All posts by Julie Lerman

EF Core Fundamentals for EF Core 7 (Pluralsight)

Last spring Pluralsight published my 7.5 hour EF Core Fundamentals course. I hope that given my history with EF, EF Core , my books, talks and courses that you will already know that it’s a very good and in-depth course. And the response to the course has been great!

Unfortunately the course has the version number in it: It is really called EF Core 6 Fundamentals which I believe causes devs using the current version (EF Core 7) to hesitate watching the course.

These fundamentals do not really change from one version to the next. It is the advanced features that the EF Core team is evolving.  The course is still totally relevant for EF Core 7 and you can use EF Core 7 to work through the course.

There are new features you should be aware of that I covered in the EF Core 7: It Just Keeps Getting Better article in Code Magazine’s, Code Focus issue on .NET 7 such as bulk updates and deletes, mapping stored procedures and more (some of which I would consider “fundamental”, others a bit more advanced).  But the basics  continue to work just as they do in EF Core 6. 

There’s no need to shy away from either of these courses or any of the others on the EF Core 6 track  on Pluralsight if you are using EF Core 7.

In fact, I have updated every single project from the course to EF Core 7 and except for one small tweak (not even related to EF Core) in the API Testing demo (from Module 13), every demo ran exactly the same in EF Core 7 as it does in EF Core 6.

All of the updated projects are in a new branch in the PluralsightEFCore6Fundamentals GItHub repo dedicated to the source code for the course.

Because of the course length and the fact that EF Core 7 is not a Long-Term Support (LTS) version, Pluralsight and I decided not to update this course. Many of the EF Core and ASP.NET core courses went the same way.

I also created a much more advanced course called EF Core 6 and Domain-Driven Design. While I was forced to put “6” in this course title and defaulted to EF Core 6 for all of the lessons, anywhere that EF Core 7 features or behaviors were different, I called them out in that course.

So there’s no need to shy away from either of these courses or any of the others on the EF Core 6 track  on Pluralsight if you are using EF Core 7.

Restarting Outlook Rules When They ALL Stopped Working

Rick Strahl reminded me of a great use for my nearly abandoned blog (especially as Twitter has lost its bloody mind)….memory storage! And I just solved a nagging problem so decided to “log” it here on my blog not only for my own future reference but perhaps to help someone else too.

If I explicitly ran the rules whether online or in the Windows Outlook client, that worked (and was time consuming).  But they stopped automatically being applied on incoming emails.

I found many articles via googling the problem. Many alluded to the rules file being too large. I removed old rules and compressed multiple rules for people at the same company. Still no luck.

There were other suggestions related to local outlook files, but the problem was on the server.

After 4 days of revisiting the problem, reading more and trying again, I finally, by chance, happened upon the solution for MY problem.

In the Manage Rules & Alerts, I had noticed (and ignored multiple times), under the Options “tab”:

There is an option to import and export.

So I exported the rules, deleted them all from outlook, verified that they were also gone from the online Outlook, then imported the file. 

It didn’t take long to see that the rules were working again. My most used one I think is the rule that any email with the word “unsubscribe” in it that hasn’t already been moved to another folder, goes into one called “Promotional”. 

New EF Core and Domain-Driven Design Course on Pluralsight!

MY NEW Pluralsight COURSE IS OUT! EF Core 6 and Domain-Driven Design. Yippee! I spent 3 months heads down on this (and years preparing for it!)

This happily aligns with a current 50% off sale on annual subscriptions.

Also note that as with *all* PS courses, they are limited to “expanded” library for the first few days but this will be part of the standard library (available to all) hopefully by the end of this week.

Short description
“Data persistence is important to your application workflow. This course will teach you how to use Entity Framework Core 6 and 7 effectively to persist data from your DDD designed software.”

