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Top Azure developer tools

Lars Klint gives you his top 5 Azure developer tools, as well as some new virtual desktop infrastructure security best practices from Microsoft!

Jun 08, 2023 • 5 Minute Read

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In the post-Microsoft Build week, finding Azure news was like searching for water in a desert. If you missed last week’s post, David covered all the Azure news at Build. But don’t worry, there are still a few goodies I found in the spare clouds’ bin. And I have something a little different up first, just for you. So let’s get to it!


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5 Azure dev tools I love

I am a developer at heart, and I love building things in the cloud. But I’m only as effective and productive as the tools I use. Therefore in the absence of any significant Azure news, I have put together my top five developer tools for Azure. 

Azure Storage Explorer

Number five is Azure Storage Explorer. Storage on Azure is cheap, secure, redundant, and an integral part of most Azure solutions in some way. However, managing the files, blobs, and queues through the Portal, CLI, PowerShell, or APIs is downright frustrating most of the time. The Azure Storage Explorer is a free tool that, once installed, works like Windows Explorer for all your Azure storage. Keep sane. Use it! 


Number four is Postman, which is not exclusively used for Azure but for any web endpoints that you want to test. It is often used for testing APIs, which is also why it is so good with Azure. By manually building the request for an API endpoint, you can test authentication, parameters, return values and much more. When building a solution that uses Azure APIs, you need to test them all the time, whether those are native Azure APIs or your own built on top. Postman makes this process so much easier and more manageable.

Cosmos DB Emulator

Have you used Cosmos DB yet? If you have, then you might be aware of a few pitfalls. One is managing the databases, collections, and items in your instance. Another could be getting any sense of how much it is going to cost to run your solution. Both can be answered to some extent using my number three, the Cosmos DB Emulator, a local instance running on your machine that doesn’t cost anything. However, it will indicate costs for running your collection. Neat.

Application Insights

Okay, my second favorite dev tool on Azure is Application Insights, which provides performance management and live monitoring of your application. It will automatically detect performance anomalies, help you diagnose issues, and let you dive really deep into the bowels of the platform. It is extensible, integrates with a bunch of tools, gives you telemetry, and just makes the testing and debugging part of your project so much more enjoyable.  

Visual Studio Code

It might not be a surprise, but my number one is Visual Studio Code. Yep. Without a doubt, the number one developer IDE for tons of projects. VS Code is free, lightweight, feature-rich, and crazy extensible. Give it a go.

Virtual desktop infrastructure security best practices

Alright, let’s move on to the trickle of this week’s Azure news. If you use Azure Virtual Desktop to give users access to enterprise data and applications from, well, pretty much anywhere, setting up the infrastructure for this can be tricky, especially when it comes to making sure everything is secure. That is why Microsoft has produced a bunch of virtual desktop infrastructure, or VDI, security best practices to help you out. The 17-page ebook includes areas such as conditional access, multifactor authentication, audit logs, endpoint security, and application restrictions. 

Of course, Microsoft wants you to buy into their virtual desktop world, but tools and documentation like this mean they help you out where possible to make the transition smoother.

Keep up with all things Azure

Well that’s all for this week! Want to keep up with all things cloud? Follow ACG on Twitter and Facebook. You can also subscribe to A Cloud Guru on YouTube for weekly Azure updates, and join the conversation on Discord.

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