Monday, March 31, 2014

Debugging Workflows In SharePoint 2013 Online using Azure

This is just so cool… You’re now able to debug workflows in SharePoint 2013 online by using your Azure account. Just this past weekend we (Composable Systems) hosted the Azure bootcamp here in Louisville, KY and I gave a dev talk on Service Bus. As it turns out, you can use one of your service bus namespaces to help you develop SharePoint 2013 workflows as well as remote events. Very timely indeed.

I’m building a SharePoint 2013 App for our largest client, Microsoft. This one is specifically for the Bing division, which they’ll use internally. I’m using Visual Studio 2013, SharePoint Online through our Office 365 subscription and a SharePoint App template. We’ll eventually deploy this to their internal SharePoint App store.

The first thing you need to do is go into the Azure portal and create a namespace under the Service Bus category, or choose an existing one you’ve already created. I just created a new one. No other configuration was needed here.

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Once the namespace is setup, you’ll need to copy the connection string from the connection settings button near the bottom of the screen.

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I just copied the ACS connection string.

Next, open the SharePoint App project properties in Visual Studio.

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Now that is setup, I can do a couple of things. I can write details out to the console and I can set breakpoints. Wait… write to the console? Yep. When you press play to deploy/run your app, VS.NET starts a console that listens to that Service Bus.

So in this case, I added a WriteLine activity to my workflow (this comes from the Primitives section of the toolbox).

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This will show up in my console when running the app. Here’s what that looks like.

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And the breakpoint experience is really neat. When it breaks, you can explore all your local variables. Very handy.

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