Yesterday evening I attended the second meeting of the UK Azure Net user group in London Victoria. Normally this wouldn’t in itself be blog worthy but one of the presentations given really piqued my interest and I wanted to draw some attention to it.
Bert Craven from EasyJet gave a demo of an application that EasyJet are going to be trialling in the near future, one that allows their employees to use handheld devices to check-in passengers rather than have those passengers queue up at check-in desks. The really compelling part of the demo though was the underlying technology; Bert’s team are using the Azure .Net Service Bus to expose service endpoints from their existing firewalled systems in order to make them consumable from the handheld devices. It was (as I fed back to Bert last night) by some distance the best Azure demo I’ve seen yet
Bert claimed that they had to do little more than change a configuration file in order to expose their services in this way and that’s when I had the “AHA” moment that had thus far escaped me and I began to understand why people like Simon Evans and Simon Davies have been speaking so enthusiastically about the .Net Service Bus. I realised the power inherent in this thing - it allows you to deliver features that previously would have taken reams and reams of code using little more than a configuration change.
Bert’s presentation included a demo where a service and a client were able to communicate via a service bus relay in under a second – this involved two round trips to a datacentre on the west coast of the US no less. He also showed data being synchronised between two handheld devices (running on emulators) via the service bus and again in sub-second intervals. To say this was impressive is an understatement.
Bert has blogged about his talk at Azure Service Bus Presentation and Demo Code and as the title suggests he has made demo code available there. I’m going away now to try it for myself.
That’s all really. The .Net Service Bus is the ace in the pack of Microsoft’s Azure offering and if you work in B2B scenarios or with distributed systems it could be well worth spending some time understanding it.
UPDATE: A video of Bert’s session is now available: