Category: Cloud

Cloud

How to Invite Users to your Azure Subscription

There are a lot of awesome resources available with Microsoft Azure…Virtual Machines, Databases, Storage, Application Insights, Functions, Websites, IoT, Messaging, and a whole lot more. You’ll no doubt find that it’s easy to get started with Azure but sooner or later you will want to have other users use and possibly manage the resources you’ve created.

So how do you go about inviting users to your Azure subscription and providing them the necessary access and rights? Let’s take a look.

After logging in to your Azure portal, click on the Subscriptions navigation link on the left pane.

Dashboard - Subscriptions

You will then see a list of Azure subscriptions. Select the subscription you wish to manage.

Subscriptions

You will then see a blade open up to the right for the selected subscription. In your subscription blade will be an icon for users (top right corner of the Essentials pane). Click this button to manage users for this subscription.

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Here you will see a listing of all users for this subscription. Click on the Add button to add a new user.

Users

The add new user blade will now open up. First thing that is required is to select a role for this user. There are numerous roles available. In this case I just want this user to have the Reader role, which allows them to view data only:

Add User - Role

After selecting the role for the user, click Select. Now you will need to invite a user. Type in the email address for their Microsoft Account. The user will then show up below. Make sure their email is selected with a checkmark. Then click on the Select button.

Add User - Invite User

Now that you’ve assigned the role and added a user, click on OK to complete the action of adding a user.

Add User - Completed

You will then see an Azure notification in the top right corner of your browser informing you that the user is being added. Within a few seconds the user should show up in your subscription users listing as shown below.

Add User - Done

Once you’ve added the user you can now navigate to a specific Azure Resource and assign the user. Let’s do this now with an Azure Function I have.

I’ve navigated to an existing Azure Function I have and I now want to add the user I just invited above. Click on the “Account control (IAM) link on the left and then click on the Add button on the right:

Add user to resource

Next assign the role and click Select. The select the users(s) you want to add. You can select one or more users.In this example I’m going to select both users. Then click on the Select button, followed by the OK button.

Add user to resource 2

You will then see an Azure notification informing you the users are being added and once complete, you will see them listed as shown below:

Add user to resource 3

That’s all there is to inviting users to your Azure subscription and then assigning them to specific Azure resources.

Enjoy!

CloudDevelopment

Introduction to Azure Functions

What is Azure Functions2

Azure Functions are a serverless, event driven experience that extends the existing Azure App Service platform, by building “nanoservices” that can scale based on demand and you only pay for the resources you use.

functionsAzure Functions is a solution for easily running small pieces of code, or "functions," in the cloud. You can write just the code you need for the problem at hand, without worrying about a whole application or the infrastructure to run it.

Supported Languages and Tools

Azure Functions can be created in C#, Node/JavaScript, Python, F#, PHP and scripting languages like Bash, Batch and PowerShell. You can even run executables.

Common Scenarios

Azure Functions is a great solution for building nanoservices, simple API’s, processing data and integration with systems. Here are some common scenarios for Azure Functions:

  • Timer-based processing
  • Azure service event processing
  • SaaS event processing
  • Serverless web application architectures
  • Serverless mobile backends
  • Real-time stream processing
  • Real-time bot messaging
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Integrations

Azure Functions can be triggered by virtually any event in Azure, any 3rd party services, or any on premise systems. The following service integrations are supported by Azure Functions:

  • Azure DocumentDB
  • Azure Event Hubs
  • Azure Mobile Apps (tables)
  • Azure Notification Hubs
  • Azure Service Bug (queues and topics)
  • Azure Storage (blob, queues and tables)
  • GitHub (webhooks)
  • On-premises (using Service Bug)
Getting Started

You can quickly get started with creating an Azure Function by going to the Azure Functions Get Started Portal. After logging in you will be taken to the Azure Functions getting started portal as shown below.

Portal1

Or create a function app from Azure Portal. This can be found under New –> Web + Mobile –> Function App:

FunctionApp-Portal2

Once you’ve created your Function App, you will be taken to the Function App blade in the Azure Portal. From this blade you can create new functions by clicking on the New Function button on the top left, which will bring us to pre-built templates. If you click on an existing function, which are listed along the left side, you can edit the function, look at logs and even test the function.

Portal2

Have fun and take a look at Azure Functions and how they might help you. In my next post I’ll dive deeper and walk you through creating, running and testing the function app.

Enjoy!

References

Azure Functions
Azure Functions Documentation
Build 2016 Video: Introducing Azure Functions

CloudDevelopment

Elements for Visual Studio Online & TFS

Elements for Visual Studio Online & TFS.

Elements is a browser extension and does not require any server installation.It supports both Visual Studio Online and Team Foundation Server 2013.

elements-for-visual-studio-online-tfs

Reference

https://mohamedradwan.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/elements-for-visual-studio-online-tfs/

CloudDevelopmentMobileWeb

Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 released

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The final release of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 is now available.  Update 2 brings dozens of significant new features to Visual Studio developers, including tools for Windows Phone 8.1 and universal Windows apps.

You can find a detailed list of included fixes in the associated Support article.

