# Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Azure Search allows you to create a service making your own data searchable, in much the same way that public search engines like Google and Bing make data on the Internet searchable.

There are three steps to configuring Azure Search:

  1. Create Azure Search Service
  2. Create Index
  3. Import data

In a previous article, I showed how to create an Azure Search Service.

This article will show how to import data into Azure Search service; then index that data.

Navigate to the Azure portal and log in.

For this demo, I am indexing a Table in Azure storage containing information about my public speaking events, as shown in the Azure Data Explorer in Fig. 1.

as01-TableData
Fig. 1

Open your Azure Search Service, as shown in Fig. 2.

as02-OverviewBlade
Fig. 2

Click the [Import data] button (Fig. 3) to display the "Import data" blade, as shown in in Fig. 4.

as03-ImportDataButton
Fig. 3

as04-ImportDataBlade
Fig. 4

At the "Data Source" dropdown, select "Azure Table Storage", as shown in in Fig. 5.

as05-DataSourceTableStorage
Fig. 5

The "Connect your data" tab displays, as shown in Fig. 6.

as06-ConnectYourData
Fig. 6

At the "Name" field, enter a name for this data source.

At the "Connection string" field, click "Choose an existing connection" and select the storage account containing your data, as shown in Fig. 7.

as07-ChooseConnection
Fig. 7

At the "Table name" field, enter the name of the table containing your data.

Click the [Next] buttons at the bottom of the tab until you advance to the "Customize target index" tab, as shown in Fig. 8.

as08-CustomizeTargetIndex
Fig. 8

This tab displays all the fields in your data. Here you can select which fields can be retrieved, which can be filtered on, which can be sorted on, etc.

After making all your selections, click the [Next: Create an indexer] button at the bottom of the tab to advance to the "Create an indexer" tab, as shown in Fig. 9.

as09-CreateIndexer
Fig. 9

On this tab, you can configure how often your index will be updated from data changes. You can also decide whether to remove deleted items from your index (which will slow down indexing).

Click the [Submit] button to begin the first indexing and set the indexing schedule as configured.

A few minutes after the indexer runs, you should see the DOCUMENT COUNT and STORAGE SIZE values in the "Indexes" tab of the Search Service's "Overview" blade, as shown in Fig. 10.

as10-IndexesTab
Fig. 10

In this article, I showed how to import data into an Azure Search Service; then index that data.

In a future article, I will show how to call the search service.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 9:21:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Azure Search allows you to create a service making your own data searchable, in much the same way that public search engines like Google and Bing make data on the Internet searchable.

Before you can begin using Azure Search, you must perform the following actions:

  1. Create Azure Search Service
  2. Create Index
  3. Import data
  4. Index the data

This article will show how to create an Azure Search Service.

Navigate to the Azure portal and log in.

Click the [Create a Resource] button (Fig. 1) to display a list of Azure resource categories.

as01-CreateResourceButton
Fig. 1

At the Search box, enter "Azure Search" and press Enter, as shown in Fig. 2.

as02-SearchAzureSearch
Fig. 2

From the list of matching services, click on "Azure Search", as shown in Fig. 3.

as03-SelectAzureSearch
Fig. 3

A blade describing the features of Azure search displays, as shown in Fig. 4.

as03-SelectAzureSearch
Fig. 4

Click the [Create] button at the bottom of this blade.

The "New Search Service" blade displays, as shown in Fig. 5.

as04-CreateAzureSearch
Fig. 5

At the "URL" field, enter a unique name for this service. The service will expose a REST endpoint with the URL: https://xxxx.search.windows.net, where xxxx is the name you enter here.

At the "Subscription" dropdown, select the Subscription in which you want to store this service.

At the "Resource group" dropdown, select the resource group in which to store this service or click the "Create new" link to add a new resource group, as shown in Fig. 6.

as06-NewResourceGroup
Fig. 6

At the "Location" dropdown, select the region in which you want to store this service. The region should be near the users of the service or near the data you intend to index.

At the "Pricing tier" field, select an appropriate pricing tier. Clicking this field expands the "Choose your pricing tier" blade (Fig. 7), which displays the approximately monthly cost and the features of each tier.

as07-PricingTier
Fig. 7

When you have completed all the fields in the "New Search Service" blade, click the [Create] button to create the service.

When the service is created, you can navigate to it, as shown in Fig. 8.

as08-OverviewBlade
Fig. 8

This article showed how to create a new Azure Search Service. In the next article, we will create an Index for this service.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 9:08:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, February 25, 2019

Episode 552

Hilary Weaver-Robb on Front-End and UI Testing

"QA and Testers are the glue that holds teams together." Hilary Weaver-Robb describes how her team approaches software testing, how testers and developers work together toward the same goal, and some of the tools she uses.

Monday, February 25, 2019 9:34:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, February 23, 2019

InvisibleManThe unnamed African-American narrator of Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison recounts his life, growing up in the south; attending, then being expelled from a traditionally black college; emigrating to Harlem and taking up a group calling themselves "The Brotherhood", from which he ultimately separates. He does his best to assimilate with those he meets, repeatedly ceding his own ideas and identity; but it ends up for naught as he becomes more and more "invisible".

After discovering the narrator rescuing an evicted tenant from an angry mob, The Brotherhood recognizes his talent for persuasive speech and for mobilizing a crowd and he soon becomes the voice of this organization in Harlem. We are never given a clear picture of what The Brotherhood stands for. They support vague statements, such as "equality" and "the woman issue", but we know nothing of their details for achieving these goals. They may represent the Communist party, with which Ellison had a brief relationship. But they consolidate their power by manipulating others, including the black community of Harlem. When it suits their needs, they turn on the narrator and reverse their commitment to the local black community.

