Monday, February 13, 2017

Twitter noise-reduction solution in Microsoft Azure is working well

I've been running my Azure-based Twitter "noise-reduction" solution for a few days now. Below are some observations.

First, a recap of what the solution is doing...

The solution runs in Azure to help identify new and unique tweets, eliminating retweets, duplicates and unwanted "noise" tweets by keyword. It sends the tweets that pass the filters to an email folder. I then review the tweets (about 75/day related to Dynamics 365 CRM and Azure) and drag them to another folder. An Azure Logic App reads from that folder and posts the tweets to this blog. So, it's mostly automated, and becomes better over time as it catches duplicate tweets.

This screenshot (Azure Portal) shows the solution services. The solution includes three Azure Logic Apps, a Function App with one function and Azure Storage queues and tables.

Why do this? Mostly because I want to continue to learn how to use Azure Logic Apps, Azure Functions, Microsoft Flow, etc. Second, I have $150 in Azure credits and this seemed like a good use of some of them. And lastly, part of my job is to keep on top of what's happening with Dynamics 365, so creating an intelligent Twitter spy tool seemed like a reasonable way to meet that goal as well.

Lessons learned so far:

  • Cost: It costs about $0.75/day to run this solution in Azure. Besides the Azure services shown in the screenshot above, I have two Microsoft Flow workflows querying Twitter for the following hashtags.
    • #msdyncrm OR #dynamics365 OR #msdyn365 OR #dynamicscrm OR #dyn365 OR xrmtoolbox 
    • #azurefunctions OR #logicapps OR #webjobs OR #powerapps OR #microsoftflow OR #azuresql OR #sqlazure OR @logicappsio
So, it's a relatively inexpensive way to save me a lot of time reading about new CRM and Azure happenings.

  • Part of the solution is for a Logic App to auto-send a tweet about the new "Favorite Tweets" blog post. After a few hours of that tweet, each page is getting about 50 unique visitors, so the automated solution is leading to a respectable number of page views. That's not my goal, but if I ran a business then this solution could be used to provide timely and relevant content to site visitors.

  • It's reliable. The Azure Logic Apps, Functions, etc. that I created for the solution have run on-time and without fail each day. I didn't really expect them to fail, it was just reassuring to see all green checkmarks in the runtime history.

I'm not sure what my next rainy day side project will be with Azure but I'm sure I'll come up with something soon.

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