Azure Functions Monthly Update – April 2018

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. We thought it would be good to write a blog series on this event so that it will be useful if you were unable to attend the live session. 

You can take a look at the webcast here. In this session, Jeff Hollan and Colby Tresness from the Azure Functions team talk about the new features that have been added to Azure Functions over the last month.

Assembly Resolution in Azure Functions

Azure Functions team has resolved the Azure Resolutions (binding) redirect issue, that was a common ask in the community and written a blog on this issue and updated the GitHub issue. In addition to various tasks, the Azure Functions runtime acts as the hosting environment for .NET functions, and because of limitations with the underlying frameworks and infrastructure, today, the function assemblies (and their dependencies) are loaded in the same process and application domain as the runtime, which leads to issues in scenario where your function dependencies conflict with runtime dependencies, particularly when your function directly interacts with the runtime, usually through a binding type exchange. This blog details about what is binding redirects, how it affects the version 1 and version 2 run-time of Azure Functions, and the steps inline to improve assembly resolution and loading issues.  Check out this detailed blog that gives a real-time working example on some of the assembly resolution and loading issues you may run into when using Azure Functions today. The team’s working hard to ensure the .NET experience is significantly improved in the upcoming version of the Azure Functions runtime, 2.0, not only by enhancing existing functionality but by introducing new options to unblock advanced scenarios, giving .NET developers full control over their dependencies.

VS Code Improvements (local.settings.json publish)

The Visual Studio code team has made new changes in the last week update that includes easy steps to publish application settings from a dev environment to an Azure Function in the cloud or vice versa using Azure Functions extension settings. Also, few other cool stuff to automatically install the core tools if you already don’t have them on your machine.

V2 Performance Improvements

  • A few weeks ago, the Azure Functions team rolled out a big V2 runtime release, one of the things that were bundled in the release was performance improvements like the language workers which increased the performance and decreased the latency. 
  • Faster extension installs in the Azure portal – For example, In V2 runtime you want to use a Cosmos DB in your Functions, earlier you can that as an extension on the portal or the tools. But now to you can do it much faster in the portal.
  • Java/lib support loop folder that will work with the language worker.

What’s Coming?

  • //Build Conference (May 7-9th in Seattle, WA) – Azure Functions team has a booth, where you can meet the Azure Functions team. Live sessions are scheduled and the recorded sessions will be made available post the conference.
  • Seamless extension installation for non-C# languages – this is expected to roll out next month.
  • Visual Studio and VS for Mac improvements.
  • Run From Zip(RFZ) tooling support – Colby Tresness also showed a demo of this feature. 
    • The distinguished capability of this feature is – instead of blowing up the zip file on the site, you can run the file directly from the zip package. This means only one file is getting transferred making the process faster.
    • Two flavors – External and Internal Zip.
    • The benefit of RFZ includes atomicity, predictability, cold start and versioning.
    • Also, the limitations are, it’s only in the Preview stage, Windows only, Read-Only and no tooling for the preview.
  • More performance improvements to V2 runtime.

Feedback

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

No Webcast in May 2018

There won’t be an Azure Functions webcast in May due to the Build conference but in the meantime, the team here will do a lot of reference videos that will be uploaded to the Official YouTube channel.

Serverless360 Update on Azure Functions

Managing and Monitoring Azure Functions from Serverless360 Private Hosting are going to be rolled out in the upcoming release in a few days. With Serverless360 you can add Azure Functions to your Composite Applications to manage and monitor your Integration scenarios with granular user access policies. Try out Serverless360 Private Hosting free trial to unleash the experience of managing and monitoring your Azure Integrations.

Serverless360 is a one platform tool to operate, manage and monitor Azure Serverless components. It provides efficient tooling that is not and likely to be not available in Azure Portal. Try Serverless360 free for 30 days! 

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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.