0

My First Clumsy Attempt With Application Insights

by Angela 9. November 2014 22:42

So maybe you’ve been hearing some buzz around Application Insights (referred to as AI after this because I’m lazy).  I first heard of it a year or so ago when it was in Preview. Well, technically it is STILL in Preview, but if you’re running VS 2013 Update 3 or newer you may have noticed a slight facelift in the tooling. I wanted to get my hands into it so I could experience it for myself, and my experience was so awesome I figured I’d share. So if you’ve stuck with me this far and are wondering, “what the heck IS AI anyway?”, it’s like Google Analytics on steroids. But like, get kicked out of MLB steroids.

So to get started you’ll need Visual Studio 2013, the VS 2013 add-ons that support AI, and either access to a web application that you can deploy with the AI telemetry installed, or an MSDN subscription or a personal Azure account so you can easily create and publish your own web app. If like me you are NOT a developer, but still want to see what AI can do for your organization with a super simple web application, I also included a link to a How To article for getting a web app up and running in Azure really quickly.

Getting started with Azure and ASP.NET

How to: Migrate and Publish a Web Application to an Azure Cloud Service from Visual Studio

Application Insights Tools for VS

At this point I had my super simple ASP.NET web application deployed to an Azure website, and can even monitor the Azure website from within Visual Studio in the Server Explorer. Nice, right? I know.

image

image

And right now it’s FREE to host my website on Azure too.  I have a really simple site that doesn’t require a lot of resources, so that may not always be the case, but if you’re just evaluating Azure and/or AI this is a really nice way to get there! More pricing can be found here on azure websites if you’re interested in learning more.

Now, before I move on I want to make something clear, it doesn’t matter where your application code is, or where it is hosted. There is a common misconception that you can only leverage AI if you are using VSOnline for your application development and SCM. And I don’t want to imply from my example that hosting in Azure is required either. Azure was just the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way for me to publish my web application, and heck, as a bonus I got some experience publishing to Azure. My source code is stored in an on-premise TFS server, but it could be anywhere.  What is important is that the telemetry data is configured to send information to the AI dashboards, which are currently available through the VSOnline portal. So at a minimum you will need access to a VSOnline instance.

Even before adding any telemetry to your application in VS, you can setup a new Application Insights dashboard against any existing website and start getting some limited data points back. Just look for the link on your VSOnline Homepage under Recent Dashboards, create a new dashboard, and add the application URLs to be monitored.

ai

Perhaps starting at the dashboard was a bit backwards, I’ll admit to often charging ahead on new tools to figure it out as I go rather than reading the instructions first, but luckily the AI tools do a great job of walking you through everything you need to do to “light up” the different sections. In some cases, it requires adding small snippets of code the the HTML of the web pages you wish to monitor, for other metrics you may be required to install the MMA tool on your server (assuming you have the ability to do this). 

image

So without all the fancy telemetry tools deployed with your app, there is not much on your dashboard yet. But without any additional configuration, it will at least start pinging your website on regular intervals to ensure it is up and running and to pull back some response time data. Pretty neat huh? But I want more data!

image

image

You also may have noticed that so far I’ve actually been leveraging the OLD AI dashboard experience instead of leveraging the Azure portal experience. For now, regardless of which portal you use to set up your AI dashboard, it will be available in both the old and new portals. I personally found it easier to start in the old experience, and once the basics were configured I then jumped into the new portal to dig into the data.  You may also find that you need the old portal if you are testing one of the few application types not yet supported by the new AI, more details here.

Given how much ground we covered in this session, I wanted to let all of this marinate before diving deeper into AI capabilities, and walking through some of the detailed metrics that can be pulled from your application. Truth be told, I’m still tweaking my configuration, processing data, and figuring out what it all means. Seriously, check out some of the awesome data I am able to dig through in the new AI portal:

image

So, stay tuned for my next post, where we really get deep into the data weeds using Application Insights!

Tags:

ALM | ASP.NET | Azure | Microsoft | MSDN | Visual Studio 2013 | VS 2013 | Visual Studio | Application Insights

0

VS Live is Coming to a City Near You! We Can Save You $500 in Chicago and Vegas

by Angela 24. February 2014 10:13

 

Have you been considering attending VS Live this year?  They are really expanding their locations this year, holding events in Orlando, Redmond, Las Vegas, Chicago and even Washington DC. It’s a great event both to network with like minded technology geeks like yourself, as well as to get some great education around a HUGE number of topics.  Once again, the Chicago ALM User Group has secured a special discount code for members and friends for a couple of these events. So if you were wanting to attend, now we can even save you $500 with our exclusive discount codes: UGCH09 (Chicago) and UGLV10 (Las Vegas).

