Using ASP.NET Core for Building a Modern DevOps Pipeline on Microsoft Azure

If you are working with earlier versions of plain old ASP.NET, but need to upgrade your skills for Microsoft Azure DevOps, you may be looking to get up to speed on its smarter brother, ASP.NET Core, which is growing in popularity with the developer community.

While C# is the "most loved" programming language, according to a recent survey by developer tooling specialist JetBrains. There is growing regard for .NET Core, according to a recent Visual Studio Magazine article. "… the survey indicates Microsoft's new open source, cross-platform 'Core' direction is gaining traction but still has a long way to go as it usurps the ageing, Windows-only .NET Framework, with .NET Core and ASP.NET Core leading the migration," the article noted.

ASP.NET Core is "a complete rewrite that unites the previously separate ASP.NET MVC and ASP.NET Web API into a single programming model," according to a Wikipedia article. "ASP.NET Core applications support side by side versioning in which different applications, running on the same machine, can target different versions of ASP.NET Core. This is not possible with previous versions of ASP.NET."

Microsoft sought to distance the new framework from the older versions of ASP.NET. The company didn't want it to be thought of as simply an update, so the working title, ASP.NET 5 was changed to ASP.NET Core 1.0 for its 2016 release to highlight its status as a brand new product.

Microsoft has recently published an Introduction to ASP .NET Core that covers what developers need to know about the framework for building cloud-based, Internet-connected applications. It touts the framework's advantages including:

  • Build web apps and services, IoT apps, and mobile backends.
  • Use your favorite development tools on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • Deploy to the cloud or on-premises.
  • Run on .NET Core or .NET Framework.

Why ASP .NET Core?
Microsoft is aiming at ASP.NET 4.x developers, said to number in the millions, touting ASP .NET Core's ability to integrates seamlessly with popular client-side frameworks and libraries, including Blazor, Angular, React, and Bootstrap. The company also points out that the new framework provides benefits including:  

Beyond explaining what the framework can do, the Microsoft tutorial page offers developers a step-by-step "learning path" with code samples for a basic app to show how it works. 

Would you rather see how it's done rather than reading the instructions? There is a fun and informative one-hour YouTube video featuring Daniel Roth, program manager on Microsoft's ASP.NET team, covering "Full stack web development with ASP.NET Core 3.0 and Blazor." The highly entertaining host shows an enthusiastic live audience how to build a pizza store web app.

If videos are your thing, Microsoft's ASP .NET Community Standup site offers scheduled tutorials that you can watch live. All the past live events, several of them featuring the irrepressible Roth, are available for replay. Recent episodes also included the June ASP.NET Core 3.0 Preview 6 Release Party.

Hands-on Training for Building a Modern DevOps Pipeline
If you are looking for in-person hands-on training, ASP .NET Core will be in the spotlight on Sept. 29, at VS Live! San Diego. There will be a full-day hands-on lab: Building a Modern DevOps Pipeline on Microsoft Azure with ASP.NET Core and Azure DevOps. 

Attendees will come away with an ASP.NET Core app and a SQL Server Database running in Azure with a full continuous integration / continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline managed by Azure DevOps.

The instructors will begin with a review of the current thinking on DevOps. Next will be the planning and tracking phase where the architecture of the app will be broken out and defined. Then the dev & test phase where attendees get feature flags implemented, CI builds working, manual and automated tests, and more. In the release phase, you will learn how to create a deployment pipeline to multiple environments and how to validate a deployment after its release using Azure App Services (both web apps and containers). Finally, the monitor and learn phase will cover analytics and user feedback and how you start the cycle over again.

By the end of the day, you will have a CI/CD pipeline configured, a deployed app, and the hands-on experience on how to build a modern ASP.NET Core and SQL Database solution that runs in Azure using Azure DevOps.

You can find out more and register here.

Posted by Richard Seeley on 07/19/2019

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