17th National Masters Championships

This is the first time that I participated in the 17th National Masters Championships 2021 at Mangalore. It was an honor to be a part of the Maharashtra team and I am grateful to be a part of this amazing journey with so many great swimmers from across India.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Swimming Federation of India, Tilak Tank Pune, my coaches (Kalpana ma’m, Dipti & Maggie) and of course my family!!!

Insh’Allah, see you again next year!

Restrict your Azure AD app to a set of users in an Azure AD tenant

This time we are going to see together how to restrict some specific users or set of users or groups in Azure AD tenant – this scenario is useful when you want to provide access to some specific department only in your organization e.g.: Finance Department.

It is important to note that Applications registered in an Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) tenant are, by default, available to all users of the tenant who authenticate successfully – therefore the following steps are necessary to update the application to require user assignment.

To update an application to require user assignment, you must be owner of the application under Enterprise apps, or be assigned one of Global administratorApplication administrator or Cloud application administrator directory roles.

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. If you have access to multiple tenants, use the Directory + subscription filter  in the top menu to select the tenant in which you want to register an application.
  3. Search for and select Azure Active Directory.
  4. Under Manage, select Enterprise Applications > All applications.
  5. Select the application you want to configure to require assignment. Use the filters at the top of the window to search for a specific application.
  6. On the application’s Overview page, under Manage, select Properties.
  7. Locate the setting User assignment required? and set it to Yes. When this option is set to Yes, users and services attempting to access the application or services must first be assigned for this application, or they won’t be able to sign-in or obtain an access token.
  8. Select Save.

Assign the app to users and groups

Once you’ve configured your app to enable user assignment, you can go ahead and assign the app to users and groups.

  1. Under Manage, select the Users and groups > Add user/group .
  2. Select the Users selector. A list of users and security groups will be shown along with a textbox to search and locate a certain user or group. This screen allows you to select multiple users and groups in one go.
  3. Once you are done selecting the users and groups, select Select.
  4. (Optional) If you have defined app roles in your application, you can use the Select role option to assign the app role to the selected users and groups.
  5. Select Assign to complete the assignments of the app to the users and groups.
  6. Confirm that the users and groups you added are showing up in the updated Users and groups list.

and bang!!! only the set of users which you specified are now able to access the app now.

Azure Authentication using OAuth in ASP.NET WebForms (Owin)

With all major deployment going to Azure WebApps – it is imperative for our organization to handle the Authentication from AAD perspective; so in order to use AAD Authentication, the approach is to use an App which serve as a “Bridge” between AAD & the solution which consume it.  Follow this link If you wanna know more on how to Register an app with the Azure Active Directory v2.0 endpoint

The requirement is based on a scenario where the user use the browser to access an ASP.NET website which authenticate the user automatically.

We need to use the following libraries:

Microsoft.Owin.Security.OpenIdConnectMiddleware that enables an application to use OpenIdConnect for authentication
Microsoft.Owin.Security.CookiesMiddleware that enables an application to maintain a user session by using cookies
Microsoft.Owin.Host.SystemWebMiddleware that enables OWIN-based applications to run on Internet Information Services (IIS) by using the ASP.NET request pipeline
Install-Package Microsoft.Owin.Security.OpenIdConnect
Install-Package Microsoft.Owin.Security.Cookies
Install-Package Microsoft.Owin.Host.SystemWeb

These libraries enable single sign-on (SSO) by using OpenID Connect through cookie-based authentication. After authentication is completed and the token representing the user is sent to your application, OWIN middleware creates a session cookie. The browser then uses this cookie on subsequent requests so that the user doesn’t have to retype the password, and no additional verification is needed.

Configure the authentication pipeline

The following steps are used to create an OWIN middleware Startup class to configure OpenID Connect authentication. This class is executed automatically when your IIS process starts. (If your project doesn’t have a Startup.cs file in the root folder:)

1. Add OWIN and Microsoft.IdentityModel references to Startup.cs:

using Microsoft.Owin;
using Owin;
using Microsoft.IdentityModel.Protocols.OpenIdConnect;
using Microsoft.IdentityModel.Tokens;
using Microsoft.Owin.Security;
using Microsoft.Owin.Security.Cookies;
using Microsoft.Owin.Security.OpenIdConnect;
using Microsoft.Owin.Security.Notifications;

2. Replace Startup class with the following code:

public class Startup
    // The Client ID is used by the application to uniquely identify itself to Microsoft identity platform.
    string clientId = System.Configuration.ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["ClientId"];

    // RedirectUri is the URL where the user will be redirected to after they sign in.
    string redirectUri = System.Configuration.ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["RedirectUri"];

    // Tenant is the tenant ID (e.g. contoso.onmicrosoft.com, or 'common' for multi-tenant)
    static string tenant = System.Configuration.ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["Tenant"];

    // Authority is the URL for authority, composed of the Microsoft identity platform and the tenant name (e.g. https://login.microsoftonline.com/contoso.onmicrosoft.com/v2.0)
    string authority = String.Format(System.Globalization.CultureInfo.InvariantCulture, System.Configuration.ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["Authority"], tenant);

    /// <summary>
    /// Configure OWIN to use OpenIdConnect
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="app"></param>
    public void Configuration(IAppBuilder app)

//"Katana bug #197" - https://stackoverflow.com/questions/49944071/idx21323-openidconnectprotocolvalidationcontext-nonce-was-null-openidconnectpro

        app.UseCookieAuthentication(new CookieAuthenticationOptions());
            new OpenIdConnectAuthenticationOptions
                // Sets the ClientId, authority, RedirectUri as obtained from web.config
                ClientId = clientId,
                Authority = authority,
                RedirectUri = redirectUri,
                // PostLogoutRedirectUri is the page that users will be redirected to after sign-out. In this case, it is using the home page
                PostLogoutRedirectUri = redirectUri,
                Scope = OpenIdConnectScope.OpenIdProfile,
                // ResponseType is set to request the code id_token - which contains basic information about the signed-in user
                ResponseType = OpenIdConnectResponseType.CodeIdToken,
                // ValidateIssuer set to false to allow personal and work accounts from any organization to sign in to your application
                // To only allow users from a single organizations, set ValidateIssuer to true and 'tenant' setting in web.config to the tenant name
                // To allow users from only a list of specific organizations, set ValidateIssuer to true and use ValidIssuers parameter
                TokenValidationParameters = new TokenValidationParameters()
                    ValidateIssuer = false // This is a simplification
                // OpenIdConnectAuthenticationNotifications configures OWIN to send notification of failed authentications to OnAuthenticationFailed method
                Notifications = new OpenIdConnectAuthenticationNotifications
                    AuthenticationFailed = OnAuthenticationFailed

    /// <summary>
    /// Handle failed authentication requests by redirecting the user to the home page with an error in the query string
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="context"></param>
    /// <returns></returns>
    private Task OnAuthenticationFailed(AuthenticationFailedNotification<OpenIdConnectMessage, OpenIdConnectAuthenticationOptions> context)
        context.Response.Redirect("/?errormessage=" + context.Exception.Message);
        return Task.FromResult(0);

3. Handle sign-in and sign-out requests:

In your Start Page where you want to handle authentication, add the following two methods to handle sign-in and sign-out to your controller by initiating an authentication challenge:

/// <summary>
/// Send an OpenID Connect sign-in request.
/// Alternatively, you can just decorate the SignIn method with the [Authorize] attribute
/// </summary>
public void SignIn()
    if (!Request.IsAuthenticated)
            new AuthenticationProperties{ RedirectUri = "/" },

/// <summary>
/// Send an OpenID Connect sign-out request.
/// </summary>
public void SignOut()

protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
            if (Request.IsAuthenticated)
                Session["UserName"] = System.Security.Claims.ClaimsPrincipal.Current.FindFirst("name").Value;
                Session["UserUPN"] = System.Security.Claims.ClaimsPrincipal.Current.FindFirst("preferred_username").Value;
                Session["UserEmail"] = System.Security.Claims.ClaimsPrincipal.Current.FindFirst("http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2005/05/identity/claims/emailaddress").Value;

Et voila! It is very easy to set up and use and it works like a charm.

I hope you enjoyed reading and using it!

Convert Microsoft Office Documents into PDF using Microsoft Graph & Azure Functions

One of my recent task was to translate a word document into a pdf from a web application hosted in Azure Web App – therefore the code has to process at the Azure side.

Initially, I thought a traditional approach would work such as Interop or some free Api easily available on the net, however to my great surprise the code was throwing the following exception A generic error occurred in GDI+.

