Monthly Archives: December 2011

Remembering Popfly


Wow so the market churns and changes, it seems like it was just last year, well actually it was 2007 when Microsoft started creating Silverlight based Web Mashup Applications under the banner of Microsoft Popfly. It lasted until 2009.


Since then web based work flows and mashup applications have become the norm..

Microsoft has since released other workflow mashup tools including the new Data Explorer CTP that lets you get information on “Big Data” and public data sources on the web.


Check out the iOS Blog for iPhone Development

We’ve been looking for a great iPhone blog that we like and we found a great one. Check out the iOS Blog..


The Microsoft Expression Blend Team launch BlendInsider

This is very cool, check this out.. The Blend Team just launched their new blog at


Videos Include XAML and HTML

MIT takes over Google App Inventor from Google



From: Mark Friedman

Oct 24

It been a while since the announcements of our intent to open source App Inventor and the creation of the MIT Center for Mobile Learning to support and extend the open sourced App Inventor code. On the development side, we’ve been quite busy working to port the code to utilize the Google App Engine platform and other open source software stacks. We’ve made great progress in that regard and are quite confident that we’ll soon be able to hand over a working codebase to MIT. Then we’ll continue to work with engineers at MIT to get that code up and running on MIT controlled servers. We’ll also be helping them to ensure that the code can scale to support the expected level of App Inventor use.

We anticipate these handover activities to take a few months. This means that it is very likely that there will be a period of time between when the current servers are shut down (i.e. December 31, 2011) and when the MIT servers are up and running at full scale. It is also likely that before the end of the year MIT will be able to make versions of the open-source code or libraries available to experienced App Engine developers in order to run their own App Inventor servers on App Engine for small scale groups. We also anticipate that MIT will open up test versions of the server before the full scale server is up and running. We at Google might also ask for your help in testing even earlier versions. As this handover proceeds and we have more test results we’ll continue to fill you in our progress and get more specific about plans and dates.

I’d also like to mention that we recently held an App Inventor Summit meeting on the MIT campus, where MIT, Google and representatives from some of our larger user organizations met for a day to discuss the handover and what we can do to help ensure the long-term future of App Inventor and its community of users. The meeting went very well and I’m hoping that some of the people who were there will post their take on the day’s activities. One of the outcomes of the meeting was that the MIT Center for Mobile Learning will soon start communicating its plans and will host some stories and information from the App Inventor educational user community.

Thanks to all of you for your continued support of App Inventor. Your enthusiasm and feedback have inspired us through the first phase of App Inventor. We hope it will similarly inspire the next phase!

-Mark and the rest of the App Inventor team

It’s almost time again.. for the Webby Awards!!


Final Entry Online is December 16, 2011

Enter at:

Fun With Big Data Using the Microsoft “Data Explorer” Pt. 1

Microsoft has released a new Community Tech Preview of a new tool for working with “Big Data”.  Just what is Big Data ? Well simply it’s compiled statistical information that is out and available in on the internet in the computing cloud.. There is a vast amount of data available today and data is now being collected and stored at a rate never seen before. Much, if not most, of this data however is locked into specific applications or formats and difficult to access or to integrate into new uses.  “Data Explorer as a tool allows you to start exploring these sources

Data comes from a number of different sources out there including:

SQL databases, Web Page Content (including RSS feeds), XML formatted metadata sources such as OData feeds, SharePoint Repositories and others..


Windows Azure Data Market Place

The Windows Azure™ Marketplace is an online market buying, and selling finished Software as a Service (SaaS) applications and premium datasets. The Windows Azure Marketplace helps connect companies seeking innovative cloud based solutions with partners who have developed solutions that are ready to use.


Every Microsoft SharePoint list and library in a site has a corresponding data source connection in the Data Source Library. To add a SharePoint list or library to the Data Source Library, you can either create a new list or library or create a new connection to an existing list or library.

Any SharePoint lists or libraries that you create will also automatically have a corresponding data source connection in the Data Source Library.


The Open Data Protocol (OData) is a Web protocol for querying and updating data that provides a way to unlock your data and free it from silos that exist in applications today. OData does this by applying and building upon Web technologies such as HTTP, Atom Publishing Protocol (AtomPub) and JSON to provide access to information from a variety of applications, services, and stores. The protocol emerged from experiences implementing AtomPub clients and servers in a variety of products over the past several years. OData is being used to expose and access information from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, relational databases, file systems, content management systems and traditional Web sites.

SQL Databases

SQL was initially developed at IBM by Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce in the early 1970s.   Structured Query Language) is a programming language designed for managing data in relational database management systems (RDBMS). SQL databases have been the standard since they were invented.

Connection Walk-Thru

Let’s walk through a short sample of connecting to a data source. I will choose Netflix’s OData as a source, to make this example fun.


First press plus: at the top menu to create a new mash-up..

in the dialog box we will type in the name for our new mashup  and name it “NetflixMashup”


next we will add our data from the Netflix OData server.. Clicking on the “Data Feed” icon will allow us to create our new data source..


Our next step will be to add our NetFlix Feed URL

For this example I will use one of the feeds that are available as a top level resource, in this case the Netflix Catalog Titles

Next it will ask us how to connect to the feed.. We enter the feed URL


Add the URL to the mashup workflow wizard and click ‘Done’

Authentication Notes:

If the feed requires windows authentication, a name and password, or an OData feed key you will have an opportunity to enter it to set feed security options. Since the listing we are connecting to is public and has none of these we will press ‘continue’ to connect with it, leaving the ‘Use anonymous access’ option making sure that radio button is selected.

When the Data Feed is successfully parsed we will see the feed with the formatting schema.. then we can click ‘Done’ to continue.

Removing fields we won’t use

When the fields have been parsed on the data field we can  right click on the fields and select “remove fields”  on all of the the ones we won’t use and then click the ‘done’ button.

Next we are going to select the fields we are going to use to gather the data we are using.. For this demonstration I am going to just select ‘Titles’.

Next Steps

Now we can click on “more tools..


This will expose more menus..


Click or Double click on the Select Fields Icon/Toolbar and the screen should change..


Check the checkboxes for fields to include (I am selecting all of them) and click ‘Done’.

To Be Continued…

In part two we will output to a table and look at some results and then finish up with a look at an example using the Azure Data Marketplace with and do some statistical analysis..

More Information:

For another look at using this product check out Lynn Langit’s  Blog post on using Data Explorer on her blog..