Hi guys,

It has been a while since my last post and that’s because I had quite a busy summer; more specifically, besides my day-to-day job, a few trips and conference preparations for the 2015/2016 season, I also got the chance to work with O’Reilly on one of their video trainings. So in other words, I hereby kindly announce my first project as a trainer for O’Reilly Media.

oreilly logo

From their website:

O’Reilly Media started out as a technical writing and consulting company named O’Reilly & Associates. In 1984, we started retaining rights to manuals we created for Unix vendors. Our books were grounded in our hands-on experience with the technology, and we wrote them in a straightforward, conversational voice. We weren’t afraid to say in print that a vendor’s technology didn’t work as advertised. While our publishing program has expanded to include everything from digital photography to desktop applications to software engineering, those early principles still guide our editorial approach.

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Just a few days ago the team in Redmond has announced the general availability for Azure Search and other new announcements along with it.

For the past few months I had the opportunity to talk, blog and answer questions about Azure Search while it was still under public preview. Today however, the service is no longer in preview and this means that the search-as-a-service solution managed by Microsoft is now fully baked with SLA, stable and less-changing REST API schema and models which can be concluded as: full-text search in a box.

The purpose of Azure Search is to help software developers implement a search system within their applications (whether web, mobile or desktop) without the friction and complexity of writing SQL, JavaScript (or anything else) queries and with all the benefits of an administration-less system.

Not only did the team make the service generally available, but they also added some more flavor to this release since it comes out with great new features such as an indexer mechanism which allows Azure Search to literally crawl for data in any modern data repository such as Azure DocumentDB, Azure SQL Database or SQL Server running on Azure VMs and also the concept of suggesters (previously under preview in the 2014-10-20-Preview API version – I wrote about suggesters in the Azure Search Client Library update announcement here) which allows users to specify a suggest algorithm upon running the suggest operation available in Azure Search.

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For the past month I had the opportunity to talk about Azure Search via the Azure DevCamp roadshow put together by the ITCamp community, with the sponsorship of Microsoft. Not only did they put together a great event series, but I also had the chance to meet wonderful people interested in cloud computing across the entire country: Bucharest on February 13th, Oradea on February 20th, Timisoara on the 21st and Cluj-Napoca on the 28th.

Below are my slides (in English) and further down this post is the video recording of my presentation in Cluj-Napoca. For whatever strange reason related to my Surface’s OS going to sleep just before my presentation and not being able to find a particular .dll file part of Newtonsoft’s JSON.NET, one of my demos didn’t run as expected in Cluj-Napoca – even though everything went smooth during the other three events. I’ve also posted a few photos from some of these events in a photo gallery at the end of this post.

If you’re interested in Azure Search, feel free to download the slides and (if you’re OK with Romanian) watch my presentation’s recording.

VIDEO: Add Professional Search Features To Your Apps, Azure DevCamp 2015, Cluj-Napoca

azure_search_client_library_logo-264x264I’m happy to announce that ASCL (Azure Search Client Library) has received a new update, namely 0.8.5522.36498. Using the newer version you can now enjoy suggestion algorightms without worrying about the little bugs :), use suggestions using the freshly announced ‘Suggestor’ functionality, use Tag boosting and take complete advantage of the multi-lingual support of Azure Search.

Along with this update I’ve also written two new ‘Getting started’ projects which help you better understand how to use ASCL.

Happy downloading https://www.nuget.org/packages/AzureSearchClient/0.8.5522.36498.

Microsoft AzureAlong with fellow community leaders and speakers and with the support of Microsoft Romania, I’m putting together the first community organized Azure-centric event in Oradea for 2015!

Come and join us at Azure DevCamp Oradea

Part of a series of seven events taking part across the entire country (Bucharest, Oradea, Timisoara, Targu-Mures, Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu, Brasov), Azure DevCamp Oradea is your chance to learn more about the freshly announced services in Azure:

  • Azure Search
  • Azure as a backend for cross-platoform mobile apps
  • BigData in Azure: HDInsights
  • Azure for the Enteprise

These sessions will be presented by (in alphabetical order) Ciprian Jichici (Microsoft Regional Director), Alex Mang (Azure Advisor), Mihai Tataran (Microsoft Most Valuable Professional) and Radu Vunvulea (Microsoft Most Valuable Professional).

Azure DevCamp Oradea will take place on the 20th of February, at Hotel Continental Forum (1 Aleea Standului), will start at exactly 16:00 and is completely FREE of charge. However, registration is required prior to the event and can only be done at http://aka.ms/oradea-20-februarie.

Register today, seats are limited!

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Looking over the English dictionary for the word ‘facet’, I came to realize that facet means way more things that I originally knew: (according to http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/facet)

  1. one of the small, polished plane surfaces of a cut gem
  2. a similar surface cut on a fragment of rock by the action of water, windblown sand etc.
  3. aspect, phase, as in: ‘They carefully examined every facet of the argument’
  4. in Architecture, any of the faces of a column cut in a polygonal form
  5. in Zoology, one of the corneal lenses of a compound arthropod eye
  6. in Dentistry, a small highly burnished area, usually on the enamel surface of a tooth, produced by abrasion between opposing teeth in chewing

However, during this post I’m not going to discuss the origin of the word, but rather what a ‘facet’ means in terms of Azure Search.

Have you ever wondered how popular on-line shopping stored are able to create those complex filtering scenarios, different for every category of products and different in functionality as well? More specifically, how come high-end products show pricing categories based on a quite a few high price ranges while the accessories category comes with less, lower price ranges? Here’s an example on Amazon.co.uk:

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CodeCamp logo

… or in other words, the codecamp in the Eastern side of Romania. If you happen to be in Iasi on October 25th, I’d love to get a chance and chat with you about cloud, Azure, .NET, Windows Phone, software development, good wine, music, food or whatever! Or if you just want to watch my session @ CodeCamp, that’s fine too :). http://iasi.codecamp.ro/#speakers

So all you have to do is attend this over 1000+ participants conference which will take place at Hotel International in Iasi. You also get to pick from over 48 different sessions taking place during the whole day and covering technologies such as Java, .NET, Mobile development, Agile, PHP, Ruby, project management, business analysis and others.

Registration is free but I’d hurry if I were you, because half the seats available have already been occupied!

By the time of this writing, Azure Search Client Library, available on Nuget here, has officially been downloaded for 201 times. In order to properly celebrate this, I’m going to have the next release of the library published asap. Lots of new capabilities are on their way, so stay tuned!

One more thing: should there be a specific feature you feel is missing, do drop me a comment, message, e-mail, tweet etc. and I’m personally make sure that your requirement will go straight staring up in the product backlog.

Alex

IT Bridge logoNext week I’m going to talk about Azure Search during an event called IT Bridge. This is the third event in the IT Bridge event series and this time it’s going to be entirely about Microsoft Azure.

Even though talking after Mihai Tataran, Azure MVP and expert on cloud-computing, is going to be really tough, the Azure Search topic I’m covering will make this a fun and in the same time interesting session.

The event is going to be entirely in Romanian, so if you’re comfortable with Romanian and happen to be in Oradea on September 25th, you should definitely join us! Keep in mind however, that there’s a limited number of seats available for this event.

Event registration is required and is available at this link.

P.S.: If you feel like ‘Nobody understands the cloud. It’s a mistery’, you should definitely join us! 🙂