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A software architect, Azure expert, and former Microsoft evangelist, Mike Benkovich dedicates huge amounts of his time to helping his fellow developers and burgeoning programmers learn about new technologies and platforms. Mike’s website equips developers with tips and resources to help them get to grips with technologies including cloud, data and devices, and he produces online courses covering areas like Azure enterprise development and serverless computing. Mike is also a chronic sharer of puns, so head over to his Twitter feed if you’re after a laugh (or a groan).

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VS 2017 Launch Live Notes

@MikeBenkovich 03/07/2017

Watching the live stream of the Visual Studio 2017 launch and 20 year anniversary party…thought I’d capture some of the notes of what’s going on and share the fun.

Visual Studio 2017 release

Developer Productivity - Kasey Uhlenhuth

  • Live Unit Tests
  • Exception helper
  • Find all references
  • New intellitrace tray of options
  • Ctrl+T for goto All
  • Code suggestions
  • Code Config file - map code styles and suggestions for environment
  • Support for tuples on methods
  • Improved refactoring
  • Indent guide visibility to method code is in even if not visible

.NET Core - Beth Massi

  • .net Tools for Core 1.0 in production
  • Migrate/Upgrade to new tools easy
  • Simplified csproj format which is human readable
  • References grouped by type…i.e. nuget refs, project refs, etc.
  • Application Insights
    • New add-in experience
    • Search and graph analytics in VS

Containers Docker - Scott Hanselman

  • Add docker support in VS right click on project
  • Run in docker if selected startup project
  • Debug, edit and volume mapping realtime from vs to docker
  • Publish to Linux docker or windows
  • Automatically references other docker containers dependent on
  • Debug across containers
  • Check out Ref application http://aka.ms/MicroservicesArchitecture

Xamarin : James & Miguel

  • Tizen new OS from Samsung for IoT devices…built on Xamarin Forms
  • Visual Studio for Mac Preview 4
  • New App templates
    • Mobile App added with best practices if checkbox Azure
    • Code for clients
  • Forms Previewer
    • Works if you have JDK 1.8+ on x64 installed (settings?)
  • Improved intellisense
  • Native animations in XAML
  • Forms inspector, when connected tp android emulator
    • Layers
    • Live edit of XAML

VS Mobile Center - Keith

  • http://mobile.azure.com
  • Xamarin Test Cloud
  • Add app…pick type
  • Add nuget & register app
  • Distribute sets up a team of testers/user community for builds
  • Build service
    • Pick sln
    • Provisioning profile
    • Certificate for signed builds
    • Trigger
  • Test service …
    • run automated UI tests
    • See devices tested on
  • Crash reporting
    • Usage & crash info
    • Stack dumps grouped by count
  • Analytics
    • Custom events

DevOps - Brian Harry & Donovan Brown

  • Continuous delivery
  • "Shift Right" = delivery improvements, production is part of the plan
  • TFS 2017.1 for on Premise installs
  • http://aka.ms/tfsimportdata
  • Donovan demo - any project, any platform
    • Create project
    • Import Git repo
    • View code
    • Setup build from templates or by scratch
      • Sources - where is repo? In TS or external?
      • Test settings
      • Code Coverage
      • Build agents - windows or linux
      • Search for build task
      • Marketplace for build tasks
      • Create your own extension
      • Variables
      • Create work items on failure
      • Track history/changes to build definitions
    • Release definitions
      • Infrastructure as code
      • Approvers
    • Dashboards
  • Data Migration - Partner with Red Gate
    • In VS RedGate ReadyRoll has tools by default
    • SQL Obj explorer, make changes and save
    • Tell ReadyRoll to refresh with changes, generate migration scripts
      • Add update statements for populating default values on existing data after modification
    • Add database scripts and changes that will happen on the database
    • Add the ReadyRoll task to deploy the database task
  • RedGate included in VS 2017 Enterprise
  • Pluralsight 1yr
  • DevOps Enterprise Accelerator offer

Cloud Tip #4-How to migrate an existing ASP.NET App to the Cloud

@MikeBenkovich 04/01/2012

Suppose you have an existing application that you want to migrate to the cloud. There are many things to look at, from the data to the architecture to considering how you plan to scale beyond one instance. For simple web sites which don’t use a lot of data or stateful information the migration to the cloud can be pretty easy with the installation of the Visual Studio Tools for Windows Azure.

imageThe current release of the tools (as of March 2012) is v1.6 which adds a command to the context menu when you right click on a web project. The SDK is installed using the Web Platform Installer (aka WebPI) which checks for previous versions of the tools and any other prerequisites and the consolidates the install into a single step.

imageAfter installing the tools when you open a Web Project, whether ASP.NET Web Forms, MVC, or similar, right clicking the project file gives you the command to add an Azure Deployment Project. You could achieve something similar by simply adding a Cloud Project to your solution and then right clicking on the “Roles” folder and adding the existing site to the project.

