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Node.js Development with Visual Studio Code and Azure

Between Visual Studio Code and Azure, we're trying to simplify the overall developer experience of building, debugging and deploying Node.js applications. This tutorial tries to illustrate what it would look like to take an existing Node.js app, "containerize" it, and then deploy it to the cloud.

The tutorial makes use of a simple todo app created by and published by Scotch.io. It is a single-page MEAN app, and therefore, uses MongoDB as its database, Node/Express for the REST API/web server and Angular.js 1.x for the front-end UI. Use the following ToC to jump to particular sections of interest, otherwise, continue reading ahead.

Pre-requisites

In order to effectively run through this demo, you'll need to have the following software installed:

  1. Visual Studio Code Insiders Build, which you can download here. You don't technically need the insiders build, however, I would encourage everyone to use it since it provides access to the latest bug fixes/feature enhancements (just like Chrome Canary builds), and is the same build that the VS Code team uses.

  2. Docker, which can be downloaded here. Additionally, you will need to have a DockerHub account in order to publish the Docker images that will be created in the walkthrough.

  3. Azure CLI (>=2.0.6), which provides installation instructions here. Additionally, you will need an Azure account, and be logged in with the Azure CLI by running az login and following the interactive login.

  4. Yarn, which provides installation instructions here. This isn't technically required, however, it's used in place of the NPM client below. I'd recommend it!

  5. Chrome, which will be used for debugging the demo app's front-end later on in the walkthrough.

Additionally, since the demo app uses MongoDB, you need to have a locally running MongoDB instance, which is listening on the standard 27017 port. The simplest way to achieve this is by running the following command after Docker is installed: docker run -it -p 27017:27017 mongo.

Project Setup

To get started, we need to grab the todo sample project so we can start playing around with it. To do this, perform the following steps:

  1. Open up Visual Studio Code, and type F1 to bring up the command pallete (or alternatively, select Command Palette... from the View menu)

  2. Type gitcl to find the Git: Clone command and hit <ENTER>.

    Note: The VS Code command pallete supports "fuzzy search", which allows you to type fewer keystrokes to find commonly used commands.

  3. Enter https://github.com/scotch-io/node-todo into the prompt and hit <ENTER>.

  4. Select the folder you'd like to clone the project into, or create a new one (e.g. called Todos). At this point, VS Code will clone the repo, and launch a new workspace that is rooted at the newly cloned project.

Alternatively, you could use the Git CLI to clone the sample repo, however, this exercise helps illustrate some of the productivity enhancers that VS Code provides by means of the command palette. I'd encourage you to hit F1 and browse the various commands it (and any installed extensions) provides, in order to identify what else you can do.

Integrated Terminal

Since this is a Node.js project, the first thing we need to do is ensure that all of it's dependencies are installed from NPM, since they weren't checked into the Git repo. You can perform this step from within your standard terminal (I would recommend Hyper!), or, if you prefer, you can also bring up the VS Code integrated terminal by pressing CTRL+` and then running either npm install or yarn, depending on which NPM client you prefer. I like Yarn since it's super fast and provides some great workflow improvements, so I'd recommend checking it out if you haven't already.

Since VS Code wants to fit naturally into your existing workflow, it's up to you to decide if and when the integrated terminal is useful. I find that if I'm running VS Code full-screen (especially with the new Zen mode!), it's nice to be able to use the integrated terminal for simple/one-off commands. Whereas if I'm doing something more "sophisticated", I'll just switch to a full-screen version of Hyper. Choice and flexibility is key here.

Integrated Git version control

Installing the app's dependencies via Yarn resulted in a yarn.lock file being generated, which provides a predictable way to re-acquire the exact same dependencies in the future, without any surprises in either CI builds, production deployments or other developer's machines.

It is encouraged that this file be checked into source control, and to do this, you can easily switch to the integrated Git tab in VS Code (the one with the Git logo), and notice the newly added file. You can type in a commit message, and type CMD+Enter (or click the checkmark icon) in order to stage/commit the change locally.

