BenkoTIPS

Thinking about going to Cloud? I've been consulting around Azure for the last 8 years since I left Microsoft where I helped launch it in 2009. I want to offer my support, so I'm starting a thing called Azure Office Hours on Fridays, where anyone can block out 15 minutes to chat about anything Azure.

  1. Find a time that works - Click Here!
  2. Let me know what you want to talk about
  3. Let's chat! 

I speak at conferences and have LinkedIn learning courses on Azure and DevOps including templating, compute, storage, messaging, networking and governance topics.

My calendar is open. Let's connect!

Have you thought of using new/different technologies to explore the impact of using new tools? I'm presenting a new session at Minnesota Developer Conference on Tuesday 5/4/2021 (Star Wars day) that will explore the technology and implementation details to make this type of implementation work.

Check it out!

Cosmos Tools for the Relational Developer

Tuesday 5/4 at 11:00 am - MDC 2021 | Minnesota Developers Conference (mndevconf.com)

Understanding how your data works is crucial to taking advantage of the capabilities and power of Cosmos DB, from setting up and migrating data, to querying to understanding performance consequences of data manipulation. These tasks become easier thanks to a growing ecosystem of tools around the Cosmos DB platform. In this session we'll look at how Cosmos DB tools available from Microsoft and 3rd parties make it easy to make the transition from the relational to Cosmos.

The topics we'll cover include:

  • Why Azure Cosmos DB
  • Provisioning a Cosmos DB from the Azure Portal
  • Code patterns for working with Cosmos
  • Data Migration
  • Data Modeling and strategies for performance and cost optimization

Some reference links:

Enjoy!

I'm working thru an idea for a video series that I call "5 Minutes to Code", where I would record some short videos that show how to accomplish a concept, procedure or task related to working with code. The goal is to deliver on a regular cadence some content that developers can use to learn how to do something. Lately I've been working with Azure as a cloud engineer working on infrastructure (like ARM and Terraform), delivery (like Azure DevOps and from developer tools), and coding (like .NET Core and web development). I have created a new page on my site where I'll publish a list of links to these, and this will give me the chance to work on my html and JavaScript skills.

Enjoy!

I’m pleased to say that I’ve been included in a list of the top MVPs to follow on Twitter!

Following my renewal as a Microsoft MVP earlier this month, I’ve been given a shout out on Nigel Frank’s Microsoft MVP Class of 2019 roundup, which shines a light on MVPs from across the community who’re doing great things online. 

I feature alongside some fantastic fellow MVPs, so check out the post and check out some of the fine people working to make the Microsoft ecosystem a smarter, more exciting place!

https://www.nigelfrank.com/blog/class-of-2019-25-microsoft-mvps-you-should-be-following/ 

Since Visual Studio launched 22 years ago it has evolved to become a favorite IDE of the casual to professional developer. With the launch of Visual Studio 2019 Microsoft again steps up their game with improvements to make it easier to work and debug Cloud, Mobile and Web, as well as bring the developer a number of productivity improvements.

Join us for a chance to participate in the launch with a live viewing party at the Microsoft Office in Edina. It's a chance to be a part of the next generation of developer tools and you get to see all the compelling new features and capabilities of Visual Studio! Join us in Edina on April 2 - http://bit.ly/vs19msp - to join the live streamed event and share the fun!

Do you ever have “unexpected time” on your hands? Need to brush up your job interviewing skills? Want to know more about the technical talent market in the Twin Cities? TechMasters After Dark – Job Interviewing Skills, is a free workshop delivering job interviewing strategies, interviewing tips, and Q&A with a panel of recruiters. The audience has the opportunity to practice with group exercises called Table Topics. Join us Thursday, Feb 21, doors open at 5:30 pm at Improving's MN office at 3600 American Blvd, #115. We have a slate of experts and a panel of recruiters who will answer your questions about how they ask questions.

More info at http://bit.ly/tmad1901. See you there!

