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Azure Resources for Go (Golang)

Azure Resources for Go (Golang)

Microsoft Azure provides development support for a wide variety of languages. Official Software Development Kits (SDKs) are available for the most popular web programming languages including .NET, Java, Node.js (JavaScript), PHP, Python, and Ruby.

One of the newest languages that Microsoft supports is Go (sometimes styled as Golang).

About Go

Go is an open source language created at Google in 2007. It was grown in popularity and influence rapidly, now powering vital infrastructure throughout the intranet. It was named 2016’s Programming Language of the Year by TIOBE and is a core language within Docker, CloudFlare, and Uber.

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Digital Asset Management Using SharePoint Online

Digital Asset Management Using SharePoint Online

Digital Asset Management is becoming increasingly important for every business. Marketing materials, training resources, sales collateral, and other assets are frequently distributed across and locked within disconnected systems.

Employees don’t know where to look (hurting productivity and morale) and when they do find an asset, they often duplicate it to a new system and lose version history (leading to inconsistency and waste).

About Digital Asset Management (DAM)

Digital Asset Management (DAM) consists of organizing, storing, distributing, and managing the lifecycle of an organization’s assets. These can be digital or physical, structured or unstructured. Most often, digital assets are thought of as multimedia files like images and videos.

Almost every organization has one or more “content management” systems, but very few have DAM solutions. While we would all love to be able to locate master versions of our slide decks, marketing photos, and pricing sheets, most of us think that’s too hard and expensive of a problem to solve.

SharePoint as a Digital Asset Management Platform

Enter SharePoint. More than 80% of enterprises own licenses for SharePoint (either on-prem or the Office 365 version known as SharePoint Online).

SharePoint provides the basic building blocks that any DAM needs:

  1. Form creation
  2. Document and metadata tracking
  3. Versioning
  4. Manual and automatic tagging
  5. Format transcoding and multimedia resizing
  6. Approval workflows
  7. Role-based security
  8. Integration with other systems
  9. Affordable storage with high availability

Getting Started with SharePoint for Digital Asset Management

With little or no code, you can start storing, securing, and searching for your digital assets from within SharePoint. Here’s how:

1. Define Business Requirements

Gather the appropriate stakeholders who will own the business case for your DAM solution. These may include representatives from marketing, sales, IT, HR, and legal departments.

Identify the types of content you’ll need to store, who will need access, and what information you’ll need to store for each piece of content.

Establish any requirements for appropriate or inappopriate uploads. Define and document any approval processes.

2. Create Enterprise Search Site

SharePoint provides site templates to accomplish many common goals. The “Enterprise Search” template provides customized pages for searching and working with search results.

By creating a dedicated subsite for Digital Asset Management, your assets will be organized separately from the rest of your SharePoint content, allowing for additional security and optimized navigation.

Optionally, restrict access to the site based on security requirements.

3. Build Libraries

SharePoint is built upon lists and libraries. The simplest way to get started is to create a “Picture Library” named “Multimedia” within the Enterprise Search site you just created. That template will ensure that multimedia will be resized and handled properly.

Once the library is created, add columns for all of the information you care to track (e.g., photographer, location, file format, and copyright). Try to capture essential fields that employees will search on and avoid tracking too many required fields, or else users won’t want to enter metadata.

SharePoint has a feature called “Metadata Extraction” which allows it to open known file types and extract information about your photos (EXIF data) automatically. To take advantage of metadata extraction, add columns with specific names, as documented in this list. Example column names are “wic_System_GPS_Latitude” for latitute, “wic_System_Photo_CameraModel” for camera model, and “wic_System_Photo_Orientation” for orientation.

4. (Optional) Add Workflow

Consider adding logic to the library using SharePoint’s built-in workflows, Nintex, or Microsoft Flow.

The workflow may include approvals by a central librarian, notifications to the marketing team, or the execution of code (as listed in the advanced options below).

Now that the library exists, we can configure the search site to meet our exact goals. To get started, edit the search results page to manage the various web parts.

Commonly, the “Search Core Results” web part is updated to include a static query of the types of content you want to search on. This may restrict searches to our multimedia list, or even to specific file types.

Custom filters can be added to the “Refinement Panel” web part on the lefthand side. Similarly, custom sort orders cna be defined.

The look and feel of results can even be customized using display templates. By editing the HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, SharePoint search results can be displayed similar to Getty Images or other slick multimedia sites. There’s virtually no limit to how SharePoint DAM can look and feel.

6. Communicate and Govern

Once the technology is in place and tested, consider starting with a small pilot group. That team can test the DAM system out while providing iterative feedback, ultimately turning into a team of supporters.

Communications are key, so be sure to have clear value propositions (“What’s In It For Me”) for each group of stakeholders. I tend to follow the ADKAR model, by building Awareness early, encouraging a Desire to change, spreading Knowledge, unlocking Ability, and Reinforcing your messaging.

A DAM solution isn’t like Field of Dreams: just because you’ve built it doesn’t meant they will come. Continually encourage your team to centralize assets and celebrate your successes.

Advanced Options

If this is your organization’s first DAM, the steps above will likely accomplish many of your goals. SharePoint can centralize, secure, and facilitate the finding of content.

