Azure Resources: The Sites You Need

Tempted to test out Windows Azure? There's a wealth of resources out there to make it easy to get started with Azure development. Here's our pick of the key ones you'll need.

Free Windows Azure Trial Until June 30, you can sign up for a free trial of Windows Azure that includes up to 750 hours of processing, 500MB of storage and 1 1GB SQLAzure database. That's more than enough to build and start experimenting with Windows Azure-based apps. (You'll need a credit card, but won't be charged anything unless you exceed the allocated free hours.)

Windows Azure Tools & SDK If you already have Visual Studio, then these add-in tools will instantly have you ready to develop with Azure in no time.

Visual Web Developer 2010 Express Edition Don't have a full copy of Visual Studio? Don't worry! The free express edition of Visual Web Developer is all you need to begin Azure app development.

Windows Azure Development Centre MSDN's dedicated site for Windows Azure development resources. Tutorials and code samples a-plenty on offer.

Windows Azure Hands-On Lab Developing for the cloud might sound daunting, but the basics are easy to master. This set of hands-on lab tutorials will walk you through the basics of writing and deploying your first app.

Windows Azure Platform Training Kit This mammoth collection of resources offers presentations, demos and hands-on lab sessions detailing every aspect of Windows Azure. There's a lot to work through, but if you consume this content you'll be a master of all things Azure.

Technical Library The Windows Azure technical library has an exhaustive set of samples and documentations. If you need to know something specific about Azure development, chances are you'll find it here.

Windows Azure Marketplace The Azure Marketplace is where Azure developers can sell their wares to others. As well as full-blown applications, there are plenty of building blocks for Azure services, letting you save time on development by leveraging the work of others.

Windows Azure Australian Developer Site Microsoft Australia has served up a big batch of case studies, white papers, and tutorials to get you up to speed on all things Azure right here at their specific landing page. It's an easy place to start your explorations of the technology and the platform.

If you’ve got a great idea for a Windows Azure app, we can help make it happen — check out our awesome My Concept Rules contest.

Picture by emdot

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