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12 Tools Microsoft Azure Developers Should Know

Microsoft Azure
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In the IT industry across the world, cloud computing has emerged as a revolution. It has turned out to be a staple for every kind of business, transforming the way businesses operate and consider IT resources. Certainly, it's quite overwhelming to see the extensive range of benefits cloud computing offers to an organization in this digital era. And the foremost reasons behind its immense popularity are cost-effectiveness and simplicity.

However, selection of the best cloud service vendor that will address your needs can be quite difficult. There are multiple cloud service vendors in the market offering services of designing, developing, and deploying solutions on the cloud. In this scenario, Microsoft Azure has become one of the greatest cloud environments.

Explaining Microsoft Azure

It is an advanced cloud computing platform with limitless potential and increasing possibilities. To cut the long story short, Azure allows you to easily architect and deploy hosted services, databases, and all web apps on your desired technology stack - be it Windows, MongoDB, Linux, or SQL Server.

One important aspect that makes Azure different from others cloud solutions is its close and vigorous integration with Visual Studio. This enables a smooth flow at all the stages of development - starting from project setup to deployment to resource management.

Undeniably, Microsoft has built on this integration along with several individual developers and third-party solution providers. And some of the notable features of this in-demand platform are Microsoft Azure Development Tools.

12 Tools for Microsoft Azure Developers

The overall landscape of resource management has changed as Visual Studio is offering better opportunities for it. Microsoft has made the most of it. Various third-party solution providers and azure app development companies have developed uniquely effective tools.

Let's have a look at 14 significant tools and extensions that you might find useful for coding apps and running them as swiftly as possible!

1. Cloud Explorer for Visual Studio

Cloud Explorer for Visual Studio 2013 or Cloud Explorer for Visual Studio 2015 is an effective set of tools for Microsoft Azure developers that helps in identifying Windows Azure resources directly from Visual Studio IDE based on name, type, or group of resources. Cloud Explorer lets you inspect resource properties and perform diagnostic actions and available developers.

Furthermore, it’s deeply hooked with the Azure Preview Portal for the effective management of resources and groups.

2. Cloud Combine

Are you planning to put your application on the cloud platform? Do you need to organize a bulk of media files on Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, or Amazon AWS? Cloud Combine can be the rescuer here.

Because of its multifunctional nature, Cloud Combine is another important Azure app development tool. It makes browsing, downloading, and uploading a lot easier and helps in the reliable transfer of files from one cloud storage service to another at a maximum speed.

Moreover, it also helps easily log into all of your cloud services and manage your storage settings through a simple user interface like Explorer.

3. Open From Azure Websites

Created by Mads Kristensen, Open From Azure Websites is another great extension tool that does something basic truly well. Once this extension gets your publish settings, it allows you to open all the Azure-hosted web applications directly from within Visual Studio as a website project. As an open-source project, Open From Azure Websites lets you evaluate the source and come up with features. 

4. Azure developer portal

Azure developer portal is another fundamental tool that serves as an open-source portal for Microsoft Azure developers. It functions through an integral visual editor with styling, authoring, and customization features. Besides, the latest Azure developer portal in Azure API development offers an extension of the existing key functionalities.

5. Azure Blob Studio

It's comparatively an old entrant amidst all the other popular Azure app development tools. Presented by Alessandro Del Sole, Azure Blob Studio allows you to effortlessly manage files on your Blob storage service. This can be done for both your own account on the internet and the local Developer Account.

By using this tool on your Windows Azure, you can upload and remove numerous blobs, create and remove containers, retrieve URIs and metadata, and much more. In addition to this, the standalone unity of this tool is a useful feature as well.

6. Graph Engine VSExtension

Previously known as Trinity, Graph Engine VSExtension is an SDK contributed by Microsoft for Azure app development functions. It utilizes the distributed, in-memory, large graph processing engine that supports direct deployment from Visual Studio 2012, 2013, and 2015 to Azure.