Exception handling in Net: Advanced exceptions | Hexacta

What I learned from this is that all Azure Web Apps (as well as Mobile App/Services, WebJobs, and Functions) run in a secure environment called a sandbox. Each app runs inside its own sandbox, isolating its execution from other instances on the same machine as well as providing an additional degree of security and privacy that would otherwise not be available. The sandbox mechanism aims to ensure that each app running on a machine will have a minimum guaranteed level of service; furthermore, the runtime limits enforced by the sandbox protect apps from being adversely affected by other resource-intensive apps which may be running on the same machine.

The sandbox generally aims to restrict access to shared components of Windows. Unfortunately, many core components of Windows have been designed as shared components: the registry, cryptography, and graphics subsystems, among others. For the sake of radical attack surface area reduction, the sandbox prevents almost all of the Win32k.sys APIs from being called, which practically means that most of User32/GDI32 system calls are blocked. For most applications, this is not an issue since most Azure Web Apps do not require access to Windows UI functionality (they are web applications after all). Since all the major libraries use a lot of GDI calls during the PDF conversion, the default rendering engine does not work on Azure Web Apps. You can find more information about those sandbox restrictions on https://github.com/projectkudu/kudu/wiki/Azure-Web-App-sandbox#win32ksys-user32gdi32-restrictions.

So now the solution is to find an approach to convert the PDF within Azure – luckily I came across a blog from Philipp Bauknecht which is leveraging Microsoft Graph to convert a document to PDF – let us see how.

There are several steps, which you have to perform in the correct order:

  1. Create an App registration in Azure AD and assign the required permissions
  2. Create a new Azure Functions app using Visual Studio 2019
  3. Create an OAuth2 authentication service to request an access token to call the Microsoft Graph
  4. Create a File Service to upload, convert and delete files using the Microsoft Graph
  5. Setup Dependency Injection
  6. Create a new function as the Main entry point
  7. Create a Function App in Azure to host the code and make it available globally
  8. Import the publish profile & deploy using Visual Studio 2019
  9. Test using a Console Application c#
  10. Test using Postman

Step 1: Create an App registration in Azure AD and assign the required permissions

1.1 Go to https://portal.azure.com, then Azure Active Directory and select App Registrations; Click on New registration, provide a name then click on Register

1.2 Once the app is provisioned, on the left navigation blade click on Certificates & secrets; Click on New client secret to create one, then save the value of the secret for later use.

1.3 Go to API permissions, then click on Add a permission then Microsoft Graph, then choose Application permissions to add the following permissions (Admin consent is a must):

1.4 Go to Overview and save the values of Application (client) Id and Directory (tenant) Id for later use.

Step 2: Create a new Azure Functions app using Visual Studio 2019

Open Visual Studio 2019 and Create a new project in which choose Azure Functions

Step 3: Create an OAuth2 authentication service to request an access token to call the Microsoft Graph

This class is responsible to get the access token.

using Microsoft.Extensions.Options;
using Newtonsoft.Json;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Net.Http;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

namespace PdfConversionFunctionApp
    public class AuthenticationService
        public static async Task<string> GetAccessTokenAsync(ApiConfig _apiConfig)
            var values = new List<KeyValuePair<string, string>>
                new KeyValuePair<string, string>("client_id", _apiConfig.ClientId),
                new KeyValuePair<string, string>("client_secret", _apiConfig.ClientSecret),
                new KeyValuePair<string, string>("scope", _apiConfig.Scope),
                new KeyValuePair<string, string>("grant_type", _apiConfig.GrantType),
                new KeyValuePair<string, string>("resource", _apiConfig.Resource)
            var client = new HttpClient();
            var requestUrl = $"{_apiConfig.Endpoint}{_apiConfig.TenantId}/oauth2/token";
            var requestContent = new FormUrlEncodedContent(values);
            var response = await client.PostAsync(requestUrl, requestContent);
            var responseBody = await response.Content.ReadAsStringAsync();
            dynamic tokenResponse = JsonConvert.DeserializeObject(responseBody);
            return tokenResponse?.access_token;

Step 4: Create a File Service to upload, convert and delete files using the Microsoft Graph

This class is responsible to upload, convert and delete the file.

