ASP.NET Core with Azure B2C Auth

I ran into a previous co-work a while back and they were talking about using Azure’s B2C for authentication on their apps. It sounded like a good solution. This blog post is going to cover getting the Azure B2C setup and will cover creating a sample application that will use B2C for authorization.

Create Azure Active Directory B2C

This all assumes you already have an Azure account. If you don’t you can sign up for a free trial (not an affiliate link). After you are signed up head to the Azure Portal.

Note: you can skip this section if you want to use the default Active Directory that is on your Azure account.

In the upper left click the Create a resource link.

In the search box look for Azure Active Directory B2C.

After selecting Azure Active Directory B2C more information will load to the right in a new panel. Click the Create button to continue.

Next, select if you want to create a new B2C tenant or use an existing one. I don’t have an existing one so the following flow will be for creating a new tenant.

On the next panel, you will need to enter an organization name and initial domain name. After entering valid values click the create button.

Switch Active Directory

Now that the new directory has been created we need to switch to the new directory in the Azure Portal. In the left panel click Azure Active Directory.

Click the Switch directory link.

A new panel will show on the right side of the screen with a list of directories you have available. Select the one you created in the steps above or an existing one you would like to use.

Using the search box in the top middle of the portal find Azure AD B2C.

Sample Application

Before moving forward on the Azure side we are going to create our sample client application. This little detour will make it easier for me to point out what values in Azure need to go where in the application configuration.

To create a new web application already set up to use Azure B2C use the following .NET CLI command from a command prompt. There is also a Visual Studio template if you prefer that route.

dotnet new webapp --auth IndividualB2C

In the resulting application, your appsettings.json will have the following section for AzureAdB2C.

"AzureAdB2C": {
  "Instance": "",
  "ClientId": "11111111-1111-1111-11111111111111111",
  "CallbackPath": "/signin-oidc",
  "Domain": "",
  "SignUpSignInPolicyId": "",
  "ResetPasswordPolicyId": "",
  "EditProfilePolicyId": ""

Azure AD B2C Setup

Back to the Azure portal and the Azure AD B2C service page. In the Overview page, the first thing we need to make note of and use to set some configuration values in our application for is the Domain name.

In your appsettings.json file use this value for your Domain value.

"Domain": ""

The subdomain is also used to build the Instance like the following.

"Instance": ""

On the panel that loads hit the Add button. On the new Application panel, we need to give the application a Name, select the type of clients which is Web App / Web API in our case. Next, is the Reply URL which with default setup is your base url/sigin-oidc. I messed this value up in the beginning and got some really strange errors. Finally hit the Create button.

After the creation process is complete copy the value in the Application ID field and use it as ClientId in your appsettings.json file.

Back in Azure select the User flows (policies) option.

At the top of the panel that loads click the New user flow button. The next panel shows a selection of flows that can be added. The application we are making will use both the Sign up and sign in flow and the Password rest flow. I’m only going to walk through the first one, but the second one is very smiliar. Click on the Sign up and sign in like.

In the creation process you will need to set a Name for the flow and select the Identity providers that are valid for the flow. You also have the choice of fields to collect with this flow and which ones should be returned with the claim. After those options are set click the Create button.

The Name form this screen will need to be entered in your appsettings.json file for the SignUpSignInPolicyId value. Here is what I ended up with in my settings file with the Sign Up and Reset Password policies.

"SignUpSignInPolicyId": "B2C_1_SignInOut",
"ResetPasswordPolicyId": "B2C_1_PasswordReset"

Run the sample

At this point, you can run your sample application and click the Sign in link and you will see a page similar to the following which is coming from Azure B2C.

There are ways to customize the pages users will see under the associated flow in Azure.

Wrapping Up

I hit quite a few issues getting Azure B2C setup. I hope this post will help you all bypass some of the issues I hit.

ASP.NET Core with Azure B2C Auth Read More »

GitHub and Azure Pipelines: Build Triggers

In response to my post on GitHub and Azure Pipelines, I got the following question on Reddit.

Does this automatically detect branches? From your screenshot, you’re building master. If you copy to feature-A, does a new pipeline automatically get created and built?

