Custom Domains the Easy Way in Azure Web Apps

One of the best things about cloud development today is the low cost of entry. With cloud vendors competing to bring customers to their offerings, there are strong incentives to keep prices low, particularly at the entry level. Microsoft’s Azure offerings are no exception. You can get started with Azure Web Apps, whether for hosting a blog or a more full-featured application, for free, if you’re willing to accept the limitations of the free plan.

One of those limitations is that the free offering for Azure App Service does not support the use of custom domains. So any site or app you host using the free plan must use a subdomain of the domain, such as For development and testing, or for hosting an API that will only be called programmatically, this is no big deal. But for public facing sites, you’re going to want a custom domain. Read on to learn how easy Microsoft has made that with Azure Web Apps.

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Save Time and Keystrokes with Emmet in Visual Studio Code

It’s been more than 8 years since Jon Udell posted an encouragement of blogging over email entitled “Too busy to Blog? Count your keystrokes” and over 5 years since Scott Hanselman followed up with “Do they deserve the gift of your keystrokes?” Both posts explore the idea of our keystrokes being a limited resource that is better used to contribute to knowledge sources like blogs or wikis that are available to large numbers of people, rather than replying to a much more limited audience via email. In this post, I’ll introduce you to one of my favorite new helpers, Emmet in Visual Studio Code, and show you how it helps me save keystrokes when working with HTML markup. Continue reading Save Time and Keystrokes with Emmet in Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code Hits the 1.0 Milestone

I must have missed this while avoiding the interwebs around April Fool’s Day, but apparently Visual Studio Code is no longer beta/preview, and has hit their 1.0 version milestone.

UPDATE: I was confused when reading the update log, which had the 1.0.0 update listed as March 2016…this must’ve been referring to the preview 1.0 release. Thus the correction above. The official public 1.0 release was yesterday, so I didn’t miss it after all. Details below the fold…

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Top 5 Reasons to Speak at NoVA Code Camp!

…or your local user group, meetup, or code camp.

Becoming a Speaker

As someone who’s been speaking on technical topics since the late 1990s, I can say with great confidence that there are huge benefits to sharing your knowledge at local code camps and user groups. And if you’re in the greater Washington, DC metro area, I want to encourage you to submit a talk for the Northern Virginia Code Camp, which is coming up on April 30th, 2016. Here are 5 reasons to speak you should consider: Continue reading Top 5 Reasons to Speak at NoVA Code Camp!

Thread.Sleep equivalent in UWP

Wanted to share a quick solution to an issue I ran into while working on a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app for my Raspberry Pi 2.


I was building an app to read sensor data from a .NET Gadgeteer TempHumidity module using the GHI Electronics FEZ Cream, which is a HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) for the Raspberry Pi 2 that allows the use of Gadgeteer modules. In my case, I’m running Windows 10 IoT Core on my Pi 2, so that I can stick with programming in C#. The original driver included a call to Thread.Sleep, which it turns out is not available in a UWP app.

For Gadgeteer modules that are directly supported (i.e. with drivers that have already been ported to work with Windows 10 IoT Core), integrating them into a UWP project is as simple as downloading the relevant NuGet packages. However, in my case, it turned out that the temperature and humidity sensor I was using was an older model which was not directly supported. The good news is that since GHI makes their Gadgeteer mainboard and driver code available on Bitbucket, it was easy to find the driver code for the sensor I’m using and work on a port to work on the Pi. Continue reading Thread.Sleep equivalent in UWP

Troubleshooting Web API and Angular 2 beta

Just ran into an issue with some Web API and Angular 2 code I’ve been working on, and since there didn’t seem to be much info in the wild on the error I ran into, I figured I’d blog it, in case it might help someone else.

A Simple Demo of Web API and Angular 2?

Since I had the day off yesterday, I figured it might be a good day to jump in and start doing some work with Angular 2 (Hey, isn’t that what you do with your day off? Don’t judge!). Of course, I’d already run through a number of tutorials that dealt with hard-coded collections of data, so I figured it was time to build something that could retrieve data from an API. Continue reading Troubleshooting Web API and Angular 2 beta

Multiple Monitors in Remote Desktop with Windows 7 Pro

The Best Laid Plans…

I’ve recently transitioned from working at home to working on-site at a client. The client did a great job of provisioning a nice desktop PC and large dual monitors. But one of the things I missed from my home office was my standing desk. To remedy this, I planned to bring in my laptop, set it up on a stand, and re-purpose one of the two monitors they provided so I could use Remote Desktop to connect to the desktop PC and still enjoy dual monitors…but there was a small wrinkle in my plan.

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Community Megaphone and a Post-INETA Future

megaphone_trns2As I noted a few months ago, INETA North America is ceasing operations and wrapping up loose ends. As part of that wrap-up, the INETA board asked if I would be willing to help with community continuity through the website I created, Community Megaphone. The idea was for INETA to encourage folks on their mailing list to join a list I set up to discuss the future of Community Megaphone, and what kinds of features might help fill some of the gaps left behind by the end of INETA North America.

With this post, I’d also like to offer others in the developer community the same opportunity. You can join the mailing list, which is for the purpose of providing ongoing updates on the future plans for Community Megaphone. And if you don’t want to join a mailing list, but still want to provide feedback or ideas on features that would be useful for user group leaders, speakers, and attendees of developer community events, you can do so on the Community Megaphone Uservoice page, or the Feedback page on the Community Megaphone site.

I’m looking forward to the feedback of the community, and finding better ways to serve the developer community, and I hope you’ll share your feedback, too.

Learn You Node with VS Code

Node.js may not be the “new” hotness, but it’s still pretty hot, and getting hotter all the time. Whether you’re a .NET developer who’s still on the fence about JavaScript, or just haven’t gotten around to taking a look at Node, now is a pretty good time to do so, and in this post, I’ll show you a nice combination of tools that make learning Node easy and fun, namely and the new Visual Studio Code editor.

What is Node.js?

On the off chance that you’ve found your way here, but don’t know what Node.js is, Node.js (sometimes referred to simply as Node) is an execution environment for JavaScript code, based on the V8 JavaScript runtime from Chrome. It’s designed to be fast, lightweight, and efficient. You can use node to write server applications in JavaScript, from real-time chat apps, to web APIs, to full web applications. While Node itself is pretty simple, with a [limited, but want another word] API set, it ships with NPM, the node package manager, which provides a fast and easy way to install packages, which are collections of functionality wrapped up in such a way as to make them easy to add to your Node projects. Node packages are available to facilitate all kinds of applications, including MVC-style routing engines, template engines, unit testing and more.

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Of Developers and Dress Codes

From a posting by one of the folks I follow on Twitter (a former Microsoft co-worker), I saw this Business Insider story on HP apparently banning t-shirts (and other casual clothing) for certain teams within the company. The story asserts that “employees are furious.” The stated reasoning, which seems sensible enough to me, is that the company does not wish to risk customers being “put off” (BI’s words) by employees who are poorly or casually dressed.sneakers-1420706-500x375


Of course, much of the fury is almost certainly overblown by the original story in an attempt to generate traffic, so probably best to take it with a grain of salt for a slow news day.

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