Month: March 2017


Azure Functions Visual Studio Tools Preview


functions_colorThe serverless computing realm of cloud computing has been growing in interest and functionality lately. Recently, Azure Functions reached General Availability and an eagerly anticipated v1.0 release. Microsoft has not stopped there, in fact they just recently released a Preview of the new Visual Studio Tools for Azure Functions. These tools bring Azure Functions support into the Visual Studio IDE!

Visual Studio Tools for Azure Functions Preview

The new Visual Studio Tools for Azure Functions is currently in a Preview release state. As a result, the tools aren’t fully complete yet, and as with any Preview release it can be expected that things may / will change a bit before the final release. All preview releases can be expected to have some rough spots, bugs, and limitations. That being stated…

The requirements to install the Visual Studio Tools for Azure Functions are:

  • You must be running Visual Studio 2015…

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Visual Studio 2017 Development using a VM in Azure


screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-10-43-14-amIn the past the only option for writing code and building software using Visual Studio was to install it on your local machine. With technologies like Windows Hyper-V and VMWare things became less invasive by allowing you to develop software inside of a Virtual Machine (VM). With the cloud, things have become even easier. You can now easily, spin up a Virtual Machine in Microsoft Azure, use it for what ever you need, then shut it down or delete it when it’s no longer needed. This can be an extremely valuable tool for any software developer; especially when you might need multiple development environment configurations on a regular basis. This article helps you navigate the benefits as well as the process of utilizing Microsoft Azure to host multiple development machines running Visual Studio 2017 in the cloud.

A newer version of this article exists for setting up a Visual Studio…

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Azure Functions vs Web Jobs: How to choose?


There are a few choices when it comes to implementing custom background processing tasks. The main options in the Microsoft Azure cloud are to use either Azure Functions or Azure Web Jobs. Functions are newer, cooler, and may seem to be the obvious choice going forward, however, the choice isn’t really that easy. This article outlines the points you need to consider when deciding between Azure Functions or Azure Web Jobs.

Azure Functions are Web Jobs

Before we get into the specifics of when Azure Functions are appropriate, or when Azure Web Jobs are appropriate, it’s best to mention that Azure Functions are built on top of the Azure Web Jobs foundation. So, essentially, Azure Functions are Web Jobs. You could almost say that between the two, it’s Web Jobs all the way down.

With Azure App Service and Web Apps, Microsoft implemented Azure Web Jobs as a means to…

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Visual Studio 2017 has Landed

Visual Studio 2017 is finally here and you can download now. Visual Studio 2017 enables you to be more productive for any application and on any platform.

If you download Visual Studio 2017 by March 14, you’ll get a 60-day access to Xamarin University which is a sweet deal.

What’s New

Visual Studio 2017 has a brand new installation experience which includes a minimal footprint for Visual Studio. Installation is quick (minutes not hours) and finally uninstalls cleanly. It’s also much easier to just install the features you want and need.


Quick Reference of New Features

For a full list of all new features, please take a look at the release notes.




Visual Studio
Visual Studio 2017 Download
Visual Studio 2017 System Requirements
Visual Studio 2017 Release Notes



Getting started with Angular / Angular-CLI – Part 1

This post I’ll introduce you to Angular CLI (command line interface) and how you can use it to get started quickly with building your Angular app.

The roadmap for this blog series:

  • Introduction to Angular CLI and using it to create a new Angular app
  • Using Angular CLI for creating components, routes, services and more
  • Adding in Bootstrap to update the look and feel of your Angular app
  • Finally I’ll take a look at deploying and running your Angular apps on Azure


Both the Angular CLI and its generated projects have dependencies that require Node 6.9.0 or higher, together with NPM 3 or higher.

npm install -g @angular/cli


After installation you can access help by running the following command:

ng help


Creating a New Angular App

To generate a new Angular app, just run the following command where “angular-cli-app” is the name of your app:

ng new angular-cli-app


Generating and Serving your App

Once your project is scaffold, navigate to your project folder and then run the following command to serve your project via a local development server:

cd angular-cli-app
ng serve




Once your app is up and running, navigate to http://localhost:4200/ to see it. Once the app is running, any changes you make will automatically apply and your app will reload.


As you can see it’s fairly straight forward to get started with an Angular app. The Angular CLI really takes care of everything for you compared to the days where you have to manually copy and paste the references and create each file necessary to get your app started.

In the next post I’ll dig deeper into using Angular-CLI to create components, routes, services and other stuff.

Source for this sample can be found here.



Angular CLI


Fixing Azure Portal Errors


All software has errors. The Microsoft Azure Portal is no different. When this happens you’ll receive one of two different alerts of the error; either an error message or a rain cloud. It’s easy to have a “table flip” moment when this occurs and start grumbling how “the cloud is horrible” or “why Azure sucks”, but there’s generally an explanation for these errors and they normally don’t last long. This post explains a bit of why these errors occur, when they’re more likely, and how to fix / workaround them.

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Take the Azure Functions Code Challenge!


Test your coding skills and learn how to build solutions using Azure Functions at the same time. Earn badges for every challenge you complete and brag to your friends! You can code these challenges in the FREE Azure Functions experience or using your existing Azure subscription. Don’t worry, Azure Functions has more than enough free executions for you to last the whole challenge experience!

Also check out the new Visual Studio Tools for Azure Functions. Use it to build and debug your function locally and then publish or zip deploy to your test function. If you already have an Azure subscription, you can also remotely debug your functions.

Azure Functions is an event-based serverless compute experience that scales based on your demand and you only pay for the resources used.

Click here to get started with the Azure Functions Code Challenge!



Get started using the Try Functions experience here.

Already have an Azure Subscription, then get started with your existing account here.

Download the Visual Studio Tools for Azure Functions here.


Microsoft Azure Stack Technical Preview 3 Released


Today Microsoft announced that Azure Stack Technical Preview 3 has been released with several new updates.

Azure and the Azure Stack integrated systems enable businesses to focus on investing energy and talent on turning their application portfolio into a strategic differentiator for their business. This approach enables customer choice and flexibility of deploying and operating their application where it best meets their business needs. IT can deliver far greater value by empowering development teams with self-service provisioning and cloud services while partnering with them to establish DevOps workflows that meet business policies and requirements.

What’s new

  • Deploy with ADFS for disconnected scenarios
  • Start using Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets for scale out workloads
  • Syndicate content from the Azure Marketplace to make available in Azure Stack
  • Use Azure D-Series VM sizes
  • Deploy and create templates with Temp Disks that are consistent with Azure
  • Take comfort in the enhanced security of an isolated administrator portal
  • Take advantage of improvements to IaaS and PaaS functionality
  • Use enhanced infrastructure management functionality, such as improved alerting

Roadmap update

Shortly after TP3, Azure Functions will now be available to run on Azure Stack TP3. This will be followed by Blockchain, Cloud Foundry and Mesos templates.

TP3 should the last planned technical preview before becoming available in mid-CY17.

Further reading and next steps

Learn more about Azure Stack and download Azure Stack Technical Preview 3.

Learn more about this announcement here.