Behind the scenes, this is simply automating the same Git CLI commands you would have run manually, so once again, it's up to you to decide whether the integration in VS Code works for you or not. If you're curious, you can bring up the Git output window by clicking the ... menu item and selecting Show Git Output. This will display all of the underlying Git activity that VS Code is performing on your behalf.

Project / Code navigation

In order to orient ourselves within the codebase, let's play around with some examples of some of the navigation capabilities that VS Code provides:

  1. Type CMD+P and enter .js, which lets you see all of the JavaScript/JSON files in the project, along with the directory they're within. Once again, this dialog supports the same "fuzzy search" as the command palette, so it's pretty flexible.


  2. Select server.js, which is the startup script for the app.

  3. Hover over the database variable that is imported on line 6 in order to see it's "type". This ability to quickly inspect variables/modules/types within a file can come in very handy, especially since we tend to spend more time reading/understanding code than writing it!


  4. Simply placing your cursor within the span of the name database, allows you to quickly see all other references to it within the same file, and right-clicking and selecting Find All References allows you to see uses of it project wide.

  5. Beyond quickly inspecting variable types on hover, you can also inspect the definition of a variable, even if it's in another file! For example, right-click on database.localUrl on line 12, and select Peek Definition, which lets us quickly see how the app is configured to connect to MongoDB by default.

Cloud-native, twelve-factor apps don't hardcode configuration like this, and therefore, it would be better to set our MongoDB connection string via an environment variable, which can easily be changed per deployment/environment. Let's make that change!

Auto-completion

Auto-completion can provide huge productivity enhancements when writing/exploring code, since it prevents you from needing to keep referencing documentation or worrying about API typos. For example, let's augment the hardcoded MongoDB connection string with an environment variable by changing line 12 from this:

mongoose.connect(database.localUrl);

To this:

mongoose.connect(process.env.MONGODB_URL || database.localUrl);

When typing process., you should have noticed that VS Code displayed the available members of the Node.js process global API, without you needing to configure anything.

This works because VS Code uses TypeScript behind the scenes (even for JavaScript!) to provide type information, which can then be used to inform the completion list as you type. VS Code is able to detect that this is a Node.js project, and as a result, automatically downloaded the TypeScript typings file for Node.js from NPM. This allows you to get completion for other Node.js globals such as Buffer or setTimeout, as well as all of the built-in modules such as fs and http.

In addition to the built-in Node.js APIs, this auto-acquisition of typings also works for over 2,000 3rd party libraries, such as React, Underscore and Express. For example, in order to disable Mongoose from crashing the sample app if it can't connect to the configured MongoDB database instance, add the following line of code to line 13:

mongoose.connection.on("error", () => { console.log("DB connection error"); });

When typing that, you'll notice that you get completion, once again, without needing to do anything.

You can see which libraries support this auto-complete capability by browsing the amazing DefinitelyTyped project, which is the community-driven source of all TypeScript type definitions.

Running The App

Now that we've explored and tweaked this app a bit, now is time to run it. To do this, simply hit F5. This will launch the app, along with the Debug Console window in VS Code, which displays stdout for our newly running app.

Additionally, this console is actually attached to our newly running app, so you can type JavaScript expressions, which will be evaluated in the app, and also includes auto-completion! For example, try typing process.env in the console to see what I mean.

Note: We were able to simply hit F5 to run the app because the currently focused editor represented a JavaScript file (server.js). This made VS Code assume that our project was a Node.js app, and therefore, it knew how to run it without any further assistance. If we hadn't had a JS file open, then hitting F5 would have asked us what our app type is (the list is based on the extensions you have installed) and then ran it.

If you open a browser, you can navigate to http://localhost:8080 and see the running app. Type a message into the textbox and add/remove a few todos to get a feel for how the app works.

Debugging

In addition to being able to run the app and interact with it via the integrated console, VS Code also provides the ability to set breakpoints directly within your code. For example, hit CTRL+P to bring up the file picker, type route and select the route.js file.