When I initially answered this question I didn’t go deep enough. The answer to does a new pipeline automatically get created and built is no as I replied, but I think the intent of the question is do I have to go set up a new pipeline every time I create a new branch and the answer to that is also no. The existing pipeline will be triggered when any change is checked in on any branch by default. Do note that it won’t be triggered when the branch is created only when a change is checked in.

Limiting Builds

There are a couple of ways to control what branches trigger continuous integration builds. The first is by making edits to the azure-pipeline.yml file in the repo and the second is via an override in the Azure Pipeline.


The official Build pipeline triggers docs are really good, but I will cover the basic here for including branches and excluding branches. Check for docs for information on path includes/excludes as well as how to control PR validation. As an example here is the yaml file used to define a build in this repo.

  vmImage: 'Ubuntu 16.04'

  buildConfiguration: 'Release'

- script: dotnet build Sqlite --configuration $(buildConfiguration)
  displayName: 'dotnet build $(buildConfiguration)'

In order to control what branches get built, we need to add a trigger section. The smilest example is to list the branches you want to build. Ending wildcards are allowed. See the following example (trigger section taken from the official docs).

  vmImage: 'Ubuntu 16.04'

  buildConfiguration: 'Release'

- script: dotnet build Sqlite --configuration $(buildConfiguration)
  displayName: 'dotnet build $(buildConfiguration)'

- master
- releases/*

This would build master and all branches under releases, but nothing else. The following shows how to use includes and excludes together. Again the triggers section is taken from the official docs.

  vmImage: 'Ubuntu 16.04'

  buildConfiguration: 'Release'

- script: dotnet build Sqlite --configuration $(buildConfiguration)
  displayName: 'dotnet build $(buildConfiguration)'

    - master
    - releases/*
    - releases/old*

This would build master and everything in under releases that does not start with old. Really go read the official docs on this one to see all the ins and outs.

Azure Pipelines

To override the CI build from Azure DevOp go to the build in question and click Edit.

Next, select Triggers and Continuous integration and check Override YAML.

After checking the override you will see a lot more options light up. As you can see in the following screenshot the same include and exclude options are available with the same options for wildcards.

Wrapping Up

As you can see Azure Pipelines provides a lot of flex ability in how a build gets triggered. On top of what I covered here, there are also options for setting up scheduled builds as well as trigging a build with another build is completed. If you hit a scenario that couldn’t be covered I would love to hear about it in the comments.

GitHub and Azure Pipelines: Build Triggers Read More »

Azure DevOps Project

After last week’s post on Azure Pipelines: Release to Azure App Service I came across a much easier way to get started using Azure DevOps and Azure App Servies. This post is going to walk through this process which is started from the Azure Portal side instead of Azure DevOps.

The names here are going to be a bit confusing. When I say Azure DevOps I am talking about the rebrand of Visual Studio Team Services which includes services for boards, repos, pipeline, etc. When I say Azure DevOps Project, or just DevOps Project, I am referring to the project type this post is going to be using from the Azure Portal side.

Create DevOps Project

From the Azure Portal click the Create a resource button.

For me, DevOps Project was in the list of popular items. If you don’t see it list you can use the search at the top to find it. Click on the DevOps Project to start the process.

On the next page, you have options to start a new application with a lot of different languages or to deploy an existing application. For this example, we are going to select .NET and click the Next button. This screen is a great example of how Microsoft is working hard to support more than just .NET.

For .NET the next choice is ASP.NET or ASP.NET Core. No surprise I’m sure that we are going to go with ASP.NET Core. There is also an option for adding a database, but we aren’t going to use it for this example. Click Next to continue.

The next step is to select which Azure Service the new application should run on. We are going to use a Linux Web App to match what last week’s sample was running on. Click Next to continue.

There are quite a few settings on this next screen, but they are all pretty clear. The first group of settings is for the Azure DevOps project and you can either use an existing account or the process will create one for you. A Project name is required.

The next group of settings is for the Azure App Service that will be created. Subscription should default in if you only have one. Web app name is going to control the URL Azure provides as well as play in the naming of the resources that are created. Click Done to start the creation process.


After clicking down above the deployment of all the need resources will start. This process takes awhile. The portal will redirect you to a status page similar to the following while deployment is in progress. It took a little over 4 minutes for mine to complete.

