Getting started with Azure Web App hosting

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With all of the hoopla lately about Azure, I have been playing with it, and Application Insights, for the past few weeks.

One thing that I hadn’t really delved into is its .NET Web App hosting. As an MSDN subscriber, many of the cloud services are offered in some form of free capacities. This includes Web App and Azure SQL hosting.

For my first pass test, I wanted to just see how easy it would be to create a Web App with the Azure portal. A colleague of mine was also interested in this, so I wanted to vet it out for him a bit. Based on my cursory usage, it’s dead simple for my intents and purposes.

Here are some screen shots of the basic flow where I’m going into the portal, selecting Web Apps, creating one, and specifying various options.

Note that I’m simply creating a Web App service, specifying that I want the free 20 MB Azure Database for this project. After specifying this, I then just set security options on the database:

And boom, the site (web app) is created:

Visual Studio 2013 effectively lets you do the same thing by specifying that you want to host your application in the cloud. For a new project, it’s just a check box. I also set Authenticaiton to ‘No Authentication:’

Obviously, you have to sign in to your Azure account.

The dialogs that Visual Studio presents mirror those from the portal, so I’ll spare you a few screen shots. 🙂

With the Azure hooks specified, we just select ‘Publish’ from Solution Explorer.

Then, we select the Azure publish profile.

Finally, we select the website to deploy to, and enter any credential information as needed.

After publishing is complete, we’ll see our hosted .NET Web App on Azure.

Publishing an existing application is nearly as easy since you’ll get the same options to utilize a Microsoft Azure publish profile. In lieu of going through the wizard to create a Web App, though, you’d more than likely utilize an existing Web App to which to publish.

I’m fairly impressed with the ease of hosting/deploying to Azure. The next things I need to dive into are taking advantage of Azure Active Directory for sign in and Azure SQL for persisting small bits of data. At this point, I haven’t taken a look, heavily, at utilizing these other cloud services.

Here are a few links that I read after my publishing which add a bit of polish beyond my adhoc publishing first try.

Create an ASP.NET web app in Azure App Service
How to: Migrate and Publish a Web Application to an Azure Cloud Service from Visual Studio

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