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It’s a bit of a follow up from my achievement last June when I passed the 70-486 MVC exam. I thought that I’d get the MCSD because I completed two (old/previous) UWP related exams before. But there was a bug in the cert planner. I had to wait a long time to hear from Microsoft, but unfortunately I had to take another exam to get the MCSD. I choose 70-532 because I wanted to go for MCSA: Cloud platform. So I ordered the v2 of the exam guide and studied every day during my holiday.

I found out (later) that the 70-532 and 70-535 and some more, will be deprecated by the end of the year… and will be replaced.

70-532 →   AZ-200
AZ-201
70-535 → AZ-300
AZ-301

But if you finish 532 or 535 before the 31ste of December you can use a cheaper transition exam to transfer to the same as the new “AZ” style. Since I passed 70-532, I decided to give AZ-202 a go and I hope that I will pass. I have to pass before June 2019 to get the MCAD. After that, I have added the AZ-300 and AZ-301 in my to-do list to get the MCASA (Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect)

azure developer image

But first, let me enjoy my MCSD.

Good luck studying!

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Building reports is a common task for me and I often struggle putting images in Excel so this post is just a small reference for myself to easy find how I have done it before.

I have build SQL before which would build html to display product images.

SQL like:

select '<tr><td>' + productid + '</td></tr>' from products  

And would paste that in a text file which has <table>…</table> and would save it as .html

That’s ugly and hard to work with, but it would/could show images (if you use <img src=’http://www.google.com/’ etc.)

Copying from the SMSS result panel

image

and pasting in Excel is an option to work with the data (apply extra filters or ordering etc.)

The open source SQL Operations Studio even has a community contribution to export directly to Excel! I just found out searching for the download link that the product is renamed to Azure Data Studio

https://docs.microsoft.com/nl-nl/sql/azure-data-studio/download?view=sql-server-2017

But then you only have a filename or uri or (local) path to a file in a sheet

image

I stored the Excel file as one with macro’s enabled and enabled the developer menu on the lint.

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Options.
  3. Click Customize Ribbon.
  4. Under Customize the Ribbon and under Main Tabs, select the Developer check box.

And I used this small VB sub:

Sub PlacePics()

    Dim Path As String, Pics As Range, Pic As Range
    
    Path = "https://www.ourcompany.com/images/"
    Set Pics = ActiveSheet.Range("F2:F2164")
        
    For Each Pic In Pics
        On Error Resume Next
        Pic.RowHeight = 100
        Pic.Offset(0, 0).Select
        ActiveSheet.Pictures.Insert(Path & Pic.Value).Select
    Next Pic
End Sub

It might take a while to process (depending on the amount of rows). But it gets the job done.

Good luck!

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It’s inevitable, but I have to upgrade from my Lumia 950 running 10.0.15254.527

It drains my battery so it does not last for a day anymore. I believe it is because the Twitter app is deprecated and they moved from a UWP to a PWA type. Since that moment my battery drained faster. I even ordered a new battery. That’s how dedicated I am to UWP apps and the win10 ecosystem.

I thought that I did not care that I missed some apps. But just yesterday I broadcasted my session of Super Lucky Tale’s on Xbox with Mixer and I needed a Mixer app on my mobile which redirected me to the Google/Android store!

During my holiday there was an issue with Azure. So I needed to borrow the iPhone from my wife to use the Azure app… I am on a Microsoft phone and cannot have an Azure app. That is just brutal!

So I have 2 options: the Apple eco-system or the Google eco-system. Option 1 is not an option for me. Because I don’t like the phone’s price. For instance there was an issue in the Netherlands with the new ID cards. You would receive a letter from the government that you need to scan your ID card with an app. This was only possible with Android because of the NFC chip and because of the iOs SDK limitation it was only possible on Android.

Microsoft also launched it’s own Android Launcher. So I am moving to Android. There are then two options (imho) a Samsung or a Nokia. I have been a Nokia fan for ages. (5110, 3210 etc. Lumia 920, 930, “950”)  Samsung has been in the news a lot about staying behind on the updates and not having a vanilla Android. So I will move to Nokia.

