Top Azure News for Visual Studio Developers – August 2015

A lot has happened on the Azure side of the house in the last couple of months. We wanted to give you some of the highlights in case you aren’t already following the Azure blog, focusing especially on items that are most relevant to developers using Visual Studio.

Using App Service Web Apps Continuous Deployment with GitHub Organizations. You might have already enjoyed the continuous deployment feature of Azure App Service when a web app is tied to a GitHub account. I know it came in very handy for the Visual Studio 2015 Product Guide, because it meant never having to think about deployment again. We’re delighted that this feature is now also available with organization repositories on GitHub!

Dependency call stack and Application Insights SDK labs. .NET developers already enjoy the capabilities provided in the Azure SDK 2.7 for .NET, which allows you to track calls from your app to external dependencies such as databases or REST APIs. The Application Insights SDK Labs is an experimental package that also lets you see where those calls originate in your apps, something that’s difficult with the current SDK.

App Insights Experimental Package dependency call stack

 

Update on .NET Framework 4.6 and Azure. Speaking of .NET, .NET 4.6 rolled out to the Azure App Service as of August 11th, 2015. This brings Azure up to date with Visual Studio 2015 RTM and the Azure SDK for .NET 2.7, so you can enjoy all the new .NET features in your web applications. For a video walkthrough check out the Channel 9 Visual Studio Toolbox video on Azure 2.7 SDK.

Transitioning App Insights from Visual Studio Online to the Azure Portal. For those of you working with Application Insights through Visual Studio Online, it’s time to move to the new Application Insight experience in the Azure portal. A post on the Azure blog provides details on the timeline and how to make the move.

Securing your pre-production environment in the cloud. Deployment slots in Azure App Service allow you to set up staging environments for an application and then easily swap them with production code. But of course it’s important to secure the staging environments so they’re visible on the web prior to release. This walkthrough on how to secure your pre-production environment shows the simple steps of the process.

Build a Mobile Data Sync Experience for Dynamics CRM with Azure App Service. Chances are, offline sync has come onto your radar recently, especially if you’re working with line-of-business apps that are connected to something like your organization’s CRM system. This article outlines the offline sync feature of Azure Mobile Services, and points you to a detailed tutorial that walks through the steps to provision an Azure backend for offline sync. It also describes how to configure Azure Active Directory and Dynamics CRM Online, allowing end users to read and modify CRM data, even when their device has no connectivity.

Application Insights Tools in Visual Studio 2015. As we’ve noted before on the Visual Studio blog, Application Insights is integrated directly into Visual Studio 2015, and this post on Application Insights Tools in Visual Studio gets you going on monitoring the performance and usage of your production applications across all types of apps on all platforms.

App Insights

 

Microsoft Azure helps transform Indian Gaming Industry. Gaming is one of the most mature areas of the app industry, where startups face the very high technical quality and complex nature of popular international games. Indeed, games seem like simply entertainment on the surface, but a great deal of infrastructure is needed to make them work seamlessly. This post on Azure transforming the Indian gaming industry describes how Azure can provide much of that infrastructure in a scalable manner, which is especially important if your game becomes a viral success.

Microsoft Invests in Subsea Cables to Connect Datacenters Globally. Finally, most of us understand the benefits that come from having a company like Microsoft manage all the details of setting up data centers and making their tremendous power available to us through a few clicks on the Azure portal. News tidbits like this report on investments in subsea cables help us understand how we benefit from even more behind-the-scenes work, or in this case, under-the-water! In short, we very much take it for granted that we can efficiently move data around the world, without giving much thought as to the processes and international partnerships that make it happen.

 

I hope you’re enjoyed this compilation of news that we believe is important to developers working in Visual Studio. Let us know if you like this format, and if there are additional areas that we might cover in a similar way.

 

clip_image004

Kraig Brockschmidt, Senior Content Developer, Visual Studio

@kraigbro

Kraig has been around Microsoft since 1988, working in roles that always have to do with helping developers write great software. Currently he’s focused on developing content for cross-platform mobile app development with both Xamarin and Cordova. He writes for MSDN Magazine, is the author of Programming Windows Store Apps with HTML, CSS and JavaScript (two editions) and Inside OLE (two editions, if you remember those) from Microsoft Press, occasionally blogs on kraigbrockschmidt.com, and can be found lurking around a variety of developer conferences.