using Newtonsoft.Json;
using System;
using System.IO;
using System.Net.Http;
using System.Net.Http.Headers;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

namespace PdfConversionFunctionApp
    public class FileService
        private readonly ApiConfig _apiConfig;
        private HttpClient _httpClient;

        public FileService(ApiConfig apiConfig)
            _apiConfig = apiConfig;

        private async Task<HttpClient> CreateAuthorizedHttpClient()
            if (_httpClient != null)
                return _httpClient;

            var token = await AuthenticationService.GetAccessTokenAsync(_apiConfig); 
            _httpClient = new HttpClient();
            _httpClient.DefaultRequestHeaders.Add("Authorization", $"Bearer {token}");

            return _httpClient;

        public async Task<string> UploadStreamAsync(string path, Stream content, string contentType)
            var httpClient = await CreateAuthorizedHttpClient();

            string tmpFileName = $"{Guid.NewGuid().ToString()}{MimeTypes.MimeTypeMap.GetExtension(contentType)}";
            string requestUrl = $"{path}root:/{tmpFileName}:/content";
            var requestContent = new StreamContent(content);
            requestContent.Headers.ContentType = new MediaTypeHeaderValue(contentType);
            var response = await httpClient.PutAsync(requestUrl, requestContent);
            if (response.IsSuccessStatusCode)
                dynamic file = JsonConvert.DeserializeObject(await response.Content.ReadAsStringAsync());
                return file?.id;
                var message = await response.Content.ReadAsStringAsync();
                throw new Exception($"Upload file failed with status {response.StatusCode} and message {message}");

        public async Task<byte[]> DownloadConvertedFileAsync(string path, string fileId, string targetFormat)
            var httpClient = await CreateAuthorizedHttpClient();

            var requestUrl = $"{path}{fileId}/content?format={targetFormat}";
            var response = await httpClient.GetAsync(requestUrl);
            if (response.IsSuccessStatusCode)
                var fileContent = await response.Content.ReadAsByteArrayAsync();
                return fileContent;
                var message = await response.Content.ReadAsStringAsync();
                throw new Exception($"Download of converted file failed with status {response.StatusCode} and message {message}");

        public async Task DeleteFileAsync(string path, string fileId)
            var httpClient = await CreateAuthorizedHttpClient();

            var requestUrl = $"{path}{fileId}";
            var response = await httpClient.DeleteAsync(requestUrl);
            if (!response.IsSuccessStatusCode)
                var message = await response.Content.ReadAsStringAsync();
                throw new Exception($"Delete file failed with status {response.StatusCode} and message {message}");

Step 5: Setup Dependency Injection

5.1 In order to use the FileService and the Configuration properties (local & in Azure), we need to set dependency injection. To use dependency injection in Azure Function app we need to add the package Microsoft.Azure.Functions.Extensions to our app using Nuget.

using Microsoft.Azure.Functions.Extensions.DependencyInjection;
using Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration;
using Microsoft.Extensions.DependencyInjection;
using System;
using System.IO;
using System.Reflection;

[assembly: FunctionsStartup(typeof(PdfConversionFunctionApp.Startup))]
namespace PdfConversionFunctionApp
    class Startup : FunctionsStartup
        public override void Configure(IFunctionsHostBuilder builder)
            var fileInfo = new FileInfo(Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly().Location);
            string path = fileInfo.Directory.Parent.FullName;
            var config = new ConfigurationBuilder()
                .AddJsonFile("local.settings.json", optional: true, reloadOnChange: true)

            var apiConfig = new ApiConfig();
            config.Bind(nameof(ApiConfig), apiConfig);


The above code – from line 15 to 25 – takes care of getting the configuration values, if the app runs locally then it loads the local.settings.json, otherwise, it takes the values from the Azure Function Application settings (see Step 7.2)

5.2 Now set the values of TenantId, ClientId & ClientSecret from Step 1; The SiteId correspond to the Document Library where the file will get temporarily uploaded, we will have to GET it using Microsoft Graph Explorer with the following formula:

This is how the local.settings.json looks:

