As I’ve previously blogged, I created a Xamarin Forms application to submit pictures of my receipts to the company I work for. But if I’d publish the app in that state, the whole world could send in receipts on my behalf. So I needed to add authentication. Because the company uses Office 365, I’d decided to add Azure Active Directory.

There are a lot of resources about Adal (Active Directory Authentication Library) Some call it Azure Adal.NET

You can read about it on the Github page

It is also very clear in the that you should in fact upgrade to MSAL.Net

MSAL.NET is the new authentication library to be used with the Microsoft identity platform”

Searching for Xamarin.Forms and Msal.Net did not gave me that much options, so I decided to blog about it.

MSAL stands for MicroSoft Authentication Library. The Github is

It’s for Oauth2 and OpenID connect.

I started with adding an application registration in the azure portal under azure active directory at “app registrations”

I switched to “Single tenant” at the authentication tab/page to make sure that only people from within Partech are allowed.

Further more you need to write down the app (client) id and the directory (tenant) id.

Next was the code integration:

1. add nuget ‘Microsoft.Identity.Client’ to the Xamarin shared app

2. make sure your app.xaml.cs looks like this:

public static IPublicClientApplication PCA;
private const string applicationClientId = "clientidhere";
public static string[] Scopes = { "User.Read" };
public static string Username = string.Empty;

public static object ParentWindow { get; set; }

public App()
	PCA = PublicClientApplicationBuilder.Create(applicationClientId)
		.WithTenantId("tenantid here")


	MainPage = new MainPage();

3. to the mainpage I added an override of OnAppearing which called an async CheckAuth

4. add this code to checkauth:

AuthenticationResult authResult = null;
IEnumerable accounts = await App.PCA.GetAccountsAsync();
	IAccount firstAccount = accounts.FirstOrDefault();
	authResult = await App.PCA.AcquireTokenSilent(App.Scopes, firstAccount)
catch (MsalUiRequiredException ex)
		authResult = await App.PCA.AcquireTokenInteractive(App.Scopes)
	catch (Exception ex2)
		DisplayAlert("Acquire token interactive failed. See exception message for details: ", ex2.Message, "Dismiss").RunSynchronously();

if (authResult != null)
	await GetHttpContentWithTokenAsync(authResult.AccessToken);

5. for the rest of the code to retrieve the users given name, surname etc. you should check the GitHub link I mentioned previously.

To do more with azure AD use the Graph explorer

Good luck coding!

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There was an email earlier this year about a change in declarations from my employer. You can’t just drop receipt on someone’s desk anymore, but since we are in a digital era, we should make a picture of it and send it by mail. That sounds fair. But that would require me to remember the constraints, like letting know for which client it is and to which address I should send it to. So I decided that it needed automation.

Because some coworkers have iPhones and some have Android, I decided to go for this approach:


Xamarin Forms (Android, iOs) post a picture of a receipt to Azure Functions in the Azure cloud which sends it to Sendgrid. (Because Azure Functions cannot send mail)

Here are the steps I took to make a simple camera app:

1. File, new project, new Xamarin Forms project (no web api)

2. Add new project to solution (Azure Functions)

3. Add the nuget package ‘Xam.Plugin.Media’ to the shared/main xamarin project

4. Add UI code:


5. Add code to cs (code behind file)

I had three class variables (type string) filePath, filename, url (url to your azure function) I forgot that the emulator is a vm so you can’t use the localhost if you are testing the Azure Function but you should use your LAN ip.

private async void takePhoto_Clicked(object sender, EventArgs e)
	if (!CrossMedia.Current.IsCameraAvailable || !CrossMedia.Current.IsTakePhotoSupported)
		await DisplayAlert("No Camera", ":( No camera avaialble.", "OK");
	filename = DateTime.Now.ToString("yyyyMMdd-") + Guid.NewGuid() + ".jpg";

	var file = await CrossMedia.Current.TakePhotoAsync(new StoreCameraMediaOptions
		PhotoSize = PhotoSize.Medium,
		Directory = "Sample",
		Name = filename

	if (file == null)

	filePath = file.Path;

