Introducing Consul…

As the distributed systems we build continue to grow, both in number and types of services, we need better tools to discover these services, check if the services are healthy, and to provide a common and consistent configuration store. This is where “Consul” comes in: Consul is completely distributed, highly available, and scales to thousands of nodes and services across multiple datacenters.

It allows clients to always have consistent and up-to-date information of their datacenter infrastructure, which includes a datacenter-wide services and nodes discovery, health checks, and key/value storage. Internally, it uses a consensus-based election and the gossip protocol to communicate between the nodes.

Consul decouples the discovery, configuration mgmt. and health checks out of the application and facilitates them via configuration, or with very minimum code changes. Developers do not have to use the brick-and-mortar approach to build a custom solution of their own to achieve the same functionality.

In this blog post, I’ll walk you through installation and a few processes, including health checks, configuration management, and service discovery. Read More…

Join us tomorrow for a free webinar with AIS’ CTO and Microsoft MVP Vishwas Lele on Microsoft PowerApps and Flow. This webinar is designed to show you how to easily create PowerApps applications, and how to best take advantage of the recently introduced PowerApps custom visual for Power BI.

Vishwas will showcase a PowerApps application that is essentially a “portal” for existing Line of Business Enterprise Applications (inventory, contracts, etc.) and Services (Dynamics, O365, DropBox, etc.) Through the use of PowerApps features like the out-of-the-box connectors, integration with Flow and mobile enablement, you’ll learn how easy it is to build an app that allows users to have all the information they need in one location and on the device of their choice.

The webinar kicks off TOMORROW at 10 a.m. ET. Watch it right here or on Microsoft’s Power BI YouTube.

Microsoft PowerApps and Flow have been generally available since late 2016. They’re both tools that allow business users to streamline business processes without the use of code. Microsoft positioned PowerApps as their recommended replacement for InfoPath as the business user’s forms designer, and Flow as their replacement for SharePoint Workflow.

While these are welcomed replacements, both solutions also provide a broader level of support to the Microsoft stack and across a wide array of third-party applications.  I’ve recently been working with PowerApps and Flow to replace some internal applications, as well as to build proof-of-concepts for our existing clients. Here’s what I think of each, both separately and when putting them together… Read More…

For the last few years, I have enjoyed participating in HOUR OF CODE – a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. In 2017, 154,012 Hour Of Code events were registered worldwide.

To show how much fun (and useful) coding is, I wanted the kids to build something real,  vs. simply making their favorite character walk left or right.  I decided to use the MIT App Inventor tool for my Hour of Code sessions. App Inventor is a browser-based tool that allows you to build your own apps.  We built a simple Android app to help parents reduce distractions while driving. Even though the app is super simple, the results are cool enough for kids to proudly show the app to their parents.

Here is a 10-minute video of the steps we followed to build and test the app: Read More…