Hello Cloud Computing: Windows Azure and YouTube Re-Player at Cloud

After my YouTube Re-Player (Localhost) 2.0 was built in May 2009, my friends told me that they would like to play with it also. Hence, I hoped that I could find a place to host my app.

Last Wednesday, I was given a free Windows azure access token during the Windows Azure workshop organised by Microsoft. Hence, the first thing I did was trying to build my YouTube Re-Player on Windows Azure.

The Wow-wow Workshop
The Windows Azure workshop was held on last Wednesday at SMU. There were only about 30 students from NUS, NTU and SMU in the workshop. Thus, eventually, almost everyone of us was able to get a free access token.

During the workshop, we were taught how to build a hello world web application and later upload it to Windows Azure. Before getting started, I had to install quite many stuff on my computer, for example Visual Web Developer 2008 Express, Windows Azure Tools, SQL Server 2008, ASP.NET, CGI and so on. Luckily with the Microsoft provided the Microsoft Web Platform Installer, the installation was quite straight-forward.

Windows Azure Platform

Windows Azure Platform

YouTube Re-Player at Cloud
Because of the Windows Azure, I could finally find a place to host my YouTube Re-Player; however my free account on Windows Azure will be deleted after 31 December 2009 (This is because Windows Azure Platform will go into production on 1 January 2010).

Actually, I currently have two versions of YouTube Re-Player which are used to run on Windows Azure. The first version is called YouTube Re-Player at Cloud. It is now available online (Click here to access). The second version is called YouTube Re-Player (Cloud-S) which I will introduce it later.

Before I introduce YouTube Re-Player at Cloud, it is better if you know its senpai, i.e. YouTube Re-Player (Localhost) 1.0 and 2.0 (Click here to read more about these two applications).

YouTube Re-Player at Cloud doesn’t use any database. However, it still provides the main feature of the YouTube Re-Player series products: Playing a YouTube video unlimited times without pressing the Replay button. Although it has no database to keep the data, it still stores the history record of the viewed YouTube videos. Thus, every time the user plays a new YouTube music video, the name of the video will be added to the “Viewed Videos List” so that he is able to play the video again later.

YouTube Replayer at Cloud

YouTube Replayer at Cloud

YouTube Re-Player (Cloud-S)
Recently, Microsoft announced that PHP developers were able to build their PHP and MySQL applications on Windows Azure Platform also (More about this: Click here). So, after the YouTube Re-Player at Cloud was done on last Friday, I decided to move YouTube Re-Player (Localhost) 2.1 to cloud as well.

However, developing PHP and MySQL on Windows Azure Platform is painful. To build a simple PHP web application on Azure, I have to do is just adding some codes to the configuration files of Web and Web Role. Meanwhile, I also need to copy and paste the whole php folder (the one containing php.ini) into the solution. Then how about MySQL? This is the headache part. According to the Microsoft, there is a MySQL PHP Solution Accelerator to help solving this problem. However, I can’t even run it successfully. So, I am not able to run the MySQL as a Worker Role in cloud. What I can do is just migrating all my data from Sybase to MySQL and let the whole application running on the Windows Azure Simulation Environment. That’s why I call this application YouTube Re-Player (Cloud-S), where the “S” stands for “Simulation”.

YouTube Re-Player Cloud-S

YouTube Re-Player Cloud-S

All the new features in the YouTube Re-Player (Localhost) 2.1, such as showing video length of each video, are available in the YouTube Re-Player (Cloud-S) as well. The only difference between two of them is the database. Localhost version is using Sybase while Cloud-S version is using MySQL. In addition, there is also a problem when I run it on the simulation environment. Since all the content of my application is preloaded, sometimes it will suddenly stop in the middle way and then I have to refresh the whole page.

Only Available Until 31 December 2009
Well, my YouTube Re-Player at Cloud will only be available to public until 31 December 2009. So, please visit http://imbachunlin.cloudapp.net/ now to try it. =)

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