Month: January 2018


Planning Azure Services by Location

Roy Kim on Azure and Microsoft 365

When planning and designing a cloud solution, the location of the service and its data is of great consideration in terms of data sovereignty
.PlanningAzure Services by Location 1

In my experiences when discussing cloud design, I may bring up an Azure service for consideration that is beyond the standard VM, storage account, app service but something complements or supplements the solution like azure app insights, power bi premium/embedded, backups, CDN, logging or an azure ad tenant. Now, can we simply assume they will be available in the desired region? No necessarily. To check we can go to an online tool Products available by region

An example looks as follows:
PlanningAzure Services by Location 2

One thing to point out and be aware are services that are located in Non-regional.
Non-regional is defined as “where there is no dependency on a specific Azure region”

PlanningAzure Services by Location 3

Some examples are CDN, Azure AD, Azure MFA, Traffic manager, Power BI Embedded…

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Microsoft Azure Symbol / Icon Set Download – Visio stencil, PNG, and SVG

Updated Aug. 28, 2019 – The latest version of this download is v5.6.2019 and was updated May 15, 2019. If you already have these templates you should update to the latest.

The Microsoft Azure, Cloud and Enterprise Symbol / Icon Set is a free download from Microsoft which provides a set of resources to represent features of and systems that use Microsoft Azure and related cloud and on-premises technologies.

The download comes with Visio stencils, along with PNG and SVG images.


You can download the icon set here.

Install Instructions

  1. Download the ZIP file by clicking the Download button and saving the file to your hard disk.
  2. Remove any previous versions of the symbol set so you can avoid duplicate and deprecated symbols.
  3. Extract the contents of the ZIP file to a separate directory. If you intend to use the Visio stencils, we suggest the My Shapes directory.
  4. Open the instructions and read it to get started.
  5. Open the .vss, vsd or .svg files with Microsoft Visio. Open the PNG directory by extracting the contents to a folder and browsing the contents of the folder. Drag and drop or open a PNG file in your drawing application. Load SVGs into any app that accepts them. Visio will open SVGs.

Note: The website for the download mentions support for PowerPoint. Their originally was a PowerPoint file that came with the file download but that has since been deprecated as it’s just as easy to add images to PowerPoint



Download Microsoft Azure, Cloud and Enterprise Symbol / Icon Set – Visio stencil, PowerPoint, PNG, SVG


An Introduction to Serverless Compute with Azure Functions–My presentation at CTTDNUG


Last week I did a presentation on Azure Functions at Canada’s Technology Triangle .NET User Group (CTTDNUG) in Kitchener, Ontario. One of the audience members was kind enough to film the presentation and post it on YouTube.

Here is a link to my presentation on An Introduction to Serverless Compute with Azure Functions.




Building a Better Napkin/Whiteboard, Go from Ink to Code


Microsoft’s Garage lab has announced a new Ink to Code app that will take your digital ink sketches and turn them into an actual application. Ink to Code is a UWP app that enables developers to draw a wire frame sketch and then export that sketch into source code for use in Visual Studio.

Urban legend has it that some of the greatest ideas in history started with a napkin. The Gettysburg Address, the poem that gave way to the U.S. National Anthem, and the premise of the Harry Potter series—each were reportedly born into the world through the medium of sketches on scrap paper—and when app creators put pen to paper for their ideas, this is often a canvas of choice. While rapid prototyping with the napkin and the whiteboard holds its charms, less charming is the prospect of translating quick sketches into working code. – Lainie Huston

Ink to Code is supposed to use artificial intelligence and automation to create the code from the wire frame sketches and at this time only supports basic visual elements like labels, text fields, images and buttons. This visual element recognition is similar to what you can find in the Microsoft Whiteboard (Preview) app, which you can download from the Microsoft Store.

This app currently supports Android and Windows UWP apps. At this time the app doesn’t seem to be available on the Microsoft Store, so keep an eye out for it.




We Can’t Do That In One Sprint

I came across a great software development post on Hackernoon called We Can’t Do That In One Sprint. This is basically where Product comes to the development team with an idea of a new feature or product and they want to know how long it will take to develop and get to production as quickly as possible.