You can download VS2013.2 now or wait for it to show up in the Visual Studio Notifications.

Enjoy!

References

Mobile-first, Cloud-first Development – Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 released, Visual Studio Apache Cordova Tooling preview and the future of .NET for Cloud and Server

Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 CTP2, Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 2 RC and TypeScript 1.0 RC

Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC: Windows Phone 8.1 Tools, Shared Projects and Universal Windows Apps

CloudDevelopmentWeb

Windows Azure Web Sites: How Application Strings and Connection Strings Work

Great article on how Windows Azure Web Sites: How Application Strings and Connection Strings Work.

Windows Azure Web Sites has a handy capability whereby developers can store key-value string pairs in Azure as part of the configuration information associated with a website.  At runtime, Windows Azure Web Sites automatically retrieves these values for you and makes them available to code running in your website.  Developers can store plain vanilla key-value pairs as well as key-value pairs that will be used as connection strings.

Since the key-value pairs are stored behind the scenes in the Windows Azure Web Sites configuration store, the key-value pairs don’t need to be stored in the file content of your web application.  From a security perspective that is a nice side benefit since sensitive information such as Sql connection strings with passwords never show up as cleartext in a web.config or php.ini file.

 

Enjoy!

CloudDevelopmentMobile

What Windows 8 Developers Should Know About The Cloud

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Great post by Bruno Terkaly on What Windows 8 Developers Should Know About The Cloud.

  1. Client-side developers do need to embrace the cloud. The increasing popularity of connected devices like tablet computers and smartphones is having a direct effect on the adoption rate of personal cloud services. You can expect both connected devices and cloud services to grow together.
  2. This trend has been accelerating over the past couple of years. Mobile and portable devices have limited internal storage and rely heavily on cloud services.

Enjoy!

CloudDevelopmentMobileWeb

Windows Azure Mobile Services – Backend for Your Windows 8, iOS, and Android Apps

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Mobile app developers don’t need to care about servers and clouds, push notification services and databases. Windows Azure Mobile Services is a cloud-based offering that provides a complete backend for mobile apps including data access and push notifications, enabling you to focus on the mobile app infrastructure and code and forget about the server management intricacies. In this talk we’ll build a backend for a Windows 8 app, an iOS app, and an Android app — all accessing the same data store and server-side triggers.

Video: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/WindowsAzure/AzureConf2012/B01

References

http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/develop/mobile/

CloudDatabaseDesignDevelopment

Top 12 of Visual Studio 2012

I’ve been using Visual Studio 2012 for just over a week now and I’m really liking all the new features and functionality that comes with it. However I’m still not a huge fan of the new light/dark themes. I would like to use the Dark theme, but find it’s just too dark. It would be nice if they made it a few shades lighter.

Anyway I came across the following blog post on Jason Zander’s blog about the Top 12 of Visual Studio 2012 and I thought I would share it.

In summary, with Visual Studio 2012 you can:

  1. Develop for Windows 8
  2. Develop for the Web
  3. Developer for Windows Phone 8
  4. Develop for Windows Azure
  5. Develop Business Applications
  6. Develop Games and other 3D Applications
  7. Take advantage of the latest language enhancements
  8. Performance, Reliability and Compatibility Improvements
  9. New IDE Productivity Features
  10. Improve your code quality with enhanced testing tools
  11. Reduce cycle times using tools for agile practices
  12. Deliver Cloud-Based Services with Smoother Collaboration between Operations and Engineering

Checkout Jason Zander’s blog post for the full article the Top 12 of Visual Studio 2012.

If you have access to Visual Studio 2012, I highly recommend you give it a try. You can always work in both Visual Studio 2010 and 2012 as they are backwards compatible with one another.

Happy Coding!

CloudTechnology

The New Office 2013 Customer Preview and Installation

Office 2013 New LogoOn July 16 2012, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the immediate availability of the Customer Preview for the NEW Office 2013! This latest version of Office provides a lot of new features including new support for Touch Input, Cloud services integration (SkyDrive), Social collaboration and the Metro UI.

Office 2013 Customer Preview can be installed in just a few easy steps and installs within minutes and can co-exist and run side-by-side with an existing version of Office, which means there is no need to uninstall your current Office installation to try out the latest version, which is pretty neat.

“Office at Its Best on Windows 8

Touch everywhere. Office responds to touch as naturally as it does to keyboard and mouse. Swipe your finger across the screen or pinch and zoom to read your documents and presentations. Author new content and access features with the touch of a finger.

Inking. Use a stylus to create content, take notes and access features. Handwrite email responses and convert them automatically to text. Use your stylus as a laser pointer when presenting. Color your content and erase your mistakes with ease.

New Windows 8 applications. OneNote and Lync represent the first new Windows 8 style applications for Office. These applications are designed to deliver touch-first experiences on a tablet. A new radial menu in OneNote makes it easy to access features with your finger.

Included in Windows RT. Office Home and Student 2013 RT, which contains new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications, will be included on ARM-based Windows 8 devices, including Microsoft Surface.

