Build and test microservices applications with Azure Dev Spaces

Microsoft adds Kubernetes tools to Azure to help developers work with cloud native code. Here’s how to get started

Azure’s service platform’s adoption of Kubernetes and containerschanges how you build, deploy, and manage cloud-native applications, treating containers and services as the targets of your builds, rather than the code that makes up those services.

Kubernetes itself automates much of what had been infrastructure tasks, orchestrating and managing containers. Azure’s AKS tools simplify configuring Kubernetes, but you need to deploy straight into an AKS instance—a hurdle for anyone developing new apps or handling a migration of an existing service. Although AKS itself isn’t expensive, setting up and tearing down orchestration models takes time—time that can better be spent writing and debugging code.

Introducing Azure Dev Spaces

That’s where Azure Dev Spaces comes in to play, a managed AKS instance that’s integrated with your local development tools. It’s where you can try out code, integrating it with other Azure services, and where you can collaborate with other members of your development team. With a dev space for each member of a team tied to a specific branch of a Git repository, you can work on your specific part of a service while other developers work on theirs in their own dev space, before you merge your code with pull requests and before running integration and system level tests.

It’s also a good way to start learning about container-based development. With Azure Dev Spaces, you can use tools like Helm and Brigade to quickly build the scaffolding for new apps, creating containers and the framework need to support code running in your containers. You can work with Node.js.Net Core, or your choice of development tools—with support for both Visual Studio Code and the full Visual Studio IDE. It also simplifies set up development environments: you won’t need to have Docker or Kubernetes running on your development PC; all you need is your usual IDE with all its familiar debugging tools.

Currently available in public beta, Azure Dev Spaces is only running on a subset of the available AKS clusters, in some US Azure regions, a couple Canadian regions, and one European region. As the service heads to production release, you should see it running in more regions, but until then be ready to have a little more latency than you might normally expect. There may also be delays when setting up a dev space; for example, when configuring the public DNS for your app, which can take several minutes on first run. If you use an SSH tunnel to your space, you can access your code as if it were running on your device even though it’s on a remote container running on AKS.

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