When the deployment is complete click the Go to resource button.


The Overview page for the project gives a great summary of the whole CI/CD pipeline that was created with links to the associated Azure DevOps pages to manage each step. The Azure resources section will have the URL you can use to access the running application.

The resulting application should look similar to the following.

Wrapping Up

This process is a much easier way to get started if you are going all in with Azure. If you read last week’s post you know there is a lot that goes into creating something close to this setup manually and even then it was missing the nice overview provided by this setup.

Azure DevOps Project Read More »

Azure Pipelines: Release to Azure App Service

This post is going to use the same Azure DevOps project used in last week’s Azure Repos and Azure Pipelines post which had a build pipeline and add a release pipeline that deploys to an Azure App Service.

This walkthrough is going to assume you have an Azure account already set up using the same email address as Azure DevOps. If you don’t have an Azure account one signup for an Azure Free Account.

Build Changes

The build set up in last week’s post proved that the code built, but it didn’t actually do anything with the results of that build. In order to use the results of the build, we need to publish the resulting files. This will be needed later when setting up the release pipeline.

In order to get the results we are looking for a few steps must be added to our build.  All the changes are being made in the azure-pipelines.yml. The following is my full yaml file with the new tasks.

  vmImage: 'Ubuntu 16.04'

  buildConfiguration: 'Release'

- task: DotNetCoreCLI@2
  displayName: Build
    projects: '**/EfSqlite.csproj'
    arguments: '--configuration $(BuildConfiguration)'
- task: DotNetCoreCLI@2
  displayName: Publish
    command: publish
    publishWebProjects: True
    arguments: '--configuration $(BuildConfiguration) --output $(build.artifactstagingdirectory)'
- task: PublishBuildArtifacts@1
  displayName: 'Publish Artifact'
    PathtoPublish: '$(build.artifactstagingdirectory)'

As you can see in the above yaml this build now has three different steps. The build (this is equivalent to what the post from last week was doing) and publish (this gets all the files in the right places) tasks are both handled using the DotNetCoreCLI@2 task.  Finally, the PublishBuildArtifacts@1 takes the results of the publish and zips them to the artifact staging directory where they can be used in a release pipeline.

Create an Azure App Service

Feel free to skip this section if you have an existing App Service to use. To create a new App Service open the Azure Portal and select App Services from the left navigation.

Next, click the Add button.

On the next page, we are going to select Web App.

Now hit the Create button.

The next page you will need to enter an App name, select the OS, and Runtime Stack before hitting the Create button. The OS and Runtime Stack should match the target of your application.

Create a Release Pipeline

On your project from the left navigation select Pipelines > Releases and then click the New pipeline button. If you already have a release pipeline setup this page will look different.

The next page has a list of template you can select from. In this example, we will be selecting Azure App Service deployment and then click the Apply button.



Artifact Set Up

After clicking Apply you will hit the pipeline overview page with to sets of information. The first is the Artifacts which for us is going to be the results of the build pipeline we set up in last week’s post. Click the Add an artifact box.

The Add an artifact dialog is where you will select where the release will get its build artifact form. We will be using the source type of build and selecting our existing build pipeline.

Once you select your build pipeline as the Source a few more controls will show up. I took the defaults on all of them. Take note of the box highlighted in the screenshot as it will give you a warning if you build is missing artifacts. Click the Add button to complete.


Stage Setup


Above we selected the Azure App Service template which is now in our pipeline as Stage 1. Notice the red exclamation, which means the stage has some issues that need to be addressed before it can be used. Click on the stage box to open it.


As you can see in the following screenshot the settings that are missing are highlighted in red on the Deploy Azure App Service task.  On Stage 1 click the Unlink all button and confirm. Doing this means there is more setup on the Deploy Azure App Service task, but this is the only way to use .NET Core 2.1 at the time of this writing. For some reason, the highest version available at the Stage level for Linux is .NET Core 2.0.

After clicking unlink all the options other than the name of the stage will be removed. Next, click on Deploy Azure App Service task which handles the bulk to the work will place for this pipeline. There are a lot of setting on this task. Here is a screenshot of my setup and I will call out the important bits after.

First, select your Azure subscription. You may be required to Authorize your account so if you see an Authorize button click it and go through the sign in steps for your Azure account.