GET => https://graph.microsoft.com/v1.0/sites/myorganization.sharepoint.com?$select=id
GET => https://graph.microsoft.com/v1.0/sites/myorganization.sharepoint.com:/sites/Contoso/Operations/Manufacturing?$select=id
Response => 
    "@odata.context": "https://graph.microsoft.com/v1.0/$metadata#sites(id)/$entity",
    "id": "myorganization.sharepoint.com,74796aa9-17f6-4c09-9b20-1d78bfdcbac4,98f692fe-ea45-423b-8001-0b9c6bb2b50f"
What you get back in the id is in this format: {hostname},{spsite.id},{spweb.id}. 
What we need is then the {spsite.id} which is 74796aa9-17f6-4c09-9b20-1d78bfdcbac4
  "IsEncrypted": false,
  "Values": {
    "AzureWebJobsStorage": "UseDevelopmentStorage=true",
    "graph:Endpoint": "https://login.microsoftonline.com/",
    "graph:GrantType": "client_credentials",
    "graph:Scope": "Files.ReadWrite.All",
    "graph:Resource": "https://graph.microsoft.com",
    "graph:TenantId": "",
    "graph:ClientId": "",
    "graph:ClientSecret": "",
    "pdf:GraphEndpoint": "https://graph.microsoft.com/v1.0/",
    "pdf:SiteId": ""
  "ApiConfig": {
    "Endpoint": "https://login.microsoftonline.com/",
    "GrantType": "client_credentials",
    "Scope": "Files.ReadWrite.All",
    "Resource": "https://graph.microsoft.com",
    "TenantId": "",
    "ClientId": "",
    "ClientSecret": "",
    "GraphEndpoint": "https://graph.microsoft.com/v1.0/",
    "SiteId": ""

Step 6: Create a new function as the Main entry point

Add a new function to your project and name it ConvertToPdf. Select the Http trigger so our function can be called via a http request and pick Authorization level Anonymous so we don’t need to provide any credentials when calling this function; Replace the below code

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Http;
using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc;
using Microsoft.Azure.WebJobs;
using Microsoft.Azure.WebJobs.Extensions.Http;
using Microsoft.Extensions.Logging;
using System.Threading.Tasks;

namespace PdfConversionFunctionApp
    public class ConvertToPdf
        private readonly FileService _fileService;
        private readonly ApiConfig _apiConfig;

        public ConvertToPdf(FileService fileService, ApiConfig apiConfig)
            _fileService = fileService;
            _apiConfig = apiConfig;

        public async Task<IActionResult> Run(
            [HttpTrigger(AuthorizationLevel.Anonymous, "post", Route = null)] HttpRequest req, ILogger log)
            if (req.Headers.ContentLength == 0)
                log.LogInformation("Please provide a file.");
                return new BadRequestObjectResult("Please provide a file.");

            var path = $"{_apiConfig.GraphEndpoint}sites/{_apiConfig.SiteId}/drive/items/";

            var fileId = await _fileService.UploadStreamAsync(path, req.Body, req.ContentType);

            var pdf = await _fileService.DownloadConvertedFileAsync(path, fileId, "pdf");

            await _fileService.DeleteFileAsync(path, fileId);

            return new FileContentResult(pdf, "application/pdf");

Step 7: Create a Function App in Azure to host the code and make it available globally

7.1 Go to https://portal.azure.com, then click on Create Function App

7.2 Once the app is provisioned, on the left navigation blade click on Configuration, then New application setting – we will have to add the below application settings which are needed when the app runs from Azure (the values as the same as step 5.2)

7.3 On the Overview section, download the publish profile while clicking on Get publish profile

Step 8: Import the publish profile & deploy using Visual Studio 2019

8.1 Right-click on Visual Studio, then choose Publish, import your publish settings to deploy your app from the file downloaded in the previous step – then deploy.

8.2 If Debugging is needed then we can use the Azure Function App Log Stream Monitoring features.

Step 9: Test using a Console Application c#

9.1 Create a console application and replace the following code.

using System;
using System.IO;
using System.Net;
using PdfConversionFunctionApp;

namespace PdfConversionConsoleApp
    class Program
        static void Main(string[] args)
            string filePathWord = @"C:\Temp\TestDocument.docx";
            string filePathOutWord = @"C:\Temp\TestDocument.pdf";

            string filePathExcel = @"C:\Temp\TestExcel.xlsx";
            string filePathOutExcel = @"C:\Temp\TestExcel.pdf";

            bool IsSuccessWord = ConverToPdf(filePathWord, filePathOutWord);
            bool IsSuccessExcel = ConverToPdf(filePathExcel, filePathOutExcel);

        private static bool ConverToPdf(String filePath, String filePathOut)
                //string urlLocal = "http://localhost:7071/api/ConvertToPdf";
                string urlAzure = "https://graphpdfconverter.azurewebsites.net/api/ConvertToPdf";

