Tallan Blog

Tallan’s Experts Share Their Knowledge on Technology, Trends and Solutions to Business Challenges

Accessing SQL Server with Managed Identities

Every developer knows that keeping credentials in code is a terrible idea, however, they some still have that moment of weakness, typically followed by, “It’ll just be temporary.” The simple fact is that storing credentials in a inconspicuous configuration file during development is just the easy way out. This is why Microsoft developed Managed Identities for Azure resource. Managed Identities used to securely gain access to an Azure KeyVault is a easy and safe way to store and access secrets for your application.
A common tactic then is to migrate all the sensitive connection strings into the KeyVault and simply pulling those down for the application to use to connect to a SQL server. However, authenticating to an Azure resource to retrieve the credentials to connect and authenticate with another Azure resource seems a bit redundent. Why not just skip the…

Power BI Updates and Streamed Sessions from Microsoft Business Applications Summit 2020

When Gartner named Microsoft’s Power BI as the leader in their 2020 Magic Quadrant for Analytics and BI Platforms again this February, we knew that we had to refresh our focus on the tool. All lines of business can benefit from its features, from software developers to business analysts, to executives. We typically host educational events focused on Power BI in-person, and when COVID-19 struck, we had to figure out how to continue that education virtually. Throughout April and May, we’ve delivered five weeks of workshops to continue teaching about this platform, and engagement hasn’t dropped since our events had to go virtual. That alone speaks to the reputation Power BI has built.
Microsoft does a tremendous job of promoting Power BI as well. Not only do they release new features and updates every month, but they’re promoted in thorough blog posts in addition…

Classify Your Wardrobe Using Azure Custom Vision

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a technology that is used in our daily lives, but understanding how machine learning works is a completely different story. Typically, machine learning has been developed by people who are experts in the AI field and have access to high computing power. Microsoft has removed these barriers by providing Azure Cognitive Services. These services are available to anyone with an Azure cloud subscription and make it easy for developers to add AI features into their own applications. Today, I will be discussing Microsoft’s easy-to-use image classifier service Custom Vision.
I first came across Custom Vision while developing an application to generate fashionable outfits. The idea was to be able to upload an image of an outfit, (found on Pinterest or a fashion blog) and then have the application find similar items at a handful of websites…

State Management with Angular & Redux

Before the chaos of 2020, I was dealing with chaos in the form of application state.  I was working on an Angular reporting project and we were using dynamic components powered by ChartJS and dealt with data managed in ag-grid.  Very quickly I realized that state was going to be a huge issue, since a single dashboard of the application would be littered with charts that would all be filtered via slicers. Ultimately a user could click then through a chart to a grid of the underlying data; shades of a from-scratch PowerBI report or visual. I had heard of the Redux pattern and how it was a game changer for Facebook’s application state (technically FB’s pattern is FLUX, but Redux is inspired by it), so I decided to do some digging, and found that it would work great for…

Microsoft Power BI Report Builder

Introducing the Power BI Paginated Report Builder

In this post, I’ll discuss the concept of paginated reports, how they typically differ from the dashboard reporting delivered by Power BI, and how Microsoft anticipates and answers the need for generating paginated reports with the Power BI Paginated Report Builder. Moreover, I’ll discuss prerequisites for using the Paginated Report Builder, as well as explore some general considerations for using it to design reports.
So, What are Paginated Reports, Anyway?
Power BI, consisting of cloud-based BI services (“Power BI Services”), together with a desktop-based “studio” interface (“Power BI Desktop”), was released to the general public on July 24, 2015, and has evolved at an accelerated rate ever since.   Power BI offers capabilities that enable straightforward data preparation and data discovery, as well as the assembly of interactive reports and dashboards for collaboration.  Because of its dashboard orientation, Power BI is designed primarily…

Microsoft Healthcare Bot Service for COVID-19 Webinar Series

Last year, our AI team was invited to learn about Microsoft’s new Healthcare Bot. The ability to quickly develop and modify this technology was incredible. The cloud-based service was built specifically using AI to empower and scale the healthcare industry with compliance top of mind, and healthcare-centric language built-in to start.
Our team was already familiar with the Microsoft Bot Framework so we signed on very quickly to become a Certified Bot Partner. We saw the opportunity to help both hospitals and out-patient clinics and offices, we even have a pre-COVID webinar, titled Enabling and Enhancing Patient Engagement in Healthcare published on our Youtube channel that highlights the basic features and benefits of this technology.
At the time, the market was a bit behind the technology. Things like concern about elderly patients interacting with a Chatbot, and fear of change.
Look at us…

2019’s Top 5: Most Viewed Blog Posts

Now that COVID-19 has completely derailed any strategy and subsequent plan to achieve Q1 goals and we are all continuing to adjust to the ‘new normal,’ we’re thrilled to present our curated list of Tallan’s top viewed blog posts of 2019.
It’s no surprise that the top two posts are both about developing in an Azure environment. Microsoft Azure was awarded a highly sought after contract from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) in October of last year. You can read the statement published by the DOD here.
Importantly noted in the statement, is that the DOD has not aligned with any one vendor or provider for their cloud strategy efforts, “Today the Department of Defense has taken another step forward in the implementation of our Cloud Strategy with the award of an enterprise general-purpose cloud contract to Microsoft.  This continues our…

Coding an Email Template

You’ve just been assigned to code an Email Template by your Project Manager, and you have no idea where to start. If you are put in this unfortunate position, you should first ask if you can simply use an already established email service, which includes support. If that proves to be fruitless, you will have to write your own. Writing email templates gets frustrating fast due to its incompatibility with CSS and the inconsistency between Email clients such as Gmail vs. Outlook.
CSS Incompatibility
The first step with dealing with CSS incompatibility is to break the cardinal rule of front-end development completely; you have to inline-style your CSS code. I can feel your contempt for me right now, but it’s the only way to guarantee your styling is rendered properly. 
Example:

Tables          
When creating the layout for the HTML code, you…

a new ASP.NET Core Web Application

Creating Secure AJAX HTML Forms in ASP.NET Core MVC, Part 2: Preventing Cross-Site Request Forgery Attacks

In Part 1 of this two-part series, I showed you how to secure HTML forms from XSS and SQL Injection attacks by implementing client-side and server-side validation. In Part 2, I will show you how to build an HTML form that submits using AJAX and how to protect it from Cross-Site Request Forgery attacks.
HTML forms are one of the most common ways for a web application to accept user input. However, in this modern age, it is best practice not to reload the page whenever an HTML form is submitted. AJAX is one tool we can use to submit a form and provide feedback to the user without reloading a page. Implementing your application this way comes with inherent security concerns. One of those concerns is Cross-Site Request Forgery Attacks. This type of attack can be carried out on virtually…

Creating Secure AJAX HTML Forms in ASP.NET Core MVC, Part I: Client-Side and Server-Side Validation

In this two-part series, I will show you how to create a secure form that submits using Ajax. In part one of this series, we will create an HTML form and secure it from XSS and SQL Injection by validating user input through client-side and server-side validation.
Most modern websites have a need to take in information from a user. This is commonly done through HTML forms; the user enters information into form fields and the website submits an HTTP POST request to the server. The server can then use this information and/or store it to meet a wide variety of business needs. However, allowing any information from any source can prove disastrous for a system and is commonly the point of attack for malicious parties. SQL injection, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), and Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) are common ways a malicious…

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