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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Microsoft and Startups!

Hello All, let's start with the apologies for a lack of updates.  In short, lately I've been busy at my day job, having thanksgiving with the family, and dealing with some health issues in the family.  Combine that with the end of the semester, and you have a Kevin who disappears off the face of the earth.  But I'm back and ready to pick up where I left off.

OK so with my last byte I gave you the pitch for what azure is and why it matters.  Specifically I talked about how it works for small business by minimizing costs and maintaining a low overhead for maximum results.  I'm not trying to be a microsoft sales person here, but I can honestly say that based on what I've seen Azure has a lot to offer, especially in the realm of small business, and Microsoft noticed. 

Well, I'm going to deviate from that a bit, mainly based on some things that I discussed with my students.  Many of you know that I'm an adjunct professor, and the fall 2014 semester just ended.  Right before the final, I give my "Advanced Topics" class, which is always a lot of fun.  I usually take the last class, and make it optional.  With the intent to discuss topics that aren't within the scope of the class to show them more things that those who are interested might find useful.

So this class I covered the following topics:

  • Visual Studio Online
  • ASP.NET MVC 5
  • Microsoft Azure Platform as a Service
  • jQuery
  • BizSpark
Well a lot of the interest that usually comes this class is the number of people who are interested in beginning a startup.  People who have some genius idea of their own.  So I started by talking about the resources that are out there for people who want to try their hand at a startup.  Microsoft has made an incredible amount of resources available to startups, and I wanted to talk about some here.
  • BizSpark:  The biggest offering Microsoft makes for startups is BizSpark.  BizSpark is a program where you can sign up and for 3 years you get almost everything that microsoft has to offer for free.  That includes ultimate versions of everything.  This is a fantastic offering.  And definitely one I advise people to take advantage of, but if that wasn't enough, you get 3 years of $300 / month Azure credits, for free.  Talk about a huge offering.  Can be found here.
  • Visual Studio Community Edition:  A new offering from Microsoft, is a more beefed up version of VS for free.  So even after your BizSpark runs out, there are other options available.  Can be found here.
  • Azure:  As I've said before Azure makes it possible to get your major idea out there quickly and with stability.  Can be found here.
  • Visual Studio Online:  Arguably the most important thing in a Software Companies arsenal is Source control, its the backup of work, the tracking of items, the sharing of work around teams. Well Microsoft now made this officially free.  You can now utilize TFS, with the ALM tools and source control for free. 
More and more recently segments of the .net framework have gone Open-Source, allowing for more availability of tools out there to build with.  Making it an exciting time to be a developer with an idea.