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.NET Networking APIs for UWP Apps

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 15:05

This post was written by Sidharth Nabar, Program Manager on the Windows networking team.

At Build 2015, we announced that .NET Core 5 is the new version of .NET for developers writing Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps. The set of networking APIs available for developers in .NET Core 5 is an evolution from the set that was available for Windows Store app developers in Windows 8.1 (API reference on MSDN). As was highlighted at Build, porting your apps to .NET Core and UWP enables you to target a wide variety of devices including Xbox, Windows Phone, Windows and HoloLens with the same codebase. Of course, you can still use all the .NET networking APIs that you used in Windows 8.1 Store apps (no API surface has been removed/deprecated), and more.

Although most of the networking API surface in .NET Core is the same as previous .NET Framework versions, the underlying implementation for some of these APIs has undergone a significant change as we move from the .NET Framework to .NET Core. We have also taken this opportunity to modernize the implementation of our networking APIs and make it more suitable to run in the context of Store apps on Windows. In this post, we outline all the .NET networking APIs available to UWP developers and provide some insights into the implementation underneath the APIs.

Note that all the APIs and changes discussed in this post are applicable only to .NET Core for UWP apps, and not to .NET Framework 4.6. We are also investing in networking API improvements in .NET Core for server platforms (through ASP.NET 5), but we will cover those in a separate blog post. Similarly, this post does not cover networking APIs outside of .NET APIs that are available to Windows apps developers.

What’s New

These are the new APIs and features that we have added into .NET Core 5 for UWP app developers.


With Windows 10 and .NET Core 5, System.Net.Sockets has been added into the API surface for UWP app developers. This was a highly requested API for Windows Store apps (it was already available for Windows Phone Silverlight apps) and includes types such as System.Net.Sockets.Socket and System.Net.Sockets.SocketAsyncEventArgs, which are used by developers for asynchronous socket communication. The current API surface of System.Net.Sockets in .NET Core is based on that of Phone 8.1 Silverlight and continues to support most of the types, properties and methods (some APIs that are considered obsolete have been removed). Moving forward, we plan to expand the API surface to support more types from this namespace – please see the Looking ahead section below.

The implementation underneath the System.Net.Sockets API has been significantly changed to eliminate dependencies on APIs that are not part of .NET Core, as well as to use the same underlying threading APIs as other WinRT APIs. Our goal is to ensure functional parity between the previous implementation and the new .NET Core version. Please send us your feedback on GitHub if you see any differences in behavior or performance as you port your Sockets code to UWP.

System.Net.Http gets HTTP/2

Developers writing UWP apps on Windows 10 and .NET Core 5 will get HTTP/2 support in System.Net.Http.HttpClient. HTTP/2 is the latest version of the HTTP protocol and provides much lower latency in web access by minimizing the number of connections and round-trip messages. Adding this support into the HttpClient API means that server responses come back much faster, leading to an app that feels more fluid at the same network speed. And the best part is – this feature on by default, so there is zero code change required to leverage this. For more details on how HTTP/2 provides faster web access to apps, see this talk from Build 2015. The talk also features a simple photo downloading app that shows approximately 200% improvement in latency upon switching to HTTP/2 (demo video).

The following code snippet shows how to query the HTTP version preference on the client as well as the actual HTTP version being used for the connection:

var myClient = new HttpClient();
var myRequest = new HttpRequestMessage(HttpMethod.Get, ""); // This property represents the client preference for the HTTP protocol version.
// The default value for UWP apps is 2.0.
var response = await myClient.SendAsync(myRequest); // This tells if you if the client-server communication is actually using HTTP/2


  1. Setting the Request.Version property to 2.0 is not supported on other .NET platforms and will throw a System.ArgumentException when trying to send such a request. The default version on .NET platforms other than UWP is 1.1.

  2. The Request.Version property represents the client API preference to use HTTP/2. The actual HTTP version used will depend on the client OS, server and intermediate proxies. HTTP/2 is a negotiated protocol that will automatically fall back to HTTP 1.1 if the server or intermediaries do not support HTTP/2.

What’s Changed

In this section, we review some APIs that were already available to Windows Store developers but have undergone significant change in underlying implementation. Understanding this change may help you as a developer to gain insight into changes you may see in your code as you port it from a Windows 8.1 Store app to Windows 10 UWP.


In Windows 8.1, the implementation of HttpClient was based on a managed HTTP stack comprising of types such as System.Net.HttpWebRequest and System.Net.ServicePointManager. In .NET Core for UWP apps, this has been replaced by a completely new, lightweight wrapper on top of native Windows OS HTTP components such as Windows.Web.Http, which is based on WinINet. This allows us to leverage all the latest features (e.g. HTTP/2) from the OS and we are able to provide these new features much faster to .NET developers than we previously could. It also helps lower the memory consumption of .NET apps running on Windows 10, thereby giving the user a more fluid experience running multiple apps simultaneously. The available set of APIs from System.Net.Http documented here remains unchanged.

The new implementation has been tested to ensure functional parity with the previous Windows 8.1 implementation so that you, the developer, do not see any differences in API behavior as you port your HTTP client code to UWP. However, if you do see any issues/bugs, please file a bug on GitHub.


This library contains types related to System.Net.HttpWebRequest and System.Net.HttpWebResponse classes that allow developers to implement the client role of the HTTP protocol. The API surface for .NET Core 5 is the same as that available for Windows 8.1 apps and is very limited compared to the surface in the .NET Framework. This is intentional and we highly encourage switching to the HttpClient API instead – that is where our energy and innovation will be focused going forward. Other parts of .NET Core 5 such as Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) have already migrated to HttpClient in their .NET Core implementation as well, as outlined here.

This library is provided purely for backward compatibility and to unblock usage of .NET libraries that use these older APIs. For .NET Core, the implementation of HttpWebRequest is actually based on HttpClient (reversing the dependency order from .NET Framework). As mentioned above, the reason for this is to avoid usage of the managed .NET HTTP stack in a UWP app context and move towards HttpClient as a single HTTP client role API for .NET developers.

