Sunday, 21 March 2021

Building Response Canvas Power App

Problem:  Power Apps is great but historically you either build for the tablet or the phone and then the end users get an alright experience on the other device type.  Microsoft have Horizonal and Vertical containers and it is a greate way to build Resposnvie/Progressive applications.  

On the Power App make the following settings changes:

  • Settings > Advanced Settings > Enable "Layout Containers"
  • Settings > Screensize + Orientation > Diable "Scale to Fit"
  • Settings > Screensize + Orientation > Diable "Lock Orientation"

Layout controls: Horizontal container & Vertical container, use these 2 controls to get a Responsive Design.  Screen layouts are only available for the Tablet layout. 


Monday, 15 March 2021

APIM Authentication and authorisation

Overview:  APIM provides two methods for secure access to an API operations:

  1. Subscription: passed in the header or the query string (generated primary and secondary subscription key for each subscription), and 
  2. Client Certificates.

Sunday, 14 March 2021

DNSCheck SaaS Service

Good service to check when DNS changes are propagated on the Interweb

Saturday, 13 March 2021

APIM OpenAPI Specification Documentation Example within the Developer Portal

Overview:  I find document APIM contracts incredibly important and yet it's often very poorly done.  This post provide a simple YAML and JSON example that can be imported into APIM or any other gateway product for that matter.

The YAML file below can be imported into APIM and published to the developer portal.  The example provides a clear example on options and how an API should be documented.  Developers can see an example of the JSON to use when performing the PUT.  The developers can see more information of a property, for instance a passport number would be a certain length and rather than specifying and option free text string with no description, the developer would know that the property has to come in the correct format.

Simple Open API specification showing a single documented operation for a complex PUT object (YAML).

PB APIM Series:
Documenting you API in the Developer portal (this post)

Sunday, 7 March 2021

SaaS Product Customer Experience - level 101 Thoughts

Overview: With SaaS products is is easy for our customers to leave.  We need to reduce turnover/churn and technology can help to deliver great Customer Experience (CX).  CX is closely coupled with Customer Success.

Topics to Review:
  1. SLA's & OLA's
  2. Pricing: 
    1. per seat (subscription), 
    2. flat usage or 
    3. usage model (pay as you go).  
    4. Always keep it simple.   In B2B SaaS pricing keep it simple, aim for MMR, that clients understand for cost forecasting.  Make it easy to buy, increase/upsell and leave.  It's amazing how many companies try to hide the sale to reduce churn.  Build good products and service don't try hide exit so stop loosing customers, it's pointless and a poor long term strategy.  
    5. Tiered pricing is good, but keep it simple.  Try stick to 1 form of pricing, its aweful for the customer to have base usage costs and then some crazy secondary model to figure out and explain in the purchasing process.
    6. Companies want Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) or ARR and the ability to up sell later.  It depends on the nature of the business and product but monthly should be the default goal especially for B2B SaaS.
    7. Offer a free trial for E2E fairly long is not a bad idea depending on the product.  Two weeks is a rough starting point.  Less if you need them engaged quickly or even several months to get real value.  I tend to find E2E customers with free software don't tend to use it unless their is a limited time.  So I'd always limit to 1 month for a free trial. you can always extend.
    8. Freemium version may be useful (unlimited time) and generally are not applicable to B2B/E2E SaaS models.
  3. Service Status Page - Microsoft do a great job at showing status pages for their services.
  4. Incident Management - Convert into knowledge base both internally and customer facing.  Sales and customer management information alignment.  Find a customer, see their past requests, help reduce churn. service now incident management,   Generally, go for tech touch for interaction over low touch or even high touch.  In E2E, large customers want good tech touch but will require high touch, especiually around customisations.  Beware the small customer demanding high touch for their "future potential growth/usage".
  5. Content - product documentation, community forum, online knowledge base, ability to have a good search to cross all the channels (think Coveo), support chat bots, live conversations with support.
  6. Certifications, gamification useful for building a community. 
  7. Communicate new features, educate support, educate sales and evangelists and clients.  Training and consultancy.  Monitor communication, use Sentiment Analysis.
  8. Support level i.e. free support may not allow phone conversations and not have an SLA whereas premium support may offer 24 hour production issue resolution with money back guarantees.  Example: Azure Support Plans.  Phone is expensive for support, do we offer this 24/7 and having good support is costly.  People are becoming more familiar with digital self service.  It is also a good idea to have a  warm hand-off from automation to a person.
Getting your processes correct and clear is key to your Digital customer experience (CX).  Key areas to consider: 
  • Advertising/attracting clients, converting leads to clients;
  • Trials and paying (make it easy, cost effective, billing) - customer must understand what they are paying for;
  • First time user experience (easy good experience the client can use);
  • Habitual users (once use to the system, do my users have the best experience - get usage telemetry); and
  • Support (levels of support, chat bots, email, call support).
Thoughts: SaaS world changes so quickly these days, great customer experience and support are more important than ever.  An interesting idea I heard, "You can loose a customer on price or customer service, you will only win them back thru customer service".  (KYC) Know Your Customer to ensure you can delight your customer.  Get one step ahead, try understand your customers concerns early.

