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Microsoft announced the general availability of the second version of Azure Functions, an event-driven, compute-on-demand service on the Azure platform. This new version release of Azure Functions includes several capabilities to let developers build scalable serverless applications more easily than with version one.
Microsoft first launched Azure Functions in early 2016 as a preview, and it became generally available as the first version in mid-November of 2016. In the second version according to the announcement blog post, the most significant changes are to the host runtime, which is now portable, cross-platform, and more efficient. Furthermore, the runtime can even work outside the Azure Functions service in a container or on the IoT Edge. Azure Functions 2.0 can also run in more environments like locally on a Mac or Linux machine, and developers can write functions using an IDE like Visual Studio, VS Code, or VS for Mac.
Eduardo Laureano, principal PM manager, Azure Functions, said in the blog post:
Functions 2.0 is more performant than ever, thanks in part to general host improvements, support for more modern language runtimes, and the ability to run code from a package file.
With the second version of functions, all bindings are now extensions except for the core HTTP and timer. Bindings in Azure Functions decouple the code from the data source or destination, and by packing them as extensions, Microsoft further decouples them. By decoupling extensions, Microsoft allows bindings and their dependencies to be versioned independently of the core runtime, as Laureano stated in the blog post. Developers will have more control over their application and how they run, especially as the services on which their apps depend continue to evolve.
Furthermore, Functions 2.0 include also:
- a new extension for the Azure SignalR Service
- an expansion of the integration with Application Insights
- and the addition of the deployment center feature (still in preview), allowing a more manageable set up for source control
With the release Functions 2.0, the Microsoft Function product team further enhanced the service and soon will add more hosting options and language support. This team plans to expand development stacks and hosting options for Azure Functions like serverless, for instance Linux hosting – a preview of the Consumption plan for Functions built on top of the Linux OS is now available by signing up for it. Furthermore, the team is also building support for Python 3.6 based on the Functions 2.0 runtime, also available through a private preview.