Next step: decide what Nokia. Wait for a 6.1 release in Europe? Or go for a 7 or 8 or even the Sirocco? Because of the price, I think that I would go for the 8. I am out the Android eco-system for several years, so I have not a lot of hands on experience with perf and the effect certain hardware can have on the UX.

I had to lookup how long it was ago. My first Android app release in the Google store was in 2010 (8 years ago!) The last person who bought it was in 2014. I took it offline not much after.

I am slowly getting a bit exited about moving to the Nokia+Android eco-system. Would prefer a Surface phone though, but you can’t wait forever! I blogged in 2013 about moving to Windows Phone 8.x and Android custom roms in 2011 http://jphellemons.nl/category/android reading back the app list makes me want to move even faster. An official Sonos app would be great! Miss it on a daily basis. And Android will give me the option to switch my bank to Bunq!

Thanks for reading my 2¢!

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I have blogged before about this Excel Nuget package where you don’t need to use interop and have Excel installed on the server. And my journey to start this Azure Function. This is because the most recent Excel format uses xml under the cover in a zipped file stored as a file with an xlsx extension. Since you do not have hard disk access in a serverless environment like Azure Functions you need to generate the Excel in memory (or store stuff in blob storage). I chose the in memory to leave no footprints or take up space in the cloud.

I wanted to use an Azure function to have it run in the cloud. Not being dependent on a Server which needs updates, reboots etc. Since the database already is in the Azure Cloud (Azure SQL) this seems a good/perfect fit.

I got the option to go for Azure function v1 or v2 which is in preview. So this was a nice opportunity to use the v2 and .Net Core/Standard. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-functions/functions-versions

The v2 also has support for the Office365 Graph. But that was out of (my) scope.

I took a timer based project because I wanted it to send an overview of invoices on a monthly basis. The Timer based project has a timer as data annotation based on CRON scheduling. There is however a small difference. Instead of 5 “fields” the Azure function has 6. It also let’s you schedule the seconds.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cron#CRON_expression

So not just: minutes, hours, day of month, month, day of week, year but seconds, minutes, hours, day of month, month, day of week, year. Of course the order is really important. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-functions/functions-bindings-timer#cron-expressions

I used this Nuget for the Excel export https://www.nuget.org/packages/EPPlus/

it has .Net Core support and will work perfectly.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Data;
using System.Data.SqlClient;
using System.IO;
using System.Net;
using System.Net.Mail;
using Microsoft.Azure.WebJobs;
using Microsoft.Azure.WebJobs.Host;
using OfficeOpenXml;

namespace MonthlyMailInvoices
{
    public static class Function1
    {
        [FunctionName("Function1")]
        public static void Run([TimerTrigger("10 0 0 1 * *")]TimerInfo myTimer, TraceWriter log)
        {
            log.Info($"C# Timer trigger function executed at: {DateTime.Now}");

            var com = new SqlCommand("SELECT * FROM [dbo].[INVOICES] where invoicedate > @startdt and invoicedate < @enddt");

            com.Parameters.AddWithValue("startdt", DateTime.Now.AddMonths(-1));
            com.Parameters.AddWithValue("enddt", DateTime.Now.AddDays(-1));

            var dt = new DataTable();

            using (var con = new SqlConnection("connectionstring goes here"))
            {
                con.Open();
                com.Connection = con;
                var da = new SqlDataAdapter(com);
                da.Fill(dt);

                log.Info($"start: {DateTime.Now.AddMonths(-1)} and end { DateTime.Now.AddDays(-1) } gave {dt.Rows.Count}");
            }

            using (var wb = new ExcelPackage())
            {
                wb.Workbook.Worksheets.Add("Our company");
                var ws = wb.Workbook.Worksheets[0];

