Getting started with app dashboarding using Application Insights.

Application Insights have been getting some buzz recently with TechEd and other events. Why is that?

Let’s start with an existing website. Once I installed the VISX file for Application Insights and restarted Visual Studio, I can right mouse click on my project and add Application Insights Telemetry to the project.


It looks like you MUST have your project hosted on Visual Studio Online for this to work. I dusted off my old account and…

Hmmm. What ARE these cool new dashboards that just appeared in my web project?

Let’s build it and deploy out to a website. We’re going to follow the step by step instructions here. (and… screeching halt – this won’t work for my app, since it’s an intranet app and not public-facing. Sigh.) Still, I’m going to leave this here since it shows – adding dashboarding to show availability and performance for your website is literally just a right-mouse click. You can check for:


track usage

…including what pages/features are being used by your customers:




.. and even set up tiles with a custom dashboard. Think about deploying this along with your site. I was so impressed with the real-world metrics that came OOTB with Azure. Microsoft’s definitely upped the ante with Application Insights.

Other Tidbits


Some good advice from the redoubtable Julie Lerman this month in MSDN. Updating from EF4 to EF6 (and now EF7 I guess!) is relatively trivial – mainly some namespace changes. But breaking up a large data model into pieces, while HIGHLY desirable from a performance standpoint, is a little more substantial – and changing from ObjectContext to the newer DbContext API is fairly involved. She recommends doing it one piece at a time. Start with a separate model project, split out as you like – then change your app references one by one and see what functionality breaks. There’s some big performance gains you’ll see in going from EF4 to 5/6; it’s well worth it. Please check out her books and teaching videos on Pluralsight, they’re terrific.

Side note – I thought this Grantland article was terrific. Nintendo started with a small market, kept a laser focus on a specific niche (9-to 14-year olds) and grew with one dynamic product, Donkey Kong. They survived and counterpunched Universal when they tried to shake them down with a copyright claim extortion from the 1933 movie King Kong. And they deliberately created marketing buzz with a specific look and only fulfilling a fraction of vendor requests. This long term strategy over short term profits – combined with the Seal of Quality and a strict licensing program that weeded out all but serious development companies – fueled their rise from the wreckage of the American video game companies like Atari.