[Azure] News for Developers, March 2018

This entry is part 12 of 53 in the series Azure news for Developers

Are you having trouble keeping track of everything that’s going around in Azure? You’re not alone! In an effort to do so myself, I’m starting a monthly series called “News for developers” which is exactly that: a summary of all of the Azure flavored news specifically for software developers. Now this is based on my personal feeds and my personal opinion, so you might miss things or see things which in your opinion do not matter. Feel free to comment below and I’ll see what I can do for the next edition. And honestly, this is more a personal reference than anything else so having actual readers would already be awesome ūüôā Enjoy!


App Service specific updates

These were the updates coming from the Azure App Services teams:

  • Node and PHP version running on Linux have undergone a major update. For node, versions 9.4, 8.9, 8.8 and 8.2 have been added. For PHP, version 7.2 joined the club of available versions on the Linux platform. (link)
  • For the Windows platform, PHP version support will also include the latest versions of release 5.6, 7.0, 7.1 and 7.2. (link)
  • The Service Management APIs for Azure App Services are being deprecated in favor of ARM deployments, the REST API or any of the SDKs. So if you’re still using the old API’s, time has come to that maintenance! (link)
  • Azure Functions are now available in National Clouds. What’s that? Those are the Azure cloud instances in China, Germany and United States Government cloud. (link)

The app services team keeps track of their updates in blog posts and in this github repo. Check them out!


Visual Studio (+ Team Services)

Here’s the news coming from the Visual Studio and Visual Studio Team Services teams!

For Visual Studio lovers: Visual Studio 2017 version 15.6 is out (link) and 15.7 Preview 2 is already on it’s tail again. (link)

And here’s the news from VSTS (only one update in March):

  • Git repos now have these settings:¬†case enforcement¬†(allows for case (in)sensitve files) and¬†limit file sizes (does what you think). (link)
  • The new¬†work items hub has been released to all users. The new UI should make it easier to find the work thats most important to YOU. You can use the following views for this: (link)
    • Assigned to me
    • Following
    • Mentioned
    • My activity
    • Recently updated
    • Recently completed
    • Recently created
  • If you’re using @CurrentIteration in (view) queries, you can now also do “@CurrentIteration -1” or “@CurrentIteration + 1” to look in the past or future. (link)
  • The¬†DevOps Project option now includes an option to deploy your stuff to a virtual machine. In addition to Web Apps and Web App for Containers which were already there. (link)
  • Within a release pipeline you can now¬†partially download¬†artifacts instead of always having to get the whole package. Saves time, I like this one! (link)
  • Using SonarQube? Their extension was just updated and a new SonarCloud extension added. (link)
  • Using build tags you can now trace GitHub sources back to a specific build. (link)
  • When deploying into Azure, you can now use¬†Service Endpoints to specify which resource groups can be modified from your deployment, preventing any changes to unrelated resources (from a different team for instance). Definitely going to use that one! (link)
  • Sharing your deployment status with a badge (was already possible in Build) is now available. (link)
  • If you have your MSDN subscription linked to an AAD account, you can now also use the “alternate account” option. This was previously only possible using an MSA. (link)

The Visual Studio blog can be found here: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/visualstudio. And the VSTS team blog is here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/vsts/release-notes/2018/feb-14-vsts.



Here’s all the stuff that didn’t fit into one of the above categories:

  • When using¬†Application Insights,¬†you can now leverage new monitoring capabilities. The¬†impact tool gives you insight how page performance might hurt conversion rates (aka people leaving). And using¬†User Flow¬†tools you can then track how a user traverses between pages in your application. (link)
  • I normally stick with .NET news, but this one I had to share. Java on App Services is now in public preview, supporting Tomcat and OpenJDK. (link)
  • Ever heard about GDPR? It’s a hot topic and many app developers struggle finding good ways to mark the right data with the right metadata. SQL Information Protection¬†(preview) helps to do just that in the context of Azure SQL databases (but can also be used on-prem!). And the best thing? It can do it automated! (link)
  • If you do still have on-prem SQL servers, you can now more easily migrate that workflow to Azure using¬†Azure SQL Database Managed Instance, which is basically a more traditional SQL Server install that’s being managed for you. (link)
  • For sensitive data in storage accounts, Azure now offers¬†Storage Service Encrypting¬†using¬†customer managed keys. This means you can encrypt data with keys stored in your own managed KeyVault instance. When rotating keys, Azure storage will detect the new key and re-encrypt the content within 5 minutes. (link)
  • Covered in an earlier post, Azure database services for¬†MySQL and PostSQL are now generally available. (link)
  • Basic and Standard instances of¬†Azure Redis Cache now have the¬†Firewall¬†and¬†Reboot options that were previously only available in the Premium tier. And¬†Zonal Pinning is in preview, allowing you to control where your cache instance is placed. (link)
  • The “next generation” of¬†Azure Alerts¬†is now available. These allow alerts to monitor metrics and log data from the entire stack (infra, application and PaaS). (link)
  • And closely linked,¬†Azure Service Health offers a personal dashboard that displays detailed information about the stuff in Azure you care about, including issues, planned maintenance, health advisories, history and the above mentioned alerts of course. (link)
  • When you’re deploying Service Fabric clusters, you can now do so straight from within Visual Studio using the “Create New Cluster” option. (link)

That’s it for this month, see you next month for another round of Azure news!