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SharePoint 2013 Developer Boot Camp – Jeddah May 2, 2013

Posted by Bilal in Events, Jeddah.
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On April 30th, 2013 Microsoft Arabia arranged a mega event in the coastal city, Jeddah. The main focus of the event was the latest version of SharePoint, SharePoint 2013. The first event on this topic was conducted in Khobar on 28th of April. The third and the last event will take place on 5th of May in Riyadh. In Jeddah it was a male-only event.

SharePoint Developer Camp Jeddah

The agenda of this event was as below:

Time        Session Details

08:00 – 09:00    Registration and Breakfast

09:00 – 10:00    Keynote

10:00 – 10:15    Break

10:15 – 11:15    What’s new in SharePoint 2013 for Developers

11:15 – 11:30    Break

11:30 – 12:30    Overview of Enterprise Social

12:30 – 01:30    Prayer and Lunch

01:30 – 02:30    Create Cloud-hosted apps for SharePoint Part 1

02:30 – 02:45    Break

02:45 – 03:45    Create Cloud-hosted apps for SharePoint Part 2

03:45 – 04:00    Break

04:00 – 05:00    Building Windows 8 Apps with SharePoint 2013

05:00 – 05:30    Closing and Prize Draw

Session 1 – Keynotes

The keynotes were delivered by Ammar Abuthuraya, Platform Strategy Manager at Microsoft Arabia. During the keynotes, the main focus was on Office 2013 and Office 365. Office is one of the most matured products. In Office 2007, there was a huge facelift and the concept of ribbons were introduced ( instead of classic menus). In office 2010, there were minor alterations in main user interface with an attempt to reduce the gap between office 2003 and the latest version of office. In office 2013, the main user interface is almost same office 2010. A lot of improvements have been implemented in the backend of the latest version of office e.g. the startup is noticeably faster as compared to the previous versions. Many other highly level (advanced) features have been added i.e. now we can open videos inside the office, open in a browser is no more required. An OCR engine has been implemented that will attempt to open the PDF files as text, if the conversion is unsuccessful (i.e. in case of Arabic) the file will still be displayed but as images.

Office 365 is a new (or reintroduced) subscription based Cloud version of office. It starts for as low as 4$ (~15 SR) per user per month. The user setting and customization is linked with his/her Microsoft Account. It is possible to start writing a document on your office machine and leave it in the middle, when you reach home, you can continue from where you left.

Office 365 Home Premium offers a very economic package of 100$ per year. Also, a user can use his subscription on up-to five devices (desktop, laptop, tab, mobile etc.). If a user is interested in native application instead of web version, a download of common applications is available for different platforms.

Microsoft Office Apps and Lync where also described briefly.

Session 2 – What’s New in Sharepoint 2013

This session was delivered by Ali Khawaja, Architect, Microsoft USA. As the title suggest, in this session Ali tried to cover the NEW or Improved features of Sharepoint 2013.

Some of the features mentioned are:

  • Apps: The concept of apps have been introduced. Apps are much improved form of WebParts. Using apps we can display any type of contents on a SharePoint page with a possibility of an external data source. The concept of apps is basically the brainchild of the social network, Facebook. The apps are rendered as iFrame in SharePoint page.
  • Office and SharePoint Store
  • SharePoint Client Side Object Model [CSOM]
  • SharePoint Server Side Object Model [SSOM]
  • Workflow: The workflow engine in SharePoint 2010 is based on Windows Workflow Foundation 3.5. In SharePoint 2013, it is based on WF 4.0 and 4.5. These newer engines have been re-written from scratch and provide very much improved functionality
  • Access: Access service was already available in existing versions, it has been packed with new features.
  • Fedration, Security and Deployment

Session 3 – Overview of Enterprise Social

This session was also conducted by Ali Khawaja. In this session Ali described about utilizing social network inside an enterprise.  The main benefits of utilizing the social network in a corporate environment can be summarized in these four points:

  1. Employee Engagement
  2. Team Collaboration
  3. Connected Organization
  4. Business Agility

In 2012, Microsoft acquired the Yammer service, a private social network and now it is also available in an integrated environment of SharePoint and Office 365. For startups, a free version is also available. One thing to be noted is that Yammer is a cloud ONLY service yet. It is very easy to start and adopt Yammer as compared to SharePoint with has heavy software + hardware requirement.