Take special note of App type. In this sample, we are using Linux so it is important to select Linux App from the drop down instead of the just using Web App.

With your Azure subscription and App type selected the App Service name drop-down should only let you select Linux based App  Services that exist on your subscription.

For Image Source, I went with the Built-in Image, but it does have the option to enter use a container from a registry if the built-in doesn’t meet your needs.

For Package or folder, the default should work if you only have a single project. Since this, I have two projects I used the file browser (the … button) to select the specific zip file I want to deploy.

Runtime Stack needs to to be .NET Core 2.1 for this application.

Startup command needs to be set up to tell the .NET CLI to run the assembly that is the entry point for the application. In the example, this works out to be dotnet EfSqlite.dll.

After all the settings have been entered hit the Save button in the top right of the screen.

Execute Release Pipeline

Navigate back to Pipelines > Release and select the release you want to run. Then click the Create a release button.

On the next page, all you have to do is select the Artifact you want to deploy and then click the Create button.

Create will start the release process and send you back to the main release page. There will be a link at the top of the release page that you can click to see the status of the release.

The following is the results of my release after it has completed.

Wrapping Up

I took me more trial and error to get this setup going that I would have hoped, but once all the pieces are get up the results are awesome. At the very minimum, I recommend taking the time to at least set up a build that is triggered when code is checked into your repos. Having the feedback that a build is broken as soon as the code hits the repo versus finding out when you need a deliverable will do wonders for your peace of mind.

Azure Pipelines: Release to Azure App Service Read More »

Azure Repos and Azure Pipelines

Last week’s post looked at using GitHub with Azure Pipelines. This week I’m going to take the same project and walk through adding it to Azure Repos and setting a build up using Azure Pipelines. I will be using the code from this GitHub repo minus the azure-pipelines.yml file that was added in last weeks post.

Creating a Project

I’m not going to walk you through the sign-up process, but if you don’t have an account you can sign up for Azure DevOps here. Click the Create project button in the upper right corner.

On the dialog that shows enter a project name. I’m using the same name that was on the GitHub repo that the code came from. Click Create to continue.

Adding to the Repo

After the project finishes the creation process use the menu on the left and select Repos.

Since the project doesn’t currently have any files the Repos page lists a number of options for getting files added. I’m going to use the Clone in VS Code option and then copy the files from my GitHub repo. If I weren’t trying to avoid including the pipeline yaml file an easier option would be to use the Import function and clone the repo directly.

I’m not going to go through the details of using one of the above methods to get the sample code into Azure Repos. It is a git based repo and the options for getting code uploaded are outlined on the page above.

Set up a build

Now that we have code in a repo you should see the view change to something close to the following screenshot. Hit the Set up build to start the process of creating a build pipeline for the new repo. This should be pretty close to the last half of last week’s post, but I want to include it here so this post can stand alone.

On the next page select Azure Repos as the source of code.

Next, select the repo that needs to be built for the new pipeline.

Template selection is next. Based on your code a template will be suggested, but don’t just take the default. For whatever reason, it suggested a .NET Desktop template for my sample which is actually ASP.NET Core based. Select your template to move on to the next step.

The next screen will show you the YAML that will be used to build your code. My repo contains two projects so I had to tweak the YAML to tell it which project to build, but otherwise, the default would have worked. After you have made any changes that your project needs click Save and run.

The last step before the actual build is to commit the build YAML file to your Azure Repo. Make any changes you need on the dialog and then click Save and run to start the first build of your project.

The next page will show you the status of the build in real time. When the build is complete you should see something like the following with the results.

Wrapping Up

As expected using Azure Repos with Azure Pipelines works great. If you haven’t yet give Azure DevOps a try. Microsoft has a vast offering with this set of products that are consistently getting better and better.

Azure Repos and Azure Pipelines Read More »

GitHub and Azure Pipelines

A few weeks ago Microsoft announced that Visual Studio Team Services was being replaced/rebranded by a collection of services under the brand Azure DevOps. One of the services that make up Azure DevOps is Azure Pipelines which provides a platform for continuous integration and continuous delivery for a huge number of languages on Windows, Linux, and Mac.

