The Solid Blog




Microsoft Flow

The public preview of Microsoft Flow was announced at the end of April and was showcased in a session at the recent Integrate 2016 summit in London. In this blog, Ed Loveridge demonstrates how to set up a simple Flow to send all tweets with a specific hashtag to a channel on a Slack team site​.



System tests using Specflow

During a recent BizTalk project, one of the customer requirements was that system tests were to be written using Specflow. Specflow is an open-source framework which allows automated tests to be defined as Behaviour Driven Design (BDD) style specifications​. In this blog I will demonstrate how to install Specflow and outline the steps that were used throughout the project to create the tests.​



Engineering Chaos

"The best way to avoid failure is to fail constantly". Over the last few years, Netflix has been improving their resiliency with the help of the ‘Chaos Monkey’ and an ever expanding ‘Simian Army’. Nathan Cooper looks at the lessons that can be learned from their rather unorthodox automated testing approach.​



Microsoft Application Integration offering

Nino Crudele will be producing a series of articles about the latest and greatest in Microsoft technologies, some being directed to sales and management, others being more technically focussed towards the developer community.



Managing object lifetimes with Owin and Unity

Owin is the new open source standard for building and hosting web applications, bringing huge improvements to web development both in terms of flexibility and developer productivity. This article will solve a particular problem that may be encountered when moving to Owin for applications using Microsoft's Unity dependency container.



Introducing Self-Service BI with Power BI

In this series of blog posts, Nicholas Revell will discuss how Power BI and related Microsoft technologies can help you to implement a successful self-service business intelligence (BI) strategy.



Power BI: Realise the benefits of self-service BI

Power BI is uniquely placed to help your organisation realise the benefits of self-service business intelligence (BI), whether you are starting from scratch or building on top of a traditional BI platform.



Making Azure SQL more secure - Part 2

I had planned to review Row-level Security and Transparent Data Encryption (TDE), but support for TDE has not been announced yet (even though I can see the relevant system tables in V12 databases). So in this part I will just be giving you my assessment of row-level security.



Making Azure SQL more secure - Part 1

There have been a number of new security enhancements recently to control and audit access to Azure SQL databases. These include Auditing, Dynamic Data Masking, Row-level Security, and Transparent Data Encryption. In this first part I give my assessment of auditing and dynamic data design and how likely I am to be using them.



Can Azure ML replace SSAS Data Mining?

The data mining tools in SSAS (multidimensional mode) have been available since SQL Server 2000, and the range of data mining algorithms that are bundled are generally considered to be sufficient for most requirements.



Is PaaS a safer bet than IaaS for SQL in Azure?

What I fundamentally need to achieve for HADR is a database system that is, as much as possible, always available ('online and accessible'), complete ('no data loss'), and accurate ('no data corruption'). For the purpose of this discussion, I am ignoring backup strategies on the assumption that they exist primarily to roll back databases to a previous known state.



Use Custom Reports to close the Azure SQL gap in SSMS

Database management tools, such as SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) are mature products in daily use by database professionals around the world. This makes me wonder why Microsoft bothered producing their Silverlight-based Azure SQL Database Management Portal.



Scaling out databases in Azure with sharding

Scaling out (or sharding) by adding more databases usually requires careful planning and provisioning to ensure even distribution of data. It also adds more administrative overhead, and increases the number of points of failure. In this respect, Azure SQL databases are the perfect candidates for sharding because they can be created or deleted on demand, provide near-zero administration, and have built-in fault tolerance.



Why a dedicated TFS build server?

During initial discussions on structuring a new TFS installation, there is a regular but surprising (to me) question why a dedicated machine should be configured to host builds. I shall explain why the build function should be separated from TFS.



BizTalk integration with SharePoint 2013 Online – Troubleshooting

Extending on a well documented walkthroughhere I thought I’d share some of the errors I came across while integrating BizTalk 2013 with SharePoint Online 2013.