Session 4 & 5 – Create Cloud-hosted apps for SharePoint

These sessions were conducted by Shoaib Barry, Applications Developer at ISC Saudi Arabia. To host an app there are three options:

  1. SharePoint Hosted
  2. Auto Hosted
  3. Provider Hosted

Each of the hosting environment has its own merits and demerits. To begin with SharePoint app development, the installation of SharePoint is not required. It can be built and tested using emulators and cloud support. Office 365 developer account is available with a free 30 days startup period.

To consume an app, there are three options:

  1. Full Page
  2. App Part
  3. Custom Action

With the highly revamped security model and available of apps, we can seamlessly populate the menus in a SharePoint page from an external source.Hosting apps in the cloud provide global exposure for all the SharePoint users scattered worldwide.

Different demos where shown by Shoaib to elaborate the new and the enhanced features.

Session 6 – Building Windows 8 Apps with SharePoint 2013

This session was conducted by Fauzan Khan, from Microsoft Arabia. Sharepoint SDK for Windows Phone 8 has been released recently. It provides the Out-of-The-Box (OOTB)support for building apps  for Windows Phone 8 liked with SharePoint server.

Push Notification Stores/Service [PSN] has been provided to handle push notifications. Users can implement receivers for different app events like Upgrade, Install or Uninstall. Different demos where performed to explain these features.

Session 7 – Prize Draw

It was also conducted by Fauzan Khan, the event coordinator. User entry coupons were selected randomly and the selected attendants were presented with different prizes i.e. Microsoft Keyboard, Microsoft Mouse, Microsoft Headset etc.

Finally, this day long event came to an end around 6 PM.

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Windows Azure MS – Building Cross Platform Mobile Solutions December 20, 2012

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On 16th Dec 2012, an event was arranged by Microsoft Saudi Arabia at Golden Tulip Hotel, Jeddah; a 3 star hotel located near old airport. The focus of this event was Windows Azure and its Mobile Services. If you are new to Windows Azure, its better you check its home page. The event was conducted by Fauzan Khan from Microsoft Arabia. The agenda of the event was:

  • 08:30 – 09:30 Registration and Breakfast
  • 09:30 – 10:30 Introduction to Azure Mobile Services
  • 10:30 – 10:45 Break
  • 10:45 – 11:45 Building Your Windows Phone 8 App
  • 11:45 – 12:45 Prayer / Lunch
  • 12:45 – 13:45 Building Cross Platform Apps Across WP8/Win8
  • 13:45 – 14:00 Break
  • 14:00 – 15:00 Authentication / Storage
  • 15:00 – 15:15 Break
  • 15:15 – 16:15 Enabling Push Notifications
  • 16:15 – 16:45 Closing and Prize Draw

Windows Azure has been available for quite a time, Mobile Services have been launched publically as a part of Azure since last month by the Build Event. This Windows Azure provide a free 90 days trail and it includes 10 mobile services. Currently, out of the box (OOTB) support is available for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and iOS. OOTB support for android is expected to be available soon. The Azure Mobile user page is a complete and comprehensive portal that provide the access to all the required components like databases, virtual machines, logs etc.

Some of the topics discussed/demoed were:

  • App.caml.cs
  • TwoWayDataBinding
  • Twitter Authentication
  • ObserveableCollection <>
  • IValueConvertor
  • Push Notifications
  • Channel URI
  • Windows 8

An interesting thing to know is that Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to get the Windows Store, even before China. Now it is available in 191 countries.