This extremely extensible tool comes up with a unified declarative language for message passing as well as data modeling. In spite of using hard-wired computation paradigms and a fixed data schema, it enables users to easily expand the system capacity and define data schemata through seamless message passing. 

7. Azure Grid

Generally, Microsoft Azure developers abide by a modular approach; they break down the problem at hand and then secure the allowance of cloud resources. In this scenario, Azure Grid comes as a popular tool. It supports the Grim Computing framework that offers substantial functionalities in order to simplify the work for Azure app development.

The Azure Grid framework ensures the smooth and easy establishment of a grid, allocated data to each node, and definition of code. It also helps in better controlling these activities via a credible WPF client application that monitors the entire process of development. Equipped with all the needful tools for visualization, this user-friendly interface helps observe the project’s progress in a better and effective way.

8. Docker

Currently, Docker is the most popular and recommended solution to create, manage, and deploy application containers, especially for cloud environments. For Azure app development, it has become an entirely supported deployment tool. The latest Visual Studio 2015 Tools For Docker launched by Microsoft allows you to establish locally hosted Docker containers for debugging and development.

Moreover, the effective integration with Visual Studio IDE helps in the smooth delivery of related tasks. VSTD contains package management tools for the configuration of your authentication keys along with Bower and NuGet. When you’re prepared to deploy a container, this tool offers simple and easier configuration through a PowerShell one-liner to manage the task.

9. Because's Azure Tables for LightSwitch

Azure Tables for LightSwitch has been developed both for the Windows Azure platform and Visual Studio LightSwitch. It’s designed for LightSwitch developers to let them use azure tales data sources. Azure Table storage is developed to store large files of data and is much cheaper than Azure SQL, especially if you have a horde of flat data.

This exciting tool lets you connect to existing entity storage, create new tables with a simpler designer, define custom keys and partition strategy, generate WCF RIA services, so on and so forth. Although it’s another older Visual Studio 2010 tool, it's worth looking into if you’re doing considerable LightSwitch development.

10. Microsoft Azure Storage Connected Service

Microsoft Azure Storage Connected Service is another essential tool from Microsoft providing design-time tools to configure Azure storage services, generate codes to consume services, and create, manage or consume entities, blobs, containers, and so on, all within Visual Studio 2015.

Upon completion, there is an excellent guide provided by Azure Storage Connected Service on how to complete your project’s configuration to meet the outcomes you need. With a standard storage account, you get access to Table storage, Blob storage, File storage, and Queue storage.

11. Database .NET

Right within the Visual Studio Project Explorer, Database .NET is an extensive database development and management tool. With it, you can avail yourself of a wide range of activities, starting from granting or browsing objects to designing tables to editing rows, and much more.

Database .NET natively supports over 20 data sources including SQL Azure. Some of its principal features are Object Navigator, Data Visualization, Code Manager, Data Import and Data Export, etc. It supports Visual Studio 2015, 2013, 2012, 2010, and 2008.

12. IgniteAzureDbWriteBolt

The IgniteAzureDbWriteBolt sample combines multiple exciting technologies. One of them is Apache Storm ‘bolt’, a type of extension that helps in writing real-time streams of data to SQL Azure from HDInsight Storm. As a Streaming solution, it helps to develop large-scale real-time apps.

Besides, Strom is an open-source distributed competition engine that processes input streams and creates new output streams. By utilizing the IgniteAzureDbWriteBolt sample, you can simply expand it to other output data sources like DocumentDB.

Winding Up!

The diverse list of Azure app development tools can be overwhelming for Microsoft Azure developers. Therefore, before making the final call, the selection of the right tool as per your needs and requirements is significant. We hope, by now, you have got a fair idea of these tools. Yet, we advise you to take quite a bit of your time to analyze the potential of these tools for the needs of your organization.

But the great news is, we can help you here. As a widely trusted Azure development company, our services are targeted at increasing the process of business efficiency, maximizing profitability and ROI, and driving smart user experience.

So, unleash the force of cloud with Microsoft Azure services and take your organization to the next level!

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