Yesterday, Brian Harry and the Visual Studio team announced the availability of Visual Studio Online and with it two cool new projects – Monaco and Application Insights.  I am working on the Application Insights project and am excited about sharing ideas and experiences now that we are in limited public preview.  Keep an eye on Brian’s blog to find out about invite codes or request access via the new tile on your Visual Studio Online home page (formerly known as your TFS Online Account).  

The overall goal for Application Insights is to help you understand whether your application is available, performing, and improving.  While there are many different tools in the market to help with these different aspects – Automated performance management (APM), client analytics, crash analytics, performance monitoring, outside-in test tools, web application analytics, ... and many more.  Many of these are really great.  However, these always feel a bit disconnected from the development process in my opinion.  With Application Insights, the focus is to make this simple, accessible, and actionable as a developer.  That is the focus.  We really want all applications to be the best they can be by using real world data.  Data should drive what you do to make your application amazing -- which bugs to fix, which performance issues to work on first, which features are not being used, when is your service down.  As a developer, there are many ways to spend your time. It may be trite but what you focus on is what you get.  It is always better to catch problems early and work on the things that matter the most from your backlog!

Here is a collection of a few articles about the launch:

Announcing Application Insights Preview

Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2013 Launches With New Online Tools, Previews Browser-Based Code Editor

Microsoft Pulls Developer Power Move With Visual Studio Online

In the past five years, I have worked on services from AdCenter to Dynamics to Visual Studio Online.  One common trend is to more and more DevOps focus in the development process. In modern applications, there is almost always a component of services combined with your web site or client code.  As a development team, tools such as Azure and AWS/EC2 empowers use to move from idea to shipping service much more quickly.  This a truly exciting time to be a developer. 

Next up, I will describe a few ways I have been using Application Insights and look forward to your comments and questions.