Category: Azure

The Power of Logic Apps in Azure

Logic Apps in Azure is probably one of my top 3 favourite features in Azure at this time, if your software exposes api endpoints you can do pretty much anything.

 

 

 

“Out-of-the-box connectors reduce integration challenges. You can connect apps, data and devices anywhere – on-premises or in the cloud – with our large ecosystem of software as a service (SaaS) and cloud-based connectors that includes Salesforce, Office 365, Twitter, Dropbox, Google services and more.”

Find out more about Logic Apps here

The reason why I like Logic Apps so much is the almost endless possibilities, we all have systems running where we have some sort of logic, maybe its a service that runs and then sends an email as a very simple example.

Imagine you could write an application to do a lot of logical steps using almost anything you can possibly think of within reason and write the application without every writing a single line of code, sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?

Let me show you some of the connectors you can use and then I will talk about some examples when Logic Apps could be very useful indeed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So the list on the right is just some of the connectors (there are a LOT)

 

Here are a few examples of where you could use Logic Apps:-

  • When Sharepoint is changed notify people via anything that has an api (chat, email, bot, etc)
  • When your build fails due to a test failing, email that person with a shame picture from the web.
  • When a new project is created, spawn off requests to do whatever you need to do.
  • When a new team member joins, automate adding them to AD groups etc

    The take away from Logic Apps is that if the software has an exposed api you can do pretty much anything you want and the logic is created via a designer which needs next to no training, its very very simple and has enormous potential.



Reasons to get Azure Certified

Lets face it folks the cloud is where its at, you should be at the very least looking to gain cloud skills as it won’t be long before most software is deployed to the cloud.

So the following is a list of why you should get certified in the cloud and I decided to go for Azure certification so I will be covering Azure but the same principles apply to AWS, Google cloud etc. (sign up free for a trial)

  • In 4 months I have went from knowing absolutely nothing about Azure to knowing how, when and why you would want to use the features of Azure, I am far from knowing about all that Azure has to offer but by studying several courses and by doing hands on labs etc I have the knowledge to know what to use and when.
  • If you’re a Microsoft Developer then it makes sense to take a look into Azure and get familiar with Azure as you’ll be able to pick it up and follow very easily, that said Azure is very easy to get going with and the learning curve for most of it isn’t steep, being able to write code and deploy it to Azure is very straightforward.
  • Having to wait on servers being provisioned is painful, having to keep them up to date with patches etc is no fun, as a developer you want to write code and create new features and ship them fast, with the cloud this is the way forward, embrace new technologies and you and your team will reap the benefits. The cloud doesn’t have all the answers and there is no silver bullet but it’s definitely the right way to go.
  • Azure has some fantastic options for hybrid cloud, use your own sql server and keep the data on premise or use your own existing active directory etc and use the features of Azure which make sense to you and your team. There are so many options available nowadays, Azure has various ways of ensuring your data is secure such as encryption at rest in Azure SQL, secure Network Groups, access policies, Shared Access signatures when using API’s and storage and even an API management feature.
  • Having a certification doesn’t guarantee anything but it looks good on your resume and shows you at least know what you’re doing when it comes to Azure, it also shows that your keen to learn and no harm ever came from learning new skills. Plus its good fun learning new stuff right?
  • Getting certified means you’ll study and learn all about Azure and the huge benefits of cloud computing in general, and you’ll be able to suggest features of Azure your company can take advantage off going forward. You’ll also learn about cool stuff like cognitive services, machine learning and ai which are all hot topics right now.
  • And last but not least, you’ll become a Microsoft Certified Professional if you pass your first Microsoft exam. Then you can look into getting a more specific certification and you can find out more info here.


70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions Study Notes

Hi folks, the following is a little insight into what I have been studying the past 4 months, when I decided it was time to start learning Azure, this is just some of the stuff I have been learning.

The content below is from the 70-532 exam page and the links I have pasted in below each section to help people studying for the exam, the content is also useful for anyone looking for links on a particular area of Azure.

Feel free to share this link out an I hope you find the content useful.