                HttpWebRequest req = (HttpWebRequest)WebRequest.Create(urlAzure);
                req.Method = "POST";

                string fileExtension = Path.GetExtension(filePath);
                switch (fileExtension)
                    case ".doc":
                        req.ContentType = "application/msword";
                    case ".docx":
                        req.ContentType = "application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document";
                    case ".xls":
                        req.ContentType = "application/vnd.ms-excel";
                    case ".xlsx":
                        req.ContentType = "application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet"; ;
                        throw new Exception("Only Word & Excel documents are supported by the Converter");

                Stream fileStream = System.IO.File.Open(filePath, FileMode.Open);
                MemoryStream inputStream = new MemoryStream();
                Stream stream = req.GetRequestStream();
                stream.Write(inputStream.ToArray(), 0, inputStream.ToArray().Length);
                HttpWebResponse res = (HttpWebResponse)req.GetResponse();

                //Create file stream to save the output PDF file
                FileStream outStream = System.IO.File.Create(filePathOut);
                //Copy the responce stream into file stream
                //Dispose the input stream
                //Dispose the file stream

                return true;
            catch (Exception ex)
            return false;


9.2 To test and debug locally, Click F5 on the Function App – Visual Studio will provide a POST URL which you can use in the console to run & debug the code.

9.3 To run it from Azure, go to Azure Portal, then open your Azure Function App, on the left navigation blade click on Functions, click on the function name then Get Function Url. Use this URL in the console to convert the document to pdf.

It is important to mention that the Content Type will define the type of docunent to be converted – find the complete list of Common MIME types.

Step 10: Test using Postman

10.1 In Postman, add the Azure Function App Url (see step 9.3).

10.2 On the Header section, add the appropriate MIME Types

10.3 On the Body section, click on Binary and upload a file then click the Send button.

10.4 On successfull request, we can save the converted pdf file.


As we can see Microsoft Graph allows us to convert easily documents to pdf, that up to 1 million free calls, along with Azure Function it provides the flexibility to use these features anywhere anytime your users want.

Download the code from Github

Vaccine for all!

How it all started

Getting the vaccine is not an easy task – either you go to a vaccination center early to get a token or if lucky try to get an available slot in the Cowin site/Aarogya Setu mobile app – this has been the same experience got by friends, relatives, and colleagues across the country.

Therefore using the Co-WIN Public APIs, I decided to provide this web application to help all my fellow citizens to get vaccinated!

Let’s get vaccinated!

This web application looks for the vaccine slot availability in your respective District by selecting the age & available dose criteria – using the Co-WIN Public APIs, for more details about the API, click here

Please note that this web application does NOT book any slot on your behalf whatsoever – it only provides valuable information to help the citizen to select the available center at that point in time.

How it works

The program run in an interval to query the provided Co-WIN Public APIs to look for an available center in your respective District, taking into consideration the age and available dose. 

Once the program finds an available center, an email will be sent at the registered email address a complete report with all details which shows all the available centers along with the available dose at that point in time. 

It is important to mention that upon receiving the report, it is highly recommended to book the slots on the cowin.gov.in website or using the Aarogya Setu mobile app.

https://vaccineforall.azurewebsites.net/ (formerly vaccineforall.co.in)

Coronavirus Vaccine: When should you get vaccinated after recovering from  COVID-19?

Login failed for user ”. at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlInternalConnectionTds..ctor

Azure SQL

While connecting to the Azure SQL Database – I was getting the below error which took me hour to find out the root cause.

Login failed for user ”. at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlInternalConnectionTds..ctor(DbConnectionPoolIdentity identity, SqlConnectionString connectionOptions, SqlCredential credential, Object providerInfo, String newPassword, SecureString newSecurePassword, Boolean redirectedUserInstance, SqlConnectionString userConnectionOptions, SessionData reconnectSessionData, DbConnectionPool pool, String accessToken, Boolean applyTransientFaultHandling, SqlAuthenticationProviderManager sqlAuthProviderManager)

Initially I thought it is related to the password which is sent without the SecureString however it was still not working.

Luckily after hour of research, found creating a new user with [db_owner] permission will do the work – thanks to this blog.

here are the command to run to create the SQL new user and set the required permissions:

  1. Connect with SSMS to the master database
  2. CREATE LOGIN username WITH password=’password’;
  3. Switch to the application database
  4. CREATE USER username FROM LOGIN username;
  5. EXEC sp_addrolemember N’db_owner’, N’username’
  6. Updating the connection string in the Azure portal
Create a read-only user in Azure SQL – Vincent – Technologist

Digital Transformation – 5 steps to success

In the year 1995, I remember helping my father identifying and classifying all information-bearing documents, whether they were in the form of hard-copy output or computer 5 1/4″ floppy drive – my dad being in the Travel Industry in Madagascar, we had to process pile of files, it was like running out of space on top of his desk and having to process one pile of files at a time in order to free up space for another pile of files – this was a long and tedious task.