As part of this change, Azure Pipelines is now available on the GitHub marketplace. In this post, I am going to pick one of my existing repos and see if I can get it building from GitHub using Azure Pipelines. I’m sure Microsoft or GitHub has documentation, but I’m attempting this without outside sources.

GitHub Marketplace

Make sure you have a GitHub account with a repo you want to build. For this post, I’m going to be using my ASP.NET Core Entity Framework repo. Now that you have the basic prep out of the way head over to the GitHub Marketplace and search for Azure Pipelines or click here.

Scroll to the bottom of the page to the Pricing and setup section. There is a paid option that is the default option. Click the Free option and then click Install it for free.

On the next page, you will get a summary of your order. Click the Complete order and begin installation button.

On the next page, you can select which repos to apply the installation to. For this post, I’m going to select a single repo. After making your choice on repos click the Install button.

Azure DevOps

After clicking install you will be thrown into the account authorization/creation process with Microsoft. After getting authorized you will get to the first set up in the setup process with Azure. You will need to select an organization and a project to continue. If you don’t have these setup yet there are options to create them.

After the process complete you will be land on the New pipeline creation process where you need to select the repo to use. Clicking the repo you want to use will move you to the next step.

The next step is a template selection. My sample is an ASP.NET Core application so I selected the ASP.NET Core template. Selecting a template will move you to the next step.

The next page will show you a yaml file based on the template you selected. Make any changes your project requires (my repo had two projects so I had to change the build to point to which project I wanted to build).

Next, you will be prompted to commit the yaml file to source control. Select your options and click Save and run.

After your configuration gets saved a build will be queued. If all goes well you will see your app being built. If everything works you will see something like this build results page.

Wrapping Up

GitHub and Microsoft have done a great job on this integration. I was surprised at how smooth the setup was. It was also neat to see a project that I created on Windows being built on Linux.

If you have a public repo on GitHub and need a way to build give Azure Pipelines a try.

GitHub and Azure Pipelines Read More »

Identity Server: Deploy to Azure

This post is going to cover taking the existing set of applications we have been using to learn about Identity Server and deploying them to Azure. The starting point of the code can be found here.

Prep Work

The applications as they stand from the link above are not ready to be pushed to Azure most due to some configuration changes that are needed. We will go through each of the applications and take the hard-coded values and move them to appsettings.json.

API Application Configuration

The API application needs two configuration values for the address of the Identity Application and the address of the Client Application. The following two lines need to be added to the application’s appsettings.json file.

"IdentityServerAddress": "http://localhost:5000",
"ClientAddress": "http://localhost:5002"

Then in the Startup class, the values need to be used. The Identity Server address is used in the JWT Bearer setup.

o.Authority = "http://localhost:5000";

o.Authority = Configuration["IdentityServerAddress"];

Then the Client address is used in the CORS setup.


Identity Application Configuration

The Identity application needs a configuration value for the address of the address of the Client Application. The following line needs to be added to the application’s appsettings.json file.

"ClientAddress": "http://localhost:5002"

Next, the Config class needs a reference to configuration passed into the GetClients function.

public static IEnumerable<Client> GetClients(IConfiguration configuration)

Next, the references to http://localhost:5002 need to be replaced with the value from the configuration. The following is one example.

RedirectUris = { "http://localhost:5002/signin-oidc" },

RedirectUris = { $"{configuration["ClientAddress"]}/signin-oidc" },
Identity Application Entity Framework

As part of publishing this set of applications, this example is going to use Azure SQL and right now the application is set up to use SQLite. In the Startup class replace UseSqlite with UseSqlServer. The following is an example of one of the needed replacements.



When switching database providers make sure to delete and recreate your database migrations. I didn’t to begin with and it cost me a lot of time in changing down a strange error which this post covers.

Client Application Configuration

The Client application needs two configuration values for the address of the Identity Application and the address of the API Application. The following two lines need to be added to the application’s appsettings.json file.

"IdentityServerAddress": "http://localhost:5000",
"ApiAddress": "http://localhost:5001/"

Then in the Startup class, the Identity Server Address needs to be used in the AddOpenIdConnect call.

options.Authority = "http://localhost:5000";

options.Authority = Configuration["IdentityServerAddress"];

Next, the configuration values need to be passed to the Angular application. This process ended up being harder to figure out that I had anticipated and turned into a full blog post on its own. See this post for the details. The code for all the changes will also be on GitHub in case you need to the the diff for the client application.

