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Posted 26 Apr 2013


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Quiz Engine powered by Azure cloud

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17 Feb 2015CPOL3 min read
NY Trivia Quiz w/backend Database migration to Azure cloud


The article is an entry to Windows Azure Developer Challenge, addressing both practical and didactic aspects of Azure project development:

  1. First Challenge: Getting Started. Done  
  2. Second Challenge: Build a website. Done
  3. Third Challenge: Using SQL on Azure. Work in progress
  4. Fourth Challenge: Virtual Machines. On schedule 
  5. Fifth Challenge: Mobile access. On schedule 

The main goal of this Azure challenge project is to upgrade the application backend to run on more powerful SQL engine (expecting better scalability/responsiveness) and migrate the app to Azure cloud platform (expecting simplified application maintenance, monitoring and change management).


  • From a Web developer perspective, it's like a web hosting service, but a really good one. I found web deployment and change management to be rather straightforward and reliable process.
  • Scalability would be another potential benefit of migration to Azure cloud.
  • Intrinsic modularity of Azure platform is adding huge value to web development, and future project enhancements/upscaling. 
  • Multiple web project integration on Azure seems to be relatively easy process due to modularity (mentioned in the previous line item 3) and efficient resource sharing. 
  • Data Layer is of particular interest to me. There has been an issue with my current host service provider when I tried to find reliable/simple SQL server backup/restore/migration procedure pertinent to my multiple remote DB. I hope that Azure team has properly addressed that quintessential issue. In particular, I would like to have installed multiple file-based DB (like "good-old" Microsoft Access .mdb, or the latest newcomer SQL Server 2012 Express edition .mdf files), which I can simply copy-paste to another web app upon necessity with minimal DB-connectivity headache.

In the meantime I am rather satisfied by my practical experience of creating the first fully-functional web application (algorithm-centric online Engineering Calculator VOLTA [5]), and now am in a process of creating this essentially data-centric app on Azure platform.


Existing app (NY Trivia Quiz) is currently implemented as ASP.NET/HTML5 web application powered by synergetic technology set: ASP.NET, C#, ADO.NET, SQL, CSS3, Ajax and jQuery (see the sample screenshots, linked to the fully-functional web application):  

Online Quiz Engine: Azure Contest Article

Fig. 1. NY online trivia-quiz, updated daily (sample screenshot)

Online Quiz Engine: Azure Contest Article

Fig. 2. NY online trivia-quiz, updated daily (sample screenshot)

Online Quiz Engine: Azure Contest Article

Fig. 3. NY online trivia-quiz, updated daily (sample screenshot)

Online Quiz Engine: Azure Contest Article

Fig. 4. NY online trivia-quiz, updated daily (sample screenshot)

Application content (continuously updating) has been created by author and shortly after its first introduction became rather popular among fellow New Yorkers, and also nationwide [3,4].

Using the code 

Coding technique pertinent to this project was partially discussed on Codeproject [1,2,]. More code snippets will be added as the work progressing.


Points of Interest

A minor side issue has been resolved in a context of this project, namely: conversion from the Microsoft Access (.mdb) to SQL Server Express (.mdf) file. There are (at least) two options available: 

  • Database Tools (upsize wizard) included in MS Access  (I am using Office 2010)
  •  Import and Export tool in SQL Server  (I am using SQL Server 2012 Express edition)

I had previous experience with bot of them, and do prefer the latter for this job.


  • 04/26/2013: Existing Quiz engine was encapsulated in .ascx for better modularity
  • 04/29/2013: Microsoft Access database converted to SQL Server Express edition (.mdf file)
  • 05/04/2013: Dedicated web site has been added to Azure account ("nyc")
  • 05/08/2013 Azure Storage account was created to hold .bacpac file


  1. Click/select Row in ASP.NET GridView or HTML Table
  2. HTML5 Tables formatting: alternate rows, color gradients, shadows


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Software Developer (Senior)
United States United States
Dr. Alexander Bell is a seasoned full-stack Software Engineer (Win/Web/Mobile). He holds PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering, authored 37 inventions and published 300+ technical articles. Currently focused on multiple Android/Mobile development projects and Big Data' Machine Learning, AI, IoT. Alex participated in App Innovation Contests (AIC 2102/2013) with multiple winning submissions. Sample portfolio apps and publications:

  1. Publications by A. Bell
  2. Educational Web Portal
  3. Engineering Calculator VOLTA
  4. Aggregate Product function extends SQL
  5. Use SQL to generate large data sequence
  6. HTML5/CSS3 graphic enhancement: buttons, inputs
  7. Advanced CSS3 Styling of HTML5 SELECT Element
  8. enRoute: Real-time NY City Bus Tracking Web App
  9. YouTube™ API for ASP.NET
  10. HTML5 Tables Formatting: Alternate Rows, Color Gradients, Shadows

Comments and Discussions

Questionlink to azure web site? Pin
Enrique Albert13-May-13 6:37
MemberEnrique Albert13-May-13 6:37 
AnswerRe: link to azure web site? Pin
DrABELL13-May-13 9:06
professionalDrABELL13-May-13 9:06 
GeneralRe: link to azure web site? Pin
Julius Angwenyi23-Mar-15 10:08
professionalJulius Angwenyi23-Mar-15 10:08 
GeneralRe: link to azure web site? Pin
DrABELL23-Mar-15 11:16
professionalDrABELL23-Mar-15 11:16 
GeneralRe: link to azure web site? Pin
Julius Angwenyi25-Mar-15 2:32
professionalJulius Angwenyi25-Mar-15 2:32 
GeneralRe: link to azure web site? Pin
DrABELL25-Mar-15 5:18
professionalDrABELL25-Mar-15 5:18 

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