Microsoft has announced the Azure SDK 2.7 which brings a host of new features for Visual Studio 2013 and Visual Studio 2015, the latter of which is also going through the final release to the public. Visual Studio 2015 will have unseen support for the Microsoft Azure SDK 2.7 as well as continued tight-knit support.
You can get the Azure SDK 2.7 for .NET here for Visual Studio 2013, and here for Visual Studio 2015. Now, for a list of some of the new tools and features added in this update:
- Improved sign in features for Visual Studio 2015: The Azure SDK 2.7 for Visual Studio 2015 now includes support for Role Based Access Control, Cloud Solution Providers, DreamSpark, and more.
- Cloud Explorer for Visual Studio 2015: Support for Cloud Explorer with the Azure SDK 2.7 in Visual Studio 2015 will allow for high performance and scalability in inspections and viewing for your Azure resources, properties, and diagnostics within Visual Studio.
- Virtual Machine Remote Debug in Visual Studio 2015: Virtual Machines made with the Azure Resource Manager stack will be available for remote debugging.
- Azure Resource Manager Tools: Tools have been upgraded and updated in order to increase the ease of use for Visual Studio Online build tasks, and improvements have also been made for the RBAC(Role Based Access Control) and new subscription types.
- Azure App Service Tools: Azure App Service Tools are now available in Visual Studio 2015, which will bring many new additional features such as remote profiling and improvements to the Swagger generation for API Apps as well as some sign in supports. It also now uses the Azure Resource Management APIs for all of the features, so it now supports DreamSpark and Cloud Service Providers. Finally, there’s all new support for Azure API Apps preview release for Visual Studio 2015 developers.
- HDInsight Tools: I don’t have a clue what this means, but if you’re a techie type, you can decode this message straight from the Microsoft Azure blog. “In this release we have added views of execution graphs for Hive jobs running on Tez, expanded our Hive DML IntelliSense support, added NuGet for SCP.Net, upgraded our Storm templates and added new templates for Pig.”
- Azure Data Factory Tools: Azure SDK now has Azure Data Factory Tools, which makes the Azure Data Factory(ADF) experience far more simplistic and easier to use. The goal here with this is the removal of some challenges like on-boarding and deployment, as well as some improvements in work pace for users both new and experienced. More can be read here.
Here’s a basic summary before we get into detail about these things for the developer types: The main additions are tools and upgrades to increase the usability of Azure with Visual Studio, as well as new tools for Visual Studio itself. There are lots of productivity enhancements here.basics. Now, with that, let’s get to some specifics with these additions.
Sign in improvements in Visual Studio 2015
One of the main improvements listed today is the ability to sign into multiple accounts in Visual Studio 2015. Enabling multiple user account sign in allows for easier management of resources cross-account without having to do any tedious sign-in repetition.
Another improvement includes the Azure node in the Server Explorer. The new Cloud Explorer, and all the new Azure dialogs have an account selection box for easy account switching. With the new selection box, no longer will random messages appear for authorization until, you need to re-enter credentials. Here’s an image of a sample action being preformed, showcasing the account picker with subscriptions and the likes.
Next along the improvements list is support for accessing resources through RBAC. Now there is no requirement of adding people as co-admins to your Azure subscription, as it is possible to give users specific access to individual resources and actions, and VS2015 will handle the rest.
Next is, additional subscription types, like the ability to sign into Visual Studio from DreamSpark and Cloud Solution Providers(CSP) and more. Also, a user can filter directories(should they have multiple) to view the ones he wants to see, increasing ease of usage.
As a side note, signing in through DreamSpark and CSP is available through Visual Studio 2015 only, and will be made available through VS2013 in a future update for the SDK.
Cloud Explorer for Visual Studio 2015
The Cloud Explorer is a new tool window that will replace the Azure node in the Server Explorer. This new addition will bring improved performance for large numbers of resources and subscriptions, as well as support for Azure Resource Manager resources, groups, and RBAC. The Cloud Explorer should help address these needs in a one fell swoop, with the addition of taking developer and diagnostics actions in Visual Studio.
The current Cloud Explorer should have most of what is available in the Server Explorer, Storage Accounts, SQL Databases and VM’s, and there will actions for the remaining nodes in the future. Also, you can see new resources that don’t appear in the traditional Server Explorer like DocumentDB and local Azure Fabric groups. You will see all of the Azure RM stack/new portal, and some have only “open in portal” options, but Microsoft claims in the future there will be additional actions.
Some other additions are a resource group view, properties panel, and action panel. These will allow for quick access to various activities and options that will increase connection and productivity all around the board. Finally, you can switch accounts in the settings as well as add accounts for quick and easy access. If you’d like to read some specifics, here would be an excellent place to go for more information.
Remote debugging for Virtual Machines in Visual Studio 2015
With the Azure SDK, you can now use a remote debug process with Virtual Machines based on the Azure resource manager stack. You can enable the debug mode by clicking the Enable Debugging option on the Cloud Explorer.
Once it’s activated, you can attach the debugger through the action menu and then click “Attach to Process” and select the recipient process.
Remote Profiling Azure Web Apps
Remote diagnostics and profiling are a lot easier with the Azure SDK 2.7 for Web Apps, which is bringing usability up to the scale around the Cloud Service experience. You can profile Web Apps by right-clicking on the app’s node and then clicking “Start profiling” in the Server Explorer(And soon enough, it will be available in the Cloud Explorer).
When the remote profiler starts, all of your actions will be saved and queued up. When you are finished (canceling is about the same as starting), all the data will be saved and opened in Visual Studio 2015, (And soon support will be available for 2013). Once finished, you’ll see all the information about how your site ran live. Here’s a bit more coverage on this subject.
That’s a lot of what’s been added and what is to come, but not everything can fit in a small article. If you’d like to know more about RBAC, click the link for DreamSpark, for Hadoop and HDInsight Hive queries, as well as custom Swashbuckle generated API definitions. The links will tell you more as well as teach the usage of these features if you want to get a bit more information on using them. Finally, here’s the raw release notes for the bulk.
Judging by today’s announced improvements it’s safe to say Microsoft is trying to power through and secure a future of easy to use cloud-based services, as well as tools for developers and workers alike to use its features. Microsoft’s additions with Azure SDK 2.7 as well as their work on Visual Basic 2015 are just the start of their long journey to bring efficient work to the world.