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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

Introduction

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).

BENEFITS FROM MIGRATION TO AZURE 

  • 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.

Background 

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.

History 

  • 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

References    

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

License

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

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About the Author

DrABELL
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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