To automate this task, I had developed a small application using DBASE III running on a Windows 286 with an MS-DOS Version 5 which was my first computer – the program design was quite simple, I had to enter all the customer data along with one important attribute “the File Number” – the intent was that when someone searching for a particular string, instantly the app shows the file number containing the respective data – as these efforts started to bear fruit, the happiness and satisfaction on his face were palpable; Wish he could have seen today’s digital era where humans are engaging in smarter experiences through technological innovation.

So what is Digital Transformation?

simply put, use technological innovation to convert your manual tasks or create new business processes.

According to Schumpeter, the process of technological change in a free market consists of three parts: invention (conceiving a new idea or process), innovation (arranging the economic requirements for implementing an invention), and diffusion (whereby people observing the new discovery adopt or imitate it) – in layman’s terms, this means Schumpeter argued that anyone seeking profits must innovate.

This is true for all the companies who have adopted and transformed their services or business through technology – for an instance with this COVID pandemic, today with a majority of individuals working remotely, employee experience of digital technology has gone from “nice to have” to “the only way work gets done” – this is a revolution of the introduction of a new technology that creates entirely new ways of serving existing needs and significantly disrupts an existing industry. On the other hand, companies that are not innovating may not be disrupted however does guarantee a poor outcome and may be defeated by the competitors.

What is the 5-key success of Digital Transformation?


Everything begins with trust! Digital Transformation use technological innovation to replace your manual tasks or create new business processes however we have seen traditional organization/people who have a strong culture resists to adopt these new changes.

Companies can overcome these barriers by inculcating trust, communicate to their workforce their digital transformation strategy then create opportunities for dialog. Upskilling and re-skilling is crucial to ensure adaptability and employability in the transition times.


One of the important pillars of the Digital Transformation success is a strong and determined leadership  which is required for the development and implementation of the strategy. A key strategy is to focus primarily on improving Customer Experience which is possible by implementing digital business models and services, let us see some of the model types:

  • Marketplace model: the biggest ecommerce Amazon would have no business without internet, this is amongst the widely used business models.
  • Free model: Build great products and released them for free (Trial or Basic lifetime features) once the customers get accustomed then monetization would not be an issue. Many companies have adopted this model for their products.
  • Subscription-based model: Netflix and Amazon Prime have built an amazing base of loyal customers which guarantee a continuous revenue over time.
  • On-Demand model: this model is based on supply and model, it has two sided players, for example in Uber’s case this model works as soon as the drivers (supply) are  offering their services to the riders (demand).


Invest more in the upskilling of the workforce, employees are the face and heart of any organization – in this process of Digital Transformation, it is imperative to upskill or reskill otherwise you might fail to meet the customer’s expectations.

Continuous Innovation

It is in human nature to love everything new! Innovation increases your chances to react to changes and discover new opportunities which become the key for survival. Take Apple as an example which has done a continuous innovations such as the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad.

Smarter Customer Experience

An improved customer experience is a significant factor in efficiency, profitability and brand equity which must be the result of your Digital Transformation Strategy. I cite from a  global telecommunications EY’s study “Automation and efficiency improvement of all processes will serve customer experience.”

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The intent should be to nurtures lives through innovation and technology. This vision is going to transform your business and tap into new and exciting opportunities globally.

Azure Active Directory – Native app – Step by step

In continuation of my previous blog – Register an app with the Azure Active Directory v2.0 endpoint – demonstrating how to create an Application Type: Native app within Azure.

Create a Native app

    • Step 1: Create
        1. Login to portal.azure.com
        2. Go to Azure Active Directory > App registrations > New Application Registration
        3. In the Name field, give a descriptive name
        4. Choose Native
        5. For Sign-on Url: Here it doesn’t matter – give http://localhost:12345
        6. Click on Create.
    • Step 2: Configure
        1. Once the App is created, click on Settings
        2. Please note that here there is no way to set a Key as a Client Secret – why? the explanation is given on the difference between Native app & Web app
        3. Under Required permissions, based on all available API, set all necessary permissions you need to, please note here that after settings up permissions, you/AAD Admin need to “Grant” them explicitly otherwise, it will not work.
    • Step 3: Take Note
        1. Application ID – which is the Client ID
        2. Tenant ID => Azure Active Directory > Properties > Directory ID

