Why don’t monitoring tools monitor changes?

Changes in applications or IT infrastructure can lead to application downtime. This not only hits your revenue, it also has a negative impact on your reputation.

Everybody in IT understands the importance of having the right monitoring solutions in place. From an infrastructure – to a business perspective, we rely on monitoring tools to get us the right information.

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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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Created an open source VSTS build & release task for Azure Web App Virtual File System

I’ve created a new VSTS Build & Release task to help you interact with the (VFS) Virtual File System API (Part of KUDU API of your Azure Web App). Currently this task can only be used to delete specific files or directories from the web app during your build or release workflow. It will be updated in the near future to also be able to list files or to upload / download files through the VFS API

The reason i made this task was that i needed it at my current customer. We’re deploying our custom solution to a Sitecore website running on Azure web apps using MSDeploy. The deployment consists of 2 parts: an install of the out-of-the-box Sitecore installation and the deployment of our customisations. When deploying new versions we want to keep the Sitecore installation and MSDeploy will update most of our customisations. Some customisations however create artifacts that stay on the server and aren’t  in control of the MSDeploy package that can cause errors on our web application. This new VSTS Build / Release task can help you delete these files. In the future this task will be updated with other functionality of the VFS API such as listing, uploading or downloading files.

The task is available in the VSTS Marketplace and is open source on github.

Let’s have a look how to use this task and how it works under the hood.
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Force uninstall Visual Studio 2017 Release candidates

If you, like me, are stuck trying to upgrade Visual Studio 2017, then you may only get unblocked by removing everything and starting afresh. Since Visual Studio 2017 is still in Release Candidate and not final, this is something we may have to deal with from time to time.

But when the "uninstall" button in the ui fails, you may end up stuck. In that case, you'll be happy to find:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\Installer\resources\app\layout\installcleanup.exe

Which will perform the same actions as the good old "vssetup.exe /uninstall /force". If that doesn't get you unstuck, there is an even more forceful way:

Delete everything under:

  • C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\VisualStudio\15.0
  • C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\VisualStudio\Packages
  • %appdata%\Microsoft\VisualStudio\15.0*
  • %appdata%\Microsoft\VisualStudio\Packages
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2017
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\15.0*
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARE\Microsoft\VisualStudio\15.0*

Add :8080 to your TFS 2017 bindings after upgrading to SSL

Because TFS 2017 allows authentication with Personal Access Tokens (PAT) it's recommended to upgrade to SSL if you were still on port 80. The installer will even help with the configuration and can add a redirect from port :80 to :443.

It doesn't add a a redirect from port :8080 though, so your users may have to update all their bookmarks. Or you can add that second binding in IIS yourself:

And that will help your users find the new location more easily.

Tester in an agile team: a necessity or dispensable?

Let’s imagine it’s the year 2025 and we peek inside an average IT company to take a look at the software development teams working there: what are the chances that there will still be a person who is a tester in each of these teams? Some of you will say: “of course they’ll be gone, everybody will be a developer by then”, while some will hope that the role of the tester will still exist. What would that role look like, then?

If we go back to the current day and age, we can already see a trend that’s been going on in a lot of companies that will give us a peak in a not so pleasant future.Read more →

Top 5 Ingredients for developing Cloud Native Applications

Introduction

Cloud Native Applications is a trend in IT that promises to develop and deploy applications at scale fast and cost-efficient by leveraging cloud services to get run-time platform capabilities such as performance, scalability and security out of the box. Teams are able to focus on delivering functionality to increase the pace of innovation.  Everything aimed to stay ahead of the competition. Companies such as Netflix and Uber disrupt their markets by leveraging cloud native capabilities to quickly introduce their products at a global scale. Adapt or die.

This article serves as the start of a serie of articles. The goal of this initial article is to explain the why and how of cloud native applications by defining the top 5 ingredients and their rationale. In follow-up articles, I will explain the ingredients in more detail.Read more →

Being an Agile Security Officer: pwn the process

This is the third part of my 'Being an Agile Security Officer series'. As mentioned in my previous blog, in the Agile world the Product Owner is the person who translates business and customer desires into work items for the teams. To do this, product owners have several techniques and means at their disposal. In this blog I will focus on the backlog and the definition of done. As a security officer it's important to understand their purpose and to learn how they can help you achieve your goals.

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