Once you have a foundation, there are unlimited ways to extend your DAM platform by taking advantage of the cloud. Here are some of the favorite features we’ve built:

  1. Integrate Cognitive Services: Add face identification, sentiment detection, or even automatic labeling of objects in multimedia.
  2. Translate with Microsoft Translator: Automate translation to other languages.
  3. Perform Optical Character Recognition: Extract text from multimedia.
  4. Transcribe with the Bing Search API: Streamline transcription of all your audio and video.
  5. Publish to Social APIs: Build workflows for one-click publishing to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  6. Add Bulk Editing: With a little bit of JavaScript, a simplified drag-and-drop interface can be built to import batches of files while allowing multimedia to be edited.
Behind the Creation of Allcloud.com

Behind the Creation of Allcloud.com

When relaunching our website for the new Allcloud name, we had a few goals in mind:

  1. Useful Content: Deliver relevant insights.
  2. Clear Brand: Reinforce that our brand is all about the cloud.
  3. Clean Design: Provide a clean, focused design.
  4. Speed: Ensure the fastest performance possible.
  5. Responsiveness: Optimize the site for all expected devices.

Here’s how we redesigned, built, and launched the site over two weeks in December 2016:

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Apidae Inc. Is Now Allcloud Inc.

Apidae Inc. Is Now Allcloud Inc.

Founded in June 2013, Apidae Inc. has delivered successful projects spanning diverse industries and technologies.

The common thread through every project has been the cloud. Cloud computing has reduced time-to-market, minimized costs, improved the development experience, and let to better products for everyone. For a long time, we’ve been “all-in” on the cloud and we’ve decided to update our name to reflect that.

Starting in 2017, our new name is Allcloud Inc. To celebrate the rebranding, we’ve designed a new logo and overhauled our website, now hosted at https://allcloud.com. Please update your bookmarks to follow the latest news and insight around Azure, Office 365, and related cloud technologies.

We remain proud of our Apidae heritage. Apidae is the Latin name for a large family of bees, comprising some of the most productive creatures on Earth. Like bees, we remain collaborative, clever, and diligent cross-pollinators of knowledge.

Allcloud Earns Microsoft Cloud Platform Competency

Allcloud Earns Microsoft Cloud Platform Competency

We are honored to announce that Allcloud has earned the Microsoft Silver Cloud Platform competency. This distinction reflects a track record of successful cloud deployments, architectural expertise, and satisfied clients.

Highlights of the Office 365 Roadmap: December 2016

Highlights of the Office 365 Roadmap: December 2016

Microsoft has continued its hectic pace of feature development and releases throughout this year. Since we last checked in on the Office 365 Roadmap in May 2016, more than a hundred updates have been released.

Below is a summary of significant changes from Microsoft’s Office 365 Roadmap between June 2016 and December 2016. Updates are divided into categories of “Launched”, “Rolling Out” (to early release members), “In Development”, “Cancelled” and “Previously Released”.

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Serverless Architectures with Azure Functions

Serverless Architectures with Azure Functions

Infrastructure patterns are constantly evolving.

  1. Through the 1980s, mainframes were the center of gravity for all business processes.
  2. Servers became smaller and more specialized throughout the 1990s.
  3. A majority of new servers were virtualized in the 2000s.
  4. In the 2010s, the bulk of new virtual machines are being spun up in the cloud.
  5. Now, we’re witnessing a shift from entire virtual machines to efficient virtualized “containers”.

Throughout all of this, the scope of solutions has become more granular and purpose-built. No matter what, we’ve always had a level of infrastructure to worry about. Whether managing the monolithic servers or orchestrating a fleet of microservices, there have always been performance, scalability, security, and costs to optimize.

Now, companies are starting to adopt the “serverless” computing pattern, which foregoes most infrastructure concerns. Just like Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is significantly easier to maintain than classic capex infrastructure and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is even easier to maintain than IaaS, “serverless” computing is the easiest of all to maintain.

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What Every Developer Should Know When Working with Email (Part 3)

What Every Developer Should Know When Working with Email (Part 3)

This is the third post in a series for developers working on email-enabled applications. View Part 1 and Part 2.

In the first part of this series, we covered the components and protocol that comprise email. In the second post, we explored the anatomy of an email message, MIME, and send email using SMTP.

In this post, let’s cover advanced topics of SMTP. In future posts, we’ll look at retrieving and processing messages using POP3 and IMAP.

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What Every Developer Should Know When Working with Email (Part 2)

What Every Developer Should Know When Working with Email (Part 2)

This is the second post in a series for developers working on email-enabled applications. View Part 1.

In the first part of this series, we covered the components and protocol that comprise email. This post will explore the anatomy of an email message, the SMTP lifecycle, encodings, and example code to send a message.

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What Every Developer Should Know When Working with Email (Part 1)

What Every Developer Should Know When Working with Email (Part 1)

This is the first post in a series for developers working on email-enabled applications.

Businesses run on email. More than 100 billion emails are sent each day. Nearly every application interfaces with email for messaging, authentication, and managing workflows.

Despite being a mature technology, programming for email is surprisingly complex. Whether you’re creating a website, mobile app, or cloud solution, here’s what every developer should know when working with email.

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