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Deploying Your Web Site to Azure Static Web Apps

đź’­ Imagine: merging a Pull Request is all it takes to automatically deploy your static or single-page app to a secure, dynamically scaled, and globally distributed network with integrated API support – that’s the promise of Azure Static Web Apps.

Announced during Microsoft Build 2020, Azure Static Web App is a service that automatically builds and deploys static web apps to Azure from a GitHub repository. The features that I find the most interesting are:

  • First-party Github integration
  • Globally distributed
  • Free, auto-renewed SSL certificates
  • Integrated API support by Azure Functions
  • For now – Free hosting for your static site (Angular, React, etc)

I gave it a try and I have to say: it’s pretty cool! đź‘Ť I’ll have the step-by-step on how to configure and deploy an existing site to Azure Static Web Apps below. The steps seem lengthy but there are really just a few basic steps:

  • Create a new “Static Web App” resource and configure basic parameters.
  • Point to the GitHub repository of your app.
  • After a few screens, your app is automatically deployed and available on its own secure URL on Azure Static Web Apps.

If you want to create a brand new site from scratch, see the official documentation docs.microsoft.com.

Deploying an Existing Static Site to Azure Static Web Apps

As part of the #100DaysOfCode challenge, I’ve been working on a React site that hosts various programming utilities like encoders/decoders, UUID generator, test data generators, etc. It’s a perfect candidate to test out Azure Static Web Apps.

Create Your Static Web App

First, log into Azure Portal and click “Create a resource“, then search for “Azure static web“. You should see Static Web App (Preview) in the search results. Click on it.

Azure Static Web App - Search

Click Create.

Fill out the Basics tab. Most of the fields are self-explanatory. Click “Sign in with GitHub“.

The page expands, showing a few more fields for GitHub. Fill out with the info for your app’s GitHub repository, and choose “Next: Build>“.

On the Build tab, fill in the appropriate values for “App location“, “Api location“, and “App artifact location“. Then click “Review + create“.

App location” is the root folder for your app. It’s typically / or /app. “Api location” should be left blank if you are unsure. “App artifact location” is the folder to your build.

Review your settings and click Create. Wait a few seconds for the deployment to complete. During the initial deployment, Static Web Apps automatically creates a GitHub Action for you (in the file named azure-static-web-apps-<id>.yml and adds it to your chosen branch. When it’s all done you should see this page:

Click “Go to resource” to go to the resource page for your new Static Web App. On the Overview page, you will see a link to your web app.

Click on “GitHub Action runs” to go over to your GitHub repo and view the status of your deploy Action. You should see a new Action named “ci: add Azure Static Web Apps workflow file”. It should take about two minutes to run.

Switch to the Code tab and see that a new Action file was added to your repo. This is what tells GitHub to automatically build and deploy your app to Azure Static Web Apps.

Bring Up Your Static Web App

It’s time to bring up our web site on Azure Static Web Apps!

Go back to Azure Portal and click on the URL to your app to bring it up. The below screenshot shows my app now running on Azure Static Web Apps with its own unique secure URL.

Custom Domain Name

Adding a custom domain name is pretty straightforward. On Azure Portal, go to the home page of your Static Web App, and click on “Custom domains“, then Add.

On the “Add custom domain” page, note the Azure host name for your site. You will need to create a DNS CNAME record to point your custom domain to that Azure host name. The specifics of this part depends on your domain registrar or web hosting provider. For me, the domain name chinhdo.com is hosted on Pair Networks so I went to their control panel and created there CNAME record there.

After you have created your DNS CNAME record, go back to Azure Portal and paste your custom domain into the “Custom domain” box, then click Validate.

Depending on your DNS settings it can take up to 48 hours for a new DNS record to propagate. In practice it should not take more than an hour. In my case it took about 15 minutes. If you get an error in the next step, just wait some time and try again.

After you get the “Validation succeeded” message, click Add to add your custom domain to your Static Web App. This step took about one minute for me

And now I am able to get to the web site via the custom domain name https://programmers-toolbox.chinhdo.com:

Troubleshooting Tips

I did run into one problem with a test site. The initial deployment for it did not happen automatically. I verified that the *.yml file was created but the Action never got executed. I was able to get around that by pushing a “dummy” change to the repository.

Game Changer?

Azure Static Web Apps looks to be a game changer. You are getting important features like SSL, dynamic scaling, global distribution, and GitHub deployment all in one easy-to-use package. Once configured, deploying your changes is as simple as pushing code to your GitHub repository. In fact I have deployed several new versions of the app over the past few days and it worked perfectly fine each time.

