Tag Archives: microsoft

The Search for a SQL Azure UI Administration Tool

After messing around with a few side projects built on SQL 2008 R2 hosted on DiscountASP, I moved to SQL Azure to test out our new cloud platform.  On DiscountASP, I was spoiled by the fact screenshot_01[1]that they had licenses for myLittleAdmin, which is a web-based UI for SQL server administration. Sure, SQL Management Studio will work, but sometimes it’s great to just have a UI table view to view and edit a single value without writing a SQL statement. Smile

I searched high and low for an alternative that would work against SQL Azure, and found some potential candidates like SQL Maestro but none of them worked against Azure. I kept getting all sorts of random errors.

Microsoft’s own SQL Server 2008 Management Studio is an excellent product that fully supports SQL Azure and has infinite flexibility to create and design tables and stored procedures, but it lacks a good visual way to view and edit table data. Sure, I could write my own SQL queries, but it’s far simpler and faster to edit it in a data-grid like view.

Thanks to Robert McLaws on Twitter, I found out that Microsoft has a community preview of a Silverlight-based admin tool called Project Houston.

The UI is written entirely in Silverlight very slick and easy to use, but the designers definitely went a little overboard with the gratuitous the Silverlight animation effects (ugly cubes that pivot anyone?).  Other than that, it does everything I need from some basic table and stored procedures creation and administration, to browsing and editing data.  For example, I can quickly jump in, view and edit a single value in a specific table or change the properties on a column of a table.

Here are some videos about Project Houston:

Create and modifying tables:

Create, modify, execute, save and open a T-SQL query:

You can read about Project Houston on the SQL Azure team blog or just jump in and try it out if you already have a SQL Azure account.

Microsoft Store Australia and Italy have opened

Over the past several months, the Microsoft Store team has been working hard at improving our stores.  2 notable areas we’re working on is getting ready for the big launch of image Windows 7 as well as expanding our global footprint. 

As we all anticipate Windows 7’s launch on October 22, we have some great news to share in the meantime.

Today, we opened up 2 new additional international stores – Microsoft Store Italy and Microsoft Store Australia!

Both of these new stores are currently offering Microsoft software by download, or download + backup media.  We are continually looking to expand our catalog in each of our international stores, so be patient with us 🙂

The past year has seen us open up several international stores, and with these 2 new stores, we now have presence in 12 countries world-wide.

If you’re a customer of one of our new stores, drop us a comment here, or on Twitter and let us know what you think!

Windows 7 pre-order – available now on Microsoft Store!

Windows 7 is now available on Microsoft Store for pre-order!  

As mentioned earlier today, we have both Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade and Windows 7 Professional Upgrade heavily discounted at $49 and $99 respectively.  This discounted pre-order is available in limited quantities and for a limited time. 

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Other information

  • When placing you’re pre-order on Microsoft Store, you’ll have 3 options for getting the product on October 22, 2009:
    1. Download – the quickest and easiest way.  We even store your product key so you don’t have to keep those pesky software boxes in your closet or silly stickers taped to your monitors.
    2. Download + Backup Disc – for those that want convenience of downloading, but also a physical disc to use later.
    3. Ship the package product – we’ll ship you the fully packaged product on or about October 22, 2009.   Arrival time will vary depending on actual shipping time.
  • All editions of Windows 7 available on Microsoft Store include both 32-bit and 64-bit editions.  If you choose to buy Windows 7 for download, you will get access to both downloads.
  • Discounted pre-orders are available starting June 26, 2009 and will continue while supplies last, or until July 11, 2009 whichever comes first.

Windows 7: Be first. Save half.

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Starting Friday, June 26, 2009 you will be able to pre-order Windows 7 on Microsoft Store!  By being first to pre-order, you’ll get it for at least half off and be one of the first to get it. Quantities will be limited.*

How?

Windows 7 is coming on October 22, 2009 and it’s easy to get it fast and save a bundle on upgrades to Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional.

Pre-order either product at Microsoft Store starting tomorrow, and you’ll snag it for at least 50% off with Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade for $49.99 and Windows 7 Professional Upgrade for $99.99!

You’ll have 3 options for getting the product on October 22, 2009:

  1. Download – the quickest and easiest way.
  2. Download + Backup Disc – for those that want convenience of downloading, but also a physical disc to use later.
  3. Ship the package product – we’ll ship you the fully packaged product on or about October 22, 2009.

All Windows 7 editions include both 32-bit and 64-bit regardless of whether you choose to download or the packaged product.  So techies, don’t worry, we have you covered 🙂

Want more info?

Go to the Windows team blog and find out all the details.

* The offer begins on June 26, 2009 and will continue while supplies last, or until July 11, 2009, whichever comes first.