Publish to Azure

Right-click on the Identity Application and select Publish.

This will show the Publish screen which provides the option to publish to Azure. We don’t have an existing App Service so we are going to create a new one. This page in the official docs explains all the options available on the publish screen. Click the publish button to continue.

The next screen that shows is the Create App Service Screen. I used all the default values and created a new Resource Group and App Service Plan. Keep in mind that the resource group and plan will be reused for the remaining two applications we are looking deploy. The only thing that will change between the applications on this screen will be the App Name.

The services tab looks like the following.

Next in the additional resources box lets hit the plus button next to SQL Database since our group of applications is going to need somewhere to store data. This will take us to the Configure SQL Database screen.

Since I don’t already have a SQL Server setup I am going to hit the New button to add one. That results in the next screen where you enter a name for the server as well as a username and password. After entering the required information click OK.

This will put you back on the configure database screen with most of it filled out. Make sure to set the database name you want to use.

Finally back on the Create App Service screen, you will see all the resources that you selected and configured. When you are satisfied with what you see click the Create button and let Azure do its magic.

When it is done you will see the profile now listed on the Publish page.

The above needs to be repeated for both the API and Client Applications, but using the Resource Group and App Service plan created above. Each profile should use a unique application name.

Identity Application Azure Configuration

The Identity Application needs access to the database that we created above. This means we need to set the DefaultConnection. The first step is to determine what the connection string should be. On the Azure Portal in your list of resources select the SQL database that we created above.

On the next page copy the provided connection string. Now navigate to the Identity App Service and under the Settings section select Application settings. Scroll down and find the Connection strings section and enter the copied value as the DefaultConnection.

Just above the Connection strings section we also need to enter a few values in the App settings section. For the Identity Application, we need the Twitter key and secret as well as the address of the client application. The following is a screenshot minus the actual values.

For the ClientAddress use the URL found in the Overview of the Client App’s App Service page.

API Application Azure Configuration

From the list of resources select the API App’s App Service page and in the Settings section select Application settings. In the App settings section add values for IdentityServerAddress and ClientAddress. As with the ClientAddress above the URLs for each application can be found on their respective App Service pages.

Client Application Azure Configuration

From the list of resources select the Client App’s App Service page and in the Settings section select Application settings. In the App settings section add values for IdentityServerAddress and ApiAddress.

Wrapping Up

At this point, you should be able to load up the application at the client address provided by Azure and have a working application. Overall the deployment to Azure was pretty easy. Getting the applications prepared to be deployed was a bit more challenging and sent me down a couple of rabbit holes. The code in its final state can be found here.

Identity Server: Deploy to Azure Read More »

All Migrations are not Created Equal

While trying to deploy my sample Identity Server set of applications to Azure I got the following error when the Entity Framework migrations attempted to run.

System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException (0x80131904): Column 'Id' in table 'AspNetRoles' is of a type that is invalid for use as a key column in an index

This was not something I would get when attempting to run locally, but it failed every time when using SQL Azure. Long store short is that the migrations that were trying to be applied were created when I was using Sqlite as a backing store (UseSqlite).

I deleted all the migrations and recreated them with the app being aware that it would be running on SQL Server (UseSqlServer) and all worked as it should. It makes total sense that the migrations would vary based on the data provider being used, but not something I had really thought about. Not something I will forget again.

All Migrations are not Created Equal Read More »

Creating and Connecting to a Virtual Machine in Azure

To get ready for the release of Visual Studio 2017 and the finalization of the ASP.NET Core’s move from project.json back to csproj I have been using a virtual machine (VM) in Azure instead of a local install. I did this just to avoid any issues as I wanted to keep my projects on project.json until the tooling was ready to go.

Since I create VMs infrequently it takes me a couple of minutes to remind myself of the steps I need to use. As stated above this post is going to be using Microsoft Azure and if you don’t have an account you can sign up for a free one here.

Creating a virtual machine

Starting from the portal click the plus button in the top left.