Too often have I experienced what is outlined in this article. I agree that it’s best to do small chunks of work and get it out to production and then iterate on the feature. What I find is that this fails when Product doesn’t give Development enough time to iterate and cuts the timeline short and moves on. Maybe this is what the business wants/needs but sometimes it leads to features being half baked, released to production, rarely iterated on and then future features are built on this feature.

As the author says, “There is NO silver bullet. Get SOMETHING out there in one sprint.”




New year, new website theme!

For some time now I’ve been looking to refresh my website with a more modern theme from WordPress. I’m using so I’m somewhat limited by the themes they provide online but there are many themes to choose from – both free and premium that you pay for.

After what seemed like a long journey of reviewing theme after theme after theme, I finally settled on a premium theme called Periodical. It provides some awesome customizations, like a nice menu bar at the top for anything. I choose to highlight my pages and then custom links to my social and coding accounts like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, GitHub and YouTube.

I also liked the layout and font used for the content. There are many other customizations I’m playing with but so far I love this theme and highly recommend it to any other technical blogger.

Let me know what you think.




Microsoft Redefines Leadership in Top 100 Global Technology Leader list by Thomson Reuters — Build Azure

Thomson Reuters has released their first Top 100 Global Technology Leaders list to define new criteria for determining leadership in the 21st century. They’ve already been tracking tons of metrics on companies all around the world for their clients, and have decided to combine it all to create this new list. Thomson Reuters feels they’ve…

via Microsoft Redefines Leadership in Top 100 Global Technology Leader list by Thomson Reuters — Build Azure



You can now install Office 365 desktop apps from the Microsoft Store


Office 365 is now available for purchase and installation from the Microsoft Store. It was first available only for Windows 10 S but has now expanded to support Windows 10.

If you want to install from the Microsoft Store, you first need to uninstall your current installation.

Once Office 365 is installed from the Microsoft Store it will automatically be updated like the rest of the store apps.

From the looks of it you can install the following:

  • Office 365 Personal
  • Office 365 Home

I currently install Office 365 Home from but I’m going to try this option out.



How to return JSON from an Azure Function

In this post I’m going to answer a question someone asked me recently when I presented an Introduction to Azure Functions – can we return JSON from the HttpTrigger function? The answer is yes and it’s not limited to the Http trigger function and I’ll walk you through one of many ways to do this.

First let’s start off by taking a look at the output that shows up by default from the HttpTrigger Function I had created in the Azure portal. As you can see the default output is XML as shown here:


The same goes for the response when the require “name” parameter is missing in the query string or the body of the request:


You might think that there is a simple property in the Azure Function properties to configure the output, but there isn’t, at least at this point in time with version 1 runtime.

Creating a C# Http Trigger Function

Let’s quickly create an Azure Function in the portal and I can show you one of many ways to return JSON from your Azure Function.

1. Create a new Serverless Function App:



2. Once your Azure Function app is running, create a new C# Http trigger function and then provide it a name and authentication model:



3. Now that your function is created you will see the following code in the run.csx file. If you run it you will get XML as your response, so let’s go ahead and update this function to return JSON.


Changing the return type to JSON

For this example I’ll import Newtonsoft.Json package and then serialize a simple object to return back when the function is called.

1. Add Newtonsoft.Json package and other using references:


2. Update function code to use Newtonsoft.Json. Looking at the following code you will see that I’ve created a simple POCO object which is what I’ll be returning from the function. I then changed the response to return a serialized string in UTF8 encoding and application/response:


3. Now when we run the function through either the browser or Postman we’ll see the response in JSON format. Here is what we would see in Postman:


and then in a browser we would see this:


Azure Functions is a powerful component in Azure serverless offering and as you can see your not limited to XML as the only response format.

Let me know if you have any questions and I’d be happy to investigate and follow up.



Downloading Microsoft Docs as PDF

Did you know you can download a specific set of docs as a PDF without it taking gigabytes of space, enabling you to take it anywhere with you on your desktop or mobile device.

Simply go to the particular docs you’re interested in, for example the Azure Application Architecture Guide and then below table of contents on the left side you will see a Download PDF button.


Clicking the Download PDF button will open up the latest version of the docs for this topic in a browser and from here you can click to save.


As you can see it downloaded a 73 page PDF document with all the content found online.

As content is changed online, clicking the Download PDF will result in getting the latest version of this document.

To follow up and learn about other updates to the Microsoft Docs site, follow their blog at