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Step-by-Step: Microsoft Azure Free Trial – Create a Farm with the Azure Template ‘SharePoint Server Farm’

Following step-by-step guide helps you to use the Azure template “SharePoint server farm” though you have a Azure free trial account.

Microsoft offers a free trial account with $200 credit that lets you evaluate Azure for a month. But it seems like you can’t use the Azure template SharePoint server farm when you have a trial account. Well you can use it – I found a way that I want to share with you.


To set up a development environment for Microsoft Azure you can choose between two different deployment models:

  • Classic: create and configure every single resource (virtual networks, virtual machines, etc.) by yourself
  • Azure Resource Manager (ARM): group resources and automate with quickstart templates

Only with ARM it is possible to use a Azure template (ARM template). Of course the second model is considerably more faster and would be the favorite one. After the preparation was done it took about 30 Minutes to deploy a complete SharePoint three tier small farm!

You can find a lot of guides for the classic deployment (see link list at the end of this post), but nearly no information about the second one. Microsoft states, that you can’t use SharePoint server farm templatess with a trial account, see following screenshot of the Microsoft page Create SharePoint server farms.

2016-04-14 09_40_44-Create SharePoint server farms _ Microsoft Azure_org
Here’s the good news: you CAN use it!  :)
Just use following Step-by-Step guide.


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Deepening the Understanding of Chrome Dev Tools

I found two amazing sources that help to understand the Chrome Dev Tools that I want to share with you.

16 Ways to Search, Find and Edit with Chrome DevTools | Telerik Blogs

Cody Lindley – one of the contributors of jQuery – demonstrates 16 various ways to search, find and edit within the source code of a site using Chrome Developer Tools.

You can find the complete post here: 16 Ways to Search, Find and Edit with Chrome DevTools | Telerik Blogs

Chrome Dev Tools – Tips and Tricks

Another great source for a deeper understanding of Chrome Dev Tools is the Tips and Tricks section of the Chrome documentation.

Chrome Dev Tools - Tips and Tricks

You can find the complete article here: Tips and Tricks | Chrome Dev Tools documentation

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Coding Guidelines

As a fan of clean code I like coding guidelines that raise the quality of code by regulating the design and development of code.

Common Design Fundamentals

Probably one of the best known examples is the “Microsoft Application Architecture Guide” that can be found here:

Cover of 'Application Architecture Guide' v2

Hint: better use the Pdf or the site map at the bottom of the page instead of the left navigation because it doesn’t show all content. And avoid other languages since the breadcrumb is missing completely.

Here you can find an overview of the key principles:

And here you can find the key principles in detail:

Web Design Fundamentals

Within this guide you find a complete chapter that applies to designing web applications:

SharePoint Design Fundamentals

When you dig deeper you can find guidelines for designing and developing SharePoint applications as well:

obviously the Microsoft patterns & practices page is about to be moved to as you can see on the home page:
So don’t be irritated that some content still can be found on the msdn page itself:
(as you can see on the about page:, section ‘Explore the patterns & practices catalog.’)

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Diagnosing ASP.NET MVC Problems | Brad Wilson

If you want to find out why your MVC application isn’t working you can use MvcDiagnostics. It’s a single WebForms page can be dropped into any MVC site, and then viewed in your browser.


You can find a detailed explanation here: Diagnosing ASP.NET MVC Problems | Blog ‘Brad Wilson’

Here’s how to install this tool: ASP.NET MVC Diagnostics Using NuGet | Blog ‘You’ve Been Haacked’

Don’t worry about the old blog post date – this tool is up to date: Microsoft ASP.NET MVC Diagnostics 5.2.3 | NuGet Gallery

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How ASP.NET MVC works

How ASP.NET MVC works

How does ASP.NET MVC work? In following post you can learn how it works and that its magic – the loose coupling – comes from convention.

Why do i say magic? Because with the loose coupling of its components Model, View and Controller the code is way more readable and testable (to name only two).

How ASP.NET MVC works

The convention of ASP.NET MVC is that you can set a name in one component just like you want. But you have to repeat this name exactly in the other component.

A home controller

This is an example of a main controller that covers pages like Home, About, Privacy Policy, etc. In following image Home is such a name. You can choose the name by your own, but you have to repeat it exactly: Home2Controller won’t work (the convention sometimes adds a keyword like Controller). Another example for such a name is About.

  1. User clicks on button About, sends get request with URL [Path]/Home/About
  2. MVC searches for the HomeController
  3. Retrieves model (in our case empty)
  4. Looks for the view About
  5. Browser receives answer from MVC application and shows page with URL [Path]/Home/About

Please click on the image to see it full size:

How ASP.NET MVC works - home controller
How ASP.NET MVC works – home controller *


A list controller

Another typical use case you can find in many tutorials is a list controller. In following example I refer to the tutorial Getting Started with ASP.NET MVC 5 from the ASP.NET page.

The controller handles list overview views and list item views. Lets say the user requests a list item with the id = 1. That means

  1. User clicks on URL –
    = sends get request with URL [Path]/[Controller]/[ActionName]/[Parameters]
  2. MVC searches for the MoviesController
  3. Retrieves model – in our case a movies database item with the id 1
  4. Looks for the view Details
  5. Controller sends the view Details containing the retrieved model (in Razor: code line “@model“) to browser, a page is shown with URL [Path]/movies/details/id

Then you got:

How ASP.NET MVC works - list controller
How ASP.NET MVC works – list controller *


I hope this helped a little bit to clarify how ASP.NET MVC works (it helped me a lot and i use it often when I do some tutorials).

