One of my favorite services in Azure is Functions, which allow you to create serverless micro-services. Triggered by events, after which they run their code, Functions are perfect for the event-driven architectures we strive for these days. These events can come from various sources, like when a message is available in Service Bus, timers, an event sent from Event Grid, etc. However, the one we still use a lot is an HTTP trigger, where we expose the Function as a REST endpoint, available for consumers to call into.
Often we will have an architectural guideline, that every REST endpoint needs to be exposed through Azure API Management. Therefor, we expose these HTTP triggered Functions via API Management as well. We also have guidelines that everything is deployed as Infrastructure as Code, so we do this through ARM templates. In this post we dive into the security side of this, and how to set this up in ARM.
Yesterday Microsoft announced their newest service on Azure, and it is called Azure Event Grid. With this new service, we now have event based serverless routing, from any source, to any destination. Of course, we all love integration, and Azure Event Grid brings a whole new world of possibilities. The service is currently in public preview, and we already have various publishes and event handlers to our disposal, and more will be rolling out over the coming months. In the end, expect every service within Azure to have a connection to Event Grid.
Event Publishers and Handlers
In this post, I will show how we can use Visual Studio to write Azure Functions and use these in our Logic Apps. Azure Functions, which went GA on November 15th are a great way to write small pieces of code, which then can be used from various places, like being triggered by a HTTP request or a message on Service Bus, and can easily integrate with other Azure services like Storage, Service Bus, DocumentDB and more. We can also use our Azure Functions from Logic Apps, which gives us powerful integrations and workflow, using the out of the box Logic Apps connectors and actions, and placing our custom code in re-usable Functions.
Writing Azure Functions from Visual Studio
Previously, our main option to write Azure Functions was by using the online editor, which can be found in the portal.
However, most developers will be used to develop from Visual Studio, with its great debugging abilities and easy integration with our source control. Luckily, earlier this month the preview of Visual Studio Tools for Azure Functions was announced, giving us the ability to write Functions from our beloved IDE. For this post I used a machine with Visual Studio 2015 installed, along with Microsoft Web Developer Tools and Azure 2.9.6 .NET SDK.
Last week I attended Integrate 2016 in London, the biggest Microsoft integration event this year, organized by BizTalk360. The outcome was almost 400 attendees, and there were sessions from the Microsoft Product Group, industry leaders and MVP’s.
The major take-away I have from the event, is that Microsoft now has a great vision on the future of integration, which I felt was missing the last couple of years. Now though, they recognize that even though the cloud is a great asset, on premise is not going away for a long time. Also Microsoft has now officially announced that their on-premise integration solution will be BizTalk, which has not been getting a lot of love lately.
In my my previous post, I showed how we can use a WebJob to process a Service Bus queue and store the data in an Azure SQL database. This was pretty simple to set up, but it did require a good understanding of how to connect with these and process the data. Sometimes however we just want to do a quick integration without needing to set up all this plumbing. Recently Microsoft announced a new feature called Azure Functions, with now makes this possible. Azure functions can be used to create a small function which can run stand-alone, or be called from other applications, for example from a logic app, as has been described here by Sandro Pereira. Azure Functions provide out of the box connections for triggers, input and output to a lot of other Azure features, including Event Hubs, Service Bus, Azure Storage and DocumentDB. In this post I will show how we can process our message from the queue we created in this blogpost, and store it in an Azure Storage table. We will start by creating a new Function App in the portal.