The module titles should give you a better flavor of this course:

  • Understanding Where EF Core 6 Fits Alongside DDD (Includes an overview of DDD)
  • Analyzing and Planning Our Domain (Strategic and tactical design walkthrough)
  • Exploring the Contract Bounded Context Solution
  • Adding the First EF Core DbContext
  • Tuning Default Mappings for the Data Model
  • Using Integration Tests to Validate Persistence
  • Reasoning About Many-to-Many Variations
  • Mapping Aggregates to Azure CosmosDB
  • Organizing Persistence Logic to Support DDD Design (Repositories, services, search and sharing data and events across bounded contexts)


New on Pluralsight! EF Core 6 Fundamentals!

I’m so excited to share with you that I have a new course on Pluralsight: EF Core 6 Fundamentals. I’ve been working on it for a while and it is the biggest course I’ve ever created. It is 7.5 hours long. It’s a lot more than the breadth of the previous Getting Started courses.  

And there’s an additional bonus. Pluralsight is having a sale on subscriptions right now. 33% off through May 12, 2022.

There are 16 modules if you count the course overview which is just a 1.5 minute “trailer” about the course. This is not just a refresh of the recent EF Core 5 Getting Started course. In fact, I retired the samurais and have introduced a book publisher as the domain this time. Below is the list of module titles for my new course.

I’ve also posted the sample code for the course in this repository on my Github account

  1. Course Overview
  2. Building Your First Application using EF Core
  3. Using EF Core 6 to Query a Database
  4. Tracking and Saving Data with EF Core
  5. Controlling Database Creation and Schema with Migrations
  6. Defining One-to-Many Relationships
  7. Logging EF Core Activity and SQL
  8. Interacting with Related Data
  9. Defining and Using Many-to-Many Relationships
  10. Defining and Using One-to-One Relationships
  11. Working with Views and Stored Procedures and Raw SQL
  12. Using EF Core with ASP.NET Core Apps
  13. Testing with EF Core
  14. Adding Some More Practical Mappings to Your Application
  15. Understanding EF Core’s Database Connectivity
  16. Tapping into EF Core’s Pipeline

I’d also like to give a shout out to my friend and fellow Pluralsight author, Roland Guijt, who acted as tech reviewer as I created this course. His feedback and insights were invaluable as is evident not only in the final version of my course, but in his own courses on ASP.NET Core, C# and more.

DockerCon Live 2021: Docker for Super Beginners Community Room

DockerCon Live 2021 is coming up this Thursay, May 27. New this year, in addition to regular sessions, are a number of community rooms hosted by Docker Captains.
I will be co-hosting the Docker for Super Beginners Community Room with fellow Docker Captain, Rachid Zarouali.
In order to include links to speaker info and calendar links for each session, I’ve duplicated and enhanced the schedule displayed on the DockerCon website for this community room.
Note: The calendar links are working with my google calendar. I’ve heard others say it wasn’t working for theirs. If you know what I did wrong, please let me know!
We will continue to add beginner resources in this section. Feel free to share your favorites by leaving a comment!

11:00 AM  PST / 8pm CET 
Live Panel: Finding Your AHA! Moment with Docker  (Add to your calendar)
Panelists: Julie Lerman, Rachid Zarouali(, Elton Stoneman (

Docker can seem confusing at first. But there could be one single idea that helps you “get it”. Three Docker Captains will talk about their own AHA moments and those they’ve witnessed from others.

12:00 PM PST / 9pm CET
Supercharge your Docker learning with VS Code (Add to your calendar)
SpeakerGuy Barrette ( )

In this session, you will learn how to use the Docker extension for Visual Studio Code to supercharge your Docker learning experience.

1:00 PM PST / 10pm CET
Learning Docker for Smaller Feedback Loops (Add to your calendar)
Speaker: Sean Killeen (

A high level journey through one of my Docker “ah-ha” moments and using Docker for smaller feedback loops on my projects.

