A first step into Azure Functions with Webstep

Azure Cloud Webstep Utbildning

Peter Danes


As the dark and wet weather drained at the end of year energy levels, what better way to charge those batteries than to attend the latest Webstep “competence evening”!

On an early December evening the topic on offer at the Webstep office in central Stockholm was “An Introduction to Azure Functions” presented by the highly skilled former Webstepper Sebastian Gunnarsson, who now spends his days to the benefit of the online book retailer adlibris.com.


Our guest presenter started by declaring that he had initially been a skeptic to the whole concept of serverless functions, but having now used them in anger was more than happy to be an evangelist and spread the word.


The talk was titled as an “introduction”, but in 1 to 2 hours we were presented with a wealth of information, experience and examples which felt like so much more than the title suggested.


To start with, two traditional Azure compute choices were covered, Azure Virtual Machines (Infrastructure As A Service) and Azure App Services (Platform As A Service) with their respective benefits and downsides discussed. We then moved onto the main topic of the evening and the potential offered by Azure Functions (the Microsoft Serverless offering).


We were given a brief but extensive overview of many aspects from its history, supported languages (C#, Javascript, F#, Java, Powershell, Python), hosting options (App Service Plan, Docker Container, Consumption Plan), cost (“Pay as you go”), how it scales and how they are invoked (or triggered).


Sebastian then demonstrated Azure Functions in action with a number of live coding examples, showing how easily they can be created and used.


The code for these demos is available on github…




After the expertly executed demonstrations we returned to the world of PowerPoint to quickly cover off the advanced topics of Bindings, Function Chaining and Durable Functions.


What did we learn?

In such a short session, we covered and learnt an awful lot!

To fully understand and make use of Azure functions obviously takes time and experience, but the evening presented a great opportunity to tip our collective toes into the water and get a good understanding before taking a deeper dive.

The online documentation at Microsoft Azure includes everything you need to know, from an “Overview” through “Quickstarts”, “ Tutorials” and “Samples” to detailed “How to guides”, so there are no excuses not to get started…


Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure


Sebastian is clearly an expert in his field and was able to understand and answer any question that was put to him and he created a really informative and professional presentation — big thanks to him for taking the time to share.

I look forward to experimenting with and then using Azure Functions for real in the near future. Hopefully with workflows like this example…


Microsoft Azure 2

A final word…

This was just the latest in a long line of Webstep competence events and for me personally they were a major reason in my decision to join the company.


To be surrounded by colleagues that have taken time out of their busy lives and have chosen to spend their time with each other and to expand their knowledge on a dark rainy evening is inspirational and sums up everything that is great about working at Webstep.


Thanks again to Sebastian for taking the time to come and present such a great session for his former colleagues — it is very much appreciated.

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