	image.Source = ImageSource.FromStream(() =>
		var stream = file.GetStream();
		return stream;
	sendPhoto.IsEnabled = true;

private async void sendPhoto_Clicked(object sender, EventArgs e)
	HttpContent fileStreamContent = new StreamContent(File.OpenRead(filePath));
	fileStreamContent.Headers.ContentDisposition = new System.Net.Http.Headers.ContentDispositionHeaderValue("form-data") { Name = "file", FileName = filename };
	fileStreamContent.Headers.ContentType = new System.Net.Http.Headers.MediaTypeHeaderValue("application/octet-stream");

	using (var client = new HttpClient())
	using (var formData = new MultipartFormDataContent())
		var response = await client.PostAsync(url, formData);

6. add `await CrossMedia.Current.Initialize();` in the android project in the mainactivity.cs just below the OnCreate call

7. add this code to the azure function:

string imageBase64;

using (var ms = new MemoryStream())
	var fileBytes = ms.ToArray();
	imageBase64 = Convert.ToBase64String(fileBytes);

string sendgridApiKey = "api-key-here";

var client = new SendGridClient(sendgridApiKey);
var from = new EmailAddress("", "JP Hellemons");
var subject = "Declaraton from app";
var to = new EmailAddress("", "JP");

var msg = MailHelper.CreateSingleEmail(from, to, subject, "plain msg", "html version");
msg.AddAttachment(file.FileName, imageBase64, "image/jpeg", "attachment");
var response = await client.SendEmailAsync(msg);

return new OkObjectResult("");

8. of course make a free account at sendgrid and just follow the tutorial/docs for adding the nuget package to the Azure Function.

Next post will contain a link to the Azure Active Directory for authenticating so that not everybody will send in receipts on my behalf.

Good luck!

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To keep kids entertained, people from all over the world put a teddy bear in their window so that kids can spot them during a walk.

I don’t know the origin. It’s in Canada, USA, New Zealand, UK etc. It’s also in my hometown so I decided to make an app for it.

People made a Facebook group with a google form to submit the teddy bear and an URL with all bears on google maps.

I thought that I had to get access to the Google spreadsheet containing the data, but it seems that it would not hold that much info if we take a look at the entry form and the maps data. In Google maps you can download a KMZ file which is a zipped KML (Keyhole Markup Language) It’s XML. Here is the full KML:


So there is a web link in it to get the live data. I used the webclient to pull it in and read it and tried to make pins out of it.

My first step was to add the Xamarin.Forms.Map Nuget package and the SharpKml.Core

Here is the full code:

private void AddMap()
	var map = new Map(MapSpan.FromCenterAndRadius(new Position(51.697815, 5.303675), Distance.FromMeters(10000)));

	using (var client = new WebClient())
		var kmz = KmzFile.Open(client.OpenRead(""));
		Kml kml = kmz.GetDefaultKmlFile().Root as Kml;

		if (kml != null)
			foreach (Placemark placemark in kml.Flatten().OfType())

				var pin = new Pin()
					Address = placemark.Address,
					Label = placemark.Name,
					Type = PinType.Place

	this.Content = map;

But the pins won’t show up (of course). Because I did not set the position. The real Kml contains data like this:


So as you can see there is no Latitude Longitude for the placemarks… So how does google maps work then? It seems that both Google Maps and Google Earth Geocode the address to get the lat lng. But that service unfortunately is not free. I tried to load the kml in Google Earth and export it, but that also does not add the latitude and longitude. I also thought that kml support for the map control could be used. So that I could just provide the kml to the map and have it sort it out, but that was build with monoandroid 9 instead of netstandard2.0 and would probably not fix the geocode issue.

I planned to make an app with no central backend. But because of geocoding, I would have to use a webapi or Azure Function to keep track of the “database” with all teddy bears and their corresponding lat lng. That would also lower the requests for geocoding if it would be moved from the phone (client) to the server.

But I’ve not found a good free geocoder does not work if I would provide the kml data. I think that I will come back to this one….

Good luck making your own KML/KMZ reading app!

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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
70-535 → AZ-300

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

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.


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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