What’s the same

Other types from System.Net and System.Net.NetworkInformation namespaces that were supported for Windows 8.1 Store apps will continue to be supported for UWP apps. There have been some minor additions to this API surface, but no major changes in implementation.

Looking Ahead

In this post, we discussed the initial version of the set of .NET networking APIs that will be available to Windows 10 UWP app developers. We will continue to build on this set and add more API surface to ensure that developers can write rich, full-featured UWP apps using .NET.

To ensure that we prioritize and focus on the right APIs, we need feedback from you – please send us feedback on which APIs are missing in .NET Core and are blocking you from delivering the best possible experience to your users in a UWP app. Please create or vote on an idea on Windows platform missing APIs uservoice or file an issue in GitHub. We look forward to working with you to deliver awesome apps to the entire breadth of Windows devices.

New CRM for phones app available for iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 14:50

The highly-anticipated CRM for phones app is now live for Apple, Android, and Windows phones! The new app provides the same intuitive experience as CRM for tablets.

If you want to try it out, download it from the app store for your phone:

Want more information? Check out these helpful resources:


  • The CRM for phones app requires Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Update 1.
  • The previous version of the CRM for phones app is still available in app stores, but it's now called CRM for phones express.
Cheers, CRM Product Team

Changes to LCS – SharePoint authorization

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 14:43

As part of the July release, we will be making some framework changes to SharePoint integration in LCS on 7/31. Each project user will be promoted to re-authorize your account in LCS for SharePoint access to continue using SharePoint with LCS. 

MPUG Seattle–Project Support and what’s coming next

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 14:34

In September I will be presenting, along with my Manager Larry Block, at the MPUG Seattle chapter meeting in Bellevue at the Microsoft Store,  September 17th at 6pm – mark your diaries.  We will be talking about how we work in support for Microsoft Project – giving you some insight into one of the longest tenure support teams in Microsoft.  I’m still the 2nd newest recruit in the US team – with ‘only’ 12 years under my belt.  We will also talk about some of the new features coming down the road in both Project Online and Project and Project Server 2016.  And with such a cool venue if we don’t capture your attention with that agenda you can always wander off and play Xbox or buy a Surface 3…  Hope to meet up with some of my blog readers there – come by and say ‘Hi’!

You can register at

Monitoring your SQL Sentry data with Power BI

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 14:10

We’re excited to announce that this week’s update to Power BI now offers database performance tracking with the SQL Sentry content pack. This content pack includes a dashboard and reports that help you monitor the SQL Server deployments you track using the SQL Sentry Cloud. It makes it really easy to share insights throughout your organization.



This post details how the Power BI content pack helps you explore your SQL Sentry data. For additional details on how to get started, please see the SQL Sentry content pack for Power BI help page.



The content pack brings in data about the current state of the servers you monitor in SQL Sentry. You can monitor server health, memory usage, and downtime. The content pack makes it easy to track which sites and servers are working well and which need your attention. The content pack also helps database administrators communicate deployment health information with their managers. To get started, just connect to your SQL Sentry Cloud account.



The content pack includes a report that lets you drill into the details.  You can use the tree map to quickly see a view of all the events generated by servers and the distribution across the severity levels of events.  You can highlight on category to see which servers are affected the most by each type of event.


The Server Health Events page lets you see the conditions that most affect server health and break them down by Alert Level.  You can see the severity of the events for each server.


The Server Availability page shows uptime and downtime for servers in your environment. You can also use the Slicer: Uptime so you can focus on those servers that have the worst availability to rectify issues affecting your users.


The Server Health – Memory & CPU page helps you understand the relationship between the number of CPUs and events.  You can again look across the Alert Level. The reports can be customized to ensure each page include metrics and content that is important to you.


You can also use the question box above the dashboard to explore the data.  A good question to ask is “what is my uptime % by date”.  The result can be pinned or explored further using Power BI’s tools. 


After the initial import, the dashboard and the reports continue to update daily. You can control the refresh schedule on the dataset.

You can read more about this release on the SQL Sentry blog:

We’re always interested in hearing your feedback – please contact us at to let the team know how your experience was and if there’s anything we can do better. We look forward to your feedback!

What’s happening in Project Land–Summer catch-up

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 13:55

Been a while since my last round up of Project bloggery – but here goes.

First I’d like to bring your attention to the Product Group blog recently on some API changes coming your way.  We started supporting CSOM with Project Server 2013 and Project Online, but this latest blog moves that along a bit with the announcement that the Project methods of the PSI are being deprecated in Project Server 2016 and Project Online (they were never actually supported in Project Online, but it was possible to use them).  This won’t change anything for Project Server 2013 or 2010 – but if you are doing new development in 2013 then certainly worth considering CSOM to ensure you have something that will continue to work in the future.  For the full blog see

The Product Group also blogged about the new Resource Engagement feature - New Feature–Resource Engagements–coming to Project Online and Project Server 2016

Next up – Our documentation team have some new stuff out – giving some thoughts on the Project Management Office (PMO) - .  Great work Efren and Co.  I loved the analogies to managing a household.

Since my last round up the June and July updates have been released, and I also blogged on the migration of info into and between sites, OData reserved words and refreshing OData reports when using multiple languages.  Not a new blog post – but did just update the one on jumbled ribbon icons – we should have that fixed with some changes in our build process.

On our French support blog Marc added a great article on collecting Project Server queue stats – by use of the Enable-SPProjectQueueStatsMonitoring cmdlet and referencing the usage and health data page at

Jorge has been busy on the Spanish support blog – one interesting article on creating projects with PowerShell.

From our MVPs and others, Tim Runcie took us through scenario of starting a schedule by concentrating on the finish date - How to Reverse Engineer a Microsoft Project Schedule

Alex Rodov was posted about on the Trusted IT Group blog – regarding his PMI Global Congress appearance - Presenting at PMI Global Congress 2015 – North America

Andrew Lavinsky posted on the importance of baselining benefits – particularly when working with volatile items such as oil (sorry for the pun…) – also a topic from the PMI Houston Annual Conference – and also Segmenting Portfolios Part 1 and 2.