Next either browse the list for the type of VM you are looking to create or use the search. For this example use the search box and type “Visual Studio 2017” and press enter.

This will bring up a list of VMs that come with Visual Studio 2017 already installed. For this example, I will be using the VM with Visual Studio Enterprise 2017 RC on Windows 10 Enterprise N (x64).

When you select a VM on the screen above it will add a new blade with information about the VM. If the VM is what you are looking for then you can click the Create button.

Next, there will be a series of steps to collect information and settings needed to create the VM. The first is the basic setting where the VM will be named, given a username, password, resource group, and data center location. After finishing the settings click OK.

Next, is VM size selection. I am just using one of the recommend, but if you need more options click View All. Click the size you want to use and then click the Select button.

Next, is more settings. I just took the defaults and clicked OK.

The final screen is a validation and summary. If all looks good on this screen click the OK button to kick off the creation of the VM.

You will now be back on your dashboard page which will contain a new tile showing that your new VM is being deployed.

Connected to your VM

When deployment is finished the portal will automatically redirect you to the new VM’s page.

Click the Connect button in the top center of the page which will trigger the download of a VS2017Blog.rdp. Open the file that was downloaded which a Remote Desktop Connection. With the following warning. Click Connect.

Next is the credentials screen. If you are logged on to a domain you will need to click More choices and then Use a different account which will leave you on a screen like the following. The first box is domain\username which in this case is VS2017Blog\vs2017blog. Sorry for the confusion I should have used different values during the creation of the VM. The second box is the password. Click OK.

Finally, you will see a certificate warning. I believe this happens because it is created as part of the VM creation process and not from an authority. Click Yes and you will be logged into your VM.

Wrapping up

Now that you have a VM up and running you can do anything you need to. For me, it is running the RC version of Visual Studio 2017 without risking having any compatibility issues. By the time this post is out Visual Studio 2017 will have been released.

The VM create above has been deleted which is why I didn’t attempt to hide the IP address.

Creating and Connecting to a Virtual Machine in Azure Read More »

ASP.NET 5 Web Site to Azure

At the point the basics of my ASP.NET 4 contacts application have been moved to the ASP.NET 5. This is never going to be a production application, but I want it run it on a remote server just to prove it works. I decided to publish to Microsoft Azure which is Microsoft’s cloud offering. The process was a lot more challenging that I had expected, but as with all the rough spots I have hit with ASP.NET 5 I am sure the path will be made smooth for the final release.

Publishing to Azure from Visual Studio 2015 RC

To get started right click on the project to be published and select the Publish.


This will load the Publish Web dialog. On the Profile tab select the Microsoft Azure Web Apps option.

This will show the Select Existing Web App dialog. Click the New button to add a new Web App.

The new button show the Create Web App on Microsoft Azure. This dialog has a bit more to it. Web App name sets the url of the app as well as the app name with Azure. For region I just chose the closest data center. My application uses a database and I don’t have an existing database server in Azure so I chose Create new server for Database server selection. Database username and password are self explanatory. With all the options filled in click Create.

After the creation process, which creates all the infrastructure need for the app in Azure, is done Visual Studio returns to the Publish Web dialog. The following is the Connection tab. The fields are editable, but are auto filled from the creation process. In case changes are need use the provided Validate Connection button to verify Visual Studio is still able to communicate with Azure.

The Settings tab allows selection of Release or Debug configurations as well as the target DNX version.

The last tab on the Publish Web dialog is Preview. It is not overly useful on a first publish since all the file for the project needed to be push, but on subsequent publishes it would be useful to verify nothing unexpected is being pushed.PublishDialogPreview

Pushing the Publish button on the Publish Web dialog push the files to Azure and opens a browser with the newly published web app.


After a few seconds I was greeted with a HTTP 500 Internal Server Error instead of my web app. I spent a lot of time on the Azure Portal trying to find my issue. I created a new project and published it without issue which means it is a problem with my app and not the publish process. I spent a lot of time digging and Googling my issues, but thankfully ended up with answers.

App Configuration

My first issues were the result of not setting up the configuration options for my user secrets. As I posted last week this was the main worry I had with user secrets. You would think with my concerns that would be the first thing I checked but it actually took me awhile to get around to checking my user secrets. Just to be clear I am not against user secrets I think they are an awesome feature I am just not used to dealing with this side of configuration. The steps to make the proper configuration for user secrets follow.