Topics will include:

➤ Windows Client

➤ JavaScript / HTML5 Client

➤ Azure / Cloud Computing

➤ Cross-Platform Mobile

➤ SharePoint

➤ SQL Server

➤ ASP.NET

➤ Visual Studio / .NET

➤ Windows Phone

 

$500 Discount off regular registration price for ALMUG friends and family using discount codes below.  Discount does not stack on top of early bird discounts. Prices range from $1,795 - $2,095 without the discount.

Your price: $1,595 after discount

 

Chicago Event Links

May 5-8, Chicago Hilton

VSLive Chicago homepage: http://bit.ly/UGCH09

VSLive Chicago registration page:  http://bit.ly/UGCH09Reg

Las Vegas Event Links

March 10 – 14th, Planet Hollywood

URL will direct to event home page: http://bit.ly/UGLV10

URL will direct to the registration page: http://bit.ly/UGLV10Reg

0

Chicago ALM User Group Presents: Lab Management in the Cloud

by Angela 12. February 2014 11:22

So, you might have heard, but this cloud thing really isn’t just a fad. And if you’re a TFS user, you might have thought to yourself “Wow, Lab management is pretty rad, but I still don’t have the hardware of personnel required to manage all that infrastructure. It would be awesome if I could extend Lab Management into the cloud!” Sad trombone

We felt that way too here at Polaris.  So we rolled up our sleeves and worked through some of the challenges to make it happen.  Chris Taylor is going to be talking a lot more about it, and doing some demos, at the February edition of the Visual Studio ALM user group this month, at the Aon Center in Chicago.

Join Us Wednesday, February 26, 2014 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM

Be sure to sign up soon! http://chicagoalmug.org/ 

Description:

With the introduction of Lab Management in 2010, Team Foundation Server presented the opportunity to do automated build-test-deploy on Microsoft Hyper-V servers.  Although the tool was extremely powerful and cost of entry far less than any physical implementations it didn’t offer the flexibility of working with pre-existing physical labs as well as other virtualization platforms like VMWare or Parallels.  In Team Foundation Server 2012 Microsoft addressed this by introducing the “Standard Lab” environment in parallel with the “SCVMM Lab” environments.  This now allowed for any combination (virtual or physical) of machines to be added to a lab environment and provided nearly all the same functionality as provided in the SCVMM based environments.

At the same time, Microsoft had been working diligently on their Azure platform, all based in Windows Server 2012 and finally opened up the ability to both provision new virtual machines as well as exposed this functionality to other applications via the Windows Azure SDK. 

Polaris Solutions saw the opportunity to use Windows Azure as a virtualization platform to run automated tests and deployments and the tools necessary to accomplish it.  Come learn about some of the tooling that has been constructed to compliment an existing TFS infrastructure and create hybrid-cloud solutions to further lower infrastructure and  testing costs while creating a more quality product.

Speaker Bio:

Chris Taylor is a Senior Consultant at Polaris Solutions based in Chicago.  Prior to joining Polaris Solutions, Chris spent over 5 years in the Payment Card Industry developing applications for commercial and government credit card programs while extending TFS to integrate seamlessly with traditional enterprise software practices while allowing teams to be more agile/iterative within themselves.  Since joining Polaris, Chris has been focused on improving software quality and integration test automation using Microsoft Lab Management, CodedUI, Windows Azure, and Windows 2008/2012 Hyper-V. 

0

Free Half Day Events in Oct/Nov: Efficient Testing with Microsoft Test Manager

by Angela 18. September 2013 18:08

Been curious about Microsoft’s latest release of their testing tools? Want to know more about managing your test environments, both on premise and in the cloud? How about when to use test automation and what tools Microsoft has to meet your automation needs?

There is a great half-day testing event coming to a city near you if you live in the Midwest area, wanted to be sure to share it with everyone before it filled up. Since I am delivering the content I can tell you there are going to be some great topics being covered! Best part, it is free. Check out the details and agenda:

How do I integrate better with the team?

QA is near the end of the process chain, so one of the best things they can do to be successful is improve their efficiency and collaborate better with the development team.

In this session, we want to answer all of these questions:

  • What if you could draft and select test cases early in the project and ensure you have test coverage by assigning them to requirements?
  • What if the bugs you discover could automatically include data about the underlying behavior of the application and the machine it’s running on?
  • Are you getting enough information about a release to know what to test?
  • Which new features have been implemented? Which haven’t?
  • Which bugs are supposedly resolved?