Ben Howard covered Nested IFs and Risk Lists, the Project Virtual Conference (more later) and Save Site as Template – No longer an option! – which gives an answer if my own ‘save as template’ post didn’t help.

Guillaume Rouyre gave us an option for using audiences to stop people from accessing timesheets, his thoughts on the deliverable/dependency feature, Power BI, deactivating deleted users, more on the Project Virtual Conference and finally formatting Gantt charts.

Khurram Jamshed gave a review of Project 2016 and Michael Wharton posted on PMO Strategy.

Nenad has had a busy summer – telling us about Must Finish On Constraints, Milestones with duration, password protecting projects, project start times, 99% completed projects and tasks, material resources and start/finish, and actuals on summary tasks.

Oleksiy Prosnitskyy contributed a post on beautifying our report pages and using Power Query for Project reporting.

Paul Mather also had a busy summer so far – with an interesting approach to using the new Office 365 Groups feature, deleting sites with PowerShell, the Project Virtual Conference, updating labels on PDPs (very cool!) and the great news about CPS being an award finalist for their PS+ solution.

Peter Kestenholz blogged about a new free App for search in Project Online – and I’ll also add that his company, Projectum were awarded the Microsoft PPM Partner of the Year award.

PJ Mistry posted on choosing methodologies, support lifecycle and Office2013 RTM, OLAP Excel reports and working in Days, and the Wunderlist acquisition.

Prasanna Adavi announced the Project Virtual Conference.

Last MVP posting and certainly not least a familiar name blogging in a new place – Dale Howard joined Sensei Project Solutions and has posted a few articles over the summer so far -  intentionally splitting tasksadd new column functionality and hiding the task mode indicator.  I’ll be adding Dale’s Sensei blog to my list once we roll out some platform changes to the TechNet and MSDN blogs in the coming months.

Outside the MVP list Erik has been busy too – recounting his experiences on a TPG partner training course as well as a series on tools for Project Management – Part 1, 2 and 3.

Wow – that’s a ton of stuff.  Thanks everyone for the great content you put out there!

Registration is now open for AX Accelerate for Microsoft Dynamics

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 13:49


AX Accelerate is a cross-training functional program for individuals who have experience with Enterprise Resource Planning systems, but are new to Dynamics AX. This intensive hybrid training utilises a mix of training activities, including virtual classes and self-paced time, and merges product and business process based on the core fundamentals of the Microsoft Dynamics AX solution for both Financials and Supply Chain. Attendees will gain hands-on experience through case studies, labs, discussions and certification content that will help build a successful start in AX consulting practices WW. The course kicks-off with a 1 hour prep session and is followed by 9 days of 3-hour virtual sessions and then finishes with a 3-day in-person workshop where individuals will form teams and implement the case study in a real AX environment. It is required the students attend ALL session and NO substitutes will be allowed after the course has started.


Sydney, Australia (Instructor-Led Training September 8 - 10)

Price: $1,600.00 USD per person.

Access to Dynamics Learning Portal (DLP)

To complete the homework outlined for this course you must have access to the DLP. 

Please verify first if your access to DLP works.

  • Launch DLP Welcome Page at
  • If you are a Partner click Microsoft Dynamics Partners Sign In
  • If you are a Microsoft Employee, click Microsoft Employees Sign In
  • If the access fails for Partners, note that access to the DLP is available as a result of your company meeting one of the following criteria:
  • is enrolled in the Microsoft Dynamics Partner Advantage or Partner Advantage PLUS Service Plans.
  • has purchased the Microsoft Dynamics Training Pack.

To order or renew the Microsoft Dynamics Training Pack please review the Training Pack options available for purchase here. For assistance, please contact your local Microsoft Regional Operations Centre (ROC)

  • Scroll down to the Ordering Information section at the bottom of the page
  • Review the ordering details, access the links included and purchase the “Dynamics Training Pack (pay per incident)” $1,000 USD under select service options

To order or renew the Microsoft Dynamics Partner Advantage\Advantage Plus Service Plan please review the purchase options here. For assistance, please contact your Services Account Manager or contact your local Microsoft Regional Operations Centre (ROC)

Before accessing the DLP again, please verify your Order Status through PartnerSource by clicking Pricing & Ordering > View Order Status.

It can take up to 2-3 business days before the order is fully completed.

Important note: After your order status is completed, you are then eligible to access DLP. Please note, however, that if your employee contact detail is not yet registered in the PartnerSource Business Centre (PSBC) or if you do not have your email account correctly associated to the exact same Microsoft account that you access PartnerSource, your access to DLP will fail and you will be prompted with a “We’re sorry” page. To assist you resolving this issue, please watch this short video presentationResolutions to common issues when accessing DLP for the first time” to learn about known issues regarding access to DLP.  If after watching this video and applying our instructions, you still face issues accessing DLP, please contact DLP Support.

For questions, please contact our Dynamics Events Team at

Windows Management Framework (WMF) 4.0 Update is coming your way …

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 11:05

As part of the November 2014 Update Rollup (KB3000850) for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, we substantially improved stability, diagnosability, and reliability of PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC). We also enhanced PowerShell auditing functionality, and added Software Inventory Logging (SIL). Around Q4 of 2015, we expect to make these improvements available on Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, and Windows Server 2012.

PowerShell DSC improvements were based on your direct feedback. With your help, we fixed scenario blocking issues, and made DSC more usable in real-world production environments. You can learn more about these enhancements in TechNet documentation and this PowerShell Magazine article.

We also improved PowerShell transcription and logging to enable more stringent auditing. PowerShell transcription has been improved to apply to all hosting applications (such as Windows PowerShell ISE) rather than just the console host (powershell.exe). While PowerShell already has the ability to log the invocation of cmdlets, PowerShell’s scripting language has plenty of features that you might want to log and/or audit. The new, detailed script tracing feature lets you enable detailed tracking and analysis of PowerShell scripting use on a system.