Let's set a breakpoint on line 28, which represents the Express route that will be called when our app tries to add a todo. To set a breakpoint, simply click the gutter to the left of the line number within the editor:

Note: In addition to standard breakpoints, VS Code also supports conditional breakpoints, which allow you to customize when the app should suspend execution. To use them, simply right-click the gutter, select Add Conditional Breakpoint..., and specify either the JavaScript expression (e.g. foo = "bar") or hit count that you'd like to condition the breakpoint on.

With that set, go back to the running app and add a todo. This immediately causes the app to suspend execution, and VS Code will pause on line 28 where we set the breakpoint:

Within the paused file, we can hover over expressions to view their current value, inspect the locals/watches and call stack, and use the debug toolbar at the top to step through the execution. All the things you would expect from an IDE, but in a lightweight text editor. Hit F5 again to continue execution of the app.

Full Stack Debugging

As mentioned, this is a MEAN app, which means it's front-end and back-end are both written using JavaScript. So while we're currently debugging our back-end Node/Express code, at some point, we may need to debug our front-end/Angular code. Fortunately, VS Code has a huge ecosystem of extensions, which are easy to install, including integrated Chrome debugging.

To demonstrate this, switch to the extensions tab and type chrome into the search box:

Select the extension named Debugger for Chrome and click the Install button. After doing this, you'll need to reload VS Code to activate the extension. It will persist your workspace across the restart so don't worry about losing any state.

While we were able to run/debug our Node.js app without any VS Code-specific configuration, in order to debug a front-end web app, we currently need to generate a launch.json file in order to instruct VS Code how to run the app. To do this, switch to the Debug tab and click the gear icon (which should have a little red dot on top of it).

This will generate a launch.json file which simply tells VS Code how to launch and/or attach to your app in order to debug it.

{
    "version": "0.2.0",
    "configurations": [
        {
            "type": "node",
            "request": "launch",
            "name": "Launch Program",
            "program": "${workspaceRoot}/server.js"
        },
        {
            "type": "node",
            "request": "attach",
            "name": "Attach to Port",
            "address": "localhost",
            "port": 5858
        }
    ]
}

Notice that it was able to detect that the app's startup script is server.js, and once again, we don't need to change anything in order to make debugging just work. With the launch.json file opened, click the big blue Add Configuration... button in the bottom right, and select Chrome: Launch with userDataDir.

This adds a new run configuration for Chrome, which will allow us to debug our front-end JavaScript code. You can hover your mouse over any of the settings that are specified to view documentation about what they do. Additionally, notice that it automatically detected the URL of our app. Update the webRoot property to ${workspaceRoot}/public so that the Chrome debugger will know where to find your front-end assets:

{
   "type": "chrome",
   "request": "launch",
   "name": "Launch Chrome",
   "url": "http://localhost:8080",
   "webRoot": "${workspaceRoot}/public",
   "userDataDir": "${workspaceRoot}/.vscode/chrome"
}

In order to launch/debug both the front and back-end at the same time, we need to create a "compound" run configuration, which tells VS Code which set of configurations to run in parallel. Add the following snippet as a top-level property within the launch.json file (as a sibling of the existing configurations property). The compound configuration concept is really powerful, as we'll discuss later!

"compounds": [
   {
      "name": "Full-Stack",
      "configurations": ["Launch Program", "Launch Chrome"]
   }
]

Note: The string values specified in the compounds.configurations array simply refer to the name of individual entries in the list of configurations. If you've customized your names, then simply reflect that in the compound definition.

To see this in action, switch to the debug tab in VS Code, and change the selected configuration to Full-Stack (which is what we called the compound config, you can name it anything you want), and then hit F5 to run it.

This launches the Node.js app (as can be seen in the debug console output), as well as Chrome, which is configured to navigate to the Node.js app at http://localhost:8080.

