Grandfather's Workshop

Developing applications that leverage Azure resources can be challenging.  The Azure portal give you limited view into your account resources.  It shows you the basic structure of you storage accounts, but it doesn’t let you upload and download blobs.  When it comes to your Azure SQL DB about all you have is the ability create and import a database.  So what are the best tools to be productive?

The first tool that you might want to look at is the Azure Storage Explorer. It allows you to view what is in your Azure storage blobs, queues and containers.  You can also create new blob containers, queues and tables as well as maintain the items in them.  It’s biggest drawback is that it can’t be setup to operate against development storage emulator.

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The Blob Transfer Utility is a little more capable, but takes a little more digging to configure.  You have to manually enter all of your account information and then the file selection is backwards to me.  It selects all files in a folder by default and you have to unselect them if you only want one.  On the flip side the error reporting is helpful as you figure out the tool.

Ultimately the best tool is the Server Explorer in Visual Studio 2013.  It allows you to access all of you storage types across all the accounts tied to your Microsoft ID.  It gives you the ability to list, add and remove items no matter if you are looking at blobs, queues or tables.  This turns out to be the quickest and most flexible storage tool I have worked with so far.

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In the end I would suggest that you start with Visual studio, but try out other tools.  There is always someone coming out with a new better tool.  All these are free, but you may find a product you can purchase that handles all you Azure maintenance needs.  As I run across any better tools I will post them here.  Stay tuned.