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Microsoft Developer Camp – Jeddah – Building Windows 8 Apps May 12, 2012

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On Thursday, May 10, 2012, an event has been managed by Microsoft which is 3rd and last for this title. It has been held in Riyadh, Dammam and finally in Jeddah. It was conducted in the King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdul Aziz University Jeddah. The main feature of Windows 8 is its revamped user interface (UI), the Metro UI. This new UI has been mainly aimed for touch devices although it can be used for regular devices also. To attract the developer community, Microsoft has gone extremely forward and provided a wide range of development languages ranging from C#/VB .NET , XAML, HTML5, JavaScript up to classic C/C++.

The main focus of this developer camp was to introduce the basics of this new Metro UI to the developers. The agenda of the event:

09:30 am – 10:15 am The Windows 8 Platform for Metro style app

10:15 am – 11:00 am Designing Apps with Metro Principles and the Windows Personality

11:00 am – 11:15 am Break

11:15 am – 11:45 am Everything Web Developers Must Know to Build Metro Style Apps

11:45 am – 12:15 pm Building Metro Style Apps : What .NET Developers Need to Know

12:15 pm – 01:15 pm Lunch

01:15 pm – 02:15 pm Building Windows 8 Metro Style UIs

02:15 pm – 02:45 pm Integrating with the Windows 8 Experiences

02:45 pm – 03:15 pm Bring Your Apps to Life with Tile and Notifications

03:15 pm – 03:30 pm Break

03:30 pm – 04:15 pm How and when Metro style apps run

04:15 pm – 05:00 pm Building Metro style apps that take advantage of modern hardware

05:00 pm – 05:30 pm The Developer Opportunity: Introducing the Windows Store

05:30 pm – 06:00 pm Closing

The event was conducted by Fauzan Khan from Microsoft Saudi Community. The first session was about the introduction of metro UI, what it is, what is the idea behind it, how it works etc. In next sessions the technical concepts of developing metro apps were explained. It also included the new and revised concepts in Windows 8.

Some of the concepts mentioned in brief or details are listed below:

  • Windows Run Time (WINRT)
  • Windows Library for JavaScript
  • Roaming profiles linked with Live Id
  • Semantic Zoom
  • Design Mode (Adaptive & Fixed)
  • Contracts (Search, Share, …)
  • Application Life Cycle
  • Background Application API
  • Live Tiles
  • Toast notifications; last not the least
  • Windows Store

If you are planning to proceed with Metro App development, along with many other new ideas & features, at-least you must go through these initial concepts.

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Google Saudi Arabia 2.0 April 12, 2012

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On 24th of March, Google conducted its 2nd event for the Saudi Arabia market under the brand name Google Saudi Arabia 2.0. Last year, the first event of its kind, was conducted by the search giant in Four Season Hotel, Riyadh. This year, it has been conducted in Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry. It’s a two days event. Day 1 is technology oriented while the Day 2 focus mainly on business related products & tools. A point to remember is that the very first step of its kind was taken by Microsoft in fall 2010 when they conducted Microsoft Open Door 2010 in Riyadh as well as Jeddah. Microsoft CEO, Steve Balmer made the key note speech in Riyadh. Although Microsoft was the trend starter, they skipped the Saudi Arabia from their books for the next Open Door event that has been held in other states of Middle East in Q1 o f2012.

The agenda of the day 1 is as under:

Time

Track 1 Topic

Track 2 Topic

Track 3 Topic

Track 4

8:30:00 Registration      
9:30:00 Opening & Keynote      
11:00:00 Mobile Development/SDKs Chrome Extensions Google APIs GWT Workshop
12:00:00 Google+ Chrome Extensions (continued) Google APIs (continued) GWT Workshop (continued)
13:00:00 Lunch      
14:00:00 Google+ API 101 Mobile Development Workshop: Augmented Reality Google APIs (continued) Website Optimizer 101
15:00:00 Maps API 101 Mobile Development Workshop: Augmented Reality YouTube API Search Quality, Webspam and Communication
16:00:00 Break      
16:30:00 Google Your Career: Engineering Opportunities Creating Killer Webcontent YouTube API Webmaster Workshop (continued)
17:30:00 Getting ready for the Job: CV & Interviews tips Creating Killer Webcontent (continued) Localization: Google Translate & Translator Toolkit Webmaster Workshop (continued)
18:30:00 Closing comments      

The main organizers for this event (and such other events in the region) were +Patricia Estridge and +Rania Hadi. The key note was delivered by Nelson Mattos, the Vice President of Engineering, EMEA Region. There were 50 Googlers from all over the world (last year, the count was 30). He discussed about the concepts and ideas that drive the Google & its products. He advised to think big, start small. He said that Google follow this approach users first, money second.