Type CTRL+P and enter/select todos.js, which is the main Angular controller for the app's front-end. Set a breakpoint on line 11, which is the entry-point for a new todo being created.

Go back to the running app, add a new todo, and you'll notice that VS Code has now suspended execution within the Angular code:

Just like with the Node.js debugging, you can hover over expressions, view locals/watches, evaluate expressions in the console, etc. However, there are two cools things to consider now:

  1. The Call Stack pane displays two different stacks: Node and Chrome, and indicates which one is currently paused.

  2. You can step between front and back-end code! To test this, simply hit F5, which will run execution and hit the breakpoint we previously set in our Express route.

With this setup, we can now efficiently debug front, back or full-stack JavaScript code directly within VS Code. Going further, the compound debugger concept isn't limited to just two target processes, and also isn't just limited to JavaScript, so if you're working on a micro-service app, that is potentially polyglot, you can use the exact same workflow we did above, once you've installed the necessary extensions (e.g. Go, Ruby, PHP).

Dockerizing Your App

Speaking of microservices, let's take a look at the experience that VS Code provides for developing with Docker. Many Node.js devs are using Docker for providing portable app deployments for both development, CI and production environments. That said, we've heard lots of feedback that while the benefits of Docker are extremely high, the learning curve and cost of getting started can also be fairly high. VS Code provides an extension that tries to help simplify some of that onboarding!

Switch back to the extensions tab, search for docker and select the Docker extension. Install it and then reload VS Code, just like we did for the Chrome extension above.

This extension includes many things, one of which is a simple command for generating a Dockerfile and docker-compose.yml file for an existing project. To see this in action, type F1 (to bring up the command palette) and type docker to display all of the commands that the Docker extension provides:

Select the Docker: Add docker files to workspace command, select Node.js as the app platform, and specify that the app exposes port 8080. This generates a complete Dockerfile and Docker compose files that you can begin using immediately.

The Docker extension also provides auto-completion for your Dockerfiles and docker-compose.yml files, which makes authoring your Docker assets a lot simpler. For example, open up the Dockerfile and change line 2 from:

FROM node:latest

To:

FROM mhart

With your cursor after the t in mhart, hit CTRL+Space to view all of the image repositories that mhart has published on DockerHub.

Select mhart/alpine-node, which a very efficient and small Linux distro and provides everything that this app needs, without any additional bloat (Alpine Linux is great for Docker!). Smaller images are typically better since you want your app builds and deployments to be as fast as possible, which makes distribution/scaling/etc. quick.

Now that we have our Dockerfile, we need to build the actual Docker image. Once again, we can use a command that the Docker extension installed, by typing F1 and entering dockerb (using "fuzzy search"). Select the Docker: Build Image command, choose the /Dockerfile that we just generated/edited, and then give a tag to the image which includes your DockerHub username (e.g. lostintangent/node). Hit <ENTER>, which will launch the integrated terminal window and display the output of your Docker image being built.

Notice that the command simply automated the process of running docker build for you, which is another example of a productivity enhancer that you can either choose to use, or you can just use the Docker CLI directly. Whatever works best for you!

At this point, to make this image easily acquirable for deployments, we just need to push it to DockerHub. To do this, make sure you have already autheticated with DockerHub by running docker login from the CLI and entering your account credentials. Then, back in VS Code, you can bring up the command palette, enter dockerpush and select the Docker: Push command. Select the image tag that you just build (e.g. lostintangent/node) and hit <ENTER>. This will automate calling docker push and will display the output in the integrated terminal.

We plan to add support for logging in to container registries from the Docker extension for VS Code (e.g. via a Docker: Login command), with the goal of further simplifying the above experience.

Deploying Your App

Now that we have our app Dockerized and pushed to DockerHub, we need to actually deploy it to the cloud so we can show it off to the world. For this, we'll use Azure App Service, which is Azure's PaaS offering, and recently added two new capabilities which are relevant to Node.js developers:

  1. Support for Linux-based VMs, which reduces incompatibilities for apps which are built using native Node modules, or other tools which might not support Windows and/or may behave differently.

