Blog

First Contact!

Cloud Certification
The only constant is... change! So... yesterday, I published My Cloud Certification Journey detailing my (ambitious) plan for obtaining the AWS and Azure Solutions Architect certifications. In a rare, but prescient moment, I included the following quote: No plan survives first contact (with the enemy) Well, less than 24 hours later, plans have changed! I happened to come across this blog post today: Updates to Several Azure and Data & AI Certifications are Coming Soon In the post, the author discusses how Microsoft is reviewing some of the certification exams to ensure the skills being tested are more closely aligned to their respective roles. In other words, test for the skills a role should have and don't necessarily test for the skills that the role does not have. With this…
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My Cloud Certification Journey

My Cloud Certification Journey

Cloud Certification
Clouds on the Horizon While I have been using various aspects of Microsoft Azure for years now, I have not taken the time to go deep into some (many) of the services that Azure offers. For many years now, I have spent most of my time focusing on the Microsoft technology stack. Given that, spending time in Azure has made a lot of sense. We have made some decisions recently within the organization that I work for to start making use of Salesforce. If you are not familiar with Salesforce, just know that it provides a lot of capabilities using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. It is a cloud platform in its own right. As part of this, we are also, for the first time, seriously digging into the capabilities of…
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Introducing the Azure DevOps CLI

Azure DevOps, Azure DevOps Extensions
This is the first in a multi-part series on the Azure DevOps CLI. There are currently four posts planned, including: An Introduction to the Azure DevOps CLIRevoking PATs with the Azure DevOps CLIUsing the Azure DevOps CLI Behind a ProxyMake Every Day a Banner Day with Azure DevOps CLI Why Have a CLI? If you've been using Azure DevOps for a while then you know there is a ton of functionality available within the product. With that functionality comes a decent amount of administration overhead that must be dealt with. For example, you need to manage users and licensing. You have to create projects and set them up to match the needs of the organization and teams. You have work items to deal with, code repositories, security configuration and on…
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Global DevOps Bootcamp – Omaha

Azure, Bootcamp, DevOps
If you would like to learn more about DevOps on the Microsoft stack, then plan to join us in Omaha on June 15th, 2019. While we are still working out some of the details, Jeff Bramwell (that's me! :-)) and Mike Douglas will be hosting the Global DevOps Bootcamp in Omaha at Farm Credit Services of America. Event Details Global DevOps Bootcamp is a global event that will be held on Saturday June 15th and is all about DevOps on the Microsoft Stack. Centrally organized by Xpirit and Solidify and offered to you by local partners and sponsors. During this 1-day event we will join (Microsoft) DevOps communities all around the world to talk, learn and play with DevOps concepts. Goals of the Global DevOps Bootcamp: DevOps in general Insights…
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Work Items and Queries in Azure Wikis

Azure DevOps, Tips
Did you know that you can embed individual work items and/or work item queries within your wiki pages? If not, then read on... There is a lot to like about the wiki feature within Azure DevOps. You can create a provisioned wiki or one or more Git-based published wikis. The content is based on markdown, though Microsoft provides several extended features on top of the markdown syntax. In this post, we will cover a couple features that allow you to embed individual work items and work item queries within your wiki pages. Embedding Work Items Embedding a single work item within a wiki page will produce results that look something like this: Figure 1 - Work Item Embedded in Wiki Pag As noted above, you can click on the rendered…
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5 Things You Should Know About Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps
Maybe you've heard of Azure DevOps but haven't tried it out because you create non-Microsoft solutions (e.g. Java on Mac or Linux, etc.). Maybe you haven't tried it out because it has Azure in it's name so you've assumed it wouldn't work with AWS or GCP? If you've had your doubts about trying out Azure DevOps, then take a look at the following 5 things you should know about Azure DevOps and see if you still feel the same way. You'll likely discover that Azure DevOps can work for your specific needs as well! 1. Does Azure DevOps Require an Azure Subscription? With the word Azure being part of Azure DevOps one can't help but wonder if an Azure subscription is required to make use of this Microsoft offering. The…
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Azure DevOps Keyboard Shortcuts

Azure DevOps, Tips
File this one under tips-n-tricks. As you likely already know, Azure DevOps has a ton of features and capabilities that are generally encapsulated into Azure DevOps' primary offerings: Azure Boards, Azure Repos, Azure Pipelines, Azure Test Plans and Azure Artifacts. However, did you know that Azure DevOps, just like Visual Studio and many other tools out there, has a lot of keyboard shortcuts at your disposal that can improve how you navigate and use Azure DevOps? If you already knew this, then you can skip to the end where I talk about the Azure DevOps Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet. Otherwise, keep reading... If you only learn one Azure DevOps keyboard shortcut from this article, let it be the question mark - ?. Pressing the question mark on any of the…
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Markdown to WordPress Extension Now Open Source

Azure DevOps Extensions, Open Source (OSS)
About two and a half years ago (wow, time flies!) I wrote about a Markdown to WordPress extension that I had built for Visual Studio Team Services (now Azure DevOps). This extension was borne out of the desire to manage markdown files within version control (e.g. Azure Repos) and publish them to WordPress via a build definition. Two and a half years later, we are still making use of this extension. Since the original preview release there have been a few tweaks made to the extension that resolved a few bugs as well as introduced some new functionality - e.g. the ability to (optionally) add an "Edit this page" button at the bottom of each post that, when clicked, would take the reader to the associated markdown file in version…
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Azure DevOps Demos – At Your Fingertips!

Azure DevOps
There are a lot of features and capabilities built into Azure DevOps. Out of the box, Azure DevOps includes several beneficial services - though you can pick and choose which services you actually want to include in your project (they can vary by project). Azure DevOps Services Azure BoardsAzure PipelinesAzure ReposAzure Test PlansAzure Artifacts Maybe you're new to Azure DevOps and you'd like to experiment with some existing projects to see how everything connects and integrates. Maybe you are familiar with Azure DevOps and want to do some demos for others. Having the ability to generate projects within Azure DevOps, complete with source code, work items, dashboards, build and release pipelines, etc. can be of great benefit for both of these scenarios. To satisfy this need, Microsoft provides the Azure…
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Parallel Builds in Azure DevOps

Azure Pipelines
The build capabilities within Azure Pipelines (the Build and Deploy technologies within Azure DevOps) are extensive and powerful. If you can build it on a Windows, Linux or macOS machine, then you can build it within Azure DevOps. In this post, I'd like to highlight one of many powerful features of Azure Pipelines - the ability to run builds in parallel. Caveat: To run multiple jobs in parallel, you must have the appropriate number of build pipelines licensed. For example, if you want to run three jobs in parallel, then you must have at least three pipelines licensed for use. You can read more about pipeline licensing here. Getting Started Whether you've realized it or not, all of your Azure DevOps builds come with at least one predefined job. A…
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