Some time ago Microsoft launched the new Microsoft Platform Ready portal, where you can certify your applications based on a number of recent technologies from Microsoft, including Windows Azure.
As you know, LightSwitch applications can be easily deployed to Windows Azure and in this scenario they use SQL Azure databases. The MPR program enables certifying applications relying on both technologies, so you can certify your LightSwitch applications running on the Cloud. So let's try and see how to accomplish this. First, you just need to create a LightSwitch application with at least one table and one screen, no matter how complex the application is (we just need one for demo purposes). Also, remember that if you want to enable security features you must use the Forms authentication.
Of course, you need a Windows Azure subscription. Before deploying the application to Azure, you must get a valid X.509 certificate. If you do not have one, you can create a test certificate. Pay attention at this point: the Publish Wizard in LightSwitch allows generating a self-signed certificate which is not recognized correctly by the certification tool, so you first need to create one manually. You can use the MakeCert.exe command line tool like this:
makecert -sky exchange -r -n "CN=Management Certificate" -pe -a sha1 -len 2048 -ss My "ManagementCertificate.cer"
By using the various command line switches the certificate will be also stored in the My user store for certificates. The next step is uploading the certificate to Azure. Enter the Management Portal by signing in with your Windows Live ID, then click Hosted Services, Storage Accounts & CDNs. At this point click Management Certificates and then Add Certificate:
Once the certificate is uploaded will be shown in the list of available certificates. Now imagine that your LightSwitch application is ready to be deployed to Azure. If you've never done this before, it is important for you to read this post by Andy Kung (from the LightSwitch Team) where everything is explained step-by-step very clearly.
Pay particular attention: in his post (from which the following figure comes from) Andy explains how to use a self-signed certificate generated by LightSwitch, which does not work at the moment with MPR. So here:
you will also see the previously created and uploaded certificate, so select this one. If everything completes successfully, the application will be published to Windows Azure in minutes and it will use SQL Azure as the database engine. So we are going to test the application for both technologies.
Once the application is on Azure we can move to the certification process. Once logged into the Platform Ready portal with your Live ID, you need to create a test by specifying application details. In the case of a LightSwitch application on the cloud you need to specify the name, the version number, hosting platform used, kind of customer and activity, and the URL under the form of myapplication.cloudapp.net. The following figure comes from the Italian localization of the portal but the information are not difficult to understand:
Going ahead, move to the Test tab and take note of the application ID (which will be required later) and then download the client test tool (English only):
Once the client is up and running, click Start New Test:
You still need to enter a name for the new test and you must specify the technologies used by the application, so ensure that both Windows Azure and SQL Azure are selected:
At this point you need to specify connection details to both technologies. About Windows Azure:
Basically you need to enter your Azure subscription ID, the certificate file created before, finally the application URL. About SQL Azure you instead need to enter logon credentials:
If both connection details are entered correctly, both connection tests will be successful:
The next two screens are skipped for convenience, since they just ask confirmation about the fact that the application is currently running and that it is using all the features that must be submitted for certification. At the end a basic HTML report is generated:
Click Show to display the report in your browser:
You are not done yet. You need to go back to the main screen of the application and click Reports. This is required to generate a package file that must be submitted to the MPR portal. You can select the test created before, and a summary is shown:
The next screen shows another summary, whereas the next requires entering the application's name and version number:
The next screen is very important, since you will enter the name of the package containing test results and the application ID as it was provided at the beginning of the process in the MPR portal, together with other information such as contact info and agreement about the logo usage:
The last screen will just inform about the completion of the package generation. But you do not need to show it now. At this point you need to go back to the MPR portal, go to the Test page and upload the package:
If the package analysis is successful, you get notified about that:
Now you can click on the Verify tab and confirm that the application is correctly supporting Azure:
After your confirmation you will be able to download the "Powered by Windows Azure" logo, which you can add to the LightSwitch application.
Just to show you that it's not a joke, this is a screenshot of the demo application that I submitted for certification:
If you do not know how to place the Azure logo in your LightSwitch application, read this blog post by Beth Massi but you have to adapt it to Beta 2.