TechMeetup Edinburgh - Getting Started with Microsoft Azure Development

Yesterday I had a great time talking to the TechMeetup user group in Edinburgh. The event was hosted by SkyScanner in their fanky and cool-looking offices and we had a very interesting and enthusiastic audience.

The format was slightly different to what I'm used to when speaking to user groups and I will explain now. Firstly, the meetup opened with introductions, something that you don't usually see in larger user groups. Everyone in the room got a chance to introduce themselves and speak briefly about what they do and what they're looking to get out of the session. For me, as a speaker, this particularly useful because within 5 minutes I knew exactly what kind of audience I had in front of me. This also allowed me to quickly tweak my talk to ensure that subject matter can more relevant and interesting for everyone attending. I would love to see this introduced to other user group meetings as well. The other novelty of the meetup was that, for the first time, there was a live stream which meant that I also had on online audience during the talk! How excting!

After the pizzas, drinks and getting to know everyone, it was time for me to take the "stage". Since I only had 20 mins to introduce the subject, I tried to squeeze as much as I could without bombarding the audience with too much information. The focus of the talk was how developers and small businesses can leverage Microsoft's Azure cloud platform to develop, improve and extend their applications while keeping costs as low as possible. Without going in too much depth, I got the chance to talk about the best offerings on Azure and give some examples on how little it costs to get started. Most of the services on the basic tier are free so what's not too like. Another important point of my talk was the fact that the Azure SDK support a wealth of languages: .NET, Python, Node.js etc but the biggest secret is that everything on Azure is based on REST. In the end, if you don't want to use an SDK, you don't have to, just use the REST API! If I could summarize my talk in a few words, I would probably say that Azure is:

Flexible, full-control, scalable, cost-efficient, multi-platform, language-agnostic, REST-driven

There were plenty of questions in the end and people seemed to enthusiastic. After the talk I had the chance to speak with a few attendees about more specific parts of the platform and how they could be used to meet certain requirements.

In summary, Azure is very easy to get started with and has a plethora of services and excellent documentation to help you get your cloud-ready, cloud-driven application off the ground.

The slides from my talk are on SlideShare and you can also view them below:

If you feel that you missed out on a great opportunity to learn about Azure and what it can do for you, then you can always watch my talk on YouTube. It's only 20 and it provides a great introduction to Microsoft's cloud platform:

Links to some of the items I mentioned during my talk:

Lastly, I would like to thank the Edinburgh TechMeetup organizers for putting together this great event and for having me as a speaker!

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or ping me on Twitter.

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