2-for-1: “Google Cloud for Developers” AND “Using Azure for Dev & Testing”

2-for-1: “Google Cloud for Developers” AND “Using Azure for Dev & Testing”

March 15, 2018 – 72 people attended

Details:

Two talks were scheduled for this event.

The first talk is “Google Cloud for .NET Developers” by Ken Cenerelli.

The second talk is “Using Azure for Software Development & Testing
Azure DevTest Labs is a free service that helps developers and testers quickly create environments in Azure while minimizing waste and controlling cost. You can test the latest version of your application by quickly provisioning Windows and Linux environments using reusable templates and artifacts. Easily integrate your deployment pipeline with DevTest Labs to provision on-demand environments. Scale up your load testing by provisioning multiple test agents, and create pre-provisioned environments for training and demos. The only cost comes from the actual Azure resources consumed such as VMs, storage, databases, etc. The topics covered include:
* Quickly provision development and test environments
* Minimize waste with quotas and policies
* Set VM automated shutdowns and startups to minimize costs

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Use Azure’s Kudu UI to Fix WordPress Update Failures

Another post in our series on Creating Azure (hosted) WordPress Websites without knowing php or MySql!

Problem: 

An update of a WordPress plugin or theme for our Azure hosted WordPress website(s) fails to load. This causes an immediate problem because the old version of the plugin or theme was already deleted from the website in the update process! This is a ‘scary’ one – especially if it is the theme that is deleted from the website. Time is of the essence to get the website fixed and secured with the latest updates.

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Use Azure Kudu to Access the Infrastructure files of an Azure hosted WordPress Site

Read all of the other posts in our series on Creating Azure (hosted) WordPress Websites without knowing php or MySql!

All of the back-end infrastructure files of a WordPress website hosted on Azure Web App Service, are exposed via its Azure source control management site. You may need to make changes to the Azure hosted WordPress site’s web.config, wp-config.php, functions.php etc.

Every Azure App Service (website) has an associated ‘scm’ service website or a Site Extension named Kudu. It is accessed by using the Source Control Management entry point https://<site-name>.scm.azurewebsites.net. NOTE: A custom domain name will not resolve with the scm modification to its URL – you must use the original *.azurewebsites.net DNS name to access Kudu.

Kudu can also be accessed via the Azure Resource Manager (ARM) for your Azure website under Settings > Development Tools > Advanced Tools > Go > Read more about Kudu here.

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Maximize Security of your WordPress Website

Within a month of building our first WordPress blog from the Azure Marketplace, we discovered that the website had been hacked. It had been injected with code we couldn’t find how to access and showed more than 20 additional blog posts pointing to random software download pages, all running from our custom domain with SSL!

We were fortunate to have noticed those extra posts as soon as we did – and before the domain’s reputation was compromised. We immediately deleted the hacked posts, and exported an xml file of our website contents for importing into a newly built ‘clean’ website infrastructure if necessary – which it was. Turned out to be faster and safer to rebuild the website than to discover exactly how and where ‘they’ had gotten in and the extent of the back-end infrastructure infiltration. Time was better spent learning how to secure and harden our WordPress website!

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Our 18 Favourite WordPress Plugins

Another post in our series on Creating Azure (hosted) WordPress Websites without knowing PHP or MySql!

Intro –  Choosing WordPress Plugins

This is the current list of plugins that we have tested and use together successfully on our current WordPress (v4.8 at the time of this writing) websites hosted on Azure Platform as a Service (PaaS). Certainly there are a number of other variations of each of these plugins to be found, both free and premium, that will work together for your various website functionality – but these are what we’ve chosen and know are reliable for what we require. (Disclaimer – we have NO affiliation with any of these plugin products, except that we use them!)

  1. SMTP Mailer
  2. iThemes Security Pro
  3. Customize WordPress Login Page
  4. All-In-One-Intranet
  5. Advanced Sidebar Menu and Advanced Sidebar Menu Pro
  6. Breadcrumb
  7. Comet Cache
  8. Swifty Page Manager
  9. Advanced Access Manager
  10. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
  11. Smooth Scroll Page Up/Down Buttons
  12. Page-List
  13. WP Edit
  14. Enlighter – Customizable Syntax Highlighter
  15. Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions
  16. Akismet Anti-Spam
  17. WP Security Audit Log
  18. Remove Dashboard Access

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Choosing WordPress Plugins

Another post in our series on Creating Azure (hosted) WordPress Websites without knowing PHP or MySql!

Plugins are PHP scripts or small software apps that can be uploaded and installed on a WordPress website to extend and expand the functionality of the WordPress site, without having to know how to change the core code and learn PHP. WordPress was designed to be extended by plugins – modular programs that add functionality to a WordPress website. There are more than 40,000 free Plugins available on WordPress.org and thousands of Premium (not free) plugins that will deliver just about anything you want to add to your website.

For us, that means that we don’t have to learn PHP to add the specific functionality that we need on our custom websites – we just need to find the ‘right’ plugins. The caution in using plugins, is that they must be updated and tested for the latest WordPress platform version, play well with your website’s theme and other plugins you’re using, not slow down your website, nor contain ‘infecting’ code to cause security breaches.

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Setup Plan for an Azure hosted WordPress Private Support Portal

Another post in our series on Creating Azure (hosted) WordPress Websites without knowing PHP or MySql!

This website is built exactly the same as the Page-Centric Private Wiki outlined in an earlier post, but with some additional changes to the UI functionality. Follow all the directions from Page-Centric Private Wiki adding in the additional functionality outlined here.

This is a read-only private website, with all registered users having the Subscriber role. Each registered Subscriber has access to all the pages on the website but does not have access to the WP Default Tool Bar and their WP Profile page. All Subscribers are registered by the website Administrator and given strong passwords that they are encouraged to change on their first login.

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Setup Plan for an Azure hosted WordPress Page-centric Private Intranet Wiki

Read all of the other posts in our series on Creating Azure (hosted) WordPress Websites without knowing php or MySql!

Overview:

We were tasked to move all the content of a private corporate 700+ page wiki from an expensive, full-featured, social collaboration intranet subscription service, over to an Azure hosted private WordPress wiki site. Only the private wiki feature on the previous subscription service was being used & needed, so the reason for the move was to build a private website to house the corporation’s pages of internal knowledge and business documents (wiki), with ease of editing the existing content as well as being able to add more content, operating on the solid, secure Azure Web App Service hosting platform.

Microsoft Azure provides a powerful, secure, reliable, scalable, highly-available, pay-for-what you-use, cost effective cloud platform to build and deploy enterprise-grade WordPress websites with Azure Backup and Azure Blob Storage services. We knew we could have a WordPress website up and running in just a few minutes – but then the challenges of working with WordPress presented!

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