                FillData(ws, dt, "Our company B.V.");

                var msg = new MailMessage();
                msg.To.Add("mymail@companydomain.com");
                msg.Subject = "Montly invoices";
                msg.From = new MailAddress("the@cloud.com");
                msg.Body = $"Invoices from {DateTime.Now.AddMonths(-1)} to { DateTime.Now.AddDays(-1) } in the Excel attachment.";
                var ms = new MemoryStream(wb.GetAsByteArray());
                ms.Position = 0;

                //msg.Attachments.Add(new Attachment(ms, "Invoices.xlsx", "application/vnd.ms-excel"));
                msg.Attachments.Add(new Attachment(ms, "Invoices.xlsx", "application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet"));
                var smtp = new SmtpClient
                {
                    Host = "smtp.gmail.com",
                    Port = 587,
                    EnableSsl = true,
                    Credentials = new NetworkCredential("my@gmailaccount.com", "incorrectpassword")
                };
                smtp.Send(msg);
            }
        }

        private static void FillData(ExcelWorksheet ws, DataTable dt, string title)
        {
            ws.Cells[1, 1].Value = title;

            ws.Cells[2, 1].Value = "Invoice nr";
            ws.Cells[2, 2].Value = "Invoice date";
            ws.Cells[2, 3].Value = "Amount inc. VAT";
            ws.Cells[2, 4].Value = "VAT";
            ws.Cells[2, 5].Value = "Amount exc. VAT";

            int row = 3;

            foreach (DataRow dr in dt.Rows)
            {
                ws.Cells[row, 1].Value = dr[0].ToString();
                ws.Cells[row, 2].Value = dr[1].ToString();
                ws.Cells[row, 3].Value = dr[2].ToString();
                ws.Cells[row, 4].Value = dr[3].ToString();
                ws.Cells[row++, 5].Value = dr[4].ToString();
            }
        }
    }
}

I could not test it locally because I had some issues with logins for my localdb. So I hit publish to deploy it on Azure. However republishing failed. I found the answer (as always) on StackOverflow. I had to add “MSDEPLOY_RENAME_LOCKED_FILES” and set it to 1 (true).

app-settings

Tony gave the correct solution.

I also had issues with the Excel generating in memory and having the Memorystream to a byte array and providing the right Mime type. Found that too on SO.

The last bit was to automate deployment. I had my code in VSTS (git) and configured a CI/CD pipeline (build + release) But had issues to grant myself (personal account) global admin rights from our company account in order to be able to access Azure resources to deploy. It was a matter of time before the Azure rights/roles changes are active. It’s a nice small serverless function which you can (should) add to source control and ci/cd to automate the latest builds to a test or production environment in the cloud.


Good luck!

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I have written powershell scripts in Azure runbooks in Azure Automation. It’s not a new concept. It’s even from back in 2014

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/azure-automation-your-sql-agent-in-the-cloud/

I started to use it because there is no SQL Agent in Azure SQL databases. I relied on SQL Agent to perform Ola’s database maintenance scripts. I use the Azure automation with Runbooks now for a long time to build reports from Azure SQL and have them send to people by SMTP.

The problem is that I string concatenate HTML in the powershell script and just put the results in an HTML enabled Email message. It is still a good option… Until a coworker requests an Excel attached to the mail…

Excel in Azure Runbook (Powershell)

I did build the powershell locally first.

image

When using the Azure Automation ISE add-on for Windows PowerShell ISE it hit me. The cloud probably has no Excel com/interop…

So I found this module to work with Excel in Powershell without Excel on GitHub. It uses Epplus. Which I mentioned in my post from 6 years ago.

But I realised that I could also just use Azure Functions and code in C# and have a time trigger. This enables me to write my beloved C# rather then scripting Powershell. I can also just use the Epplus nuget package.

The Azure functions v2 are now in preview and have .Net Standard support (which is great!)

The Visual Studio dialog can be unclear if you visit it for the first time and have no clue that the schedule uses CRON notation. Maybe they will change it, but now you know.


Good luck!

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