He was followed by Hmad Hamzawi, Head of New Business Development, MENA & CA region. He talked about the recent Google Innovations & Demos specially the new Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). One of the main part of his presentation was Mobile Predictions for 2012.

After the keynote, the participants were provided with four tracks to select as per their interests and expertise. I opted for the Chrome Extension sessions which were delivered by Ahmed Hassan. It was a split in two sessions. In the first session, he explained what exactly the extensions are, what their internal components are, what are compulsory and what are optional. In the second session that was after a 5-10 min break he started with building the chrome extensions. Gradually, the complexity of the examples increased. All of the sample code is available in Google Chrome Extension developer help section.

It was followed by the lunch. It was a lunch box having mainly a sandwich and salad box. It seems that the lunch was decided by a diet conscious person who focused highly on organic foods.

For the next session I tried to go for Mobile Development Workshop but it was fully occupied. We tried with other sessions but they were also not available. We were left with only option for the Google+ API. Google+ is the new social product by Google. They say that Google + You = Google+.  In this session different features of Google+ API was described, what they are, how we can use them in our applications, etc…

After this I went for Search Quality, Webspam and Communication session. It was a quite a new name. It was presented by Tony Fadel, in a very friendly atmosphere. He mentioned that their team was even unknown to many other Google teams, although it exists since 2008. The task of their team is to improve the quality of the search results by applying new algorithms, conducting different analysis and experiments and even manual modifications. Surprisingly, he mentioned that 500 changes are made in the Google search page every year. Then he mentioned that how the spam is controlled, automatically and manually. The goal of their team (or Google) is to not to provide just simple results but quality results. You can check the full details in the slides.

After this session, I noticed that the remaining sessions are not much related to my scope. I checked some other booths for the time being. It was really nice to know that Google map maker is available for KSA now. So, we can expect improvements in the maps in the coming months.

The logistic support for this event was provided by Badir. The internet support was provided by Mobily. Free WiFi was available in the beginning until the start of the first session. After that it stopped responding and after some time, it was no more available as an open connection.

The official page for this event is: http://goo.gl/lF368

 

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Windows Phone Camp – Jeddah October 27, 2011

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This week, on 23rd of OCT Windows Phone Camp was conducted at Effat University. The event was sponsored by Telerik

The agenda of he event was as below:

8:30 AM Arrival and Registration
9:00 AM Welcome/ Windows Phone 7.5 Overview for Developers
9:45 AM Building Windows Phone Applications with Visual Studio 2010
10:45 AM Break
11:00 AM Building Windows Phone Apps with Silverlight
12:00 PM Lunch
12:45 PM Windows Phone Fast Application Switching, Tombstoning and Multitasking
1:45 PM Live Tiles and Push Notifications
2:45 PM Break
3:15 PM Monetizing a Windows Phone 7.5 Application
3:30 PM Build your app or work on a hands-on lab
5:00 PM What’s Next/Resources/Event End

The event was conducted by Microsoft Saudi Community. During this event, the very first community of Jeddah region was announced. If you are living in Jeddah and you are interested in Microsoft products and technologies, you are welcome to join though following social channels:

Some of the snaps of the event are shred here:

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Windows8 KeyNote – Build Event September 14, 2011

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Windows 7 is generally available for retail since 22nd October, 2009. Many things have been changed and many more have been arrived after that. The main focus from desktop has already shifted towards laptop/net-book. These days the trend has greatly diverted towards touch pads and slates.  The main pioneer was Apple’s iPad followed by similar products from Samsung, Asus, Motorola etc. Generally these pads uses iOS, WebOS or Andriod. There are some windows based (Windows 7) options available but they are more powerful and hence more expensive than others e.g. Asus Eee Slate.

