Azure Developer CLI in Public Preview

A developer-oriented, get-started-on-Azure command-line tool from Microsoft is in a public preview.

The Azure Developer CLI (azd) open source project last week emerged from a private preview, positioned as a complementary tool to be used with the Azure CLI, from which it borrows foundational tech and experience.

The main idea is to quicken the Azure getting-started experience, helping developers address questions like:

  • Which cloud services should I use with my code?
  • Which libraries do I need to use?
  • How should I set up my local development environment?
  • How do I provision the necessary infrastructure for my application?
  • How do I know that what I'm doing incorporates security best practices?

The tool's developer friendliness includes the highly placed presentation of commands that are mapped to different development workflow stages: code, build, deploy, monitor and repeat.

"By keeping things high-level some of the nitty gritty control plane management pieces get abstracted away so that you can focus on writing code," said Savannah Ostrowski, senior product manager, in an announcement post. "If you want to do more fine-tuned management of Azure resources, your best bet is the Azure CLI."

Key to the offering are application templates, for which the initial set of programming languages includes Python, JavaScript/TypeScript and C#, with Java coming soon. The templates work with hosts like Azure App Service, Azure Container Apps, and Azure Static Web Apps + Function Apps. The templates provide application code, an /infra directory containing all the infra-as-code files (written in Bicep) needed to provision needed Azure resources, and an azure.yaml file that describes the application.

Supported development environments include bare metal, DevContainer/VS Code Remote Containers and GitHub CodeSpaces (kind of an online VS Code).

azd in VS Code
[Click on image for larger, animated GIF view.] azd in VS Code in Animated Action (source: Microsoft).

As can be inferred from the above, along with a terminal prompt, azd can also be used within VS Code and its big brother IDE, Visual Studio.

The VS Code functionality comes in the Azure Developer CLI [Preview] extension in the VS Code Marketplace, boasting 249 installs as of this writing.

The Visual Studio functionality comes with the flip of a preview feature flag under the Tools menu.

Going forward, the dev team is prioritizing adding support for the following based on feedback received during the private preview:

  • Java language templates
  • Azure Kubernetes Service templates
  • Azure Pipelines support
  • Terraform support

Ostrowski also invited developers to join in some template authoring fun.

"Our team has created templates for some key Python, JavaScript/TypeScript, and C#. We also plan to author more in the future to cover even more developer scenarios. If you author your own templates, you can add the azd-templates tag to your repository on GitHub. That way, other developers can find, fork, and build upon your template for their own use case. You can also open an issue on our GitHub repository if there's a use case and template that you would like to see created."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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