From the Azure Portal click Browse everything to get a list of all resources.


From All resources click on the Web App that needs configuration. If you are paying close attention you will notice the name of my web app is different than the publication settings above. This is the result of one of my tries to get the site running before discovering the problem was configuration.

Selecting a web app cause the details page to load. On the details page select Settings.

From the settings details page click Application Settings which will load the Web app settings page.AzurePortalWebAppSettings

In Web app settings scroll down to the App settings section. In my case I was missing the Authentication:Google:ClientId and Authentication:Google:ClientSecret settings used for OAuth with Google. Also make note of the Connection strings section as  this is the section where the connection string to the database needs to be entered.

With all the above changes I was finally able to get the site to load.

Database/Entity Framework

As soon as I click on the contact list section of my app I got another HTTP 500 Internal Server Error. This happens to be the first time the app hits the database. The issue this time is that the DefaultConnection string that needs set so the app can connect to the database.

First step to fix this issue is to go back to the All resources on the Azure Portal and select the database that goes with the web app, aspnetcontacts_db in this example.


This will load the SQL Database detail. Under Connection string is a link for Show database connection strings. Clicking this will load a page with a list of connection strings for this database. Copy the appropriate string and replace the dummy password with the real one. Take that connection string with the password enter and put it in your web app’s DefaultConnection. With the DefaultConnection set the 500 error went away.
AzurePortalDbDetailThe next time I ran I got a stack trace with a message that migrations needed to be run. In order to get migrations to run I made a few changes to my project.

The first change was in the ConfigureServices function of Startup.  I added the setup for the ContactsDbContext using the DefaultConnection string. In the ContactsDbContext I removed the OnConfiguring function which is where the connection string for the ContactsDbContext had been set before.

// Add EF services to the services container.
   .AddDbContext<ApplicationDbContext>(options =>
   .AddDbContext<ContactsDbContext>(options =>

In order to actually run migrations for the ContactsDbContext I added a constructor with a call to Database.AsRelational().ApplyMigrations() which will ensure anytime the DbContext is constructed that the latest migrations will be applied. The following is the full ContactsDbContext class after the changes.

public class ContactsDbContext : DbContext
    private static bool _created;
    public DbSet<Contact> Contacts { get; set; }

    public ContactsDbContext()
        if (!_created)
            _created = true;

The last project change was to the ContactsController to allow ASP.NET to inject the ContactsDbContext instead of creating the context with in the controller.

private readonly ContactsDbContext _db;

public ContactsController(ContactsDbContext dbContext)
    _db = dbContext;

The change made above to the ConfigureServices function in the Startup class is how ASP.NET knows what to inject into the ContactsController. Build in dependence injection is one of the new features of ASP.NET 5.

After all the above changes I published to Azure and tried to access the contact list again. This resulted in a different error and a stack trace. The issue this round turned out to be that the default SQL Server created by Azure does not support the way that Entity Framework 7 is auto incrementing the ID column on contacts table. Thankfully there is an updated version of SQL available and the default server just need to be upgraded.

Back on the detail page for the SQL database there is a Server version listed as V2. Click the V2.


This will load the Latest SQL database update page. Click Upgrade This Server.


Currently the SQL Server created by the Visual Studio 2015 RC is in the Web tier which does not support the latest version of SQL which resulted in the warning below.
AzurePortalDbUpgradePriceWarningClick on your database name to load the Recommended pricing tier page. Since this is a new database Azure does not have enough information to recommend a tier and defaults to S0. At the very bottom of the page there is a big blue S0 link. Click it to change pricing tiers.


The Choose your pricing tier page will load. The current setting for the server is Web which shows as a retired. I chose the Basic tier but anything that is not marked as retired should support the newer version of SQL Server. After clicking on the option you want click the Select button at the bottom of the page.


Now that the new pricing tier has been selected go back to the server details and click the V2 link under Server version. This round you will get a big warning. Under the warning enter the name of your server and click OK to perform the upgrade.


The upgrade process took less than 20 minutes for me. After the processes was complete the app worked as expected.

ASP.NET 5 Web Site to Azure Read More »