Block Heads: Mastering block storage with the Azure Blob Service

The importance of practice

In software development, I find it to be true that you never know how to use a tool properly until you have already used it at least once before. That’s why, when you take a wrong turn and need to start over with something, you can usually get back to where you were in half the time it took you originally.

It’s important to realize

Automating Office 365 with Microsoft Graph API

An API gateway to business productivity

What would you build if you could process the data generated by your business operations in real time? You could, for example:

  • See trending/abandoned documents and usage patterns.
  • Scan calendars to suggest optimum meeting times.
  • Map collaboration points between departments.
  • Automate a change management/approval process.
  • Manage a backlog of work.

And that’s just for starters! I would be willing to bet that a very large slice of business performed in the world today is driven by the Microsoft Office apps, so imagine the potential gains around automating some of that? It’s got to be huge.

Authenticating with Azure AD and OpenID Connect

Identity in the cloud

Identity management in the cloud is a totally different ball game to when everything was installed and accessed on the corporate network. Users in the enterprise authenticated with an on-premises directory service (e.g. Active Directory Domain Services) and this determined the apps and data they had access to. Occasionally, cross-forest federations were established to allow users belonging to one corporate domain to access resources in another.

Nowadays, with the proliferation of apps and services available in the cloud and the speed and ease with which we consume them

Acting School: Azure’s use of a classic computational model

Recently, I have been fortunate enough to undertake some Azure training under one of the Solution Architects at Microsoft. We spent a lot of time focusing on Azure Service Fabric, Microsoft’s platform for developing microservice-based solutions. Much of what I heard reminded me of my experiences of Docker Swarm and Kubernetes, two very popular container orchestration platforms, and many of my questions in the training sessions were centered around why I might want to use Service Fabric over one of these other platforms that I knew a little better.

One point the trainer made that has stuck with me since is: containers often contain microservices, but microservices are not containers. It was clear to me then

A software development lifecycle for the Cloud Era

Back in February, I was given the chance to deliver a presentation for the BCS, the chartering body for IT and computing in the UK, on the evolution of the software development lifecycle as we race into the Cloud era.

Well, I say that. I was originally approached to do a talk about test automation, but as I was thinking about what I might be able to add to that arena it occurred to me that the testing phase of the classical SDLC gets far more coverage from an automation sense than any other. Much of the modern thinking on how to deliver software efficiently automates much more of the process than just the testing. I began researching how the most progressive teams used automation to drive some of the lesser covered phases and a talk on how automation technologies are taking these over became much more compelling to me. Hopefully, the audience agreed!