2:00 PM PST / 11pm CET
Live-code a Dockerfile (Add to your calendar)
Speaker: Rob Richardson (

In this session I’ll begin with an empty folder and a terminal, and live-code everything. I’ll then build and run the container. New to Docker? You’ll learn how here.

3:00 PM PST / 12am CET
Docker – send help, a beginner story (Add to your calendar)
Speaker: Chris Noring (

Do you feel like learning Docker seems like a daunting task? All your colleagues swear by it you don’t know why you should feel excited about it? What even is containers? If this feels like you, then this talk is for you. It will cover the basic concepts but also WHY Docker and containers and how it can help you.

Using Azure Active Directory Accounts with a Subscription Tied to a Personal (aka Live) Account

This blog post is about a very particular problem you might have with some Azure services if your Azure subscription is tied to a personal account and not an Office 365 or Microsoft 365 identity. And the set of Azure services is not random. It is a set of Azure services that rely an Azure Active Directory for credential management – referred to as Managed Identity.

I ran into this when working with the Azure Key Vault, but you might hit it with Azure Blob Storage or some other services.

I want to first describe how my Microsoft and Azure accounts are set up and how I encountered the problem then share how I was able to solve it.

I have also written an article on using Azure Key Vault from an ASP.NET Core application but I chose a simpler path for the article which was to use an Azure Subscription that was tied to an Office 365 account. That article is in the Code Magazine May/June 2021 issue. (I’ll share the link when it’s live). In this blog post I am going to focus on the problem of the personal account. You can find details about accessing the Key Vault from the application in the article.

My Microsoft and Azure Accounts

My Azure Subscriber account is my personal Microsoft account that is associated with It’s not a email address. You see the big difference when you log into a Microsoft property. You enter your email address and then specify that it’s either a work/school account or a personal account. Mine is one of those personal accounts.

I log in to, my Visual Studio subscription and my Microsoft MVP account with that same personal account.  I’ve been working this way for a very long time.

Working with an Azure Active Directory dependent service: Azure Key Vault

I was writing a small ASP.NET Core app and wanted to store its secrets– some connection strings – in an Azure Key Vault to keep them out of my source code.

I started by creating a key vault in Azure. Key vaults are accessed through an access policy — a combination of an Azure Active Directory user and a selected set of permissions. When you create a new Key Vault and your Azure subscription account is an O365 account, a new access policy will be automatically be created giving the subscriber account’s identity broad access to that key vault.  Because my subscription was not tied to an O365 identity, I had to manually create an access policy for the user that is the subscription owner.

Back in Visual Studio, I wove the Azure.Extensions.Aspnetcore.Configuration.Secrets package into my application to let it  read from the key vault. This also requires referencing the  Azure.Identity NuGet package.

The secrets API asks the identity API to discover any managed identities on your machine if they are not fed directly to the application.

Here’s the critical code for accessing the key vault that I added into my app:

   new Uri(""),
new DefaultAzureCredential());

This tells my app to communicate with my particular Azure Key Vault and use whatever credentials it can find. In my case, debugging in Visual Studio, that is the credentials I used to log in to Visual studio.

The Error of My Ways

And this is where the problem begins! When the debugger attempts to access the key vault with those credentials it throws an error.                 

Azure.Identity.AuthenticationFailedException: 'SharedTokenCacheCredential authentication failed: AADSTS9002332: Application ‘[application’s id]'(Azure Key Vault) is configured for use by Azure Active Directory users only. Please do not use the /consumers endpoint to serve this request.

That’s because even though the key vault created an access policy with my Live account, it’s a trap. It won’t work. Azure Active Directory cannot manage Live accounts. It can only manage Office 365 or Microsoft 365 accounts. Full stop.

I do have an O365 account. But I didn’t want to change my subscriber account to one of my two identities tied to my O365 account for fear of messing up everything that’s dependent on my old Live login–my MVP access, my access, etc.

Therefore I needed to add one of my Office 365 identities into my Azure Active directory.