There is a great book that has been around for a few years on Customer Success by Nick Mehta, Dan Steinman, and Lincoln Murphy.  How innovative companies are reducing churn and growing recurring revenue.

.NET versions no longer supported

Update 1 Feb 2022:  For new projects use .NET6 (Core) it needs VS2022.  Don't use any versions of .NET framework (last release was 4.8) or .NET standard (last release was 2.0).

Problem:  The client has several existing .NET applications/products.  These products are running on Azures Service Fabric, which has been developed over several years.  Service Fabric applications have various .NET core and .NET framework versions, and many of the apps have gone out of Microsoft support for the .NET version they are written on.

Initial Hypothesis:  We have .NET framework and .NET Core apps.  .NET Core 5.0 has dropped the "Core" part of the naming, so it is merely .NET 5.   .NET framework came first, and the last version was .NET framework 4.8.  .NET Core is the follow on and .NET Core 3.1 next version has the name chnge to .NET 5.0.  The "Core" part is dropped.  Lastly, .NET Standard is often used by software companies to write dll's. Only class libraries are allowed, but any .NET framework or .NET core projects can reference them.

  • .NET Framework - 4.8 was the latest release version
  • .NET Core became .NET - Last was 3.1 but renames to .NET 5 which is the latest version
  • .NET Standard - Class projects only

Proposed Resolution: My preference is to upgrade .NET core and .NET Framework separately as this is the lowest risk, most extended life with minimized cost. 

 .NET Core

For .NET Core apps, if less than .NET core 3.1 migrate the app to .NET 5.  .NET Core 3.1 don't upgrade.  Any other versions should be upgraded to .NET 5. 


Release date

Released with

Latest update

Latest update date

Support ends[20]

.NET Core 1.0


Visual Studio 2015 Update 3



June 27, 2019

.NET Core 1.1


Visual Studio 2017 Version 15.0



June 27, 2019

.NET Core 2.0


Visual Studio 2017 Version 15.3



October 1, 2018

.NET Core 2.1


Visual Studio 2017 Version 15.7

2.1.26 (LTS)


August 21, 2021

.NET Core 2.2


Visual Studio 2019 Version 16.0



December 23, 2019

.NET Core 3.0


Visual Studio 2019 Version 16.3



March 3, 2020

.NET Core 3.1


Visual Studio 2019 Version 16.4

3.1.13 (LTS)


December 3, 2022

.NET 5


Visual Studio 2019 Version 16.8



3 months after .NET 6 release

.NET Framework

For .NET Framework, anything less than .NET Framework 3.5, move to 3.5.  3.5 Framework based apps can stay on 3.5.  For app using .NET Framework 4.0 to 4.5.1 upgrade to .NET framework 4.8.  For app using .NET 4.5.2 to 4.7, stay on their versions.


Existing Application Support

Target New Applications?


out of support - migrate ASAP

out of support - do not target


out of support - migrate ASAP

out of support - do not target


out of support - migrate ASAP

out of support - do not target


 Operating System (until 2029) 

Operating System (until 2029) target with caution

4.0 to 4.5.1

out of support - migrate ASAP

out of support - do not target

4.5.2 to 4.7

⚠️Operating System (mixed) - review support policy of each version

Operating System (mixed) - target with caution


 Operating System (indefinite)

 Operating System (indefinite)

.NET Standard