As part of the Real World Windows Azure series, we talked to Richard Godfrey, cofounder and CEO of KoodibooK, about using the Windows Azure platform to develop the company's unique self-publish service, which lets customers design and publish personalized photo albums in minutes. Here's what he had to say:
MSDN: Can you please tell us about KoodibooK?
Godfrey: KoodibooK provides a unique "Create Once, Publish Anywhere" experience for people looking to capture memorable moments in their lives with a personalized photo album.
MSDN: What were the company's main goals in designing and building the KoodibooK publishing application?
Godfrey: Our primary mission in developing the KoodibooK service was to make it the fastest way for consumers to design, build, and publish their own photo albums. We wanted to give our customers the chance to build and start enjoying their book in as little as 10 minutes.
MSDN: Can you describe how the Windows Azure platform helped you meet those goals?
Godfrey: The Windows Azure platform is ideal to meet our needs. The simplicity of the architecture model of Windows Azure made it extremely easy to develop services to handle the publishing workflow from start to finish.
MSDN: Can you describe how the KoodibooK solution uses other Microsoft technologies, together with Windows Azure?
Godfrey: The actual book design application-the templates and tools that people use to organize their photos, create page layouts, and add effects-is built on the Windows Presentation Foundation. Customers download the application from our site and run it on their computer.
As the images are written to Windows Azure Blob storage, all reference data about individual publishing projects is simultaneously stored in Microsoft SQL Azure databases. To give users a high-fidelity, interactive viewing experience online, we use the Microsoft Silverlight browser plug-in to handle the presentation of the published book. Users can see a full-scale version of their book, flip through pages, use the Deep Zoom feature of Silverlight to see incredible detail, and much more.
MSDN: What makes the KoodibooK photo album solution unique?
Godfrey: With our solution, people can create their own custom album in minutes instead of hours, mainly because our design solution uses a client application, instead of relying on a web-based system. And we let people pull in content from just about anywhere-from online photo storage locations, such as their Facebook account, from Flickr, from blogs, or from local drives. This helps simplify our service and opens it up to a wider range of user preferences. And then we give people lots of options in terms of publishing their finished book. They can print a bound version from one of our professional print vendors, or they can share their book online so that people can view it on a PC or their mobile computing device.
With the Koodibook publishing tool, customers can interact with a 3-D preview of their personalized photo album before printing.
MSDN: Can you describe the benefits KoodibooK has gained through the use of Windows Azure, along with Windows Presentation Foundation and Microsoft Silverlight?
Godfrey: As a startup with just a handful of employees, we simply couldn't allocate a lot of time or budget to building and managing the infrastructure. Setting up and configuring services to run in Windows Azure is such a straightforward process. We just created a cloud service project in Visual Studio, published it to Windows Azure, and it worked.
Because of the interoperability of Microsoft technologies, we've been able to reuse code from the client application to optimize server-side components. This means we can quickly develop and deploy new functionality that works throughout all of the different parts of the solution. So we've been able to roll out product improvements on a consistent basis, which is a critical part of our growth strategy.
To read more Windows Azure customer success stories, visit: www.windowsazure.com/evidence