If cost is reasonable, I would definitely use it on a permanent basis for my single-page/static sites. Currently Azure Static Web Apps is in preview and is free, but things may change after it goes out of preview.

What do you think about Azure Static Web Apps? I would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know here in the Comments section or on Twitter!

Azure Static Web Apps

Best Demo 4K UHD Videos on YouTube

Just got a 4K Ultra HD TV/monitor and looking for things to watch/test your new monitor/TV? Try these YouTube videos.

From the HDR channel: LG’s demo video

The Ultimate High-resolution 4K movie in Super 35mm vol.01 | Alpha 7R II | Sony | α

Real 4K HDR: Cosmos Laundromat in HDR

Landscapes: Volume 4K (UHD)

TIMELAPSE OF THE FUTURE: A Journey to the End of Time (4K)

10 Incredible 4K (Ultra HD) Videos

Samsung 4K UHD demo video: Cityscape (with great song)

Demo 4K – Ultra HD

Japan in 8K 60fps

Transient – 4K, UHD, 1000FPS

Monitor & Visualize Your SmartThings Smart Home with Splunk

The smart home has gone through quite a convergence in the last few years. Modern protocols like Z-Wave & ZigBee, along with mart hubs, and smart assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Home & Apple Siri are finally bringing everything together to make the smart home a practical and reliable reality.

What had been still missing from the picture for me, is the ability to log, analyze, and visualize all the data that my smart home generated. I use Splunk (data capture and visualization tool) at work so I decided to give it a try at home and it’s worked out great.

Here’s a Splunk dashboard I created for my home, showing current and historical data from multiple data sources: energy meter, contact sensors, switches, weather data feed, Windows event logs, and some custom PowerShell scripts.

My SmartThings-based smart home setup:

  • Samsung SmartThings Hub 2nd Gen
  • Amazon Echo Devices
  • Various ZigBee/Z-Wave devices
    • Samsung SmartThings GP-U999SJVLAAA Door & Window Multipurpose Sensors
    • Samsung SmartThings GP-U999SJVLBAA Motion Sensors
    • Samsung F-OUT-US-2 SmartThings Outlets
    • Other ZigBee/Z-Wave switches, dimmers, and plugs
    • Samsung ST-CEN-MOIS-1/FTR-US-2 Water Leak Sensors
    • Aeotec HEM G2 whole house energy monitor
    • First Alert ZCOMBO 2-in-1 Smoke Detector & Carbon Monoxide Alarm, Z-Wave
  • PowerShell scripts to pull data from openweathermap.org & run/log periodic Internet speed tests.
  • Splunk Free

Installing Splunk Free Edition

Download and install Splunk. You will start with the Enterprise version which comes with a 60-Day Trial. After that you can switch to the Free edition. Splunk Free allows indexing up to 500 MB of data per day which has been sufficient for my home logging needs. For my setup I installed Splunk on a 14-year old Windows box with a Intel Core2 Quad CPU Q6600 @2.40GHz – Splunk indexing/query performance has been pretty acceptable.

If your install was successful, you should be able to log into Splunk web by navigating to http://localhost:8000 (or replace localhost with your Splunk server hostname).

If you want to monitor other computers, install Splunk Universal Forwarder on each of those computers. I’ll go through how to configure the Universal Forwarders in a future post.

Read More

.NET Transactional File Manager Migrated to GitHub

I have migrated the .NET Transactional File Manager project to GitHub from CodePlex. I originally wrote about it in this blog post.

The library allows you do enlist file I/O operations in transactions using System.Transactions. For example you can wrap a SQL Server insert and creation of a new file on disk in the same transaction, and commit or rollback the two operations together as a unit.

Example code:

// Wrap a file copy and a database insert in the same transaction
TxFileManager fileMgr = new TxFileManager();
using (TransactionScope scope1 = new TransactionScope())
{
    // Copy a file
    fileMgr.CopyFile(srcFileName, destFileName);

    // Insert a database record
    dbMgr.ExecuteNonQuery(insertSql);

    scope1.Complete();
}

This library is available as a NuGet package.

dotnet add package TxFileManager

Version 1.4 is now available with the following changes/fixes:

  • Convert to xUnit tests
  • Add support for custom temp paths to address issues with file/dir operations accross filesystems
  • Fix for resource leak in TxFileManager._txEnlistment
  • Target .NET Standard 2.0
  • Additional testing for .NET Core on Ubuntu
  • Additional stress testing both on Windows and Ubuntu
  • Created Github workflow to automatically build/test on ubuntu
  • Added FxCop static analysis