  2. Support for Docker-based deployments, which allow you to simply specify the name of your Docker image, and allow App Service to pull, deploy and scale the image automatically.

To get started, open up your terminal, and we'll use the new Azure CLI 2.0 to manage your Azure account and provision the necessary infrastructure to run the todo app. Once you've logged into your account from the CLI using the az login command (as mentioned in the pre-reqs), perform the following steps in order to provision the App Service instance and deploy the todo app container:

  1. Create a resource group, which you can think of as a "namespace" or "directory" for helping to organize Azure resources. The -n flag is the name of the group and can be specified as anything you want.

    az group create -n nina-demo -l westus

    Note: The -l flag indicates the location of the resource group. While in preview, the App Service on Linux support is only available in select regions, so if you aren't located in the Western US, and you want to check which other regions are available, simply run az appservice list-locations --linux-workers-enabled from the CLI to view your datacenter options.

  2. Set the newly created resource group as the default one, so that you can continue to use the CLI without needing to explicitly specify it:

    az configure -d group=nina-demo
  3. Create the App Service "plan", which will manage creating and scaling the underlying VMs that your app is deployed to. Once again, specify any value that you'd like for the name flag.

    az appservice plan create -n nina-demo-plan --is-linux

    Note: The --is-linux flag is key, since that is what indicates that you want Linux-based VMs. Without it, the CLI will provision Windows-based VMs.

  4. Create the App Service web app, which represents the actual todo app that will be running within the plan and resource group we just created. You can roughly think of a web app as being synonymous with a process or container, and the plan as being the VM/container host that they're running on. Additionally, as part of creating the web app, we'll configure it to use the Docker image that we just published to DockerHub:

    az webapp create -n nina-demo-app -p nina-demo-plan -i lostintangent/node

    Note: If instead of using a custom container, you'd prefer to do Git deployment, check out the instructions for setting that up here.

  5. Set the newly created web app as the default web instance, so that you can continue to use the CLI without needing to explicitly specify it:

    az configure -d web=nina-demo-app
  6. Launch the app to view the container that was just deployed, which will be available at an *.azurewebsites.net URL:

    az webapp browse

    Note: This may take a minute to first load your app, since App Service has to pull your Docker image from DockerHub and then start it up.

Yay! We just deployed our app. However, the spinning icon indicates that the app can't connect to the database, which makes sense because we were using a local instance of MongoDB during development, which obviously isn't reachable from within the Azure datacenters. Fortunately, since we updated the app to accept the connection string via an environment variable, we just need to spin up a MongoDB server and re-configure the App Service instance to reference it.

Provisioning a MongoDB Server

While we could setup a MongoDB server, or replica set, and manage that infrastructure ourselves, Azure provides another solution called Cosmos DB. Cosmos DB is a fully-managed, geo-replicable, high-performance, NoSQL database, which provides a MongoDB-compatibility layer. This means that you can point an existing MEAN app at it (or any MongoDB client/tool such as Studio 3T), without needing to change anything but the connection string! Let's take a look at how this works:

  1. Head back to your terminal, and run the following command in order to create a MongoDB-compatible instance of the Cosmos DB service. Feel free to name the instance whatever you'd like, by taking note to replace the <NAME> placeholder below with a globally unique value (Cosmos DB uses this name to generate the database's server URL):

    COSMOSDB_NAME=<NAME>
    az cosmosdb create -n $COSMOSDB_NAME --kind MongoDB
  2. Retrieve the MongoDB connection string for this instance by running the following command:

    MONGODB_URL=$(az cosmosdb list-connection-strings -n $COSMOSDB_NAME -otsv --query "connectionStrings[0].connectionString")
  3. Update your web app's MONGODB_URL environment variable, so that it connects to the newly provisioned Cosmos DB instance, instead of attempting to connect to a locally running MongoDB server (which doesn't exist!):

    az webapp config appsettings set --settings MONGODB_URL=$MONGODB_URL
  4. Return to your browser and refresh it. Try adding and removing a todo item, to prove that the app now works without needing to change anything! We simply set the environment variable to our created Cosmos DB instance, which is fully emulating a MongoDB database.

