Unemployed project - Published

Primary features finished, app published to Azure!

I've been working steadily adding features to my app. I added filtering by week, interactive search, enabled ssl and added Google & Microsoft Sign in, added email log reports, and sharable links. It was a lot of work, and I did run into some problems, but nothing seemed interesting enough to write about. After all that work, and after a short struggle with Azure itself, my app is now live at https://joblogger.azurewebsites.net.

JobLogger is an application for maintaining job search logs per the Washington
State requirements for receiving unemployment benefits. The logs are not
submitted with benefits claims, but they are subject to audits and must be
provided upon request up to a year after benefits are received. My application
maintains logs in a database, and can share logs either by email or as a hyperlink.

I decided to load all log data upfront in the client, and to skip pagination and demand loading for now. Having all the data in the client made filtering and searching really easy thanks to Moment and Knockout. I would still like to use local storage, but the current setup works for now.

Enabling ssl was pretty trivial, and adding Google sign in was really easy. Adding Microsoft sign in was also easy... eventually. The key is that their sign in service is only accessible on one somewhat hidden page: https://apps.dev.microsoft.com. Once there you can get an app id and secret just like from Google. I also tried adding LinkedIn sign in, but there is no official library. I know just enough about OAuth2 to know I don't want to implement my own solution.

Adding email reporting was actually a little interesting. I started by following this tutorial on enabling email account verification. About half-way down the page though is a little note stating "SendGrid does not yet support .NET Core". After a little research on the SendGrid site it seems they have a new API, and a C# library on Github. I got it working after a little trouble, the key was quote handling per this Github issue.

The sharable link was both really simple, and really complicated. All I needed was a user id and some log ids and I could pull the report together with a LINQ. It turns out MVC Core controllers don't databind list arguments, so I had to parse the log ids myself. I also wanted to put the user's name on the report, but accessing user info added some dependencies that made testing hard, mocking a ApplicationDbContext : IdentityDbContext<ApplicationUser> is really complicated. Repository pattern to the rescue. One extra layer of abstraction decouples my controller enough for testing. Also it seems there is no easy way to use Razor templates to produce strings, so I had to roll my own templates.

I found Azure's web interface really confusing. At first I wasn't even sure how to setup a simple web app. I ended up using my Github repo for deployment, which has good and bad points. My first attempt didn't go well though. First my app wouldn't build (which was my fault), then when I got it built the deployment failed. It seems it always fails the first time, but a retry sorted that out. From there I spent hours trying to debug a code 500 - Internal server error. Everything checked out fine, the build was good, the server was fine, but I couldn't get anything to serve. It turns out to be a common Azure problem, and the solution is to just delete the web app instance and rebuild it.

My app is currently just hosted on the free app service tier. I did have to add a basic SQL database for $4.99 a month. Thus far I have spent about $2.00 of my $200.00 Azure credit just getting things setup. At this burn rate I'll get about 3 months of hosting. I've added Google AdSense banners in case I get any traffic.

Edit - TOS

I just re-read the Terms Of Service: the $200.00 credit expires after one month. Since it will go away if I don't use it I've cranked all my service plans up a few notches. I do have some Windows developer credits too, so I can keep the service running past the end of the month, but only if I turn the burn rate back down. Hopefully I will remember...