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St Louis Day of .NET – Links to Blogs and Decks for all Polaris Speakers

by Angela 24. November 2014 15:22

This year was the second year that Polaris Solutions sponsored St. Louis Day of .NET.  In case you’re wondering why were sponsor a conference in St Louis, a) it’s a really great conference, and b) we have an office down there, a quickly growing one too! So if you missed it this year, stay tuned for STLDODN 2015! Outside of ThatConference, it is one of the most affordable, local conference that I have even been a part of. It was focused on Microsoft and .NET technologies, but also included a lot of talks around test automation, deployment and release management, and agile and scrum.

If you did attend, I wanted to make sure to point you at my slide decks, as well as the blogs and slide decks of some of our other presenters. If you missed them, I spoke on both TFS deployment and management as well as agile adoption, Josh did presentations on machine learning with Azure and ASP.NET identify framework, Clint did a really great presentation on Application Architecture and another on Advanced OOP, and Jeff talked about a topic near and dear to my hear as well – TFS Consolidation and migrations.  If you attended the pre-compiler sessions you may have even run across our newest Polarian – Alejandro Ramirez. Great stuff, all of them! Here is a roundup of how to find more information on those speakers, and to get their slides:

  • Angela Dugan: You’re already on my blog :) slides are here
  • Clint Edmonson: Blog and slides
  • Josh Gillespie: Blog and slides
  • Jeff Przylucki: Blog and slides to be posted soon, check back in a few days!
  • Alejandro Ramirez:Blog and slides

 

A couple of us even made it into the podcast line-up while there as well! I’ll be appearing on an upcoming edition of Technology and Friends, and both myself and Alejandro got a chance to sit down with the great team behind St Louis Tech Talks

Lastly, be sure to check out the STLDODN twitter feed (and search on #STLDODN) for some great tweets, links to the other great podcast episodes recorded live during the conference, as well as links to some of the other presentations.

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Join the Chicago ALM User Group Next Week for Application Insights 101!

by Angela 11. November 2014 19:05

So maybe you’ve been hearing some buzz around Microsoft's Application Insights technology.  Application Insights, in case you aren't familiar with it, is like Google Analytics on steroids. But like, get kicked out of MLB steroids :) Technically it is STILL in Preview, but if you’re running VS 2013 Update 3, you may have noticed a slight facelift in the tooling and dashboards. 

In this presentation, Angela is going to spend an hour or so walking you through the basics of setting up Application Insights on your web application and navigating some of the awesome data that it allows you to collect about your applications reliability, performance, and usage data.

When: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Where:Microsoft-Chicago 200 East Randolph, 2nd Floor, Chicago

Who: Angela Dugan, ME!  

Agenda:6:30pm dinner 7:00pm Presentation

I hope to see you in Chicago next week. Please be sure to register soon so I can order the right amount of food and so that the security folks will let you in! You can park in the Aon center for a discounted rate after 6pm, but your best bet may be SpotHero if you choose to drive. I’ve seen $8 parking ½ block away using their service.

RSVP Now to Attend

Tags:

Application Insights | Application Lifecycle Management | Visual Studio 2013 | Visual Studio

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My First Clumsy Attempt With Application Insights

by Angela 9. November 2014 22:42

So maybe you’ve been hearing some buzz around Application Insights (referred to as AI after this because I’m lazy).  I first heard of it a year or so ago when it was in Preview. Well, technically it is STILL in Preview, but if you’re running VS 2013 Update 3 or newer you may have noticed a slight facelift in the tooling. I wanted to get my hands into it so I could experience it for myself, and my experience was so awesome I figured I’d share. So if you’ve stuck with me this far and are wondering, “what the heck IS AI anyway?”, it’s like Google Analytics on steroids. But like, get kicked out of MLB steroids.

So to get started you’ll need Visual Studio 2013, the VS 2013 add-ons that support AI, and either access to a web application that you can deploy with the AI telemetry installed, or an MSDN subscription or a personal Azure account so you can easily create and publish your own web app. If like me you are NOT a developer, but still want to see what AI can do for your organization with a super simple web application, I also included a link to a How To article for getting a web app up and running in Azure really quickly.

Getting started with Azure and ASP.NET

How to: Migrate and Publish a Web Application to an Azure Cloud Service from Visual Studio

Application Insights Tools for VS

At this point I had my super simple ASP.NET web application deployed to an Azure website, and can even monitor the Azure website from within Visual Studio in the Server Explorer. Nice, right? I know.

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And right now it’s FREE to host my website on Azure too.  I have a really simple site that doesn’t require a lot of resources, so that may not always be the case, but if you’re just evaluating Azure and/or AI this is a really nice way to get there! More pricing can be found here on azure websites if you’re interested in learning more.

Now, before I move on I want to make something clear, it doesn’t matter where your application code is, or where it is hosted. There is a common misconception that you can only leverage AI if you are using VSOnline for your application development and SCM. And I don’t want to imply from my example that hosting in Azure is required either. Azure was just the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way for me to publish my web application, and heck, as a bonus I got some experience publishing to Azure. My source code is stored in an on-premise TFS server, but it could be anywhere.  What is important is that the telemetry data is configured to send information to the AI dashboards, which are currently available through the VSOnline portal. So at a minimum you will need access to a VSOnline instance.

Even before adding any telemetry to your application in VS, you can setup a new Application Insights dashboard against any existing website and start getting some limited data points back. Just look for the link on your VSOnline Homepage under Recent Dashboards, create a new dashboard, and add the application URLs to be monitored.

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Perhaps starting at the dashboard was a bit backwards, I’ll admit to often charging ahead on new tools to figure it out as I go rather than reading the instructions first, but luckily the AI tools do a great job of walking you through everything you need to do to “light up” the different sections. In some cases, it requires adding small snippets of code the the HTML of the web pages you wish to monitor, for other metrics you may be required to install the MMA tool on your server (assuming you have the ability to do this). 

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So without all the fancy telemetry tools deployed with your app, there is not much on your dashboard yet. But without any additional configuration, it will at least start pinging your website on regular intervals to ensure it is up and running and to pull back some response time data. Pretty neat huh? But I want more data!

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You also may have noticed that so far I’ve actually been leveraging the OLD AI dashboard experience instead of leveraging the Azure portal experience. For now, regardless of which portal you use to set up your AI dashboard, it will be available in both the old and new portals. I personally found it easier to start in the old experience, and once the basics were configured I then jumped into the new portal to dig into the data.  You may also find that you need the old portal if you are testing one of the few application types not yet supported by the new AI, more details here.

Given how much ground we covered in this session, I wanted to let all of this marinate before diving deeper into AI capabilities, and walking through some of the detailed metrics that can be pulled from your application. Truth be told, I’m still tweaking my configuration, processing data, and figuring out what it all means. Seriously, check out some of the awesome data I am able to dig through in the new AI portal:

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So, stay tuned for my next post, where we really get deep into the data weeds using Application Insights!

Tags:

ALM | ASP.NET | Azure | Microsoft | MSDN | Visual Studio 2013 | VS 2013 | Visual Studio | Application Insights

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