Further Links

For a beginner tutorial I recommend following ASP.NET MVC Getting Started tutorial:

You can find her basics about the MVC execution process:

And if you want to dig deeper here a long post from Scott:   :)

* Following article helped me with the diagrams, it is a very good introduction as well:

How MVC works – another simple and helpful introduction:

[Updates: made the colors more clear, added list controller example; added two links]

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Lambda expression in @Html.DisplayFor(modelItem => item.FirstName)

I found a very good explanation about the Lambda expression in @Html.DisplayFor(modelItem => item.FirstName), see Link below.


As the author wrote, a lambda expression is a way to write an anonymous function. As a summary you can find here the lambda expression and its anonymous function it could be translated logically.

Common lambda expression

(x => x.Name)

>>>>>> translates to >>>>>>

string Function(Data x) 
 return x.Name 

Lambda expression without left-side parameter

(() => someVariable)

>>>>>> translates to >>>>>>

string Function() 
 return someVariable; 

Lambda expression in @Html.DisplayFor(model => item.FirstName)

model => item.FirstName

>>>>>> translates to >>>>>>

string Function(Model model) 
 return item.FirstName; 


Here you find the complete post: I want to understand the lambda expression in @Html.DisplayFor(modelItem => item.FirstName)

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The Ultimate Guide to SharePoint Server 2013 Certification V2 | Absolute SharePoint Blog by Vlad Catrinescu

I have found a great guide for SharePoint certification that I wanted to share with you:

I am glad to announce the release of the second version of The ultimate Guide to SharePoint Server 2013 Certification on my Blog! Check it out!

Here you find the complete post: The Ultimate Guide to SharePoint Server 2013 Certification V2

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Visual Studio 2015 Community Sharepoint

SharePoint Development with Visual Studio Community 2015

With Visual Studio Community 2015 you get a full Visual Studio version for free! In following post you can learn how to download it and – for SharePoint – how to install the Office Developer Tools.

The New Microsoft

I am just as excited as other bloggers like Tobias Zimmergren about Microsoft’s new strategy Mobile First, Cloud First that seems to lead to a new Microsoft corporation that invents itself in surprisingly fast steps. In November 2014 Microsoft made another great step in its opening process. As S. Somasegar wrote they were Opening up Visual Studio and .NET to Every Developer, Any Application. That is they open up Visual Studio development to a broader community. And they release free versions and offer more Open Source projects then ever.

Great news isn’t it?   :)

For SharePoint development you need an additional tool – the Office Developer Tools. There is one for Visual Studio 2013 and one for Visual Studio 2015. Both versions launch a Web Platform Installer pointing to the entry for the Office Developer Tools.

2013: You needed the “Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013″

Back in 2013 the Visual Studio Community 2013 version replaced the free Expression version of Visual Studio.
Additionally you needed the Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013. This link starts a download of the file OfficeToolsForVS2013Update1.exe. If you don’t thrust a download from the URL (which is indeed a Microsoft URL) you can have a look at this Microsoft Announcement, the link Download the Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013 – March 2014 Update points to the same file. On this StackExchange page you can find further information.

2015: You need the “Office Developer Tools”

Last week Visual Studio Community 2015 was released. See following post from S. Somasegar or this german news at heise online. (It’s great to see how many 3rd party tools they integrated. I can’t wait to try out Apache Cordova for JavaScript development)

With Visual Studio Community 2015 the tools were renamed from “Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013″ to “Office Developer Tools”. As a user wrote on this SharePoint Community page you can download the Office Developer Tools here. Click on the button Get Office Developer Tools.

Visual Studio 2015 Community Sharepoint - Get Office Developer Tools

There is already an Update 1 available that includes a vocabulary change. In 2015, the SharePoint “app model” name was changed to the “add-in model.”. Presumably, this change in name was necessary to introduce the SharePoint Mobile App.

Meanwhile there is an Update 2 available as well.

The “Get Office Developer Tools” link already points to these updates. As you can see in the comment from user Sean Laberee about Update 1 the link is correct even though it downloads OfficeToolsForVS2015.exe which is the same as what you used in August (first release) and November (Update 1). It also launches the Web Platform Installer pointing to the entry for the latest update of the Office Developer Tools.

As Tobias wrote

One word. WOW.
Boy am I glad I chose to work with Microsoft technologies back in the day when I had to choose the direction for my professional career.

From blog “Zimmergren’s thoughts on tech”


[Update: reduced the uncommon name “installer”, replaced with “Office Developer Tools”; information added about the Update 1 and 2]

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SharePoint Configuration and Configuration Management

At the moment I read a lot about SharePoint configuration since I’m doing initial SharePoint configuration tasks. Here are two useful blog posts I have found.

Top 10 SharePoint Configuration Mistakes

Top 10 SharePoint 2010 Configuration MistakesThis blog post lists the top 10 SharePoint 2010 configuration mistakes (applies for SharePoint 2013 as well). I recommend to read this post before start doing basic configurations! :)

Besides the well-known ‘don’t use the SharePoint configuration wizard’ it names 9 more configuration mistakes such as Default SharePoint Database Settings which slows down SQL performance (and therefore SharePoint as well).

Here’s the complete post: Top 10 SharePoint 2010 Configuration Mistakes — and How to Fix Them | SharePoint 2010 content from SharePoint Pro

SharePoint Configuration Management

SharePoint Configuration ManagementAlso very useful – not only for initial configuration but for configuration management in general – is following article: SharePoint Configuration Management: Guidelines and Tips.

It shows how to track changes of SharePoint configuration and which benefits such a approach has.

Here’s the complete post: SharePoint Configuration Management: Guidelines and Tips

Other Ressources

25 Mistakes to Avoid in SharePoint or Office 365 (and How to Fix Them):

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