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Azure Functions Monthly Update – Feb 2018

Azure Functions

The Azure Functions team have been consistently delivering the monthly update webcasts to showcase the improvements in the Azure portal. A huge shout out to the team for maintaining this consistency and at the same time delivering the improvements to the portal. This month’s webcast was spearheaded by Alex Karcher and  Christopher Anderson from the Azure Functions team. The updates from this edition are as follows.

Azure Functions Proxies

Alex started off talking about the Functions Proxies that is basically an API toolkit in Azure Functions. He showed a demo on some of the local tooling scenarios for a couple of different API development scenarios in Visual Studio. 

Azure Functions Pack 

This is a tool to make it easy to package your Azure Functions Node.js Functions for optimal performance on Azure Functions. Chris talked about the v1.o release of Functions Pack. Whenever an Azure Function App is recreated on demand (a so-called “cold start”) the node’js module cache for each Function will be empty. The Functions file system is sluggish in dealing with many small file accesses so there is a significant delay as node reads all the module files. Fortunately, node caches the modules in memory so subsequent accesses are fast. A javascript module bundler is used to place all the modules in a single file. The Function functions.json files are then modified so this bundle is used rather than the separate modules files. The interesting changes in this release are:

  1. Watch option for the pack – This option helps you to watch your output when you are running Functions Pack
  2. copyToOutput – Copy files to output directory to publish from Function Pack directory instead of touching the source code
  3. editConfig – Customize webpack config by applying function in this file 

Language Support for Functions


A tentative plan to roll out the new languages was disclosed by Chris, this plan is likely to change based on feedback.

  1. (alpha)Python worker, once ready for user testing will be deployed via container based deployment (Linux only)
  2. (beta)Once the quality is set, python will be available form portal/CLI
  3. GA will be quality driven based on the broader user feedbacks and support costs

The long-term visions include more specialized environments for a given framework/scenario and official support for community-driven languages. 

Reach Out

If you ever wanted to get in touch with the Azure Functions team on Python-related work and Language extensibility, here’s how you do it!

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.