build_logoMicrosoft has announced the Build Windows event to be conducted on 13-16 September 2011, to officially announce the next version of Windows i.e. Windows 8. To keep the local community up-to-date and introduce them to the latest development architecture & tools, Microsoft Saudi Community arranged the live webcast of the keynotes in 3 cities of the Kingdom: Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Khobar. The tag line for new Windows 8 is:

In 1995, Windows changed PC. BUILD will show you that Windows 8 changes everything

In Jeddah, the event was planned at Dar Al-Hekma College. The keynote was supposed to start at 7 PM (Makkah Time). As per the agenda, the registration was planned to start at 5:30. A welcome note was given by Mr. Adel Al-Massarani, The Developer & Platform Group Lead, Microsoft, KSA. He explained about the technical communities and user groups operating in the Kingdom. He mentioned that Microsoft Arabia is interested in improving its collaboration with the technical community of Western Region. Microsoft is also planning to increase the frequency of the Sponsored Programs and events to help the users to adopt the new technologies.

It was followed by a short refreshment and prayer break.

The keynote was kicked off by Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows Division, in a some-how Steve Job inspired style. He explained the new and cool features of Windows 8. Contrary to  previous pattern of Microsoft, Windows 8 does not have any new hardware requirements, any PC that is fulfilling the requirements of Windows 7 is fully acceptable for Windows 8. The main trend building thing in Windows8 is the Metro style UI. Along with the traditional mouse based approach, this Metro style is Touch Oriented. In previous years, Office 2007 introduced a new ribbon based look and feel. Although it was taken as a new standard by many other applications (web  applications as well) but it was not ported to Windows itself. But in case of Windows8, this metro style is highly dominant and the next release of Office is also expected to adopt it. Microsoft has been wise enough to provide simple and easy upgrade of classic applications to Metro style with minimum code.

During the keynote a lot of features + updates were described ranging from a daily user’s interest to the developers extent. This post is not intended to explain the keynotes in details. Below is JUST the list of some of the noticeable features:

  • Extremely fast start up (8 sec in the demo)
  • Infected USB boot protection
  • Picture Password for Login
  • ARM based architecture now supported
  • Support for a wide range of programming languages, ranging from Win32 API, C++, VB, C# and even Javascript.
  • Spell Checker available throughout the System
  • User Profile Sync across multiple machines (based on Live Id)
  • Javascript based templates for application development in Visual Studio
  • Microsoft Application Store linked with Visual Studio with Live status display of the application
  • New low power state: Connected Standby
  • Support up to 256 TB of hard disk
  • Simple Refresh or Reset to factory setting feature
  • Improved file copy with visual progress and better speed
  • Fully loaded Control Panel and Task Manager
  • Up Button is finally back in the Windows explorer with a new bar similar to Office Quick Launch bar
  • Built in support for multiple monitors, ISO mounting and burning etc.
  • Touch Enabled Internet Explorer 10 with extreme hardware acceleration
  • Option to switch between Metro and classic Desktop style
  • Browse SkyDrivesimilar to a native folder
  • Tap to share available for NFC for supported hardware
  • Different keyboards with emotions natively available. Split keyboard also available for thumb typing

Towards the end of the presentation, it was announced that 5000 Intel i5 based, 11 ” tablets made by Samsung will be given to the audience. This tablet, called Developer PC, is preloaded with Windows8 and other required tools for developing and debugging applications.

The keynote session last for about 2 and a half hour.  It seems that Microsoft is planning to go far ahead with its new Metro styles Windows with full support for desktop machines up to the new touch centric tablets with extra slim sizes and increasing processing power. We can clearly expect to see Windows based tablets available for general users in the 1st half of 2012.

One more good thing is Windows8 can easily be downloaded (legally) from the following link:

http://dev.windows.com

The local attendees of the webcast were given a short survey by Microsoft Arabia to know about their interest which will help in understanding the needs and requirement of local market.

