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Web Services and Extensibility for Windows Server 2012 Essentials

Hi, I’m Mike Chen, program manager for the Windows Server Essentials team, and today I would like to share with you the extensibility story for Windows Server 2012 Essentials. I’ll start with an overview of the extensibility points across Dashboard, Launchpad, Remote Web Access, and Health Monitoring. As you know, Windows Server 2012 Essentials is a hybrid solution that connects your on-premises environment to the cloud service. We will use cloud service integration scenarios when we talk about the extensibility points; these extensibility points can also be used by non-service-integration add-ins. Let’s take a look at the Windows Azure Online Backup add-in (for more information, see the blog post Windows Azure Online Backup and Windows Server 2012 Essentials ). In the preceding screenshot, add-ins can be used in the Dashboard in four places: Top-level tab . Usually, as a standalone feature, most add-ins will have a separate tab. We recommend that you use all capital letters for the names of your tabs to be consistent with other built-in tabs. A top-level tab will own its standalone content space in the content area. Sub-tabs . To logically separate your features, you can have multiple sub-tabs under your top-level tab. If you own a separate top-level tab, you will naturally group sub-tabs together. If your add-in doesn’t create a top-level tab (for example, your add-in provides additional manageability for storage), you can add a sub-tab to the tab in question instead. Main panel . Different add-ins typically have different requests. While you can build your main panel from a blank panel, you can also leverage the list view in the SDK if you’re managing a list of objects, such as users or folders. Task panel . When you manage a list of items or a service, you usually need per item tasks and global tasks. When you leverage the list view, the Dashboard allows you to register per item tasks where you can perform tasks on a single item, such as removing a folder. It also allows you to perform global tasks, which apply to the entire add-in functions, such as registering your service. In addition to these four options, the Dashboard also allows you to extend the built-in list view, wizards, and property pages by adding your own logic to the existing experience. An existing implementation of this is the built-in email solutions (including Office 365 and on-premises Exchange) that extend the list view, add a user wizard and user property pages that leverage the framework. We’re going to discuss this in depth in the upcoming blog for Hosted Email Add-in Framework. Client-side integration is also interesting when you write an add-in to integrate with online services. Launchpad . Most of the service integration, such as Office 365 Integration, provides value to end users where they need to have shortcuts to the new functionality they get from add-ins. In this case, you can extend the Launchpad by adding an additional shortcut. Remote Web Access . Remote Web Access allows you to provide links on the Homepage, as well as provide your own page. Health Integration . If the online service has dependencies on the client, such as agents running on the client or settings on the client, you can implement health monitoring rules on the client so that the monitoring results can be rolled up to the admin view. (Note that health integration is able to monitor the server as well.) Web service platform Anywhere Access is important for home and business environments today. To keep users more productive, they need to access files and folders anytime from their devices. In order to support this, Windows Server 2012 Essentials exposes a set of built-in web services for third-party developers to build applications on different devices that can access files and manage the server remotely. The built-in web services include file access, file operations, media access, and management tasks (including alerts, users, storage, devices). For a complete list of web services, see our MSDN page . The following sample code demonstrates how to call the web services to access a folder from Windows 8 by using HTML and JavaScript. In HTML, we create a list view on your page to display the data. You will need to define the template of the item that defines how it’s going to be displayed. In JavaScript, we use an HTTP request with your credential to get the information about items in the Company folder. var url = “https://[serverName]/services/builtin/fileoperationservice.svc/items/index/0/count/10?path=\\[machineName]\Company&filter=All&sortByField=Name&ascending=True” ; WinJS.xhr({     url: encodeURI(url),     user: “[userName]” ,     password: “[password]” ,     headers: {         “AppName” : “[appName]” ,         “Accept” : “application/json”     } }).done( function (response) {     var obtainedData = window.JSON.parse(response.responseText);     var fileList = new WinJS.Binding.List(obtainedData.Items);     WinJS.UI.setOptions(fileListView.winControl, { itemDataSource: fileList.dataSource });     WinJS.UI.processAll(); }); To learn more about the Windows Sever 2012 Essentials SDK, you can visit our MSDN site and download the SDK . We’re looking forward to your feedback in our forum .

Add-On Software Now Available for Windows Server 2012 Essentials

[Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Duncan Chalmers, release manager for Windows Server Essentials] Hello everyone. I’d like to update you on three additional add-on software that are now available for Windows Server 2012 Essentials. We have added the Health Report add-in, made available the System Center Management Packs, and updated the My Server for Windows Phone app: Health Report Add-In for Windows Server 2012 Essentials Windows Server 2012 Essentials Management Pack Windows Phone Marketplace , for the latest version of the My Server for Windows Phone app Please read the other postings on this Blog for more details about each of these cool new add-on software for Essentials.

Windows Server 2012 Essentials Health Report Add-in and Management Pack are released!

[Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ning Kuang from Sustained Engineering] We are excited to announce the RTM release of Health Report Add-in and Management Pack for Windows Server 2012 Essentials! Health Report Add-In for Windows Server 2012 Essentials : Download Link Here Health Report covers the health of several key functionalities for Windows Server 2012 Essentials, it is designed to assist the administrator to easily monitor the server’s overall status, with a manually or automatically generated report. Note if you have installed pre-RTM version, you should uninstall the previous version first, before you can install the RTM version. To uninstall the pre-RTM Add-in: Open Dashboard, select APPLICATIONS from the navigation bar. From Add-ins page, select Health Report from the list of installed add-ins. From the Health Report Tasks, select Remove the add-in. Follow the wizard to remove the add-in. Windows Server 2012 Essentials Management Pack : Download Link Here The Windows Server 2012 Essentials Management Pack allows you to monitor Windows Server 2012 Essentials with System Center Operation Manager 2012. This is the first release of the pack, please download the package, and follow the System Center Operation Manager’s instruction to complete the setup. A more detailed user manual will be published later this month.

