Azure Functions imperative bindings

The standard input and output bindings in Azure Functions are written in a declarative pattern using the function.json. When defining input and output declarative, you do not have the option to change some of the bindings properties like the name or make multiple outputs from one input. An imperative binding can do this for you. In this blog post I’ll show how to use imperative blob bindings.

Imperative binder pattern
The imperative binder uses a pattern where you add the Binder object in the signature of your Run method. In the function you use attributes to bind the output to the binder. You can bind multiple outputs to the binder, and you are able to combine a declarative binding with the imperative binding. In this case the BlobTrigger is defined in function.json. Do not include the output binding in you function.json:

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Running Powershell Pester unit test in a VSTS build pipeline

When you are developing Powershell scripts, creating some unit tests will help you in monitoring the quality of the scripts. Writing some tests will give you some assurance that your code still works after you make some changes. Writing Powershell unit tests can be done with Pester. Pester will enable you to test your Powershell scripts from within Powershell. It is a set of Powershell functions for unit testing Powershell. These functions will allow you to mock and isolate the Powershell code under test. When you want to integrate your unit test into your VSTS build pipeline, you need an build extension to run then in your build pipeline.
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Use VSTS to deploy Functions as Infrastructure as Code

Azure Functions enable you to easily run small pieces of code in the cloud. To do this right, you need to setup continuous delivery of the infrastructure and the code involved. Otherwise you will end with an uncontrolled environment where nobody knows what code is actually running. In this blog post I’ll describe how to setup a deployment pipeline for Functions with VSTS. This will enable you to deploy Functions as Infrastructure as Code.

vstsfunctionpipelineFrom an deployment perspective an Azure Function contains of two parts:

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Lock Azure resources to prevent accidental deletion

In some cases you want to protect critical resources from accidental deletion. Some examples are a storage account with source data for processing, a Key Vault with disk encryption keys, or another key component in your infrastructure. When losing some resources that are key in your infrastructure, recovery can be dramatic. Resource Manager locks will enable you to protect these critical resources from deletion.

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Make a .NET Core CLI Extensions

.NET Core comes with a new tool chain for software development. These tools run from the CLI (Command Line Interface). Out of the box you have command line restore, build, etc. These tools are the primary tools on which higher-level tools, such as Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), editors and build orchestrators can build on. The tools set in extendable on project level. That means that you can add tools in the context of your project by adding it to your project file. The tool you want to run with the from the CLI is called a verb (dotnet-verb). Running a verb is done by: dotnet verb.

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Infrastructure as Code and VSTS

Your team is in the process of developing a new application feature, and the infrastructure has to be adapted. The first step is to change a file in your source control system that describes your infrastructure. When the changed definition file is saved in your source control system it triggers a new build and release. Your new infrastructure is deployed to your test environment, and the whole process to get the new infrastructure deployed took minutes while you only changed a definition file and you did not touch the infrastructure itself.

Does this sound like a dream? It is called Infrastructure as Code. In this article we will explain what Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is, the problems it solves and how to apply it with Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS).

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Keep your ARM deployment secrets in the Key Vault

When creating new resource in Azure that have secrets like passwords or ssl certificates you can securely save them in the Key Vault and get them from the Key Vault when you deploy. Only the people who need access to the secrets can read and write them to the Key Vault. In a infrastructure as code scenario the secrets are supplied when deploying your templates to Azure. The code it self will be free of secrets.

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Conditional parts in ARM Templates

When creating reusable ARM templates you have a number of options on how to manage conditional parts in your templates. The smallest conditions can be done by parameters, medium differences can be done by  t-shirt sizes and large differences by linked templates. In this blog post I’ll show how to use implement conditions by linked templates.

Making conditions with linked templates
From one template in resource manager you can link to an other template. This enables you to decompose a large template into smaller more maintainable templates. The linking is done by the template type Microsoft.Resources/deployments. This template contains a property templateLink with the uri to the actual template.

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