Azure Webjobs, Application Insights, and You: A Vaguely Comprehensive Guide

When I was learning to code, it wasn’t hard to find out what was going on in my applications. Typically, especially in classes, I was sending output to a console–super easy, instant feedback. A few times I didn’t have a console to watch, I was writing things to a text file I could open immediately. Also easy. As things went on, and they had us actually playing with webapps and javascript and HTML, the feedback was again instant. I would know immediately if my program was behaving.

Then I get a few weeks into my internship, and there’s this new idea: a webjob. Essentially, a console app that runs on the cloud for background tasks. They’re awesome…until they start doing weird things while deployed. Azure gives you a couple hundred lines of debug console for free, but that’s just not a sustainable solution. This was the point my boss said some vague words about “App Insights” and pointed at an example the other developer had worked out a while back (modified from a guide neither of us were able to locate).

It took me quite a while to figure out how to even configure Application Insights in the webjob, and even longer to really zero in on how to use it intelligently. So I wanted to combine some of that hard-earned knowledge in a very long walk thru. We put together a toy app inside the webjob template, and configure it to run and send telemetry to an Application Insights resource.

The final code from this project is in a repo you’re more than welcome to.

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Code Elevator

I worked for the logistics arm of a very large fashion company based here in Columbus for a few years, and one of the things I really liked about the culture there was how wrapped up in the mood elevator they were.

What I like about the Mood Elevator (and similar tools) is that when used properly, it provides a common language which leads to a better level of clarity about a situation. You can say things like “I’m struggling to keep the mood elevator at curious right now” and (while maybe a little corny) everyone will know you’re not in agreement with whatever is going on, but still open to being sold. Shorthand is an amazing thing sometimes.

 

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