How to setup Application Insights for WordPress sites

Hello friends!

I just wrapped up connecting my blog over here which is a WordPress site to Application Insights on Microsoft Azure. I thought I’d share with you how it’s done.

First, a brief into about Application Insights for those who don’t know what it is. In short, Visual Studio Application Insights (previously Application Insights) is a cloud-based service from Microsoft Azure that allows you to analyze performance and usage of your web apps hosted on Azure or on your own IIS or J2EE servers. Some of the features are:

  • Detect and diagnose issues, monitor load and discover usage patterns
  • Easily diagnose exceptions and web app performance issues
  • Perform root cause analysis with ad-hoc queries and full-text search
  • Integrate with DevOps processes using Visual Studio Team Services
  • Monitor web apps hosted on Azure, other cloud services, or on-premises servers

It’s very easy to set it up, you install a small instrumentation package in your application, and set up an Application Insights resource in the Microsoft Azure portal. The instrumentation monitors your app and sends telemetry data to the portal. The portal shows you statistical charts and provides powerful search tools to help you diagnose any problems.

From the Plugin Directory at WordPress.org you will find the Application Insights plugin.

This Plugin basically integrates a WordPress site with Microsoft Application Insights. The plugin uses the Application Insights PHP SDK to send site data to Azure. The installation part is straightforward in the following 3 steps:

  1. Upload all files to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory
  2. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
  3. On your WordPress site, go to Settings -> Application Insights and enter the Instrumentation Key you received from http://portal.azure.com (Application Insights -> [App Insights Name] – Properties)
  4. Start monitoring the stats in the Azure portal!

Application Insights gathers a huge amount of interesting statistics and data, some of which is similar to what tools like Google Analytics provide and some are even more granular and helpful to web developers. The features of the service also include Performance and availability testing and a favorite of mine called Application Map which is a visual layout of the dependency relationships of your application components. Each component shows KPIs such as load, performance, failures, and alerts, to help you discover any component causing a performance issue or failure.

Happy monitoring 🙂

 

Posted in Microsoft Azure

A whole lotta free stuff with Visual Studio Dev Essentials

Visual Studio Dev Essentials

I recently created a new Visual Studio account to share some code and collaborate with friends. Low and behold, I received an email to activate my “Visual Studio Dev Essentials membership” which include a good and long list of benefits and free stuff! Some of which are:

  • Visual Studio Tools and Services
  • $25/month of Azure Cloud credits for 1 year
  • Xamarin University Training
  • 6-month subscription to Pluralsight
  • SQL Server 2014 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft R Server Developer Edition (Allows you to build advanced Analytics solutions in R on Windows, Hadoop, Terradata and Linux)
  • Application Insights – Free plan
  • Hockey App – Free plan

Great stuff in there, at least for the small and demo projects am working on. I guess any developer would benefit from these  and I thought I’d share.

If you want to have a look and get access to this program, it’s as simple as signing up with your name and email over here: https://www.visualstudio.com/products/visual-studio-dev-essentials-vs

Once you’ve signed up, you will be able to access your account from here http://my.visualstudio.com and start activating those benefits.

 

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with: ,

Replacing your Parse hosted mobile backend

Hello developers!

As you might have heard, Facebook is shutting down their mobile app development platform Parse which stirred some mixed emotions among developers out there. Parse was indeed a great a toolkit for creating and running mobile apps. Developers used Parse hosting as the backend for their mobile apps between push notifications, storage and analytics.

If you are looking for a replacement to that backend, a rather good one, you might want to try out Azure App Service For FREE!. App Service is a powerful cloud platform that allows developers to build intelligent web and mobile apps that connect to data anywhere, in the cloud or on-premises. For mobile apps, it makes it easy to add authentication, push notification, and data sync to iOS, Android, or Windows app, in addition to auto scale capability.

To help you with that migration, Microsoft released a comprehensive guide with step by step instructions for how to migrate a Parse application to Azure App Service. You can check it on the following link: azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/azure-welcomes-parse-developers

Happy coding 🙂

Posted in Microsoft Azure

Multi-User Access in Windows Dev Center

Hello Developers!

Earlier this month, Microsoft released an update to the Dev Center that includes several new capabilities and improvements. With this release comes one of the most requested features:  “Multi-user access” and…… wait for it….. with roles!!!

This feature is perfect for scenarios like having a project outsourced and solution provider has to submit a package/publish the app and you don’t want to end up giving that provider your credentials and change these later. Now you can add multiple dev users into one account.

In summary, Multi-user access with roles feature includes support for multiple users in a single account, with permissions controlled through user roles. It enables a greater account management flexibility with different permissions through managed roles. Here is a screenshot that shows the different roles available:
1_roles

The roles will allow you to choose the users that can manage and submit packages, restrict access to account financial information. Even more, you can allow only select users to be able to respond to reviews,  among other features.

This new capability requires an Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) account with admin permissions to create and manage accounts.

Additiontally, the update included the following features and improvements:

  • Windows Store APIs: validate apps or in-app product acquisitions, useful for cross-platform services, or to add another layer of validation for customer purchases
  • In-app purchase discounts: schedule IAP price discounts for apps running on Windows 10
  • Access to Office and Azure programs: access the Office and Azure developer programs at no extra cost through the Dev Center registration
  • More effective Store lists: The Store is updating the algorithms for the “New and Rising” and “Best Rated” lists to be able to show more apps than before
  • Update to the Windows App Certification Kit: with additional validation tests for UWP app submissions. You can now download and install the latest version of the WACK to validate your UWP submissions.

These are great additions to the Windows Dev Center and will light up the experience for developers and app owners!

 

Posted in Windows Development

Skill Up for 5$

Skill Up

Hello!

I thought I’d spread the word. From 17th December 2015 into the New Year, Packt Publishing is inviting the tech world to explore its extensive library of eBooks and Video courses for one amazing price. The books are listed under the Skill Up titles.  Every single eBook and Video course Packt has ever created will be available on packtpub.com for just $5 (Yes! you heard right)

My title JavaScript Promises Essentials will be a part of this sale and you can grab it for just $5. You can check out the offer here at this link http://bit.ly/1OxPu9c.

Also, as a follow-up to last summer’s Skills and Salary Reports, Pack has also created their very first Year in Review http://bit.ly/1k4exs8. This review will guide you through the biggest topics to come out of 2015 and show you what’s going to be defining 2016 and beyond – so you can learn intelligently and strategically.

Happy Skilling Up!

Posted in Books

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JavaScript Promises Essentials JavaScript Promises Essentials
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Developing Windows Store Apps with Html5 and JavaScript Developing Windows Store Apps with Html5 and JavaScript
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