We’ll discuss how to take advantage of the opportunities for improving collaboration between testers and developers.

What should I automate?

While manual testing is always going to have its place, there are several types of tests that can be automated for efficiency.

In this session, we’ll discuss everything from automating functional and load tests to the automation of writing test case steps and designing for reuse.

How do I set up a dev/test environment?

Today’s applications are more complex than ever and it can be very challenging to set up and maintain these environments. Many organizations resort to a small number of shared environments, but you are trying to keep up with frequent developer builds, concurrent projects, and ever-changing data.

This session introduces Microsoft’s Lab Management solution which allows developers and QA to self-provision their own environments. We’ll look at you can take advantage of virtualization (on-premises or cloud) to create environments, roll them back to known states, and attach them to bugs while minimizing the labor in your data center.

During this event, your local MTM Specialist will provide you an inside look and show you the capabilities of Microsoft Test Manager. Furthermore, we’ll cover how quality is an accountability and addressable by the entire development organization.

REGISTER NOW at a city near you using one of the links provided:

10/10 Southfield, MI

10/22 Milwaukee, WI

10/23 Chicago, IL

10/24 Indianapolis, IN

10/28 Nashville, TN

10/29 St. Louis, MO

10/30 Kansas City, KS

11/4 Columbus, OH

11/6 Cleveland, OH

11/6 Edina, MN

Event starts promptly at 9am. Complimentary Food & Beverages provided in the morning

0

Going to ThatConference? You SHOULD be!

by Angela 12. July 2013 12:36

This year is the second ThatConference and it is going to ROCK. Not only can you spend 3 days in the Wisconsin Dells hanging out with your peers learning about .NET, Java, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Ruby, PHP, agile, Azute, TypeScript, JavaScript, Node JS, Angular JS - has your head exploded yet? And that’s not all that’s being covered, I just got tired of typing in technologies. It’s quite mind-blowing. So pretty much anyone interested in tech will get a lot out of this conference.  Why pay thousands to go to a conference focusing on just one specific language, vendor, or platform? ThatConference is for the community, by the community. And we mean that.

Best part, it’s only $349 and that includes all sessions, keynotes, food, and a heck of a pig roast at the waterpark. You even get s discounted rate for the Kalahari both during the conference and the weekend before in case you want to make a vacation out of it.  I know I am!  Also, did I mention it is at an amazing water park?  With go-karts, laser tag, a climbing wall, a ferris wheel, need I say more? AND, as if that was not awesome enough, for a very small amount (just $39 total) you can even add your family to the fun.  We now have a kids’ track. The Family schedule can be found here: http://www.thatconference.com/Schedule/FamilySchedule 

Check out the session list here: http://www.thatconference.com/sessions. Note: MY session is Monday morning, so hope to see you there! Smile

Here are the specifics (you need to go to registration to see this, so maybe I can save you some clicks):

Attendee $349

The 2013 attendee ticket. Full access to over 125 sessions, keynotes, food and one epic water park. But be careful, water and electronics don’t play together. Ziploc bags not included.

Family Ticket $39

That Conference is a family friendly conference and this year we continue to improve on our family experience. This year we have a dedicated family schedule that includes 2 family sessions each day. Your family will have the opportunity to meet a few animals from the local zoo, to learning how to build some awesome robots with Lego. But that isn’t all! This year families will get their own badges, join us at our daily happy hour, beat another geek during game night and of course join us for a spectacular dinner at our signature pig roast and more. All that fun does come at a very small cost. For just 39.00 per family, you’re helping That Conference bring such epic fun to all.

GiveCamp & The Humanitarian Toolbox (Sat & Sun)  $0 – Heck yeah, it is FREE

On August 10th and 11th, That Conference will host the 2013 Midwest GiveCamp. This year, Midwest GiveCamp and That Conference will team up with the Humanitarian Toolbox in a quest to help build software in support of disaster relief. This is a free event and food will be provided.