 

At this year's Microsoft BUILD Conference I was able to get a couple sessions to talk about the Enterprise Developer's journey to the Cloud. The sessions will be on Monday at 5:00 pm and Tuesday at 5:00 pm in Theater 4 on the Expo Hall Theater 4.

In it I'm going to share some exciting advancements in the tools we use every day to create great software, but especially the features that make those applications cloud aware! Not only can you create an publish to Azure but now you can also work with the settings and create templates to use for future deployments as well. The new Resource Group project enables the creation of complex infrastructure deployments that include not just the web hosting services but also analytics and monitoring capabilities as well as alerts when things go wrong.

If you're at Build stop by and let's chat about how you can make your team not just cloud aware, but Ready for the Enterprise Cloud! If you can't make it, I'm basing the talk on some course I'm developing for LinkedIn Learning called Azure for the Enterprise Developer. You can check those out online, they include:

Outside of that, I'll be hanging out at Build and tweeting about what's new and getting ready for the next roadshow. See you on the road!

Getting an application operational depends on making sure that it can run after the developer has left the room. In the enterprise we have teams of people of focus on that and will go to great lengths to make sure the team that runs the application that was built is solid and predictable. One of the challenges with the cloud is getting an operations team that has been trained to be cloud experts.

To alleviate that problem, Azure supports the dashboard you see in http://portal.azure.com as a shareable resource just like any other service you provision. You can create and customize dashboards by using the portal and pinning tiles that are relevant to your application. When you publish the dashboard you can share it with other teams that have access to Azure, including the operations team.

That is why I created a starter dashboard ARM template you can use to make your deployments more operational. It includes a couple tiles, including a resource group tile and a markdown tile with some instructions on how to customize and share the dashboard with others on your team.

Click the link below to provision it from the Azure portal. I’ve got a pull request to add it to the azure starter template library but until then you can get it from a storage account I’ve uploaded it to. Click the link below to deploy a starter dashboard to your Azure subscription for resource group.

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A picture is worth a thousand words and in the same way deploying a complex infrastructure with a thousand words takes a special skill to be able to do that. Wouldn’t it be great if we could deploy the picture instead? In the time I’ve been working with and evangelizing Azure since before it was publicly released, I’ve seen a lot of changes and ten years is a long time in the cloud! In 2014 Microsoft introduced the Azure Resource Manager (ARM) which provides a powerful way to orchestrate the creation of services in the cloud. They also introduced ARM templates, which is like a markup language that provides a picture instead of code. I’m working on a series of courses with LinkedIn Learning that share the journey of going to the cloud for the modern enterprise. We explore the path and the tools for going from being just cloud aware (it runs in the cloud) to being optimized, invested and finally ready for the enterprise.

This is a work in progress, but links to the first few courses are below. I’ll update the list as more are ready!

I had a question today about how the recorder works for with the Xamarin Tools in Visual Studio 2017. I’ve had mixed success with getting it to work, so I thought I’d document the steps that make it work. The trick is you need to be running a version of the APK that is not using the shared runtime (a default when you do a debug build). For that reason I use the release build to record the test. Here’s the basic flow:

1. Create new cross platform project with the blank template
2. Build & run it on my device (first in debug but then again in release)
3. add the UI Test project to the solution
4. In the Android project show all files and navigate to the bin/release folder and copy the path
5. In the Test.cs file at the top of the class near the [TestFixture(Platform.Android)] line click on record new test and then select the APK - make sure to put in the path of the signed release version of the apk
6. Wait until you notice the app running on the device
7. When you tap the screen, swipe left or right you'll see the [Test] method NewTest() gets new code added to it.

        [Test]
        public void NewTest()
        {
            app.SwipeLeftToRight();
            app.Tap(x => x.Class("PageRenderer"));
            app.SwipeLeftToRight();
            app.SwipeLeftToRight();
            app.ScrollDown();
            app.ScrollUp();
            app.SwipeLeftToRight();
            app.SwipeRightToLeft();
            app.Screenshot("Swiped left");
        }

 

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