Microsoft Introduces App Service Static Web Apps in Preview in 2020

At this year’s Digital Build event, Microsoft announced that it has extended Azure App Service with a new hosting offering explicitly tailored to static web applications. The hosting offering is called Azure Static Web Apps and is currently in preview.

With Azure Static Web Apps, developers can build modern, full-featured JavaScript web apps with static frontends and optional dynamic backends powered by serverless APIs. More specificly, Daria Grigoriuprogram manager at Azure Functions, said during a Microsoft Build session explaining and demonstrating the new service:

The static web application provides a unified workflow, taking you from your source code to global availability. Everything is fully managed for you. And all the different aspects of configuration are available to you with a single click.

Additionally, according to Girgoriu’s announcement blog post, Azure Static Web Apps offers developers the following benefits:

  • Use frameworks like Angular, React, Svelte, and Vue or static site builders like Gatsby when looking for a simple interface to deploy cloud resources.
  • Move dynamic logic to serverless APIs to unlock dynamic scale that can adapt to real-time demand.
  • Pre-render static content (including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and image files) and leverage global content distribution to serve that content, eliminating the need for traditional web servers generating the content on every request.

How Azure Static Web Apps works is that a developer can have an application embedded, for example, JavaScript and push or create a pull request to a repository in GitHub. Subsequently, the push or pull request triggers a GitHub action, which initiates a workflow – building the assets (content and APIs) with NPM run build and deploying them to Azure as a static web application. In addition, the deployment of assets is done on at least five servers and regions of the world.


Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/modules/publish-app-service-static-web-app-api/1-introduction

Along with easy deployment and integration with GitHub, the service also offers authentication and authorization capabilities, routes, preview in pre-production environments, and custom domains. The Combined Azure Static Web App provides developers with a package that works for static web apps, which Azure manages for them.

Raphael RiveraMicrosoft MVP, said in a Tweeter:

Don’t ignore Azure Static Web Apps. It’s like GitHub pages on steroids. You push your content to GitHub, and it handles SSL, hooks up web APIs (az functions!), serves static content, and even handles authentication (AAD, FB, G, TWIT, etc.) for you. Mad!

And like John DadMicrosoft’s top developer advocate, wrote in his Azure Static Web Apps blog post:

Oh, there’s so much more you can do! You can add a custom domain with SSL certificate, authentication, and authorization. You can make a change in a new branch, make a pull request, then have the GitHub action build and deploy your changes to a staging/preview URL!

Previously, developers could build and host a static web application using multiple Azure components, such as Azure Storage for static content. However, developers had to do a lot themselves, and management is difficult, as Mitch Webster, senior engineering manager for Apps Service, said during another Microsoft Build session on Azure Static Web Apps. :

In the past, when we used a variety of different services in Azure, it was a bit difficult to manage, and it can be hard to get the first time. A big goal of this project is to streamline this and make things as simple as possible.

Currently, App Service static web apps are available in the US Central, US East 2, US West 2, East Asia, and West Europe Azure regions. The preview starts with a free plan. Additionally, developers can visit the quickstart to try and explore Static Web Apps – and a visual code extension for Azure Static Web Apps is available in the market.

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