Health Report for Windows Server 2012 Essentials

[Today's post comes to us courtesy of Yang Cao from Windows Server Essentials team] Hi my name is Yang Cao, program manager on the Windows Server 2012 Essentials team. Today, I’d like to introduce you to a new add-in we released for Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate Essentials known as Health Report. Several months ago when we released Windows Server 2012 Beta Essentials, we got some feedback on the lack of health report functionality. What you asked for is the ability to generate a report that summarizes the health of the server. You asked that the report contain a recap of several major features in Windows Server 2012 Essentials, and that it be automatically generated and sent to specified email Inboxes. With this feature, the administrator could know whether the server was in a good state or not, without logging on to the Dashboard. We heard this feedback and began the investigation and design right away. Early this week, we released the Health Report add-in for your preview. We strongly encourage you to download the add-in and use it. Please report any issues or suggestions on the forum so that we can improve the report in the future. The Health Report add-in provides three major functions: Generate a report on demand or on schedule Customize the content of the report Send the report through email These three functions are covered in more detail in the following sections. Generate a report on demand or on schedule After installing the Health Report add-in and restarting the Dashboard, a new navigation page is added to the Dashboard. To generate a health report right away, in the task pane, click Generate a health report . After a health report is generated, a new item is created in the list pane, identified by the date and time the report was generated. To open an item, you can double-click it in the list pane, or you can select it and then click Open the health report in the task pane. The report is displayed in a new window in HTML format. In addition to generating a report manually, you may also want the report to be generated automatically on a daily or hourly schedule. To do this, in the task pane, click Customize health report settings , and then click the Schedule and Email tab. The Schedule feature is off by default, and you can turn it on by selecting the Generate a health report at its scheduled time check box. Customize the content of the report From the sample report above, you will see that a health report contains the following: Critical alerts and warnings : This is consistent with the critical alerts and warnings that you see in the Alert Viewer on the Dashboard. Critical errors in the event logs : Applications and service logs are scanned, and the errors logged in the last 24 hours will be presented in the Details section of the report. Server Backup : The information about the last server backup is presented in the Details section. Auto-start services not running : At the time the report is generated, if an auto-start service is not running, the information about this service will be listed in the Details section. Updates : You can see the update status of the server and all the client computers in the Details section. Storage : The list of drives and their capacity is presented in the Details section. In the Health Report, first view the Summary , and then for those items with a red error icon or a yellow warning icon, click the Details link on the same row to view the details about the item. If you are not interested in some of the data points that are included in the report by default, you can customize the content of the report by clicking Customize health report settings in the task pane, and then clicking the Content tab. Clear the check boxes for the content that you don’t want to see in the report. For example, if you have your own server backup plan and don’t want to see the warnings about server backups, you could exclude server backups from the report by clearing the Server backup check box. Send the report through email Having to log on to the Dashboard to read reports is still inconvenient for some administrators, especially if they have more than one server to manage. With the email feature turned on, after a report is generated, an email will be sent to a list of specified email addresses with the content of the report. The administrator can comfortably view this report from any device or any client application, and rest assured that the server is running at its best state. In the Customize Health Report Settings dialog box, after you enable email, change the SMTP settings, and specify a list of email recipients, you will notice that a new task shows up in the task pane: Email the health report. Now you can select an existing report, and then click Email the health report . You can also generate a new report, and have it automatically sent to your Inbox. If you have configured a schedule for the report to be automatically generated, you can expect the report to be automatically delivered to your Inbox after being generated every day (or every hour). The picture below is me reading a health report with my Windows Phone. That’s it! I hope you enjoy the Health Report add-in. This is the very first version of the add-in and we know it may still lack some features. Your feedback is extremely valuable to us and we’d love to hear from you! Please report any issues or suggestions on the forum .

AVG Guru Sessions: Julie Meyer Part Three

In part three of this AVG Guru Session interview, Julie Meyer talks about the existing opportunities for funding for small businesses. Julie is  one of the BBC’s Online Dragons  in the award-winning  Dragon’s Den Online , and is also currently setting up a “Dads and Daughters” foundation to support and extend her thesis that women’s identities are shaped – for good or bad – by the messages they receive from their father’s as children and young adults. In 2011, she was asked to be on the UK Secretary of State’s Entrepreneurs Panel and the Secretary of Health’s Innovation Panel.

AVG Guru Sessions: Julie Meyer Part Two

                        What are the most successful SMBs doing that others could learn from? In part two of this AVG Guru Session interview, we ask Julie Meyer about lessons that can be learnt from some of the strongest performing SMB’s during the current downturn. Julie is  one of the BBC’s Online Dragons  in the award-winning  Dragon’s Den Online , and is also currently setting up a “Dads and Daughters” foundation to support and extend her thesis that women’s identities are shaped – for good or bad – by the messages they receive from their father’s as children and young adults. In 2011, she was asked to be on the UK Secretary of State’s Entrepreneurs Panel and the Secretary of Health’s Innovation Panel.