The Software Inventory Logging (SIL) feature that was introduced in Windows Server 2012 R2 is intended to help datacenter administrators reduce their operational costs by easily logging Microsoft software asset management data for their deployments over time. For more information, please refer to TechNet documentation.

‘WMF 4.0 Update’ will make existing versions of Desired State Configuration and PowerShell auditing better in PowerShell 4.0, along with adding Software Inventory Logging. We will continue to introduce new functionalities in WMF 5.0 Previews that are being released on a regular basis.

Hemant Mahawar [MSFT]
Senior Program Manager
Windows PowerShell

Everything you need to know about Shared Access Signatures from multiple languages

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 10:55

New article posted to details how to generate your own Shared Access Signatures in Node, PHP, Java, and C# so you can work with Service Bus and Event Hubs from more platforms.

 See: Shared Access Signatures for more information. And since this article is on GitHub feel free to click Edit on GitHub in the upper right as you can with all articles.

The 10 minute ASA Challenge!

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 10:47

Did you know that you could set up an ASA pipeline with an end-to-end Internet of Things(IOT) scenario in 10 minutes? We have recently published a sample in GitHub which lets you create an ASA pipeline and run it with all its dependencies. Using a single PowerShell command you can have this set up in minutes and see the end to end working. The ReadMe has details of the scenario and how you can setup it up.

This also works great with Sensor Tag from Texas Instruments or you could also use the simulator which comes with the sample.

One of our recent videos on Azure Friday shows this sample in action using real sensors.

We look forward to hearing from you on the Stream Analytics Forum and Azure Feedback Forum. Happy Coding!

Keep up to date on the latest learning material from Microsoft Channel 9

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 10:44

Channel 9 is a online learning community, at Channel 9 Microsoft brings forward the people behind our products and connect them with those who use them.

The heart of Channel 9 is Microsoft can talk about its work to what you the customers want to learn.

Channel 9 is all about the conversation. Channel 9 should inspire Microsoft and our customers to talk in an honest and human voice. Channel 9 is not a marketing tool, not a PR tool, not a lead generation tool. For the original story of where Channel 9 came from, don't miss the classic and inspirational The 9 Guys -Who We Are video.

So who is Channel9

Meet the team, check out this video to meet the Channel9 team!

Accessing Channel9 on the device you own and view content when and where you want!

Windows 8

Head over to the Windows Store to download this for your Windows 8 or 8.1 machine: Channel 9 app for Windows 8

Windows Phone

Grab the phone app for your Windows Phone 8 or 8.1 device: Channel 9 app for Windows Phone 8 and 8.1

Xbox 360 and Xbox One

To get the Channel 9 Xbox app, fire up your console, sign in and then go to 'Apps'. Browse or search for Channel 9, select it and download. Once it is downloaded, you can run it from your list of apps, or you can pin it to make it easier to get back to later.


Our iPad and iPhone application is now available in iTunes and includes the ability to sign in and to sync videos offline for viewing when you are disconnected. Click here to download it: Channel 9 on iPad and iPhone


Click this link (you may have to sign in to your Roku account) to add our Roku channel to your device(s): Roku channel for Microsoft's Channel 9. This is a quick and dirty beta, but if there is enough interest then we will try to work on it to make it more useful and fully supported.


Our Android phone and tablet application is now available in the Google Play store and includes the ability to sign in and to sync videos offline for viewing when you are disconnected. Click here to download it: Channel 9 for Android

Using PowerShell Direct for Script Locking

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 09:54

Here is one of the most helpful code snippets that I have come up with using PowerShell Direct:

function waitForPSDirect([string]$VMName, $cred){
   Write-Output "[$($VMName)]:: Waiting for PowerShell Direct (using $($cred.username))"
   while ((icm -VMName $VMName -Credential $cred {"Test"} -ea SilentlyContinue) -ne "Test") {Sleep -Seconds 1}}

In essence this function allows you to block your script until the requested virtual machine has booted and is responding to PowerShell Direct.  This is immensely useful when you are provisioning virtual machine and need to know when the guest operating system is actually up and running - and has become a staple function in many of my scripts.


MSBuild and Team Foundation Server integration with SonarQube: version 1.0 released

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 09:08
Release of MSBuild.SonarQube.Runner 1.0

As you might recall, we announced back in April at the //build conference that we were working with SonarSource to provide a better integration of SonarQube with MSBuild and Team Foundation Server. At that time, SonarSource shipped the result of this initial collaboration, the SonarQube.MSBuild.Runner 0.9, which enabled the analysis of technical debt during a build in TFS 2013. The ALM Rangers also produced a nice guidance document explaining how to install SonarQube, especially with SQL Server.

The collaboration has continued, and yesterday SonarSource released a new version of this integration, together with new versions of their related SonarQube plug-ins:

· MSBuild.SonarQube.Runner 1.0 (product page, zip file, open source project)

· SonarQube C# plug-in 4.1 (­available directly from the SonarQube update center)

· SonarQube VB plug-in (available directly from the SonarQube update center)

Meanwhile, Hosam Kamel from the ALM Rangers has transformed the installation guidance into a markdown format and  it’s now available as an Open Source project of its own on GitHub, enabling the community to propose contributions to the guidance (PDF, Markdown). The document has been updated for the new version, and includes an appendix describing how to upgrade from v0.9.

What’s new?

The April version filled a gap in the sense that it enabled the simple and reliable analysis of Visual Studio solutions and projects as part of a XAML build in TFS 2013. However, it did not support a number of commonly-used plug-ins such as those for StyleCop, ReSharper, and VB.NET. We soon received feedback that we needed to make it possible to simply integrate them, as well as other tools—though this was actually already high on our backlog. Furthermore, it was not possible to run an analysis on your local development machine using the command line either, and some customers and partners thought that this would be very useful. Finally, the installation of the MSBuild integration on the agent was still a bit complicated, as it required the user to manually install the SonarRunner and manually install build targets to a location that required administrator privileges.