When needed, we could switch back to the Cosmos DB instance, and scale up (or down) the reserved throughput that our MongoDB instance needs, and benefit from the added traffic without needing to manage any infrastructure manually.

Additionally, Cosmos DB automatically indexes every single document and property for you, so you don't need to worry about profiling slow queries and/or manually fine-tuning your indexes. Just provision and scale as needed, and let Cosmos DB handle the rest!

Hosting a Private Docker Registry

DockerHub provides an amazing experience for distributing your container images, but there may be scenarios where you'd prefer to host your own private Docker registry, for security/governance and/or performance benefits. Azure provides the Azure Container Registry (ACR), which allows you to spin up your own Docker registry, whose backing storage is located in the same data center as your web app (which makes pulls quicker!), and provides you with full control over its contents and access controls (e.g. who can push and/or pull images?). Provisioning a custom registry is as simple as running the following command, taking note to replace the <NAME> placeholder with a globally unique value (ACR uses this to generate the registry's login server URL):

ACR_NAME=<NAME>
az acr create -n $ACR_NAME --admin-enabled

The "admin account" isn't the recommended authentication solution for production registries, however, for the sake of experimentation and simplicity, we're going with that. The output of creating your ACR instance will actually instruct you on how to create a "service principal" in Azure Active Directory, so feel free to go off the happy path using that guidance.

After running this, it will display the login server URL (via the LOGIN SERVER column) which you'll use to login to it using the Docker CLI (e.g. ninademo.azurecr.io). Additionally, it generated admin credentials that you can use in order to authenticate against it. To retrieve these credentials, run the following command and grab the displayed username and password:

az acr credential show -n $ACR_NAME

Using these credentials, and your individual login server, you can login to the registry using the standard Docker CLI workflow:

docker login <LOGIN_SERVER> -u <USERNAME> -p <PASSWORD>

You can now tag your Docker container to indicate that it's associated with your private registry, using the following command (replacing lostintangent/node with whatever name you gave to the container image previously):

docker tag lostintangent/node <LOGIN_SERVER>/lostintangent/node

Finally, you can push this newly-tagged image to your private Docker registry:

docker push <LOGIN_SERVER>/lostintangent/node

Alternatively, you could use the Docker: Tag Image and Docker: Push commands via the VS Code command pallette, so just go with your preferred workflow. I chose to use the CLI for these steps since we were already in the terminal.

Your container is now stored in your own private registry, and the Docker CLI was happy to allow you to continue working in the same way as you did when using DockerHub. In order to instruct the App Service web app to pull from your private registry, you simply need to run the following command:

az appservice web config container set \
    -r <LOGIN_SERVER> \
    -c <LOGIN_SERVER>/lostintangent/node \
    -u <USERNAME> \
    -p <PASSWORD> 

Make sure to add the https:// prefix to the beginning of the -r parameter, as App Service currently expects it. However, don't add this to the container image name.

If you refresh the app in your browser, everything should look and work the same, however, it's now running your app via your private Docker registry! Once you update your app, simply tag and push the changes as done above, and update the tag in your App Service container configuration.

Configuring a custom domain name

While the *.azurewebsites.net URL is cool for testing, at some point, you'll likely want to add a custom domain name to your web app. Once you've already purchased your domain from a registrar, you simply need to add an A record to it, that points at your web app's external IP (which is actually a load balancer). You can retrieve this IP by running the following command:

az webapp config hostname get-external-ip

In addition to add an A record, you also need to add a TXT record to your domain, that points at the *.azurewebsites.net domain we've been using thus far. These two records are what allows Azure to verify that you actually own the domain.

