Hi all! The Microsoft Build 2022 Book of Reviews continues... Today I have another Build story for you. We will look at Microsoft Build 2022 from a virtual attendee perspective. Not just any attendee, I had the pleasure to speak with BizApps MVP Natraj Yegnaraman after the event. I can't keep track of all the times I have used his tool, the browser extension Level up for Dynamics 365/Power Apps in my daily work. He is a real community hero! Natraj watched Build 2022 from home in Australia and keept up with the Azure related topics.
Natraj is currently focusing on Azure related technologies, as complementary knowledge to his Dynamics 365 CE, developer perspective, background. After watching Build 2022 sessions, he had many great Build related tips to share! Natraj already signed up for two private previews announced at Build 2022. Which those are, how to sign up and more Azure related tips will be found throughout this post.
Talking to Natraj, he mentions that one of the Build 2022 highlights for him, was in the session Innovate with collaborative apps and low code, when Charles Lamanna mentioned and confirmed that there are opportunities for traditional developers in Power Platform.
Natraj lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he moved in 2003 to study for a Master’s degree in Information Technology. He is originally from Chennai, India. He is currently working at ClubAssist - Asia Pacific as Technical Lead looking after both Power Platform and Azure. With a background of extending Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE Apps, custom (model-driven) Power Apps and Dataverse solutions, he is currently focusing more on Azure related technologies, especially DevOps, Azure Functions, Azure API Management, Azure AD, Identity & Access Management as complementary skills.
He is known for providing the community with his time saving toolkit, the browser extension Level up for Dynamics 365/Power Apps, also available for Microsoft Edge. Natraj has also been playing around with Power Fx and created an interactive notebook which can be used by anyone learning Power Fx. Power Fx Kernel for .NET Interactive Notebook.
Primary area of interest is Azure. Before it was the CE apps, but nowadays he is more interested in the Azure side of things. After talking a bit about Express Design (Natraj already tried it out, Figma to app) and how we both had noticed that one could easily miss the API to App announcement (which can be seen in the session What’s new in the world of Microsoft Power Apps), Natraj started talking about the announcements he was most excited about and it was Azure all the way.
The most exciting news for Natraj was the new preview of Azure Developer CLI, presented during the session Sneak Peek: Azure Developer CLI. Another thing he was excited about was the introduction of Azure Deployment Environments. You can read about it on the Azure Developer Community Blog, sign up for the private preview at https://aka.ms/environments-signup and see demos in the Build session Delivering developer velocity through the entire engineering system.
Natraj talks about that we have had Azure CLI already today, e.g. for provisioning resources and he mentions that the new CLI will make it a cohesive experience for developers, having all the resources provisioning templates (Bicep), and your code in one single code space. How it seems much more cohesive and frictionless than how it works today.
Natraj describes what possibilities that come with having Microsoft vetted templates for common resource provisioning scenarios, with Azure Deployment Environments. For instance, if you are provisioning Azure Functions, App Services, Storage Accounts or Key Vault, it would be easy to spin these up using ready to go templates built by Microsoft. In these templates, Microsoft has taken an opinionated view, so you can get the Microsoft best practice settings as default by using these templates.
The number two on Natraj’s list of best announcements is related to GitHub Actions, the possibility to connect using OIDC, which is now GA. Today if you want to connect to Azure from GitHub Actions, you need to create the service principal, application registration, client secret, App id on Azure, and save the secret in GitHub. With OIDC and Azure ID integration, you can create an app registration, configure the trust relationship between GitHub repo and App, and then connect to Azure AD from GitHub Actions without needing to store the secret in the GitHub repo.
Natraj highlights the new port tunneling (preview) feature in Visual Studio, which makes it possible to debug your Web APIs within Power Automate or Power Apps. You can see a glimpse of it in this tweet by Pierce Boggan, Principal Program Manager Lead at Microsoft.
Natraj then highlights some other sessions that he liked. He liked the session Configure Application Security Features, where Azure security and authentication methods were well explained. For people who are new to Azure, learning about basics like authentication, App Registration, Managed Identities, might be tricky at first. This session made it easy to understand. Natraj mentions that he like to watch such sessions, even if he knows about the content, in case you have missed something or reinforce your knowledge.
In terms of fusion teams and developers, Natraj wants to highlight the session Pro developer capabilities of Power Apps and Dataverse for Access Developers, which is not applicable only for Access Developers but also has content related to Dataverse from a professional developer point of view in general. It simply explains well what possibilities you as a developer have with Dataverse.
Another Azure focused session that Natraj wants to highlight is More secure and resilient apps built on Azure AD Continuous Access Evaluation. He mentions that if you are using MSAL there is an option where you can add continuous access evaluation and you will be able to expire sessions and enforcing users trying to access an application to be prompted to logon again. He also highlights the session Accelerate and secure your code to cloud development, in which you will find out how to sign up for the Azure Developer CLI private preview (aka.ms/azdsignup).
This is what Build 2022 described with three words from Natraj sounds like.
Exciting, reassuring, visionary
Besides from continuing his journey deeper into learning and mastering Azure and taking more Azure related certifications, Natraj immediately signed up for the Private Preview of both the Azure Developer CLI and Azure Deployment Environments.
Thank you Natraj for taking time telling me about your Build experience! You can connect with this Dynamics 365 CE/Dataverse professional developer and Azure enthusiast on Twitter and LinkedIn and follow his community related work on GitHub rajyraman and his blog dreamingincrm.com.
The next Build story will be published soon.
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