Azure Storage == Hosting

Are you looking for a reliable and affordable option to host your static website? Well then, Azure Storage could be an option worth considering.

What is Azure Storage?

The Azure Storage platform is the cloud storage solution provided by Azure; it provides different storage services for diverse needs.

For the sake of this post, we will be focusing on Azure Blobs. Among different purposes, Azure Blobs is designed for serving images or files directly to a browser, distributed file access, video and audio, log files, backup and restore files and analysis data.

Azure Blobs can be accessed via HTTP/HTTPS via different Azure services or client libraries.

What is a Static Website?

Please note that the type of Website that we will be hosting in Azure Storage is a Static Website.
A Static Website is, by definition, a web page that is delivered to the user’s web browser exactly as stored, in contrast to dynamic web pages which are generated by a web server.

However, it is important to understand that a static website do not necessarily means boring, plain HTML sites, it just means that hosted files will be served as they are stored with no processing done on the server side.

This means that we can have a static web application with code that runs on the client’s browser, which executes all king of complex functionalities and getting dynamic data from cloud functions or external APIs. This does not sound completely static, right?

Therefore, you can host any web application which runs on the client with whichever framework or technology you prefer, as long as it does not need server processing; in another words, an application that can work with read-only files on the server.

Host a Static Website with Azure Storage.

With Azure Storage, you can serve static content directly from a storage container named $web.
To enable website hosting on your Azure Storage account you just need to sign into your Azure account, locate your storage account and enable the Static website option.

Once you have enabled the Static website option, the only thing left to do is to upload your static website files. You can do this very easily using the Storage Explorer which is built into the Azure portal.

Apart from the Storage Explorer, you can upload your files using the different methods that Azure provides like AzCopy, PowerShell, CLI or any custom integration.

With the files in place and the Static website option enabled we can go and type the URL provided by Azure for our static website.

That’s all, our static website is alive. Now, you can go and look at my Hello World static website hosted by Azure Storage.

Procrastination

I must admit that I have not been feeling very productive lately, especially with my personal projects.

In an effort to keep my life organized, I have these to-do lists, regarding different topics, for example, work, personal projects, books, you name it. Well, I have been feeling stuck, honestly, not completing many items.

I found myself blaming everything else and finding excuses very easily. After some time facing this situation, I stumbled upon a post about procrastination that clicked with me.

What if it’s not about your context, but instead, your emotions? Perhaps it is not about time, laziness, or bad organization, and instead it is about feelings.

I paused a moment and discovered that some of these tasks were bringing up different feelings on myself; some of these tasks seemed boring, other seemed tough, or even scary due to the looming possibility of failure. Faced with these emotions, it makes sense to distract ourselves with something that makes us feel better.

This distraction works short-term but eventually you must face all the dirt that you swept under the carpet.

Learning to identify these emotions is the first step to break the habit, and here I am, breaking the habit, writing…

The Pomodoro Technique: A Developer’s Perspective

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s (I was not born yet 🤯). The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.

Getting Started

  1. Choose a task. The first step is selecting the task you want to complete. As a prerequisite, having an already prioritized list of tasks makes this step a whole lot easier, I’ve been using Microsoft To Do (formerly Wunderlist) for several years now so this is how I keep my life organized. I have task lists for different aspects of my life, personal, development, work, etc. so it is very easy to just pick the top task from any of this list and start.
  2. Start the Pomodoro. This step is about commitment, you make a small oath to yourself: I will spend 25 minutes on this task, and I will not interrupt myself. We are surrounded by interruptions, external and internal, notifications, emails, you name it; so you need to commit and make sure you’ll not be distracted from your task. The standard length of a Pomodoro is 25 minutes.
  3. Work. Immerse yourself in the task for the next 25 minutes. That’s it, just work and focus on the task.
  4. Record it. When the Pomodoro rings, record it. That’s it, you’ve successfully completed an entire, interruption-less Pomodoro.
  5. Take a break. Breathe, meditate, grab a coffee, walk or anything not work-related. The standard length for short break is 5 minutes.
  6. More breaks. Every 4 Pomodoros, take a longer break, yes, more breaks! Once you’ve completed four Pomodoros, you may take a longer break. The standard length of a long break is 15 minutes.

Ok, after this short introduction let me share my experiencing after using The Pomodoro Technique as a developer for several years now. 🍅

It worked for me! However, I’ve done some modifications, I found that most of the times 25 minutes chunks are not enough to achieve a significant piece of work, and the amount of time I spent to get back on track is too much, that leaves me with very little time of focus on each Pomodoro.

So, I’ve opted for increasing periods by 2, so instead of 25 minutes for focus I spent 50 and the same goes for breaks.

There you have it, Pomodoro technique is just and old productivity strategy among many others, but I’ve found that it works for me, it allows me to balance my time between work and active breaks and also, it allows me to measure the time I spend doing some particular tasks which is very useful for my estimates as a developer.

Elevation

Everyone should have this, he thought, and perhaps, at the end, everyone does. Perhaps in their time of dying, everyone rises.

Let me tell you a story, the first book from Stephen King I read was Desperation, it was in high school and it is funny because I was not into horror books, I would never have read a horror book at that time in my life; but this book came to me, literally I found this book abandoned and what was I supposed to do, leave it? It was in my hands and the curiosity was stronger than the terror.

Since then, I discovered horror books to be enjoyable and Stephen King become one of my favorite authors.

I just read Elevation and it has null of horror in it, fortunately for me, supernatural > horror. I really enjoyed it, it was a very quick read, it is a novella, and it felt good; it delivers a message of unity, tolerance, and elevation, it made me smile and truly engage with characters, and despite being one of the ‘quietest’ novels I’ve read, it reinvigorated me.