Tying an O365 Identity to my Azure Subscription

I have two identities in my O365 account – julia and jlerman. The jlerman account has the same exact email address as my Live account. Let me help you avoid suffering through another failure. Don’t try to add in an O365 identity that has the same email address as the personal identity. This was the first path I chose. The code failed in the same place but this time I got an HTTP 401 error result — Unauthorized client access.

But I was successful when using my other identity: julia.

How to do this was complicated and I would never have figured it out on my own. I’m grateful for guidance from a fellow Microsoft Regional Director, Joe Homnick, ( who is a lot more experienced with Azure security than I ever want to be! In fact, I didn’t understand the problem very well and I’m sure my explanation to him was very misleading, but he was able to figure out what I was trying to describe. Unfortunately, Joe couldn’t just point me to a document because apparently none exists. He documented the steps for me in an email along with screenshots. That’s a pal!

So the rest of this blog post is simply relaying what Joe taught me.

Also, I’m doing this via the Azure portal rather than a lot of mysterious Azure CLI commands. But you can achieve the same using the Azure CLI or PowerShell.

Step 1: Adding the O365 email address as a guest user with Global Administrator privileges

In the portal, go the Azure Active Directory, then Users.

  • Select New guest user
  • Select Create user. (Not “invite user”).
  • Under identity, add a user name. I called mine julia365. Azure will populate the domain name tied to your subscription’s Azure Active Directory.
  • Give your user a name. Mine is “Julia 365”. Xoru5917
  • Set a password for this user. You can let the portal auto-generate or supply your own.
  • The only other task (an important one) on this page is to set a role for this user. Click on User next to Roles and filter on global to select Global Administrator.

Then you can create the user.

The user principal name will be funky looking. It is formatted as an email address with the name of the user (with no spaces) and the domain is a compressed version of the identity for the subscription and then

So if my subscriber identity is [email protected], the new user’s principal name will be [email protected]. It’s not an email address, just an identity.

The identity issuer is also


Step 2: Adding the new guest as a secondary subscription owner on the account

Having the user is not enough for the authentication to take place though. The user has to be recognized as a subscription owner. Azure allows you to set up secondary subscription owners.

You’ll need to start by going to the subscription properties. You can find Subscriptions in the search bar if needed. If you have multiple subscriptions, be sure to select the one you intend to use for your application. Once in the subscription properties, select the Access control (IAM) option. Then from it’s menu, Role assignments and then Add.

In the Add role assignment form, select Owner from the Role drop-down. Leave the Assign access to option at its default (User, group, or service principal). You’ll see all of the users listed. Select the newly created one and then save. It will get added very quickly.

Step 3: Log in to the portal with the new identity

If you click on your login info on the top right corner of the portal, you may already have an easy option available for switching to the new account for logging in.

Otherwise, you’ll need to sign out then sign in with the new credentials.

Step 4: Add the new identity to the service’s access policies.

In my case, I returned to the key vault and created a new access policy for the new identity.

Step 5: Switch Visual Studio user to the new identity in order to run/debug from VS

This is important since remember that when running or debugging from Visual Studio, the Azure Managed Identities API will read that login as a possible credential source. You’ll first need to sign out and then sign in again with the clunky identity you created in AAD. With my example, that would be [email protected].

With these changes, not only did I finally get past that failing line of code, but the app accessed the key vault and read my secrets (a database connection string in my case) and was able to use the secret to connect to the database.

I hope this helps someone else down the road!











Come Join Me Online Next Week!

I’ve got a pile of live on-line engagements next week and it will be fun if you can come join any of them.

EF Core Community Standup, 
March 10, 1pm EST

First up is an AMA (Ask Me Anything) style Q&A with the EF Core team and me .All of the past standups from the team (and guests) are on  YouTube. Here’s the link to the collection: I believe the team will set up the “stage” for the upcoming standup at the top of that list, but you can always watch past ones and learn so much. 

