[NL] Global Azure Bootcamp @ mStack!

Afgelopen jaar begon ik aan een nieuwe baan. Na 4 jaar werken voor Atos vond ik het tijd voor wat anders. Destijds verruilde ik een werkgever met ongeveer 75 collega’s voor eentje met 75.000 collega’s in 4 jaar tijd groeide dat bedrijf uit naar 100.000 man. Leuke tijd gehad, veel kunnen leren en de mogelijkheid gehad om te werken voor een aantal interessante (en vooral grote) bedrijven zoals DAF, Philips en het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken. Toch vond ik het tijd om wat meer focus aan te brengen op technologie die wat mij betreft nog jarenlang een zeer interessante markt zal zijn: Microsoft Azure. En rondom Azure organiseren wij op 22 april (zaterdag) het Global Azure Bootcamp. Gratis!


[Azure] Using Azure Functions Proxies

If you’ve started using Functions in Azure and you’ve got multiple set-up by now, you’ll start to find that managing them becomes a bit cumbersome, especially when you’ve spread them across multiple instances. All of the instances will have a different base URL and you might find it difficult to keep naming and versioning in line with what you planned. So now what? Let’s take a look at the newly released Proxies for Azure Functions! (more…)

[Misc] Fixing annoying synchronization problem Outlook Android app

Since my outlook.com instance was upgraded to the ‘new’ experience, I’m having all kinds of issues. Two of the most annoying ones: my rules (junk sweep for instance) are not working. Not at all. Also, the synchronization on my mobile phone was pretty crappy, especially for people / contacts. It would not sync certain contacts (again: not at all) and others it would sometimes sync and sometimes delete. Being a nerd I could not stand this, so I went on to find a fix.

I tried all the logical stuff first: reset the account (which is an option in the app). Switch on / off contact syncing. Remove and add the account. Remove the app and reinstall it. I really tried pretty much everything, nothing worked.

With the update, legacy outlook.com account were moved over to a new infrastructure which is built on Office365 bits and pieces. It’s still Outlook.com, but it looks an awful lot like Outlook Online from Office365 now. And if you know Office365, you also know it’s basically Exchange behind the scenes. (more…)

[Azure] Using precompiled DLL’s for your Functions

One of the cool things about Azure Functions is that they are very easy to get started. You create a new function, type some code and you’re off. This is very nice from a getting started point of view, but once you’re considering to use them for more than just playing around, other things come into play. For instance, you might want to actually test what you’re doing. You might want to reference projects, you might want to reuse some of the code you (or your company) already has. Now there’s all kinds of ways of doing this, but just recently the Function teams introduced another very interesting possibility: the use of precompiled DLL’s. (more…)

[Azure] From Function to SharePoint List Item

This article describes how to insert an item into a SharePoint list using an Azure Function written in C#. Might seem like a trivial task, but there are some caveats you might want to take notice of before you start.


[Azure] Debugging Azure Functions: could not register URL

It’s still in the works, but the Azure Functions team released a preview version of the “Visual Studio Tools for Azure Functions”. At this time, you’ll need VS2015 Update 3 installed to get this to work, check out https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/webdev/2016/12/01/visual-studio-tools-for-azure-functions/ for further instructions.

So all excited I downloaded the tools, installed them and created my first local Function to debug from Studio. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. I got two command prompt windows which disappeared after a short while. No error, no debug, nothing. Hmmm….

A good next step is to run the functions CLI locally. You’ll need to have the CLI installed for this. Simply head over to the folder where you’ve just created your project and run “func host start”. In my case, this resulted in the following error:

“HTTP could not register URL http://+:7071/. Your process does not have access rights to this namespace”

You can assume that Visual Studio is facing the same issue, as it is also using the CLI underwater to host the functions. So what now? I found that the following command will list all of the registered http services:

Check that http.txt file and you’ll see there probably is an entry for http://+:7071/ in there.  I had nothing running on that port as far as I was aware so I decided to simply delete the reservation:

And there you go, the port is now freed up and both the CLI as well as debugging from Visual Studio (not at the same time, obviously) started working! 🙂

[Azure] Using an Azure Function to create custom Flow actions

If you’re working with Microsoft Flow, chances are that on some point in time you’ll run into a situation where the action you need simply doesn’t exist. If you’re a developer with skills to write C#, PowerShell, Node or even batch code, you’re in luck! Cause why not create that action yourself in the form of an Azure Function? Here’s how to do it.  (more…)

[Azure] Using multiple accounts side-by-side with Chrome

If you’re in the Microsoft Azure or Office365 space, chances are that you have a couple of accounts that you use to access these services. Your company account, MSDN subscription, maybe some customer accounts, a couple of demo tenants, etc. You’ll also know that switching between account is quite a bitch. You need to log out, log in again, lose all of your session cookies and automatically log out from other services as well. Pretty annoying.

If you’ve got Chrome installed, you’ve got the answer sitting right there on your desktop already. Open up the settings window and find the “People” section. This allows you to create multiple profiles for different users. The nice thing is that these users do not share any cookies or other session data. So a Chrome instance for user A does not interfere with a second instance for user B. It’s like running InPrivate mode, but without the need to log in again each time you fire it up.


Super simple trick, but a real time saver so I thought I’d share. Enjoy!

[IoT] How Azure IoT would have prevented a DDoS

Two weeks ago, parts of the Internet came to a halt due to a DDoS attack. DDoS attacks have become pretty common these last few years, but usually target a specific website. For instance, attackers might target microsoft.com and start firing enormous amounts of requests to it. Due to the load, the website will eventually choke and stop responding to both the malicious as to normal requests, with the result that the website is “down”.

There were two things that made this DDoS attack a bit different:

  1. This attack was not targeting a website or webservers, but instead DNS servers. DNS is used for address resolution, which comes down to translating a normal URL (like www.repsaj.nl) to an IP address. By targeting DNS servers, the attackers managed to bring down lots of sites at once, with your PC left unable to find the correct IP address for the website you requested. So in this case, the webservers were fine but the clients didn’t have a way to reach them.
  2. The attack was largely carried out using IoT devices. This included IP-connected webcams for instance, which many people have at home.

This uncovers a large security issue with lots of IoT devices, which could have been easily prevented (or at least a lot better secured) using a back-end like Azure. Let’s find out how… (more…)

[SPO] Creating a ‘modern’ homepage on an old team site

If you’re an Office365 user, you will probably have noticed by now that the new look & feel dubbed ‘modern’ (which is a stupid name, but aight…) is slowly but steadily making it’s way into more and more parts of the overall experience. I like the modern look. It’s crispy fresh, more in-line with modern UI’s like Googles Material and Microsofts Metro Modern UI. As an added benefit, the new look should play well with the SharePoint mobile app, bringing responsive design to the table so pages remain usable on mobile devices.

But what about legacy sites?