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Azure Functions Live – Feb 2019

The Azure Functions team at Microsoft has been conducting a webcast every month to let the community stay up-to-date on the latest developments. This is a nice way for them to reach out and engage with the community to gain feedback on the features. In this session, Jeff Hollan, Colby Tresness and Asavari Tayal from the Azure Functions team discussed about the new features that have been added to Azure Functions over the 2 months.

What’s new?

  1. .NET Core 2.2 support – If you are using .NET Core 2.2, feel relaxed, you now got support for it in Azure Functions.
  2. Massive performance improvements in JAVA
    1. Reduce the cold start by 10x – Now the JAVA process starts event before the user application. Thus, the start time and cold start are reduced by 10 times than before.
    2. General availability is coming soon
  3. Custom binding support for Java
  4. Improvements and fixes to VS 2019 previewRelease Notes here for Preview 1, 1.1, 2, 2.1, 2.2, and 3
  5. VS Code performance and Python improvements – In the latest release, there is a significant improvement in the start time of functions extension. If you are using a Python project, PTVSD debugger is inbuilt in the extension itself.
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What’s coming

  1. Azure Functions premium plan – still in Private Preview (http://aka.ms/functionspremium)
  2. Bundles for extension with runtime – Coming shortly! Today, if you want to use the Triggers or Bindings, you need to install .NET SDK’s. With Bundles, if you use a standard extension, then you do not need to install the .NET SDK. It simplifies the non-.NET developer’s life.        
  3. .NET Dependency Injection – It is on the very top of the backlog. Coming soon!
  4. Azure DevOps improvements – Will be rolled out in coming weeks
    1. Templates in DevOps for Functions task. GA offering is to start for .NET and JavaScript soon.
    2. Another interesting update is to start Azure DevOps from the Azure Functions portal using the deployment center.
    3. Powerful Azure Command-Line Interface (CLI) to start Azure DevOps and Functions incredibly easy – Release coming in next couple of weeks
  5. TypeScript tooling – Release expected to come on Monday! You will be able to start TypeScript out-of-the-box with Functions core tools and VS code extensions.

Community Content

Here are the top 6 content that Jeff Hollan wanted to mention.

  1. @AzureTrenches – James Randall has worked on an open source framework on top of Functions called Function Monkey. It is for .NET with a streamlined way to write Functions. See project
  2. @Jeremylikness – Migrating from v1 to v2. Jeremy has documented the lessons learned from his recent Migration of Azure Functions from v1 (.NET) to v2 (.NET Core/Standard). Read blog
  3. @stimms – Durable Functions and NServiceBus Sagas + Durable analyser Read blog
  4. @serverless360 – You are often left in search of some tips or how to do activities around Azure Serverless, visit https://serverlessnotes.com for your answers!
  5. @HowardvRooijen – ML.NET, Durable and Azure Functions Read blog

Question and Answers

  1. Azure Functions v2 language support for Powershell?
    Asavari: We have built a PowerShell language worker that essentially provides the same experience for development similar to node or Java. This PowerShell core support is in private preview. Contact the team for private preview access. This will be public in the coming semester. 
  2. Zero downtime deployments in slots?
    Colby: We haven’t been prioritizing this, but definitely wanted to do this. The goal is to have this completed in this semester (Before July 1st).
  3. Migrate from consumption to App service plan?
    Jeff: There is an issue thread already in GitHub here Jeff’s latest update on this thread is; 

    This has gone a little stale and I’ve learned a lot / we’ve done some work:

    1. You can change the plan type by modifying the “serverFarmId” property of the Azure Functions Microsoft .Web/sites resource (via something like the az resource CLI command or https://resources.azure.com).
    2. Note that _by default_ apps created in an App Service Plan do not have two important properties: WEBSITE_CONTENTAZUREFILECONNECTIONSTRING and WEBSITE_CONTENTSHARE that consumption functions need to scale. These don’t hurt to have in an app service plan but you _must_ have them in a consumption plan

    So, to move from consumption -> dedicated for now you can use a manual method. From dedicated -> consumption it **may** work but make sure you have right app settings first.

    We do have some UX and some features coming out in the next month that will allow migration between plan types in the portal

  4. Any upgrade for Key Vault integration in Application settings?
    Here is the blog post answering this question- Read blog
  5. What is the future of function filters? Are there any major changes planned for them in the future and when will they reach GA?
    Colby: We are not actively investing in it. There is no plan to change this at the current time, but if there is super valid feedback we would like to hear it.
  6. How does the scale controller work?
    In this session, Azure Functions and the future of Serverless in the Enterprise Jeff has presented a demo at the 17th minute about Scale controller. 
  7. API-M ‘premium plan’ sharing the same base instance(s) as Functions premium plan?
    Jeff: Not API Management, but it is sharing the same instances as App Service Premium. This means the same underlying infrastructure but not the API Management Premium.

You can see all the release updates in https://github.com/Azure/azure-functions-host/

Upcoming Events

Azure Function team members will be available to meet at the following events. You can ping them directly for some chat time.

  1. ServerlessDays Boston (March 12)
  2. Ignite the Tour Amsterdam (March 20-21)
  3. ServerlessDays Amsterdam (March 29)
  4. Intelligent Cloud Conference – Copenhagen (April 8-10)
  5. ngConf- Salt Lake City (May 1-3)
  6. PyCon 2019 – Cleveland May (3-5)
  7. Microsoft Build – Seattle (May 6-8)
  8. INTEGRATE 2019 – London/Seattle (June 3-5/24-26)

Feedback

If you are working on Azure Functions and have something interesting, feel free to share them with the Azure Functions team via Twitter at @AzureFunctions.

You can watch the recorded video of this session here.

In case you missed the earlier updates from the Azure Functions team, look at our recap blogs here;

Author: Mohan Nagaraj

Mohan as a Product Marketing Executive is responsible for Product messaging and positioning, Sales Enablement, Market, customer, and competitive analysis. He combines his passion for business, technology, and writing to spread the word about Serverless360. Mohan is responsible to work with cross-functional teams to visualize and create product documentation and marketing content. He feels writing is so much fun and it is satisfying to capture the company’s soul & passion and make it live through documentation.