The Narrator loses ground every time he tries to assert his own opinions and his own characters. This leads him to label himself "invisible".  He is punished every time he asserts himself. When he acquiesces to those around him, he achieves temporary success, but he cannot maintain this success, as those in power shift their goals and expectations.

The book is filled with bizarre scenes that sometimes give it a surreal feeling. In one scene, a poor black farmer recounts in embarrassing detail how he came to impregnate his own daughter. In another scene, the narrator is forced to fight blindfolded against dozens of other black men to entertain a white audience, as a prerequisite to earning a college scholarship.

But Invisible Man is also filled with a very real, very poignant story about a young man trying to achieve success. He is thwarted because of the color of his skin; but also, because the system is stacked against anyone who tries to follow their own path.

He summarizes his position, as follows:
"I was pulled this way and that for longer than I can remember. And my problem was that I always tried to go in everyone's way but my own. I have also been called one thing and then another while no one really wished to hear what I called myself. So, after years of trying to adopt the opinions of others I finally rebelled. I am an invisible man."

To some extent, we all face a battle between success and invisibility; balancing our own goals with the goals of society. It is hard enough for those born into a position of privilege. But even harder for a black man living in 20th century America.

Saturday, February 23, 2019 12:28:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, February 21, 2019

GCast 36:

Managing Tables with the Azure Storage Explorer

The Azure Storage Explorer is a free resource to manage Azure Storage Accounts.
This video shows how to manage Azure tables with this tool.

Azure | GCast | Screencast | Video
Thursday, February 21, 2019 9:44:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, February 18, 2019

Episode 551

Jeremy Miller on Automated Testing in .NET Core

Jeremy Miller describes how testing ASP.NET applications is simpler with ASP.NET Core. He discusses the modularity of .NET, the lack of dependencies on IIS, and his open source testing project Alba.

Monday, February 18, 2019 9:21:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, February 16, 2019

AtonementCecilia Tallis and her Robbie Turner were making love in the Tallis family home when Cecilia's 13-year-old sister Briony saw them. Later, Briony witnessed the rape of her cousin in the darkness outside their home.

Despite getting no good look at the rapist, Briony's overactive imagination and her desire for attention lead her to wrongly accuse Robbie, sending him to prison.

This is the setup of Atonement by Ian McEwan.

It is the story of an aristocratic English family torn apart by a scandal and lives ruined by a lie and the lifetime of guilt that comes with the telling of the lie.

The book follows the 3 main characters at various points in their lives, following the initial scandal. World War II breaks out and Robbie enlists in the infantry after he is released from prison, while Briony and Cecilia work as nurses. McEwan gives us a look inside their heads (particularly Robbie and Briony) and how the incident affected them. The images of the war in Europe and the hospitals in England are particularly intense.

A final chapter takes place decades later with an aging Briony returning to the family home. Here we learn that the story is even more tragic than we originally believed.

The atonement itself is less satisfying than most readers will hope for. But Atonement the novel is a very good story of psychology and pain and guilt.

Saturday, February 16, 2019 8:51:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, February 14, 2019

GCast 35:

Customizing Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a set of tools that help users collaborate with one another. Learn how to create a new Team, add a Channel to an existing team, and add a Tab to an existing Channel.

GCast | Screencast | Teams | Video
Thursday, February 14, 2019 9:02:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, February 11, 2019

Episode 550

Cassandra Faris on Personal Branding

Cassandra Faris talks about her involvement with the developer community and how she has managed her personal brand.

Monday, February 11, 2019 9:05:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, February 9, 2019

GoTellItOnTheMountainSet against the backdrop of black families and churches in Harlem and in the American southeast during the Great Depression, Go Tell It on The Mountain by James Baldwin takes us through the struggles of a family dealing with God, religion, and temptation, sin, guilt, and redemption.

The story begins ends with John Grimes on his 14th birthday. John is troubled by his relationship with God, which is negatively affected by John's poor relationship with his unloving stepfather - an evangelical preacher at a Harlem storefront church.

But most of the book's stories are told in flashbacks: We learn of John's birth father, who was arrested and beaten by police because he was a black man walking around the city at night; We learn of John's aunt, who left home because her mother reserved her love for another child; and we learn of John's stepfather Gabriel.

Gabriel grew up a wild youth in the south. After years of rejecting God, Gabriel is saved and decides to become a preacher. His idealism helps him, but his weaknesses hinder him. Desperately desiring a son, Gabriel is frustrated at his wife's inability to conceive. He meets Esther at church, who flirts with him. A brief extramarital affair with Esther results in a bastard son, which Gabriel tries to cover up by stealing his wife's money and sending Esther out of town, thus compounding his sin. Like nearly all of us, Gabriel falls short of what he seeks to become; but his greatest weakness is his inability to accept personal responsibility for his mistakes. Consistently, he blames others for his own failings. This hypocrisy hinders his desire for forgiveness - from himself, from others, and from God. As he grows older, Gabriel becomes more bitter and unloving.

The most powerful scene of the novel is when Gabriel finally confesses his illegitimate son Royal to his wife Deborah after learning that the teenage boy has been murdered. Royal never knew his father, but Deborah knew all along. Deborah does not chastise Gabriel for his infidelity; instead, she chastises him for not helping Esther when she needed his aid and for not taking in his infant son after Esther's death and for not accepting the gift that God gave him.

The language of Mountain poetic, mixing references from Gospel hymns and the King James Bible. It is a beautiful story that is well told, even though it describes many ugly things.

Hours after finishing it, I was haunted by the characters and their actions and the circumstances that shaped them.

Saturday, February 9, 2019 11:24:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)