Office Is in the Cloud

SkyDrive. Office saves documents to SkyDrive by default, so your content is always available across your tablet, PC and phone. Your documents are also available offline and sync when you reconnect.

Roaming. Once signed in to Office, your personalized settings, including your most recently used files, templates and even your custom dictionary, roam with you across virtually all of your devices. Office even remembers where you last left off and brings you right back to that spot in a single click.

Office on Demand. With a subscription, you can access Office even when you are away from your PC by streaming full-featured applications to an Internet-connected Windows-based PC.

New subscription services. The new Office is available as a cloud-based subscription service. As subscribers, consumers automatically get future upgrades in addition to exciting cloud services including Skype world minutes and extra SkyDrive storage. Subscribers receive multiple installs for everyone in the family and across their devices.

Office Is Social

Yammer. Yammer delivers a secure, private social network for businesses. You can sign up for free and begin using social networking instantly. Yammer offers integration with SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics.

Stay connected. Follow people, teams, documents and sites in SharePoint. View and embed pictures, videos and Office content in your activity feeds to stay current and update your colleagues.

People Card. Have an integrated view of your contacts everywhere in Office. The People Card includes presence information complete with pictures, status updates, contact information and activity feeds from Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

Skype. The new Office comes with Skype. When you subscribe, you get 60 minutes of Skype world minutes every month. Integrate Skype contacts into Lync and call or instant message anyone on Skype.

Office Unlocks New Scenarios

Digital note-taking. Keep your notes handy in the cloud and across multiple devices with OneNote. Use what feels most natural to you — take notes with touch, pen or keyboard, or use them together and switch easily back and forth.

Reading and markup. The Read Mode in Word provides a modern and easy-to-navigate reading experience that automatically adjusts for large and small screens. Zoom in and out of content, stream videos within documents, view revision marks and use touch to turn pages.

Meetings. PowerPoint features a new Presenter View that privately shows your current and upcoming slides, presentation time, and speaker notes in a single glance. While presenting, you can zoom, mark up and navigate your slides with touch and stylus. Lync includes multiparty HD video with presentations, shared OneNote notebooks and a virtual whiteboard for collaborative brainstorming.

Eighty-two-inch touch-enabled displays. Conduct more engaging meetings, presentations and lessons, whether in person or virtually, with these multitouch and stylus-enabled displays from Perceptive Pixel.”

 

Installing the new Office Customer Preview

  1. Before getting started, you should review the Office 2013 System Requirements

  2. To start the Office 2013 Customer Preview installation, visit http://office.com/preview

  3. If you are a home user, click on the "Sign Up" button. Business users can click on the "Office 365 Enterprise"

  4. Complete a new user profile and create a new Microsoft account. Note – If you are currently an Office 365 subscription user, you’ll need to sign up for a new Microsoft account that is different from your Office 365 login credentials to test the Customer Preview

  5. Once you’ve signed up for a new Microsoft account, login to http://portal.microsoftonline.com with your new ID

  6. From the Office 365 Admin home page, click the "Download Software" admin shortcut

  7. Click the "install" button. This will launch the new "Click-to-Run" installer. (What’s Click-to-Run? Here’s a technical overview of this new technology)

  8. The new Office installer will launch via Click-to-Run technology.

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Review the Microsoft Office licensing agreement and then click the “Accept” button in the lower right corner.

Within a few minutes, the core of Office will start to install.

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Then choose a look and feel to personalize your new Office client applications.

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Click on the “Take a look” button if you would like to get a quick introduction to what’s new.

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At this point, you can start to use Office. The rest of the installation will continue in the background and wrap up quickly.

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Installation Complete

After the click-to-run installation completes, you’ll see a new group in the Start menu. Here is where you’ll get to see the new application icons. They are definitely Metro inspired.

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Here is the new Word splash screen which is briefly displayed as Word loads up.

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Word 2013

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Excel 2013

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OneNote 2013

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Final Thoughts

I really like the new Office 2013 experience. You should try it out for yourself.

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CloudTechnology

SkyDrive Gets Updated and a New Logo

The other day there was an automatic update for SkyDrive for Windows, which added performance improvements, reliability and better integration with Windows.

Among the changes are a new logo, an updated white icon for the system tray for Windows 7 and 8, and a new status window.

A New Logo

This update brought us a new SkyDrive logo, which  falls in line with the Metro look and feel that is coming in Windows 8.

New SkyDrive Logo

A New Status Window

Part of this update includes a new status window to see what is going on with SkyDrive and whether everything is up to date. You can see this new status window by clicking on the SkyDrive icon in the system tray. This status windows lets you know if SkyDrive it up to date, provides you the time it last was updated and also information on the size and files being synchronized.

You may also notice the all white system tray icon “Cloud”.

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We also see the new logo in the Windows Explorer:

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Apart from the above, most of what changed in this update is not visible to users. “As with most updates,  "this one improves performance, reliability, and compatibility of SkyDrive," so people depending on the service can rely on the system to automatically sync files.” – Mike Torres, from Microsoft.

If you have SkyDrive for Windows installed, then you should get this update automatically. If you don’t have SkyDrive for Windows…I recommend you go and download it now from the SkyDrive web site.