Windows Azure Websites pack a big punch for a small offering

I really like the direction Microsoft is taking with Windows Azure Websites. The UI on the revamped management portal is clean and intuitive and  although the product offering is still pretty basic they have included some very really clever features. My favorites are web hook integration and the simplified management of database connection strings.

Web hook integration with GitHub / CodePlex / BitBucket & TFS 

Out of the box you get web hooks integration with several several source control systems making continuous deployments a piece of cake. Whenever you push new code to source control the platform is notified via a web hook and your website gets automatically redeployed – sweet !. I know web hooks have been around for a few years but they still make me happy, the world needs more web hooks!

wEBhOOKS

Today I’ve been pushing lots of changes to a project I’m working on in GitHub and the redeploys kicked off every time within 5 seconds of my commit happening, this is such a nice productivity feature.

“Make it better ! – only redeploy if unit tests pass”

Web hook support is pretty common in the PaaS space. the folks at AppHarbor have take it a step further , they only redeploy if you code compiles and all unit tests pass. I’m sure this is will be coming to Azure Websites real soon??

 Simplified connection string management

Gone are the days where you accidentally pushed your local database connection string to azure and everything stops working ! When configuring your next website simple specify a database connection string name and the value gets “overridden” at run time by whatever is set on the configuration tab.

As long as you keep the connection string name the same the platform ignores your local web.config file settings and overrides it with the correct value. wEBhOOKS

happy coding folks!

Aidan

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