The Magic Factory

magic.factory

I recently discussed the “Magic Factory” with my girlfriend to see what she thought about a Grand ReOpening.  Oh, what is the Magic Factory? It’s a place I walk into mentally with one, or two, maybe three ideas and blue sky what might happen if I built applications around those ideas.

I’ve had a bunch of ideas up on AgileZen waiting to be unpacked and built but just lost the fire last year about this time to pick up my tools and start writing software again until this conversation happened.  But after trying all last year to relight the fire, all I could render was a spark and that was about it.

Then last month our shop announced Hack Day 2014 – hmm… how could I pass that up, right?  Our shop is going to give us 24 hours to build something from scratch then present to leadership the next day.  The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes were pretty sweet, but it wasn’t about winning for me – it was a test to see if I could start and finish – something you take for granted when you a bit less gray over the ears.  So, freakin’ sign me up!

I found a great (and smart) peer on my team who wanted to help build something in 24 hours from scratch.  I thought this would be the real test to see if I could pry the doors open on this place I used to spend so much time in.

We didn’t win the grand prize, or make the final cut – but we built an app in 24 hours that conveyed the business idea we wanted to promote.  So, now with the doors to the magic factory swinging with activity and visitors like my grandma’s front porch screen door, things feel a bit more normal now that this place is open.  Oh, by the way, welcome to my “Grand (Re)Opening!”

 

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Mobile First. Cloud First.

TitanFall

A few weeks ago I listened to Scott Guthrie discuss mobility and how they relate to Azure, and vice versa.  I knew a bit about the mobile pieces, but the Azure side of the talk was pretty jammed up with new/updated services and offerings from Azure.  This platform has really come a long way in the last fours years for sure.

One of his first Azure talking-points was about IaaS and what it could mean to developers.  Enter TitanFall.

He discussed some of the elastic infrastructure the development and program folks were using to prop this game up – all over the world.  It was a pretty amazing aspect.  From this part of the talk we heard the quotes “Deploy at the Speed of Light – on your terms” and “Compete in a global market, but close to your customers”, “constantly available resources”.

All of those Azure or not, have a very nice ring to them – and true from what we saw in the TitanFall highlights.  So from what I can tell from the TitanFall preview, the size of your application isn’t as large of a problem like it has been in the past; IMHO the understanding of the architecture needs to really matter – how do all of the Legos fit together and if they talk to each other at all – who talks to who, when, and why.  That statement holds water in a lot of scenarios, today and yesterday however I think it fits in with future goals we set for our solutions today.

TitanFall has a lot of “headroom” to grow into, and the development tools are pretty sweet at this stage. And Scott promised they’d get better and better as time goes on.  Awesome!  If you’ve used the older versions of the Windows Azure portal, SDKs, and Visual Studio integrations, you know they’ve all matured into things that remove friction from our daily development goals.  The notion they’ll mature more is even more awesome (yes I use the word awesome quite often).

The statistics he shared from Azure were just as impressive, here’s a few screen shots:

1) The footprint of the data-centers around the world, and a few more coming online soon;

2) Interesting adoption stats ranging from authentication to Visual Studio Online registrations, to requests per second.

3) An updated portal dashboard that displays the development, production, and financial concerns of the portal owner – very slick indeed!

azure.footpring azure.stats portal.makeover