Azure Functions Introduction

Serverless seems to be all the rage these days. Each of the major cloud providers has a serverless offering with Azure Functions, AWS Lambda, and Google Cloud Functions. One of the big selling points of serverless function is the automated scaling based on your workload and the low cost.

For example with Azure using consumption billing, you get 1 million executions for free with each additional million executions costing only $0.20. It does get more complex as there is a charge based on execution time mixed with resource consumption, but you can check out the pricing page for the details.

This post is going to cover creating and calling a very simple function. Note that you will need an Azure account, if needed you can sign up for a free account.

Function App Creation

There are a lot of options to create a new function using everything from Visual Studio to the Azure CLI. For this post, we will be using the Azure Portal to create our function. Head to the portal and using the search box at the top search for function and in the results select Function App.

The above will take you to a list of your functions apps. Click either the Add button at the top of the page or the Create Function App button to create a new Function App.

The next step has a lot of options, but for this first, go we are going enter an App name and take the defaults for the rest of the options and click Create.

Clicking create will queue the deployment of a new function app and return you to the list of function apps on your account. After a few minutes, your new app should show in the list, this took almost 3 minutes for me. Once your app shows in the list select it.

Add a Function

Now that we have a Functions App it is time to add a Function. On the menu click the next to Functions.

The next screen will ask you to select a development environment. I will be using the In-portal option. After making the selection click Continue.

The next page will ask about how the function should be triggered. We will be using the Webhook + API option. There are a lot of options for triggers I recommend selecting the More templates option and exploring at some point. When finished click the Create button.

After the creation is finished you will see the code for your new function, which is defaulted to take a request with a name and respond with hello using the name supplied.

From the above page, you can make changes to your function and save them. To try the function out hit the Run button. Hitting the run button will show you the Test area where you can change and run the request to your function as you want and use the Run button to send the request.

Wrapping Up

While we have only scraped the smallest part of the surface of Azure Function Apps I can see why people are excited about the value they can provide. It was surprisingly simple to get started.

Stay tuned if you are interested in functions as I  play to do more exploration on this topic.

Also published on Medium.

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