The new MSBuild.SonarQube.Runner 1.0 fixes these issues by enabling:

  • Simplified installation. The MSBuild.SonarQube.Runner is now installed by unzipping three files, and perhaps making changes to a new XML configuration. The only pre-requisite is Java.
  • Execution of additional SonarQube plug-ins by making it possible to pass parameters to the SonarQube analysis in many different ways.
  • Execution on the command line to perform a local analysis.
  • Accepting source files other than C# (including TypeScript, which was requested by customers)
  • A number of bugs were fixed, and support was added for analysing code in Visual Studio Online. Details are in the release notes.
What’s next?

The cooperation with SonarSource is ongoing. The next new feature you should see (in VSO) is the implementation of SonarQube analysis build tasks for the new build system. Stay tuned, we’ll share our future plans soon.

As usual, we look forward to hearing from you - please send us your feedback. You can raise bugs on GitHub. You can also propose suggestions on what you would like us to do next, for instance from User Voice.

Adventist Health System boosts productivity with Office 365 ProPlus while complying with HIPAA

MS Access Blog - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 09:00

Today’s Office 365 ProPlus post was written by Todd Frantz, senior technologist for Adventist Health System.

As a healthcare organization, we have a great responsibility to protect the personal data of our patients. This concern for patient privacy has often meant that we take a measured approach to technology adoption. We want to deliver the latest capabilities to our users so they can work however they want to, whether that means with increased mobility or easier collaboration, but we can never sacrifice security to get there.

Finding a comfort level

Because Microsoft understands our need for HIPAA compliance, we were able to help our management team feel at ease with moving to cloud-based tools. Microsoft provided us with a business associate agreement (BAA), which is needed for HIPAA compliance and also delivers security and compliance capabilities within Office 365, that enabled Adventist Health System to expand our compliance efforts without additional effort or expense.

With these measures in place, we moved forward with our deployment of Office 365 ProPlus, including the full Office suite, Office Online and OneDrive for Business, to ensure that we always have the latest version of the apps. Because of our large and varied environment, we’ve traditionally found it challenging to keep our Office products current. With Office 365 ProPlus, we receive a lot of value from providing the most current capabilities and security features to everyone at Adventist Health System.

Deploying Office 365 ProPlus

Taking advantage of the latest Microsoft Office Click-to-Run deployment technology for Office 365 ProPlus has helped the transition proceed smoothly. Even with the diversity of environments we support—from large hospitals with thousands of devices to small clinics with only a few devices and limited bandwidth—we have deployed the software with very few issues.

We did not face any show-stopping application compatibility issues with corporate-supported applications. Our only concerns came with a handful of machines using locally supported applications that needed updates. When a problem did come up, we could deploy Office 365 ProPlus in a side-by-side configuration and avoid challenges that could have slowed us down.

We took advantage of our existing Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) solution to distribute the installation files and then install Office 365 ProPlus on devices from a local copy. We also took advantage of BranchCache, a bandwidth optimization technology built into Windows, to facilitate deployment to small offices. Updates happen automatically after we release them to the local System Center servers. The way Click-to-Run schedules downloads and manages data rates has eliminated throughput challenges around patch distribution, allowing us to focus on deploying new capabilities.

We have deployed Office 365 ProPlus to 13,000+ devices to date. We prioritized machines with older versions of Office and left those running Office 2013 for the next phase of upgrades. Our focus is delivering function and value to our user community, and this mix allows us to move forward.

Taking the next step

Now that the oldest versions of Microsoft Outlook had been updated with the move to Office 365 ProPlus, we quickly migrated more than 70,000 mailboxes and moved our full email solution to Microsoft Exchange Online. Moving 70,000 of anything is complex, but our primary challenge was our ability to provide the support experience desired for our migrated users. The most significant issue we faced during the migration was dealing with the large number of shared calendars and conference rooms across the organization. All users that shared a calendar or managed a conference room needed to be migrated at the same time to minimize the disruption. Mapping the web of resource relationships ended up being the most complex part of the migration.

Having achieved our initial goal of improving email productivity and security, we are looking at other Office 365 capabilities that will help our employees be more efficient. One of those capabilities is Microsoft OneDrive for Business. With the continued growth of the security feature set in Office 365 and OneDrive for Business, such as rights management and data loss prevention, we can now enable our employees to access files from various devices and collaborate more easily.

In an early use case, we gave a group of cancer researchers access to OneDrive for Business, which saved them significant time and headaches. Previously, they had to complete many steps to share files at the level of security we require, but OneDrive for Business made the task easy. Compliance remains a priority at Adventist Health System, so when we can enable people to work the way they want and still meet our compliance needs, that’s a big win. We get the best of both worlds with Office 365.

We saw Office 365 as an opportunity to license a great technology. We can upgrade our existing technology with the latest security and compliance capabilities, and we can evaluate new technologies that benefit our employees. Though we may still approach the deployment of new technology slowly, we are impressed with the Microsoft philosophy of designing for the continued evolution of the product. We have been pleasantly surprised by the rate at which Microsoft has evolved the platform not only for features, but also for security and audit capabilities. We look forward to continuing this valuable partnership.

—Todd Frantz

With nearly 75,000 employees, 44 hospital campuses and more than 8,100 licensed beds in 10 states, Adventist Health System facilities incorporate the latest technological advancements and clinical research to serve more than 4.5 million patients annually.

The post Adventist Health System boosts productivity with Office 365 ProPlus while complying with HIPAA appeared first on Office Blogs.

Using OneNote and Windows tablets in a classroom for students with autism

MS Access Blog - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 09:00

Today’s post was written by Alexis Parker, special education teacher at a K–5 school in Florida.