Finding developers who recently made changes to a component with git

Who knows about this

A few git commands to list the developers with recent commits in a specific folder. I find that this is a good/quick way to find out who you need to talk to if you have questions about a specific code component or feature.

chinhdo@ubuntu2:~/v/tmp/converted2$ git shortlog -sn
    10  Chinh Do
     6  cdo
     5  Vas Gábor

Use git log and –pretty to show more columns:

$ git log --after='2020-01-01' --no-merges --abbrev-commit --pretty="format: %h (%an - %cr) - %s" -- .
 13495c64f7 (Joey Perrott - 3 days ago) - docs(dev-infra): update triage and contributing docs for dev-infra (#35995)
 3f88de9407 (George Kalpakas - 9 days ago) - build: move build scripts to dedicated directory (#35780)
 2e728f7fff (George Kalpakas - 9 days ago) - docs: remove `ivy` and mention `ve` label in docs (#35809)
 5615928df9 (Paul Gschwendtner - 10 days ago) - build: no longer run tslint from within gulp task (#35800)
 ...

List recent authors sorted by number of commits:

$ git log --after='2019-06-01' --no-merges -- . | grep Author: | sort | uniq -c | sort -bgr
       9 Author: George Kalpakas kalpakas.g@gmail.com
       7 Author: Joey Perrott josephperrott.github@gmail.com
       3 Author: Paul Gschwendtner paulgschwendtner@gmail.com
       2 Author: Michael Prentice splaktar@gmail.com
       2 Author: Judy Bogart jbogart@gmail.com
       ...

See also

  • https://devhints.io/git-log-format

How to get free 2 GB of data on each line for Life on Verizon Wireless for about $40

Verizon Wireless is running a promo until 1/6/2016, that will give you 2 GB of free data for life if you are on an XL plan or larger, and you upgrade an existing device or add a new device.

Here’s how to you can take advantage of this promo and add the 2 GB of bonus data per line for life by spending about $50, even if you don’t have an upgrade available. To me, $40 for 2 GB of data per month for life is more than worth it.

Here’s how:

  • “Upgrade” your device to the cheapest smartphone available. Right now for me it would be the Droid Mini. The full price is $108.
  • If you are ordering online, make sure the confirmation page says you are getting 2 GB data bonus. If via a Verizon rep, confirm with her/him.
  • Activate the new Droid Mini.
  • Wait a day or two, and reactive your original phone, and sell the Droid Mini on eBay or the marketplace of your choice. You should get about $90 for it.
  • Total cost to you, excluding shipping, etc is about $40.

Disclaimer: while I believe this to work based on my own experience and available information. I cannot warranty that this will work for you.

Make all of your home servers reachable by Remote Desktop

If you have more than one servers/PCs running at home behind the internet router, you can normally set up the router port forwarding to forward Remote Desktop traffic to just one server. However, by assigning different incoming ports for different servers, you can connect to each server individually.

Basically, use a different port for each server. Then configure the port forwarding on the router to router each port to the appropriate server on 3389. This assumes that your router supports different ranges for external and internal ports.

For example, for my home setup, I use three different port numbers for the 3 servers I have at home:

RemoteDesktopPortForwarding

By using non-standard ports, there’s also a side benefit of a little extra security.

In Remote Desktop Client, you would add the port number to the Computer name like this:

RemoteDesktopClient

 

Happy Remote Desktoping!

Using Wake On LAN to remotely wake up my Windows 8 server

What I did:

  • Under Network Properties, Power Management, check “Allow this device to wake the computer” and “Only allow a magic packet to wake the computer”.
  • Under Advanced tab, make sure “Wake on Magic Packet” and “Wake on pattern match” are enabled.
  • On the Internet router, forward port 9 to the server.
  • Use “Wol Wake on Lan” Android app to wake up server.

Posting a feed to Google Search Appliance (GSA) from PowerShell

PowerShell code to submit a feed to Google Search Appliance:

$dataSource = "MyFeed" # replace this with your datasource name
$gsaUrl = "http://testsearch.example.com:19900/xmlfeed"; # replace this with your GSA URL

$xml = @"
$dataSource incremental
"@
   
Write-Output "Submitting feed to $gsaUrl."

$body = "feedtype=metadata-and-url&datasource=$dataSource&data=$xml"
$contentType = "multipart/form-data"
$length = $body.Length

Write-Output "Posting feed to GSA:"
Write-Output $xml

$r=Invoke-WebRequest -uri $gsaUrl -method POST -body $body -ContentType $contentType -UserAgent "Ps-GsaFeedSubmitter"

See also Feeds Protocol Developer’s Guide

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