Greetings everyone! As you can tell from the blog title, today is the day Microsoft released the shiny new Surface Pro 3. Being that I’m now celebrating my one year work anniversary with Microsoft on Monday, I happily ordered one for myself. I like bringing our latest hardware around to show customers or play my collection of GOG games on. But let’s pretend for a moment I’m not as concerned about whether or not I can play Baldur’s Gate 2 on it , but instead am loading it with the programs/apps I would need to do the job I used to do – that of a “Shadow IT Ninja” or “LOB Hero”. Regardless of which of these terribly cliched nomikers you’d use, the point is the same – I needed to solve business challenges every day that the team I supported faced, and I needed to solve them using tools that allowed me to be agile, responsive and incredibly productive. And I couldn’t rely on IT for any of this. So, with that in mind, what would I load onto my Surface Pro 3 to make sure I accomplished all this?
Operating System – My OS of choice would be Windows 8.1 with the latest updates. If you are still afraid of using 8.1, you really shouldn’t be. If I’m using it like a desktop, it acts like Windows 7, and if I’m using it like a tablet, it works like you’d expect it to with the modern interface of Windows 8. This way I can use any legacy software I want, and also take advantage of the rapidly growing app ecosystem and universal apps for Windows/Windows Phone 8.1. That’s my completely biased answer, and since I don’t have a choice for what OS I use on the Surface Pro 3 anyways, let’s move on.
Microsoft Software -
Microsoft Office 2010 - http://www.microsoft.com/office/try/
Microsoft Office 365 Pro Plus- http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/business/office-365-proplus-business-software-FX103213513.aspx
Why both? Well, first of all, just because I can (did you know you can do side by side installs of Office 365 Pro Plus with previous versions), but I would probably have a mix of users who are using different versions, so I want to have both just in case. I’d use OneDrive for Business to store all my documents, since I’ll soon have 1 TB of space in the cloud to do so (!), and because it comes with the Office365 subscription my company got for me.
I also need to create quick LOB apps that I can deploy Sharepoint/Office365, so I’d need to use the latest version of Microsoft Access in Pro Plus to do that. In Excel, to handle my self-service BI needs, I’d make sure I have all these items downloaded/enabled for Office, and I’d make sure I install the 64-bit version to get the maximum value out of Excel for my BI work.
Power View (O365 Pro Plus) - http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel-help/power-view-explore-visualize-and-present-your-data-HA102835634.aspx
SQL Server Reporting Services Report Builder 2014 - http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=42301
For deploying my Power Pivot models to SQL Server Analysis Server, I’d need to make sure I have the following on my machine as well -
SQL Server Data Tools – Business Inteligence - http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=42313
For LightSwitch/Cloud Business App Development and SQL Server Development Work, I’d install -
Visual Studio 2013 w/MSDN and Integrated SQL Server Data Tools - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd831853.aspx
SQL Server 2014 Management Studio - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn434042.aspx
I’d also probably install Microsoft Project to handle my project management needs.
Where would I host my dev environment? Windows Azure, of course.
I’d setup two SQL Server 2014 images running in HA mode - http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/virtual-machines/
I’d also setup one SSAS Instance running in Tabular Mode – to save time, I’d pick a VM with SSAS Multidimensional pre-installed and use this hack to do a quick switch (http://cathydumas.com/2012/04/23/changing-an-analysis-services-instance-to-tabular-mode/)
I use Bing Desktop - http://www.bing.com/explore/desktop so I can gain points for rewards like saving 5% at the Microsoft Store
And I use Xbox Music - http://music.xbox.com/welcome to listen to music while I work.
Third Party Software -
To enhance my LightSwitch development, I’d grab the following -
ComponentOne Studio for LightSwitch - http://www.componentone.com/SuperProducts/StudioLightSwitch/
SyncFusion Essential Studio For LightSwitch -
AIDE 2013 for Visual Studio from Xpert360 - http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/92b6fa45-8f62-4891-a67f-9d767883f6dd
Document Toolkit for LightSwitch -
Spursoft LightSwitch Extensions -
Pixata Custom Controls -
All of Delordson’s Themes/Apps -
All of Delordson’s Sample Apps -
A favorited link to Michael Washington’s LightSwitch blog in my IE browser -
For SQL Server and Azure work, I’d load and use -
Pretty much anything from Red Gate Software -
For BI work -
OLAP Pivottable Extensions - https://olappivottableextend.codeplex.com/ – This is helpful for getting the MDX statement from a Pivot Table.
RSSBus Data Provider Extensions (as needed) – http://www.rssbus.com
A favorited link to Rob Collie’s Power Pivot Blog - http://www.powerpivotpro.com
Copies of Rob’s e-books on Power Pivot - http://www.amazon.com/Rob-Collie/e/B009PEU7U0/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1403295975&sr=8-2-ent
For Social Analytics Data - http://www.plus1social.com/
Great sample dataset (Baseball Stats) for testing/development - http://www.seanlahman.com/baseball-archive/statistics/
Windows App Store Apps -
Datazen – http://www.datazen.com which I have talked about in several posts previously
UBI Interactive – http://www.ubi-interactive.com for that “wow” factor when demoing
Splashtop Interactive - http://www.splashtop.com/ to check on stuff on my home PC
With this collection of software, hardware, and apps, there is pretty nothing I couldn’t accomplish to support my end-users. And it’s a great reminder of just how robust and powerful the tools from Microsoft and its partners are for those at the LOB level looking to solve any number of challenges on a daily basis.
That’s it for now – I still owe everyone a blog post about Datazen and LightSwitch interop, so hopefully I’ll get to that in the near future. Have a great weekend!