fig. 3. NY online trivia-quiz, updated daily (sample screenshot)

Online Quiz Engine: Azure Contest Article

Fig. 4. NY online trivia-quiz, updated daily (sample screenshot)

Application content (continuously updating) has been created by author and shortly after its first introduction became rather popular among fellow New Yorkers, and also nationwide [3,4].

Using the code 

Coding technique pertinent to this project was partially discussed on Codeproject [1,2,]. More code snippets will be added as the work progressing.

Points of Interest

A minor side issue has been resolved in a context of this project, namely: conversion from the Microsoft Access (.mdb) to SQL Server Express (.mdf) file. There are (at least) two options available: 

  • Database Tools (upsize wizard) included in MS Access  (I am using Office 2010)
  •  Import and Export tool in SQL Server  (I am using SQL Server 2012 Express edition)
I had previous experience with bot of them, and do prefer the latter for this job.

History 

  • 04/26/2013: Existing Quiz engine was encapsulated in .ascx for better modularity
  • 04/29/2013: Microsoft Access database converted to SQL Server Express edition (.mdf file)
  • 05/04/2013: Dedicated web site has been added to Azure account ("nyc")
  • 05/08/2013 Azure Storage account was created to hold .bacpac file

References    

  1. Click/select Row in ASP.NET GridView or HTML Table
  2. HTML5 Tables formatting: alternate rows, color gradients, shadows
  3. How well do you know New York City: pop-quiz 1
  4. How well do you know New York City: pop-quiz 3
  5. Hello, Azure-Volta Calculator! Oh, joy of dividing by 0
  6. Windows Azure Quiz Engine

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

DrABELL
President Infosoft International Inc
United States United States
Dr. A. Bell has 20+ years of Software and Electrical Engineering experience: Win/Web veteran published 300+ articles and authored 37 inventions, currently focused on: Windows 7/8, HTML5, CSS3, jQuery, .NET, ASP.NET, WPF, C#, SQL, 'Big Data', AI, Speech Technology and Mobile apps. He participated in App Innovation Contest (AIC 2102/2013) with several winning submissions. Sample pubs follow:
  1. Edumatter M12: School Math Calculators and Equation Solvers (contest winner)
  2. Engineering Calculator VOLTA-2013 (contest winner)
  3. HTML5 Best Practices: Table formatting via CSS3
  4. Engineering Calculator VOLTA-814D
  5. SQL generates large data sequence
  6. Aggregate Product function extends SQL
  7. Watch Your Mouse!
  8. Top-100 Digital Cameras
  9. WebTV Project: Embedded YouTube Player (Goog #1 YouTube API for ASP.NET)
Dr. Bell is personally credited for 10+ Enterprise level projects w/total code base exceeding 250k lines.
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Comments and Discussions

 
Questionlink to azure web site? PinprofessionalEnrique Albert13-May-13 7:37 
AnswerRe: link to azure web site? PinmemberDrABELL13-May-13 10:06 

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