Once those records are created, and you've waited a litte while for the DNS changes to propagate (~1 hour), register the custom domain with Azure,so that it knows to expect the incoming traffic correctly. You can do this by simply running the following command:

az webapp config hostname add --hostname <DOMAIN>

Note: If the DNS changes haven't propagated yet, the above command will fail. Simply wait a little while and re-run it later.

Now, once you navigate to your custom domain in a browser, you'll notice that it resolves to your deployed app on Azure!

Scaling up and out

At some point, your web app may become popular enough that its allocated resources (CPU and RAM) aren't sufficient for handling the increase in traffic/operational demands. The App Service Plan that we created above (B1) comes with 1 CPU core and 1.75 GB of RAM, which as you can imagine, can get maxed out fairly quickly. The B2 plan comes with twice as much RAM and CPU, so if you notice that your app is beginning to run out of either, you could "scale up" the underlying VM by running the following command:

az appservice plan update -n nina-demo-plan --sku B2

Note: Check out this page to view the pricing details and specs of each App Service Plan SKU.

After just a few moments, your web app will be migrated to the requested hardware, and can begin taking advantage of the associated resources. In addition to scaling up, you can also scale down by running the same command as above, but specifying a --sku that provides less resources, at a lower price. This way, you can ensure that your app has exactly what it needs. Nothing more and nothing less (depending on how much "buffer" you want to allocate).

In addition to scaling the VM specs up, as long as your web app is stateless, you also have the option to "scale out", by adding more underlying VM instances. The App Service Plan that we created above only included a single VM (a "worker"), and therefore, all incoming traffic is ultimately bound by the limits of the available resources of that one instance. If we wanted to add a second VM instance, we could run the same command as above, but instead of scaling up the SKU, we can scale out the number of worker VMs:

az appservice plan update -n nina-demo-plan --number-of-workers 2

When you scale a web app out like this, incoming traffic will be transparently load balanced between all instances, which allows you to immediately increase your capacity, without having to make any code changes, or worry about the needed infrastructure. This scaling simplicity is why stateless web apps are considered a best practice, since it makes the ability to scale them up, down, out, etc. entirely deterministic, since no single VM/app instance includes state that is neccessary in order to function. If you push all of your app's state (and associated complexity!) into PaaS database, and allow someone else to manage it for you (e.g. Cosmos DB, managed Redis), you'll likely be much happier in the long run!

Note: While this tutorial only illustrates running a single web app as part of an App Service Plan, you can actually create and deploy multiple web apps into the same plan. This allows you to provision/pay for a single plan (which is ultimately a cluster of homogenous VMs, determine by the plan's SKU/worker count), and make the most use of them.

Clean-up

To ensure that you don't get charged for any Azure resources you aren't using, simply run the following command from your terminal to delete all of the resources we just provisioned:

az group delete

This will take a few minutes to complete, but when done, will leave your Azure account in the same state as it was before we started. This ability to organize, deploy and delete Azure resources as a single unit is one of the primary benefits of resource groups in the first place, so in the future, if you use Azure, I would recommend grouping resources together that you'd expect to have the same lifetime.

Conclusion

Hopefully this demo illustrated some of the ways that Visual Studio Code and Azure are trying to help improve the overall Node.js development experience. Between debugging that supports full-stack and microservices, a rich authoring experience that provides navigation and auto-completion without any further configuration, and a large ecosystem of extensions such as Docker, that can enhance your feedback loop for other app types and practices, we're excited to keep evolving what productivity can look like from within a lightweight editor.

Additionally, between the Azure CLI, App Service and Cosmos DB, we're trying to provide a productive and low-management cloud stack for Node.js/MEAN apps that can scale as needed, without introducing additional infrastructure complexity.

Additionally, we hope to use this demo to continue iterating on the overall Node.js experience in both VS Code and Azure, so we can make it simpler and more flexible. If you have any questions or feedback for how we can improve things, please don't hesitate to file an issue on this repo or send me an e-mail. Thanks!

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