One of the biggest problems people have with moving to the cloud is the feeling of being in the dark.
You don’t know what’s coming, you don’t know what’s changed, and you have no way to shape the way things are heading.
Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Microsoft has been doing a great job over the past few years of being more transparent with developers, and their recent push to open-source everything has helped them adopt this collaborative mentality even further.
So, here are a few resources that I use to stay informed of all things Azure.
What’s currently available and where?
If you want to know what Azure services are available in which region, then you can check out the Azure Products available by region grid.
Also, if you want to know how these services are currently doing, health-wise, then you can check the status of all services in all regions using the Azure Status webpage.
What was just released?
There are so many active bloggers that are using various platforms to break the news or announce new features. This ranges from official announcements on the Azure Blog to more specialized announcement posts from individual Azure teams.
Depending on what areas/services of Azure you’re most interested in, keeping an eye on relevant blogs from a few key teams/individuals is a great way to keep your ear to the ground.
What’s the roadmap?
Sometimes what you really want to know is what’s coming down the line, and Microsoft has generally been pretty good about letting us know what’s currently in development, and then releasing features in-preview as soon as they’re ready.
This information is probably a bit fragmented at the moment, but you can start with the Cloud Platform roadmap for the overall roadmap across all Azure services.
You can also use the SCRUM/Kanban boards of various teams within the Azure ecosystem to keep an even closer eye on what’s in progress and what’s coming soon, for example:
What’s the best way to share ideas/feedback?
First of all, you can provide feedback right in the Azure portal, which can be as simple as sending a smile or a frown to the team, or as involved as indicating that you’d like to join a user research group for the portal going forward.
With that said, Microsoft has also provided a dedicated Azure feedback forum where users can suggest features or bring up issues. Use your upvotes to underscore what’s most important to you, which will consequently inform the priority with which the team tackles the many feature requests they receive.
As a bonus, browsing the list of ideas and seeing which ones are under review, which are planned, and which have been started already is another way of keeping an eye on the Azure roadmap.
And if all that wasn’t enough, then just go to the many GitHub repositories related to .NET or Azure services (e.g. Azure-CLI), and file an issue or bug and start a conversation with the actual team building that service.
There are a lot more channels to share, but I think the above gives you a starting point and hopefully some confidence in the direction Microsoft is taking in terms of fostering a culture of collaboration with their developer community.
Hope these links help. Let me know if you have some additional resources that you find useful as well.