Registering for an MSDN/Live Account and installing Visual Studio Community

In order to use my Azure trial, I’ll probably want a local copy of Visual Studio to build and publish content. In order to download Visual Studio Community (formerly Professional), I’ll need a Microsoft Live account eligible for the IDE. The good news is that in order to start my Azure account, I had to register a Microsoft Live account anyway. So, I’m halfway there.

Next step will be to log into Visual Studio with my live account: Link  Then click the Free Visual Studio option in the upper right and elect to join Visual Studio Dev Essentials.

VSDE

This brings up a page full of Microsoft tools. While I might have to come back to some of these later, right now I want to click the Download button under Visual Studio Community. This brings me to a download screen for the installer. Once that’s downloaded, I’ll run the setup.

DEHome

VSCdl

The setup wizard is pretty standard Microsoft boilerplate. Accept the defaults and next through. The wizard will install any dependencies your platform is missing, so you might be in for a bit of a wait and maybe a reboot or two. Once it’s finished, you’ll have the IDE installed and ready to go!

installwizard

Done

Another thing you’ll want for Azure is the Azure SDK. This has template for projects that are Azure specific as well as other useful plug-ins for Visual Studio. It can be installed at this link : Link  Select the SDK most appropriate to your installation. (VS 2015 for me)

SDKdl

One dependency that was required for my install was SQL Server Data Tools 2015.  This can be installed either by selecting custom options during your installation or by going back into the install wizard (Control Panel -> Programs & Features) and selecting the option.  As with all things, your mileage may vary depending on your environment.

SSDT

Once you have the IDE installed and are authenticated inside of Visual Studio, you will be able to publish content to Azure resources or nodes associated with your subscription.

If any of you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to john@benedettitech.com.

 
Thanks for looking in!

Enabling Disqus on WordPress

Not too long ago, I was introduced to Disqus for leaving comments.  I do enjoy the idea of tracking threads and discussions from a central tool and the notification mechanism.  Additionally, I just started getting my first spam comments on my previous posts.  (I guess that means I’m a really-real blogger now!)

 

I’d much rather people were able to leave comments without admin review and were from a trustworthy source, so I decided to go ahead and try setting up Disqus on my blog.

 

Some quick Google-Fu brought up some tutorials.  Here are the steps straight from Disqus.com:  Link

 

  1. In the left panel of your WordPress admin, select Plugins > Add New
  2. Search for “Disqus” and find the plugin provided by “Disqus”.
  3. Select Install Now > Activate Plugin
  4. Proceed with the onscreen install instructions.
  5. Log into your Disqus account, then choose the forum shortname you would like to install.
Setting this up was ridiculously easy and took me a total of about five minutes. If any of you have ideas for other centralized commenting or have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to john@benedettitech.com.

 

Thanks for looking in!

Finding a host for .NET/MS applications

One of the questions you might ask yourself is, where can I host stuff online.  My personal experience with 3-party hosting (including this blog) has been limited entirely to LAMP stack providers.  While these providers are fine for general website hosting, none of them have offered an option for hosting .NET web applications.  So, if I plan to build and host web content written in C# and other .NET languages, I’ll need to find a suitable provider.

 

Luckily, some quick Google-Fu turned up a Hosting Provider Directory right on ASP.NET :  Link

 

My goal here was to identify some low-cost providers that might be suitable for sandbox or Proof of Concept style tinkering.  Basically, something that would let me experiment as an individual without breaking the bank.  I’m not looking for high performance or a beefy server, just somewhere to take things out for a test spin.  Some things I’ll want would be a host that supports a current .NET framework and with a DB backend (MS-SQL would be great but I could live without it).

 

Here are a few examples of what I found:

 

Arvixe : Link

 

arvixe

Arvixe showed up as a top contender in a couple of online reviews.  After checking out their website, it looks like they offer everything that I might look for at a cost of $5/month.  Certainly something worth looking into.

 

WinHost : Link

 

winhost

WinHost has shown up in a lot of ads for me lately so I decided to take a look at their offering.  Their Basic Plan price was $3.95/month but they require a 2 year commitment in order to achieve that price.  Additionally, they only offer a single site and a single DB.  In order to move beyond that, I’d have to commit to their Max Plan which is $7.95/month.

 

Azure :  Link

azure

This is where I’ve been spending a lot of my time lately.  Azure allows the customer to pick and choose all of the components that go into an environment and pay for as little or as much as you like. Individual nodes and other infrastructure can be provisioned at will and there’s an estimated monthly cost for each item as they are provisioned.  While I do like the idea of paying for dedicated and infrastructure on-demand, I am a little daunted by the pricing, as even a Basic server costs $55/month by itself.

 

If you’re interested in an itemized catalog of Azure offerings, here’s a link to their pricing calculator : https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/calculator/

 

To me, the interesting thing about Azure hosting is that they offer an upfront trial ($200 credit) for any user.  Additionally, you are only charged for when your resources are actually used.  So, if you take a server that’s ~$50/month to run, but only run it for a fraction of the month, you might very well come in under the other options listed below.   Not ideal for a commercial website that needs to be up 24/7, but might be just fine for the occasional evening of tinkering.

 

So, I’ve opted at this time to start a trial account of Azure and see how it behaves for my purposes.  I’ll post a follow up on this at the end of the trial.

 

If any of you have ideas for .NET hosting or have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to john@benedettitech.com.

 

Thanks for looking in!

First Post

 

Welcome to the first blog post on BenedettiTech!

I started this blog based on a short course I took recently put together by John Sonmez at SimpleProgrammer.  (If you’re a developer not already familiar with John’s work, I would highly recommend checking out his site.). The idea is to walk through the steps to starting a blog and make a commitment to generating content that will boost your skills and your career.
I’ve had SimpleProgrammer on my RSS feed for some time now and read most articles when they come out.  I heard about the course on the site and registration is a single step at http://devcareerboost.com/blog-course/

The course consists of a series of emails with steps on how to select a theme for your blog, getting it set up and committing to schedule for future posts.  I’ve selected a focus of C# and general web development since that’s where I spend most of my time and my goal is to become an expert in that space.  But I’m sure there will be some off-topic posts as well.

This site is currently hosted on A Small Orange and uses a scripted install of WordPress installed via a Softaculous script.  I’ll be trying out some of the gadgets that come with this popular blogging software which I hope to cover in future posts.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them here or address them to john@benedettitech.com.

Thanks for looking in!