11/12/2018

And now for some Microsoft Azure BlockChain Basics


Today I like to get started with Microsoft Azure Blockchain.  

Blockchain is a distributed ledger on the internet that allows for secure transactions in near real time guaranteed by smart contracts.  Although fairly new technology, Microsoft has a solution bundled into its Azure Portal site.

From my knowledge, distributed ledgers can be applied to many use cases.  Anytime you need to keep track of transactions, Blockchain places the next transaction on top of the current stack.  It's based on global unique identifiers or GUIDS in the form of HASH.  These HASH are created by using the prior HASH key, so you can not place an invalid transaction into the stack without the correct key.  This ensures secure transaction with guaranteed placement in near real time.  It kind of solves our security issue on the cloud.

So not only could it be used in financial transactions, good example is Crypto Currency, it could be used for tally results for Elections, Insurance transactions, any time you need to keep a Ledger account.  And the transactions are dispersed across the internet on multiple hosts to allow for distributed accounts.  This has great potential as the use cases are endless, and from my understanding, the only draw back to widespread adoption has been "scalability" as in millions of transactions per second.

With that said, lets get started with Microsoft Azure Blockchain solution example.

Logging into the Azure Portal, when you locate the Blockchain item, we see:




Click on "Learn more"...




Click on Documentation links towards the bottom of page, we find good examples on getting started:


Blockchain Workbench Preview

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/features/blockchain-workbench/






Azure Blockchain Workbench Documentation

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/blockchain/workbench/




Create a blockchain application in Azure Blockchain Workbench

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/blockchain/workbench/create-app



Need to add Azure Active Directory

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/blockchain/workbench/manage-users#add-azure-ad-users




I don't have Azure Active Directory loaded, so going to pivot to IDE.

For an IDE to develop the code, we can download using this link, explains how to download Visual Studio Code and apply the necessary installs for editing Solidity smart contracts.

Download Visual Studio Code:










Open Visual Studio Code, to change the color scheme, File -> Preferences -> Color Scheme, selected Visual Studio Light:




To load "solidity" framework for VS Code, click on button in red, enter "solidity" in search, "Ethereum Solidity Language for Visual Studio Code":





Now we can download a blockchain template located here:


Logging into GitHub account, we see the project artifacts to clone:





First, would like to download the GitHub Desktop:




After cloning the repository we see the project in GitHub Desktop:





Need to download the GitHub Extensions for Visual Studio:









We can download the sample scripts here:

To clone the repository:




We first need to download Git:











Back in Azure Portal, we create a BlockChain application:




Step 2 requires Active Directory, get prompted to create Storage Account:




Azure Blockchain requires an active Azure Active Directory, which I don't have, so I'll conclude the blog here.  If you'd like to continue on your own, here's the link to get back to the tutorial

Thanks for reading~!