I am a special education teacher for kindergarten through 5th-grade students who are highly impacted with autism. While every person with autism has a variety of talents and challenges, many of the students in my classroom face similar challenges—specifically in the areas of behavior, communication and fine motor skills. Six of my students exhibit behavioral challenges when presented with tasks they don’t want to do. Seven are either non-verbal or have limited verbal skills. A few of my students are beginning to use alternative communication devices. Two of my students are able to reproduce letters of the alphabet, two can copy letters given an example, and three can trace letters.

Behavior, communication and fine motor deficits make it extremely difficult to evaluate what information a student has gained. In a typical classroom, you can assess a student’s understanding of the lesson by asking the student a question, and the student can verbally respond. Or given a worksheet and pencil, a student with typical fine motor skills can complete the worksheet to show understanding of the material. These approaches do not work with my students. Typically, the best way to evaluate my students’ knowledge is through receptive communication avenues. For example, I can place three pictures of food in front of the student and ask them to point to the apple. Laminated folder activities are another tool we use in the classroom, where the student affixes laminated cards onto laminated manila folders using Velcro to answer questions or demonstrate skills. These have many drawbacks, including the expense of laminating and Velcro, as well as the time spent creating the activities. Also, you need a lot of different folder activities for the different skills that need to be taught. After continued use, some students memorize the answers, so it’s not a true indicator of concept mastery. Another method is to use letter and number stamps to answer on worksheets. Let’s say the student is doing an addition problem. Instead of writing the number, the student could use a number stamp to put the correct answer in. The drawback is the student is more focused on stamping than actually completing the worksheet, and you end up with ink everywhere. However, these are three common strategies used in many classrooms similar to mine.

In October 2014, we received a new online, interactive curriculum called the Unique Learning System. We used the interactive features for some things, but I still needed to print out many worksheets. What I discovered was that my students’ limited fine motor skills were preventing them from independently completing the worksheets. My paraprofessionals and I had to physically assist them, thus preventing them from giving independent responses.

At the end of October, I went to a training on OneNote. It sounded like an amazing tool that I could use in the classroom. Following the training, I made my first OneNote notebook for lesson planning. My previous lesson plans included all sorts of codes for which interactive whiteboard notebooks needed to be opened, followed by navigating to the interactive lessons. This was very confusing to my paraprofessionals.

Old lesson plans—interactive whiteboard and interactive lessons.

With OneNote, I was able to put the links directly into the page, as well as any other file I needed—such as interactive whiteboard files, PDFs, PowerPoint slides and videos. This made lesson planning much easier and user-friendly for my staff. When students completed their work on the interactive whiteboard, they were able to demonstrate knowledge of the subject material.

Lesson plans in OneNote.

In December, I decided to create student portfolios in OneNote. Now all the work my students completed on the interactive whiteboard could be saved in the student portfolio. This solved two problems: it reduced the number of worksheets I was printing and it gave the students the ability to complete the task independently. After the student completes the interactive assignment, we write a grade with the interactive whiteboard’s ink feature, which lets you write in the Internet browser. Next, we screen clip it and send it to a OneNote page pre-named with the assignment name. At the end of the week, I move all the assignments into OneNote folder sections labeled by quarter, then by subject. I share each student notebook with the student, and parents have instructions on how to access their student’s OneNote notebook. Now my students’ parents can see what their students are doing in the classroom.

Example of math assignment from student portfolio in OneNote.

In addition to student work samples, I have a section called “Videos,” where I have short videos of the students doing work in the classroom. There is also a section called “Homework activities.” I create interactive whiteboard notebooks for all my students’ Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals and put it on this page. The interactive whiteboard software we use has an iPad app or an online version, which can be used for free.

In January, I procured three Microsoft Windows tablets for the students. This allowed me to do two things: I could now use the interactive curriculum on the tablet, and students could work on their IEP goals on the Windows tablet using the interactive whiteboard software. I created a new section group in each student notebook called “IEP goals” with each of their individual goals. Twice a week we assess their progress toward the IEP goals and send the information to their OneNote notebook. This is amazing! Now my students’ parents can see the progress the student is making toward their IEP goals as well as the errors the student is making. I created a datasheet to track progress so I can easily see when students are getting closer to reaching their goals. Moreover, students are more engaged in doing work on the tablet and are making more progress toward their IEP goals.

Having the tablets and Bluetooth keyboards allowed me to introduce my students to typing. Because most of my students are non-verbal, typing may be the best form of communication for them. As I began writing new annual IEP goals, I started to include typing skills into their goals. One of the goals I wrote for a non-verbal student I will call Mike was to put interactive word tiles with pictures in order to create a sentence and then type the sentence using correct capitalization, punctuation and spacing. He mastered the goal in one month.

Example of Mike’s IEP goal for typing sentences.

Using the Windows tablets also allowed me to get a better understanding of my students’ knowledge base. I started creating various activities, such as cloze and sorting activities, using the interactive whiteboard software to assess my students’ knowledge of the content. Students are able to independently complete the assignments and demonstrate their knowledge. Furthermore, the tablets make it possible for me to stop printing worksheets, and I no longer have to create tons of folder activities.

Assignment before and after completion.

Microsoft OneNote and Windows tablets have had a huge impact on learning and instruction in my classroom. They have given my students a way to demonstrate their knowledge that was previously unavailable to them. They have provided me a way to plan effectively and efficiently. They have also given me the ability to save students work and share it with their parents, so they can see on a daily basis what their child is doing in the classroom and how they are progressing toward their IEP goals.

Student doing an activity on a Windows tablet.

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Sample chapter: Deploy Your First Active Directory Forest and Domain

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 08:00

In this chapter from Deploying and Managing Active Directory with Windows PowerShell: Tools for cloud-based and hybrid environments, Charlie Russel covers how to create a new Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) forest where one has never existed before. This is, in some ways, the easiest task you're likely to face, but it's also one where getting it right is really important. The decisions you make here will affect the entire organization for the life of this deployment.