This adds a Cloud project to the solution and then adds the current Web project as a standard Web Role in the deployment. The key assets added include a Service Definition file and a couple Service Configuration files (one for running locally and one for running in the cloud).

The Service Definition file includes markup which describes how the Cloud Service will be deployed, including the public ports that are enrolled in the load balancer, any startup tasks and plugins that you want to run, as well as any other custom configuration that should be part of the deployment.

For example the Service Definition we created for the Kick Start event in Minneapolis looked like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<ServiceDefinition name="MplsKickSite.Azure" xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/ServiceHosting/2008/10/ServiceDefinition">
  <WebRole name="MplsKickSite" vmsize="Small">
    <Sites>
      <Site name="Web">
        <Bindings>
          <Binding name="Endpoint1" endpointName="Endpoint1" />
        </Bindings>
      </Site>
    </Sites>
    <Endpoints>
      <InputEndpoint name="Endpoint1" protocol="http" port="80" />
    </Endpoints>
    <Imports>
      <Import moduleName="Diagnostics" />
    </Imports>
  </WebRole>
</ServiceDefinition>

In this code we’ve got a single web role being deployed that will run on port 80. It is running a small instance (1 dedicated core), and will have remote desktop enabled. The Service Configuration contains additional settings including the OS Family for the instance (1 = Windows Server 2008 SP2 and 2 = Server 2008 R2) and number of instances to run (in this case 3).

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<ServiceConfiguration serviceName="MplsKickSite.Azure" xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/ServiceHosting/2008/10/ServiceConfiguration" 
osFamily="2" osVersion="*"> <Role name="MplsKickSite"> <Instances count="3" /> <ConfigurationSettings> <Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.Diagnostics.ConnectionString" value="UseDevelopmentStorage=true" /> <Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.RemoteAccess.Enabled" value="true" /> <Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.RemoteAccess.AccountUsername" value="... <Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.RemoteAccess.AccountEncryptedPassword" value="...
<Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.RemoteAccess.AccountExpiration" value="... <Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.RemoteForwarder.Enabled" value="true" /> <Setting name="QueueName" value="createthumbnail" /> <Setting name="myStorageAcct" value="UseDevelopmentStorage=true" /> </ConfigurationSettings> <Certificates> <Certificate name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.RemoteAccess.PasswordEncryption" thumbprint="... </Certificates> </Role> </ServiceConfiguration>

Pressing F5 will run the Cloud Service in the local emulator (assuming we’re running Visual Studio as Administrator so it can communication cross process to the running services…an error message tells you if you’re not). The nice thing about this approach is it supports attaching to the local debugger and using the rich set of features such as breakpoints, local and watch variables, and all the rest of the goodness we’ve come to expect in Visual Studio debugging.

image

Once we’re satisfied that the application works and we are ready to go to the Cloud, you can right click on the Azure Deployment project and either click “Package” to create a deployment package which you can manually upload the the Windows Azure Management portal, or you can select Publish to automate it directly from Visual Studio. This runs a wizard with 3 basic steps to collect the necessary information and complete the deployment. You select the subscription you want to use, name the hosted service, optionally enable remote desktop and web deploy, and then click complete.

image   image  image

Note that if you enable Web Deploy, because this is only supported for a single instance development environment where you require the ability to publish changes to a web site quickly, the publishing process will change your configured number of instances to 1 despite having set it to 3 in the configuration files. That’s because if you have more than 1 instance deployed the load balancer will distribute the incoming web requests round robin, and if you change one of the instances with a web deploy you’ll have an inconsistent state. You can always change the number of instances from the management portal, but you should be aware of what you’re doing.

imageimage

What happens next is the deployment process takes place. This includes validating that the hosted service is provisioned for you, uploading certificates if needed, then uploading your deployment package and configuration files to Windows Azure storage, and then deploying and starting your instances. It will also add the service deployment to the Server Explorer window (CTRL + ALT + S). From there you can see the status of your service instances, download the profile or intellitrace files if you’ve enabled that option (under advanced features during the publish).

For more information on how to do this, or if you’d like to see a webcast on how this is done, check out the first webcast in the Cloud Computing Soup to Nuts series (http://bit.ly/s2nCloud).

Enjoy!

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Get Started with Cloud Computing and Windows Azure

@MikeBenkovich 03/04/2012

This is the first part of a series of blog posts I’m working on as part of the companion webcast series “Soup to Nuts Cloud Computing” in which we look at what it takes to get started with the tools and setup things you need to begin building Cloud applications. I will be focusing on Windows Azure as our target platform, but the topics we cover later on about architecting for scale, availability and performance apply across any Cloud Provider. I’m going to make the assumption that we’re on the same page as to what Cloud Computing is, which Wikipedia defines as

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network (typically the Internet).[1]"”

I like the definition on SearchCloudComputing - http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com which describes it this way:

“A cloud service has three distinct characteristics that differentiate it from traditional hosting. It is sold on demand, typically by the minute or the hour; it is elastic -- a user can have as much or as little of a service as they want at any given time; and the service is fully managed by the provider (the consumer needs nothing but a personal computer and Internet access).”

