In this post, I discuss the Media Center App, which is a SharePoint app that allows you to integrate your Windows Azure Media Services (WAMS) assets within SharePoint. This app is available for free at the Office store online In building this application, we saw an opportunity to combine the capabilities of WAMS with the new SharePoint 2013 app model. We aimed to build a SharePoint app that is available to both SharePoint Online and on-premises SharePoint customers, so we chose a SharePoint hosted app model. In this article, I discuss some of the reasons why this app is needed and the design choices we made to build it. I also go into more depth about the architecture of the app and provide descriptions and screenshots of the app functionality.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Nova Labs in Reston with a few other members of the Washington CTO Council. Nova Labs is part of the maker movement which is sweeping the country – there are currently over one thousand such makerspaces throughout the US. The makers movement is a confluence of 1) open-source hardware that promotes advancement in hardware design through common standards and crowdsourcing, 2) increasing availability of 3-D printers and high-precision laser cutters to private hobbyists, and 3) the do-it-yourself (DIY) mindset that encourages participants to create their own hardware – hence the term “makers.” In this post, I discuss some of the machines that I saw during this trip – high precision laser cutters, 3-D printers, CNC machines – and I also discuss the reasons for my excitement about the makers movement.

In this post, I discuss a video of a solution prototype that AIS put together for one of our customers. The requirements were for a large-scale document (correspondence) generation system and included large-scale generation of documents, the ability to author dozens of templates, the ability to generate documents by binding the templates to data from business systems, the ability to support multiple document formats, and the ability to create workflows to support the business processes. We developed a solution for automated document generation using the Microsoft Office system. By combining out-of-the-box functionality such as Content Controls and Open Office XML SDK with a little customization as per your business rules, you can automate template creation, document generation, and document conversion. You can also use SharePoint to allow for Web-based document management. Read on for more about this solution…

Windows Store App to monitor your Azure bill

Our SharePoint journey so far and a look ahead


( this post is a response to ACT4Apps questionnaire posted by ACT and AT&T )

As a software developer who is also very interested in public policy, I am always looking to build apps that make it easier for folks to follow the public policy discourse. This is why I decided to build Netizen.   Netizen  is a Windows 8 app (soon to be  available in the Windows Store for free) that brings the voting record of your congressional representative to your finger tips. Simply select the Member of Congress you want to follow and "flick through" their voting record.

But I don’t want users of Netizen to merely follow how their  representative are voting in congress, instead, I want them to ensure that their voices are being heard.  For each bill brought to the floor of the house, Netizen automatically provisions a Facebook page dedicated to your member of congress. This page acts as a virtual ballot for a bill, as well as, a community hub where fellow constituents can gather to express their support. If enough of your friends and neighbors like or unlike the a vote, your congressional representative is sure to pay attention.

Pasted below are some screenshots from the application:

Screenshot #1 – Select state or find your congressional district based on your current location


Screenshot #2 – Select Representative


Screenshot #3 – “Flick through” the most recent roll call votes


Screenshot #4 –  “Virtual ballot” – Dynamically generated Facebook page,


Screenshot #5 –  Search for a representative


I am working on making this app available on other devices as well. Unfortunately the fragmented app landscape makes it harder for hobbyists and self-funded projects such as Netizen to publish across multiple app stores. If any of you are interested in helping develop versions of this app that run on other mobile platforms, please contact me via my twitter handle @vlele.

I hope that by the time CES 2022 rolls around, we can build an electronic, friction free  voting system that allows anyone with a tablet or a smart phone to securely cast a vote on the important issues of the day. Such a capability, combined with a vote  counting system that leverages the seemingly infinite computational resources available to us today, in order to make the voting results available in a snap. Perhaps that is the only hope to make law-making work again.

Finally, in order for sustain continued innovation in the app development, especially for hobbyists and startups, we need to strike a balance between regulation and room for innovation. Case in point, some of the recent changes proposed to the privacy laws for apps can lead to unintended consequences for the overall app economy. 

Short video that walks through IaaS & PaaS hydrid scenarios:

  • Using Windows Azure Virtual Network to provision a VPN to connect our on-premised infrastructure with a Windows Azure datacenter.
  • Set up front-end and back-end subnets.
  • Provision a set of Azure IaaS Virtual Machines and Azure Web Roles.
  • Install System Center Monitoring Pack for Windows Azure Applications on Azure-based machines.
  • Install System Center Operations on-premises in order to manage Azure-based resources.

In this eBook, I present app solutions for different scenarios, with perspectives from a cast of characters which includes a power user, a developer, an administrator and an industry analyst. In these scenarios, the following questions will be answered:

• Why are apps needed? • What nagging problems are they designed to solve? • What kinds of apps can we expect to see in the marketplace? • How will SharePoint apps be secured? • What are the various revenue models supported? • Would in-app purchases be allowed? What about ads? • What is the difference between a public app store and a corporate app catalog?

The eBook is available at