Active Directory Windows PowerShell nouns used in this chapter:

  • ADDSDomainController
  • ADDSForestInstallation
  • ADDSForest
  • ADRootDSE
  • ADObject

Other Windows PowerShell commands used in this chapter:

  • Get-NetAdapter
  • Get-Member
  • Set-NetIPAddress
  • New-NetIPAddress
  • Set-DnsClientServerAddress
  • Get-NetIPAddress
  • Rename-Computer
  • Install-WindowsFeature
  • Get-Command
  • Format-Table
  • Update-Help
  • ConvertTo-SecureString

Read the complete chapter here:

The Fantastic People of Worldwide Partner Conference 2015. Thank you for joining us!

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 07:45

Thank you to all of the amazing Microsoft Partners who joined us in Orlando for Worldwide Partner Conference 2015! As always, one of the biggest highlights of the entire event for me is being able to see and connect with you, our Microsoft partners and influencers from around the world, whether I knew you before or if this was my first time meeting you. In addition to having the opportunity to meet you, I love hearing the incredible stories you all share with me about yourselves, your companies, your successes and your plans for the future are inspiring and exciting at the same time.

Continuing on the now annual tradition that began several years ago as just an experiment (Connecting with others – A HUGE value of #WPC10 (Look who I found), I am very happy to bring you the collection of pictures from the Fantastic People of Worldwide Partner Conference 2015. For those not familiar with The Fantastic People of WPC concept, it is quite simple. Since building connections is such a huge value of WPC and for me, being fortunate enough to get to spend time with all of the partners from around the world, I offer to capture pictures with partners at WPC that I meet and share them here on my blog to thank them for being there and to help build virtual connections. This is a virtual introduction of these partners and WPC attendees to you and you to them and my “Thank you” to all of you for not only being at WPC, but also for being one of our highly valued Microsoft Partners and Worldwide Partner Conference attendees..

You can click any picture below to see it in larger size.

With Darren Bibby of IDC (@darrenbibby)

With Mary Jo Foley (@MaryJoFoley) of ZDNet
With Scott Bekker (@ScottBekker) of Redmond Channel Partner

With Richard Hay (@WinObs) of Penton Technology

With Barb Levisay (@blevisay) of Redmond Channel Partner
With Jan Spring and Nancy Williams from eFolder (@efolder), Jamison West (@jamisonwest) of Arterian, and Harry Brelsford of SMB Nation (@SMBNation)
With Jeff Shuey (@jshuey)

With Tiffany Wallace (Ingargiola) (@TiffanyWI) of New Horizons

With Christine Bongard (@cdbongard) of QTS
With Tim Martin and David Jeffreys of Action Point Software, Ltd.  
With Jeff Hilton (@KnowledgeCircl) from Alliance For Channel Success

With Anders Trolle-Schultz (@TrolleSchultz) from Odin
With Bill Hole (@USLicensing) of US Licensing Group
With Andy Trish (@AndyTrish) formerly of NCI Technologies, now part of an exciting new adventure.

With Carl Mazzanti (@cmazzanti), Jennifer Mazzanti (@JMazzanti) of eMazzanti, and the next generation of Mazzanti’s

With Christian Buckley (@BuckleyPlanet) from Beezy
With Guy Gregory (@GuyGregory) of The Final Step

With Greg Starks (@gregstarks) of HP
With Srdjan Stosic of E-Smart Systems
With John Krikke (@JohnKrikke) of Onward Computer Systems

With Jon Rivers (@jon_rivers) from Data Masons
With Mark Aschemeyer of Beezy
With Charlie Ramirez (@charlieramirez) of Team Venti

With Kevin Fream (@kevinfream) of Matrixforce
With Dave Seibert of IT Innovators
With David Gersten (@dsgersten) of Bond Consulting Services

With Jeff Baker and Cort Baker of General Networks
With Juan Rodriguez (@IDTcorp) of Integrated Digital Technologies, Karen Chastain (@karenchastain) of EpiServer, and Tiffany Wallace (Ingargiola) (@TiffanyWI) of New Horizons

With Melanie Gass a.k.a “The Microsoft Princess” (@MSFTPrincess) formerly of CenterPoint Solution, but now brand new to Microsoft.

With Jason Lambiris (@JasonLambiris) of Apex Digital Solutions and Pete Zarras (@PZarras) from Cloud Strategies LLC
With Petri Salonen(@DrSalonen) of TELLUS International, Inc
With Rajeev Perera (@RajeevPerera) of Microsoft

With Shelley Svien of EPiServer
In honor of our dear friend we lost this year, who was always a joy to have as part of “The Fantastic People of WPC” and an honor to have known and called a friend, Dino White, from our last WPC together.

Thank you again to you all, our Microsoft Partners and influencers from around the world, for everything you do each and every day to transform our world through enabling others to achieve and exceed their goals through the adoption and use of Microsoft technologies! Also, thank you again for taking the time out of the busy WPC week to stop by, come up, and grab a picture as part of the Fantastic People of WPC15 Collection. I am looking forward to seeing you all again at Worldwide Partner Conference 2016 next year and meeting even more of you, our Fantastic People of Worldwide Partner Conference. Until then, here’s wishing you all the very best as you continue helping our customers everywhere understand, acquire, deploy, and consume the benefits of technology to ensure they all have incredible success, translating into the same for each and every one of you!

Did you find this information helpful? If so, you may want to make sure you are utilizing all of the areas I share information online, such as:

Get the Microsoft Info Partner Mobile App and get access to the latest from all of those plus: product teams, MPN teams, Microsoft News and hundreds more resources here at Microsoft right on your phone:

Thanks again for being a reader of my blog!

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How do I know the space left in my drive? (SQL Server viewable)

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 07:16

You all might be using different types of disk subsystem in Windows OS. If you have had a tough time figuring out going to each folder and understand what's the space left like below, here's an easy method.

If you open D drive, you'll see many folders (looks like shortcuts).

Since you're a DBA, you can use this command to find out the space and free space left in each folder.

Yes, sp_fixedluns came in very handy for me. I'd be glad if it helps you.