Native App – Usage

Here the code is straightforward:

A. Get Access Token

public static string GetAccessToken()
            string AppId = "";
            string TenantId = "";
            string GraphResourceUrl = "https://graph.microsoft.com";
            string AuthorityUrl = "https://login.microsoftonline.com/" + TenantId;
            string RedirectUri = "http://localhost:12345/";

                AuthenticationContext authContext = new AuthenticationContext(AuthorityUrl, true);
                AuthenticationResult authResult = authContext.AcquireTokenAsync(GraphResourceUrl, AppId, new Uri(RedirectUri), new PlatformParameters(PromptBehavior.Auto)).Result;
                return authResult.AccessToken;

            catch (Exception ex)
            return null;
B. Get GraphServiceClient

public static GraphServiceClient GetGraphClient(string graphToken)
                DelegateAuthenticationProvider authenticationProvider = new DelegateAuthenticationProvider(
                (requestMessage) =>
                    requestMessage.Headers.Authorization = new AuthenticationHeaderValue("Bearer", graphToken);
                    return Task.FromResult(0);
                return new GraphServiceClient(authenticationProvider);
            catch (Exception ex)
            return null;

Azure Active Directory – Web app / Api – Step by step

In continuation of my previous blog – Register an app with the Azure Active Directory v2.0 endpoint – demonstrating how to create an Application Type: Web App /API within Azure.

Create Web app / API

    • Step 1: Create
      1. Login to portal.azure.com
      2. Go to Azure Active Directory > App registrations > New Application Registration
      3. In the Name field, give a descriptive name
      4. Choose Web app / API
      5. For Sign-on Url:
        • If you are doing a POC, give a http://localhost:{port number}/
        • If you are planning to host the code on Azure Web App, then provide as follows:  https://{youwebapp}.azurewebsites.net/
      1. Click on Create

    • Step 2: Configure
      1. Once the App is created, click on Settings
      2. Under Keys, we are going to set the “Client Secret”,
        • Enter a Key Name (descriptive)
        • Enter an Expiration Value
        • On Save, the Client Secret will be generated, take a note of it as it gets hidden once you leave the screen.

Now Under Required permissions, based on all available API, set all necessary permissions you need to, please note here that after settings up permissions, you/AAD Admin need to “Grant” them explicitly otherwise it will not work.

    • Step 3: Take Note
      1. Application ID – which is the Client ID
      2. Client Secret as per step 10
      3. Tenant ID => Azure Active Directory > Properties > Directory ID

Web app / API – Usage

In this POC – I am getting the Current User Request [me] using GraphServiceClient.

      1. Download the project (use Nuget Manager to download necessary references).
      2. In the GraphController, update ClientId, ClientSecret, TenantId as per above step 
      3. Update the UriString as per above step 5
      4. Build and run the code
      5. The entry point is the Gettotken responsible for the Authentication  – Access the code using following your local IIS url http://localhost:12345/Graph/Gettoken
A. Get Authorization Code (see the solution for complete code)

AuthenticationContext authContext = new AuthenticationContext(authorityURL, true);
Task redirectUri = authContext.GetAuthorizationRequestUrlAsync(resource, clientId, new Uri(uriString), UserIdentifier.AnyUser, string.Empty);
return Redirect(redirectUri.Result.AbsoluteUri);

Please note here that the AbsoluteUri has to match with the UriString otherwise it won’t work – this is an extra layer of security added by Microsoft.
Once successful, it will redirect to the Gettoken method once more to get the access token.
B. Use Authorization Code to request the Access Token (see the solution for complete code)

string code = Request.Params["code"];
ClientCredential clientCredentials = new ClientCredential(clientId, clientSecret);
Task request = authContext.AcquireTokenByAuthorizationCodeAsync(code, new Uri(uriString), clientCredentials);
Session["code"] = request.Result.AccessToken;
return RedirectToAction("Index");

Once successful, it will redirect to the Index method for further processing.
C. Use Authorization Code to request the Access Token (see the solution for complete code)

public ActionResult Index(string authenticationCode)
string code = (string)Session["code"];
GraphServiceClient graphClient = GetGraphClient(code);

//Get User information [me]
Task meRequest = graphClient.Me.Request().GetAsync();
User resultMeRequest = meRequest.Result;

return View();