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!
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.
happy coding folks!