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The update Azure Blockchain Workbench 1.6.0 optimizes the development experience

In a recent blog post, Microsoft announced an update to its Azure Blockchain Workbench service that improves the experience of developing blockchain applications based on the consortium. More specifically, this release includes new features such as application versioning, up-to-date messaging capabilities and the development of optimized smart contracts. Existing Workbench applications can be updated to this new version using a script provided by Microsoft.

Microsoft is simplifying the development of block-based applications based on the consortium by providing a rich integration to Azure services through Azure Blockchain Workbench. This integration enables connectivity to a variety of Azure services including messaging (service buses, IoT hubs, event hubs and event grids), cryptographic services (APIs, hashing, signing), off-database databases (Azure SQL database ), analytics (Power BI), off-chain storage (Azure storage) and identity management (Azure Active Directory).

Through Azure Blockchain Workbench, Microsoft provides the infrastructure necessary to set up a network of consortia in multiple topologies using a variety of consent mechanisms. Microsoft provides integration from these blockchain platforms to other Microsoft services to optimize the development of distributed applications. Microsoft supports many generic blockchains including Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric and blockchains specially created as Rope.

Image source: (screen) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwrYspdaOx8

Application versioning is a frequently requested feature that was included in version 1.6 of Azure Block Workbench. Version control allows developers to manage and release Workbench applications rather than relying on manual processes in the development process to perform this function. Version control can be performed through the user experience in the Web portal or the REST API.

Image source: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/streamlined-development-experience-with-azure-blockchain-workbench-1-6-0/

Because the versions are now being monitored, you can also view which timestamps, who made the change, and whether the version is enabled or not.

Image source: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/streamlined-development-experience-with-azure-blockchain-workbench-1-6-0/

Another area of ​​investment for Microsoft is the new egress messaging API. The use of this API allows connectivity to other systems. Brenda Lee, a program manager for the Azure Blockchain team, describes the advantages of this new API as:

In our previous version, we activated multiple scenarios with a new input messaging API. In 1.6.0, we implemented an updated and enhanced output messaging API that publishes blockchain events via Azure Event Grid and Azure Service Bus. This allows downstream consumers to take actions based on these events and messages, such as sending e-mail notifications in case of updates on relevant blockchain contracts or the activation of events in ERP systems (Enterprise Resource Planning) existing.

Microsoft has simplified development activities by no longer requiring developers to include the WorkbenchBase class within their codebase. This class had previously been requested to create and update the specified contract. Lee explains how Microsoft replaced this feature:

With 1.6.0, this code that serves the same purpose as WorkbenchBase will now be automatically generated for you when you upload your contract code. Now you will have a simpler experience in developing custom Workbench applications and you will not have any more bugs or validation errors related to the use of WorkbenchBase. See our updated samples, which have removed WorkbenchBase.

Microsoft has also announced how they will communicate updates. In the future, any Workbench updates will be announced on the Azure blog and the release notes will be made available in GitHub. In addition, updates and release notes are now also available in the Workbench user interface.

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