Update: either use the links below or use the GitHub page I have created here: https://github.com/gsuttie/gsuttie-gsuttie.github.io

Create and Manage Azure Resource Manager Virtual Machines (20-25%)
Design and Implement a Storage and Data Strategy (25-30%)
Manage Identity, Application, and Network Services (10-15%)

 

Design and Implement Azure Compute, Web, and Mobile Services (35-40%)

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Azure CosmosDB – Quick Start Demo App

So one of the hottest thing in Azure these days is without doubt CosmosDB, Cosmos DB is

A database for extremely low latency and massively scalable applications anywhere in the world, with native support for NoSQL

To get started with your very first Azure CosmosDB

  • go into the portal and click ass on Azure CosmosDB
  • give your new database an id
  • choose an API from the options available
    • SQL
    • MongoDB
    • Casandra
    • Azure Table
    • Gremlin (graph)
  • select your Subscription
  • select a resource group / create a new one
  • choose a location
  • optionally turn on geo-redundancy
  • click pin to pin this to your dashboard

For this blog post I chose the SQL API and left geo-redundancy off.


Ok so once you’ve done this click on Quick Start

 

Now you’ll see that you can download a sample app using .Net, .Net Core, Xamarin, Java, node.js and Python which will download code for you to play around with and create a to-do app.

I chose .Net and downloaded the code to my machine and opened it up with Visual Studio, run the code and you have a working to-do application hitting your newly created Azure CosmosDB up in Azure.

Time to go play with Azure CosmosDB, enjoy.

 




Azure Learning Resources

The following is a list of learning resources for your (and my) benefit, this list will be a work in progress and continually updated the more good stuff I come across.

Azure overview, lists ALL of the Azure serviceshttps://azure-overview.com/
Create your first Azure Function using Visual Studio 2017https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-functions/functions-create-your-first-function-visual-studio
Great link with lots of awesome contenthttps://github.com/markheath/azure-functions-links

Azure Examples on Githubhttps://github.com/azure-samples

Courses

Blogs on Azure

Twitter Accounts to follow

  • @AzureFunctions – The Official account of the Azure Functions Product Team

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Azure Functions

So I have really gotten into Azure Functions of late and reading about some very clever usages of them, more on that later in another blog post coming soon.

I have also just completed a demo order pipeline using Azure Functions which I learned about from a Pluralsight course by Mark Heath called Azure Functions Fundamentals (highly recommended).

During this you build an order pipeline so you use Postman to send an example order in JSON to your azure function(s) which does a number of things, over the course you’ll add an order to Azure Table Storage, add the order to an Azure Storage Queue, generate a license file using Azure Blob Storage and the generate an email and send the license file using SendGrid a 3rd party email provider.

Then you can use the Azure Table Storage Explorer tool to look into what you’ve managed to create within your tables in Azure Storage.

What I like about this Pluralsight course is that I’m learning and also getting to see great demos of how to go about creating azure functions and using them for real scenarios all be it the code isn’t obviously production ready but its all about the learning at the moment.

I haven’t finished this course yet but I will soon and more blog posts will follow, off the back of this course I am hoping to do a talk on FaaS and Azure Functions at work this coming March.


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What have I learned so far with Azure?

So I have been getting my hands on Azure recently and just wanted to blog about what I have learned so far so here goes (condensed version as wanting to get back to learning way more)

 

App Service Plans

  • What the different levels are Basic, Standard and Premium and what the differences are.
  • App service plans govern how you pay for it
  • Scale out – beef up the VM or the server
  • Scale up – run more than one instance etc.
  • You can have staging environments and automated backups
  • Consumption plan – only pay for what u use

What is Serverless?

  • There are still servers of course – you delegate the management of them to third party offerings
  • Use third party Paas wherever possible (for example documentDB)
  • Run your custom code on Azure Functions
    – respond to events
    – let the framework work out how many servers you need
    – Functions as a Service (FaaS)

Benefits of Azure functions?

  • Rapid and simple development module
  • Code it within the portal
  • Eliminate boilerplate
  • Extremely reach feature set
  • CI, Kudu, Easy Auth, Certs, Custom Domains, Settings etc. all included
  • Cost effective pricing – only pay for what you use
  • No servers to maintain
  • Automatic scaling

Next up is Azure Functions…

 

 

 


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