Docker Community All Hands , March 11 11am EST

First hour will be company and product updates.
Second hour will be a collection of demos, workshops and lightning talks on various channels. I expect to be doing a lightning talk on Docker tooling in Visual Studio and another one on the VS Code Docker extension. Details here

The 425 Show, March 12 , 11am EST

This is a live show focused on Azure Active Directory, a topic I know nothing about! However, the hosts, Christos Matkas and John Patrick Davidson are experts. Together we are going to secure the data access for a web app that I’ve built using EF Core. Should be fun! Here’s the YouTube channel where you can connect

Someone Masquerading as me on Indeed and LinkedIn

I have recently been contacted by multiple people who have been getting scam virtual assistant job offers on Indeed and LinkedIn from someone using the email address [email protected]. And they are attempting some standard scammy tasks like “here’s a check” (which is fake) ” please deposit it then transfer $ to [some weird place]”. Please don’t be taken in. It is not me. I don’t have accounts on any of those websites. has been alerted and have done something about that account. If you have been contacted by anyone like this, let me know.  And I’m so sorry. 🙁 

Follow My Explorations into AWS for .NET Developers

Earlier this year, a friend who is a dev advocate for .NET on AWS reached out to me to see if I had any awareness at all about the support Amazon Web Services has for .NET developers and .NET applications. My answer was a definite no. I’m an Azure fan girl and had never even thought about .NET on AWS. When he started rattling off some of what’s available, APIs, tooling and a dedicated team, I was surprised.

And curious.

So I have spent quite a bit of time sating that curiosity. I’ve written two articles that were published in Code Magazine this summer and recently published a course on Pluralsight. I still love Azure (and all my friends who work on Azure), but I’m glad to have deeper familiarity of other options. This makes me a better developer as well as a better consultant to my clients.

My focus has not been on deep DevOps or comparisons to Azure. I just wanted to see how things work and try it out. And I was definitely impressed.

I did all of the work in Visual Studio on my Windows machine because there is a very feature rich extension called AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio. There are also extension for VS Code, JetBrains’ Rider and other IDEs (not just for .NET). The ones for VS Code and Rider are more focused on serverless apps so they don’t have all of the features of the one for Visual Studio.

Since I’ve already created so much content, I’m not going to reiterate it all here but I wanted to be sure you are aware of the articles and the course and…the fact that there is such a thing as .NET on AWS. Whether, like me, you are curious, or like others, you are a .NET developer who has been tasked to learn about using AWS, I hope you find them interesting. Here’s what I’ve created thus far:

Discovering AWS for .NET Developers
Article, May/June 2020 Code Magazine

This is about first foray. Creating an account, installing the toolkit into Visual Studio, creating a SQL Server database (on AWS), pointing a .NET Core 3.1 App with EF Core to use that database, then (using the AWS toolkit), publishing the application to AWS.

Transform Your ASP.NET Core API into AWS Lambda Functions
Article. July/August 2020 Code Magazine

This is the next foray. I took the application from the first article, transformed it into an AWS serverless application (mostly by adding a few files provided by a project template), then publishing it to AWS. In the end, AWS creates a Lambda serverless function in front of the API, which means you get the benefit of the billing that is only based on calls coming through function. That compares to the cost of having the application running and waiting for requests 24/7. 

Fundamentals of Building .NET Applications on AWS
Pluralsight course, 2.5 hours. Published Aug 7, 2020

The course leans on what I learned through the articles but also allowed me to spend more time explaining and teaching additional information. In the course, I walk through creating an account, installing the toolkit, creating the SQL Server database, publishing the .NET Core/EF Core app and publishing the serverless app. There is an additional lesson which is about publishing the application as docker containers, fully managed by AWS via a service called Fargate. There’s a lot more detail than the articles and I’m really walking you through  step by step from start to end for each task.

I hope you’ll find the articles and course helpful and interesting, especially, if like me, you had no idea all of this support for .NET devs exist from AWS.