WINDOWS 10 Launch and Imagine Cup

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 07:10

This is a pretty awesome week to be in Seattle.

I am currently out in Seattle with the UK imagine Cup team, the past few months we have preparing for the finals of the Imagine Cup 2015 with our initial presentations taking place on Wednesday. The atmosphere here on campus at the University of Washington is electric with all the world wide teams saying at Alder Hall.

Teams have travelled from all over the word to be here and take place at the world wide finals.. its this is such amazing week and a once in a life time experience for these student to make this even more impressive the teams are going to be on the Microsoft campus for the launch of Windows 10.

Microsoft has always embraced a vision for connecting people and technology in powerful new ways and the release of Windows 10 will connect our Imagine Cup students with new opportunities to realise their potential.

Windows 10 brings the most unified platform we’ve ever had, making it easier than ever for students to code for multiple devices and interfaces.

Every year we see the latest innovative technologies in Imagine Cup projects. Students have been doing great work with motion control and natural user interfaces for years now, as well as connected devices in the Internet of Things, voice control, and virtual and augmented reality.

Now we have a unified platform in Windows 10 that supports these and other technologies, making it easier than ever for students to get from dream to working code in the shortest possible time.

Our 2016 season of Imagine Cup kicks off at the conclusion of the World Championship on July 31.We’re going to see incredible work over this next year as our students master Windows 10 and show us how big their dreams can be.

On July 29, we will make Windows 10 available to the world, across 190 countries, as a free upgrade.

We are really excited to deliver Windows 10, and its many, many innovations, to the world. We want to celebrate with people who use Windows - all 1.5 billion of you - and the nearly 5 million Windows Insiders who helped us build Windows 10.


We seek to inspire and empower people around the world - to not just upgrade Windows, but also to upgrade the world. The opportunity is unique but it is true to the mission of the company and to the passion we each share to make a difference in the lives of our customers.

We’ll get started on July 29, when Windows 10 first becomes broadly available.  We’ll celebrate the launch of Windows 10 by celebrating the people and organisations who upgrade the world every day – and by helping them do even more good in their communities. 

We’d love for you to join us. #UpgradeYourWorld.

The Itanium processor, part 2: Instruction encoding, templates, and stops

MSDN Blogs - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 07:00

Instructions on Itanium are grouped into chunks of three, known as bundles, and each of the three positions in a bundle is known as a slot. A bundle is 128 bits long (16 bytes) and always resides on a 16-byte boundary, so that the last digit of the address is always zero. The Windows debugging engine disassembler shows the three slots as if they were at offsets 0, 4, and 8 in the bundle, but in reality they are all crammed together into one bundle.

You cannot jump into the middle of a bundle.

Now, you can't just put any old instruction into any old slot. There are 32 bundle templates, and each has different rules about what types of instructions they can accept and the dependencies between the the slots. For example, the bundle template MII allows a memory access instruction in slot 0, an integer instruction in slot 1, and another integer instruction in slot 2.

(Math: Each slot is 41 bits wide, so 123 bits are required to encode the slots. Add five bits for encoding the template, and you get 128 bits for the entire bundle.)¹

The slot types are

  • M = memory or move
  • I = complex integer or multimedia
  • A = simple arithmetic, bit logic, or multimedia
  • F = floating point or SIMD
  • B = branch

Some instructions can be used in multiple slot types, and the disassembler will stick a suffix (known as a completer) to disambiguate them. For example, there are five different nop instructions, one for each slot type: nop.m, nop.i, nop.a, nop.f, and nop.b. When reading code, you don't need to worry too much about slotting. You can assume that the compiler did it correctly; otherwise it wouldn't have disassembled properly! (For the remainder of this series, I will tend to omit completers if their sole purpose is to disambiguate a slot type.)

If you are debugging unoptimized code, you may very well see a lot of nops because the compiler didn't bother trying to optimize slot usage.

Another thing that bundles encode is the placement of what are known as stops. A stop is used to indicate that the instructions after the stop depend on instructions before the stop. For example, if you had the following sequence of instructions

mov r3 = r2 add r1 = r2, r4 ;; add r2 = r1, r3

there is no dependency between the first two instructions; they can execute in parallel. However, the third instruction cannot execute until the first two have completed. The compiler therefore inserts a stop after the second instruction, which is represented by a double-semicolon.

A sequence of instructions without any stops is known as an instruction group. (There are other things that can end an instruction group, but they aren't important here.) As noted above, the instructions in an instruction group may not have any dependencies among them. This allows the processor to execute them in parallel. (This is an example of how the processor relies on the compiler: By making it the compiler's responsibility to ensure that there are no dependencies within an instruction group, the processor can avoid having to do its own dependency analysis.)

There are some exceptions to the rule against having dependencies within an instruction group:

  • A branch instruction is allowed to depend on a predicate register and/or branch register set up earlier in the group.
  • You are allowed to use the result of a successful ld.c without an intervening stop. We'll learn more about ld.c when we discuss explicit speculation.
  • Comparison instructions .and, .andcm, .or, and .orcm are allowed to combine with others of the same type into the same targets. (In other words, you can combine two .ands, but not an .and and an .or.)
  • You are allowed to write to a register after a previous instruction reads it. (With rare exceptions.)
  • Two instructions in the same group cannot write to the same register. (With the exception of combined comparisons noted above.)

There are a lot of fine details in the rules, but I'm ignoring them because they are of interest primarily to compiler-writers. The above rules are to give you a general idea of the sorts of dependencies that can exist within an instruction group. (Answer: Not much.)

It does highlight that writing ia64 assembly by hand is exceedingly difficult because you have to make sure every triplet of instructions you write matches a valid template in terms of slots and stops, and you have to ensure that the instruction groups do not break the rules.

Next time, we'll look at the calling convention.

¹ There are two templates which are special in that they encode only two slots rather than three. The first slot is the normal 41 bits, but the second slot is a double-wide 82 bits. The double-wide slot is used by a few special-purpose instructions we will not get into.


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