Assuming we agree on what it is, Windows Azure provides what is called “Platform as a Service” or PaaS to customers who want to build scalable, reliable and performant solutions to business information problems. Windows Azure is available on a Pay as you Go, as a Subscription Benefit or on a Trial basis. These are associated with a subscription which you create as the management point of contact for your services. The services available are fairly broad and include some core services such as Compute, Storage and Database, but also include several additional services that can be used in conjunction with or separate from the core services including Identity Management (Access Control Services), Caching, Service Bus, Reporting Services, Traffic Management, Content Delivery Network and more.

image

Using these services we can build a variety of applications and solutions for websites, compute intensive applications, web API’s, social games, device applications, media intensive solutions and much more. The thing we need to get started is an account or subscription which provides the interface to provision and manage these services. Fortunately there are many ways to get started.

The Subscription. If you have an MSDN Subscription or are part of the Microsoft Partner Network or have signed up for BizSpark you already have Azure Benefits that you just need to activate. Simply go to http://bit.ly/bqtAzMSDN to see how to activate. If none of these apply you can also try out the Free 90 Day Azure Trial (http://aka.ms/AzureTrialMB) which includes a cap which prevents accidental overage. When you activate your subscription it will walk you thru a series of steps which are needed to get things set up.

image  image  image

The first page shows us what we get with the subscription. Next it confirms your identity by sending a confirmation code to your cell phone. The process then asks for credit card information to validate your identity and then activates your account. The process is very fast and responsive (unlike the old 30 day Azure Pass we had used at the Boot Camps in 2011 which could take up to 24-48 hours to activate the trial.

image  image  image

The Tools. Next we get the tools. because there are lots of platform developers out there, you can get the tools that work for you, whether it’s Visual Studio, Eclipse, PowerShell or just command line tools. You’ll want to download the SDK and tools by going to http://aka.ms/AzureMB and clicking the appropriate link.

image

Our First App. Now that we have our tools, let’s look at what is needed to build and deploy an app. In the webcast we showed how to take an existing application and add the pieces needed to deploy it to the cloud. We start out in a Visual Studio Solution that has a simple ASP.NET web application. After we’ve installed the tools for Visual Studio when you right click on the web project file you will see a new option on the context menu to Add a Windows Azure Deployment Project to the solution.

image

This adds a new project to the solution and includes a service definition file and a couple configuration files. The Service Definition file (*.csdef) describes how our cloud application looks, including what type of roles are included (think front end web servers and back end processing servers), the endpoints that will be serviced by the load balancer and any internal endpoints we plan to use, as well as any startup configuration we need to run when our instances start up.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<ServiceDefinition name="Soup2NutsSite.Azure1" 
                   xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/ServiceHosting/2008/10/ServiceDefinition">
  <WebRole name="Soup2NutsSite" vmsize="Small">
    <Sites>
      <Site name="Web">
        <Bindings>
          <Binding name="Endpoint1" endpointName="Endpoint1" />
        </Bindings>
      </Site>
    </Sites>
    <Endpoints>
      <InputEndpoint name="Endpoint1" protocol="http" port="80" />
    </Endpoints>
    <Imports>
      <Import moduleName="Diagnostics" />
    </Imports>
  </WebRole>
</ServiceDefinition>

The Service Configuration files (*.cscfg) include things like connection strings, certificates and other pieces of information used by our running service instances that we may change after deployment.

Deploy. After adding the Windows Azure Deployment Project you can publish it out to the cloud by right clicking and selecting Publish. A wizard is presented which walks you thru the steps to build a package of files which includes zipped and encrypted copies of all the code and resources the application requires, as well as the configuration files to make your application work. You sign into your Windows Azure subscription setup a management certificate which authorizes Visual Studio to make deployments on your behalf. You can pick the subscription you want to use and then create a hosted service name and select a data center or region to run it in.

image  image  image

You can choose to enable Remote Desktop, where it will ask for an admin user name you’d like to use to manage the service, and optionally enable Web Deploy which adds the necessary plumbing to support WebDav deployment of your web code (a nice development feature where you can update the code running the website without doing a full deployment of the hosted service).  You end up with a Publish Summary that shows what and where you will deploy the site to.

image  image

Clicking Publish then goes thru the process of building your package, uploading it to the Windows Azure Management site, and starting your service. Visual Studio has a status window which shows where it’s at in the process, and you can see your deployment from the Windows Azure Management Portal and clicking on the “Hosted Services, Storage Accounts & CDN” button on the left panel of actions.

image

If you’re curious to see how much you’ve used of your subscription you can always go back to http://WindowsAzure.com and view your account details.

image

Conclusion. So that’s it. You can get started with Windows Azure and Cloud Computing very quickly, all you need is an active subscription, download the tools, and then do a quick deploy of a project.  For details on things like pricing check out the page on http://WindowsAzure.com.

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