Coderetreat ( Sun ) $0 – Heck yeah, it is FREE

On ** Sunday August 11th from 11AM - 7PM** That Conference will host a free Coderetreat. Coderetreat is a day-long, intensive practice event, focusing on the fundamentals of software development and design. By providing developers the opportunity to take part in focused practice, away from the pressures of 'getting things done', the coderetreat format has proven itself to be a highly effective means of skill improvement. Practicing the basic principles of modular and object-oriented design, developers can improve their ability to write code that minimizes the cost of change over time. More information found here: http://coderetreat.org/

Tags:

.NET 4.5 | ALM | ASP.NET | Agile | Application Lifecycle Management | Azure | Cloud Computing | HTML5 | MSDN | Mobile development | SDLC | TFS 2012 | Team Foundation Server | U/X | User Experience | Visual Studio | Windows 8 | iOS | JavaScript

2

Installing TFS 2012 on SQL 2012? You might run into some problems

by Angela 9. January 2013 05:27

So, like all TFS upgrade projects I work on, I got a last minute request that added a major wrinkle to our neat little TFS upgrade plan. “Can we just use SQL 2012 SP1 instead of SQL 2008 R2 SP1 for TFS 2012? It shouldn’t change anything right?”  FAMOUS. LAST. WORDS. Notice they were not MY words. I had the foresight to say that no, it absolutely WOULD change things because I hadn’t based any of my estimates or my plan of attack on upgrading the DT software to a new major release. And I also stated that while it was a supported configuration for TFS 2012, since no one here had validated that SQL Server 2012 SP1 would work on their custom VMWare implementation, anything could happen and so my estimate and plan was out the window. It was supposed to be a quick, neat, in-place upgrade that required almost no patching or updating OTHER than TFS itself. And then they decided they wanted to be on the latest and greatest everything all at once. Awesome. That always goes well.

So as I expected, everything went smoothly UNTIL we got to the part where I upgraded SQL Server 2012. So let me back up in case you are wondering how I got to that point… I pinged some colleagues on the TFS product team to verify that I could more or less follow my original plan, but work in an upgrade of the SQL Backend to SQL 2012 along the way. We came to the conclusion that to minimize risk and isolate sources of potential issues, that I should follow my original plan and upgrade to TFS 2012 on SQL 2008 R2 *first*.  Then after I verified that configuration was working properly, I would upgrade the database to SQL Server 2012.  I had a plan, and lots of caffeine. I also had this awesome blog post to reference from Martin Hinshewood with some helpful nuggets in it too.  This might even work…

The upgrade to TFS 2012 on SQL Server 2008 R2 went without a hitch. In case you are curious, they are on SQL Standard x64. I was able to hit the server, fire up the collections, connect to Team projects, SharePoint and reporting.  I followed the advice of many blog posts and started with the SQL 2012 Upgrade Advisor.  The only issue I ran into there was that I had to install .NET 4.0 and a specific prerequisite. I love, LOVE when error dialogs give you links that you cannot click on or copy and paste into a browser too. So helpful SQL dudes! So here you go:

clip_image002

http://go.microsoft.com/Fwlink/?LinkID=216742

Once I thought I had all my prerequisites in order (wait for it), I ran the upgrade advisor tool, counted my green check marks, and started the upgrade to SQL Server 2012. Somehow the Upgrade Advisor DIDN’T make sure that SQL 2008 R2 SP1 was installed before it let me waste 30 minutes walking through dialogs

image

Once I got past that installation, the SQL Upgrade finished without another hitch.You will need to restart the server again, but since TFS has been down the whole time anyway it’s not like it matters at this point. Then I started the SQL 2012 SP1 install and it got 99% of the way through the install and ::insert sad trombone:: “The NT service ‘MsDtsServer110’ could not be started”. Who did what again? I searched on it exactly as stated, and SHOCKINGLY got nothing useful back. Again, AWESOME.

image

 

After a bit more digging I found some telling information in the event log under System Events:

image

The service account does not have the required user right “Log on as a service.” So the NT Service\MsDtsServer110, which I have no knowledge of through past experiences, is missing a permission and so SSIS keeps failing. I was unfamiliar with the Service account “NT Service\MsDtsServer110” so did some digging around to see what popped up in regards to SQL 2012 installs.  Finally hit a TechNet post that described my exact issue.  For whatever reason, most of the SQL Services run as Network Service, (or some other known service account), but the SSIS service runs as this new guy in SQL 2012, and due to local domain security policy here at this client (just like the article warned), my Setup account was not allowed to provision that account properly.  So we followed the article’s advice for a workaround, reset the logon account to a known service account, started up all the services for SQL Server, and was able to complete the TFS 2012 DT upgrade. WHEW!

So, lots of potential gotchas, none of which were TFS or SQL’s fault, but since most of my friends work for large corporations with complicated rules about access and domain policies coming out of their ears, I thought this might be helpful. Hope it was!

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | MSDN | SDLC | SQL Server 2012 | Team Foundation Server | TFS 2010 | TFS 2012 | TFS Administration | TFS Upgrade | Visual Studio 2012 | VMWare

Powered by BlogEngine.NET 2.7.0.0
Original Design by Laptop Geek, Adapted by onesoft