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Jeddah Community Summit – May 2011 May 31, 2011

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Yesterday, on 30th May, Jeddah Community Summit was arranged by the Microsoft Saudi Community, the central hub of all the regional communities of the Kingdom. The purpose of these communities is to bring the people of a region closer, to share their experience, expertise and help other fellows of the same field in their work and knowledge gathering. These communities conduct sessions/workshops for a wide spectrum ranging from a single topic to multiple tools and topics for one workshop. These communities are very much active in other cities specially in Riyadh and Eastern Region. This event was arranged by the cooperation of the Effat University and Microsoft Saudi Arabia.

The introductory Session was conducted by Mr. Adel Al-Massarani, Developer & Platform Group Lead, Microsoft, KSA. He talked about DreamSpark, WebSiteSpark & BizSpark. He mentioned that how Microsoft provide software and hardware support for the early startup/students for first 3 Years. The provided software can be used freely after that period with some conditions. They provide a combination of free/subsidized licenses and Web Hosting. The business studies have shown that majority of IT based startups failed in first 2 years. The aim of these is to help companies to stand on Firm grounds. Currently, 45 startups have been approved in the Kingdom out of which 20 are active.

The next session by Fauzan Khan, a Microsoft Certified Trainer, was about the new and advanced features of Visual Studio 2010. He discussed about a lot of features including but not limited to:

  • Virtual Test Environment
  • Proactive Project Management
  • Architecture Validation
  • Dependency Validation
  • Code Analysis & Metrics
  • Intelli-Trace & Test Manager

All of these features are available in the Ultimate version of Visual Studio 2010. By using these tools we can clearly explain/understand the architecture of the application, validate the separation between different layers (data layer, business layer etc), trace out the bug by checking the variable values even in the deep nested calls, automate the advanced testing etc.

This was followed by the session about Windows Azure, also by Fauzan Khan. Windows Azure is the most latest, state of the art technology by Microsoft for cloud computing. With the combination of SQL Azure, it helps organization to dynamically, on the go, scale their infrastructure by cloud hosting. Instead of Software as a Service (SaaS) or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), it is a complete Platform as a Service (PaaS). It automatically manages a lot of things using Content Delivery Network (CDN), Traffic Managers etc with full support for customization. A complete list of Windows Azure features can be seen HERE. Azure Applications can easily be developed and tested in Visual Studio 2010 by downloading the Azure SDK. Recently, ebay, the world’s one of the most famous shopping site, has shifted to the Azure Platform.

It was followed by a light lunch and the prayer break. Refreshment was available all the time.

The next session about Building Windows Phone 7 Application was conducted by Adel Al-Zubeir, Sr. System Analyst and Windows Phone MVP. He demonstrated the currently and the recently added main features of Windows Phone. After that he described the complete development process of Windows Phone 7 application, starting with a simple Visual Studio project to a full fledge application working with web-services. Later, the publishing/marketing process was also described. Developers in ME (and some other regions with no direct access) can submit their apps to Windows MarketPlce with the help of Yalla Apps. Windows Phone Application can be developed in Visual Studio 2010 by downloading the developer tools. These applications are written in Silverlight. Any desktop application written in Silverlight can easily be transferred to Windows Phone. The current version of Windows Phone is Arabic enabled i.e. u can read the Arabic pages. Full Arabic support is expected in future. The switch by Nokia towards Windows Phone will help to reduce this time to market.

The last session was about the Microsoft Web Matrix. It is a collection of different tools (WordPress, Joomla, DotNetNuke etc) with easy/semi-automated installation process. It helps to create, customize and publish your website with a wizard based interface. It is mainly targeted towards the students.

In the last, there was a lucky draw for some books to be distributed among the attendee. Shirts with Microsoft branding were given to each attendant. The attendees were from different local companies. A few students were also present. The event ended at about 4 PM. We are thankful to Microsoft and Effat University for their support and co-operation, with a hope to have more session in the coming month with higher number of participants.


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