CRUD Operations with Azure Blob Storage in an Azure Function – Create, Part 1

With Azure Blob storage, Microsoft provides an easy to use cloud based storage solution for storing massive amount of data, particularly unstructured data. These are ideal for storing media files which could be served directly to browser, maintaining log files among others.

There are three components of Blob storage one needs to be aware of.

  • Storage Account – The unique namespace for your azure data.
  • Container – Containers are similar to Directory in a file system, and is used to organize your blobs into sub sections.
  • Blobs – Reflects the data to be stored.

The blobs themselves are of 3 types.

  • Block Blobs : Ideal for storing image and other media files for streaming.
  • Append Blobs : Ideal for logging (append to end)
  • Page Blobs : Ideal for frequent read/write operations

That was a short introduction on the Blob Storages, let us now look at some code to create a new item in the blob storage.

We will stick to Azure Functions, and keep the code as simple as possible. As mentioned in the series opener, the more advanced topics including security would be discussed in a seperate posts.

Create Item in Block Blob

We will begin with the block blob first. In the very first example, we will add a text file to the blob, contents of which are passed via the request. I guess that would be the simplest way to begin the journey.

[FunctionName("AddItemBlockBlob")]
public static async Task<IActionResult> AddItemBlockBlob(
    [HttpTrigger(AuthorizationLevel.Anonymous, "post", Route = null)] HttpRequest req,
    [Blob("todos")] CloudBlobContainer blobContainer,
    ILogger log)
{
    log.LogInformation("Request Recieved");

    await blobContainer.CreateIfNotExistsAsync();

    string requestBody = await new StreamReader(req.Body).ReadToEndAsync();
    var data = JsonConvert.DeserializeObject<TodoDto>(requestBody);

    data.Id = Guid.NewGuid().ToString();

    var serializedData = JsonConvert.SerializeObject(data);

    var blob = blobContainer.GetBlockBlobReference($"{data.Id}.json");
    await blob.UploadTextAsync(serializedData);
    return new OkObjectResult($"Item added to blob with Id = {data.Id}");
}

public class TodoDto
{
    public string Id { get; set; }
    public string Title { get; set; }
    public string Description { get; set; }
    public bool IsCompletd { get; set; }
}


CloudBlobContainer references the container in which our blob resides. If the container does not exists, we could create it using the CloudBlobContainer.CreateIfNotExistsAsync method.

Since we want to store our data in a Block Blob, we use CloudBlockBlob.GetBlockBlobReference method to get reference to the blob and use the CloudBlockBlob.UploadTextAsync method to upload the text data to the blob, referred by the blob name. In our first example, it is a Guid(followed by a string .json – but this is only for bringing more clarity to content of blob, you could choose a different name as well).

That was pretty clean, thanks to the rich set of APIs defined by Microsoft. There is however a behavior one needs to be aware of. If we were to upload text again to the same blob (refered by same blob name), the content would be replaced.

Upload a file to Block Blob

As the second example, let us attempt to upload an image file to the blob.

[FunctionName("UploadFileBlockBlob")]
public static async Task<IActionResult> UploadFileBlockBlob(
    [HttpTrigger(AuthorizationLevel.Anonymous, "post", Route = null)] HttpRequest req,
    [Blob("todos")] CloudBlobContainer blobContainer,
    ILogger log
    )
{
    string key = req.Query["key"];
    var data = req.Form.Files["file"];
    using (var stream = data.OpenReadStream())
    {
        var blob = blobContainer.GetBlockBlobReference(key);
        await blob.UploadFromStreamAsync(stream);
    }
    return new OkObjectResult($"Item added to blob with Id = {key}");
}

In this example, we are retrieving the contents of the file from the HttpRequest and using the CloudBlockBlob.UploadFromStreamAsync method to upload the file to the blob.

Of course, Bindings are applicable here as well, and you could reduce fair bit of code with help of output binding.

[FunctionName("UploadFileBlockBlobBinding")]
public static async Task<IActionResult> UploadFileBlockBlobBinding(
    [HttpTrigger(AuthorizationLevel.Anonymous, "post", Route = "UploadFileBlockBlobBinding/{filename}")] HttpRequest req,
    [Blob("todos/{filename}",FileAccess.Write)] Stream fileStream,
    string filename,
    ILogger log)
{
    log.LogInformation("Request Recieved");
    var data = req.Form.Files["file"];
    var inputDataStream = data.OpenReadStream();
    await inputDataStream.CopyToAsync(fileStream);
    return new OkObjectResult($"Item added to blob with Id = {filename}");
}

The parameter fileStream would refer to the blob specified by the todos/{filename} where the filename is passed via the Http request.

The inputDatastream, read from the HttpRequest is being copied over to the fileStream using the CopyToAsync method, ensuring the blob has been updated with the stream of data from the request.

Create a Append Blob

Let us now attempt to create another type of blob – Append Blob. Unfortunately, the Azure Storage Emulator does not support the Append Blob, so do make sure you have your connections string in place before trying the following code.

[FunctionName("AddToAppendBlob")]
public static async Task<IActionResult> AddToAppendBlob(
    [HttpTrigger(AuthorizationLevel.Anonymous, "post", Route = null)] HttpRequest req,
    [Blob("sample")] CloudBlobContainer blobContainer,
    ILogger log)
{
    log.LogInformation("Request Recieved");

    await blobContainer.CreateIfNotExistsAsync();
    var requestBody = await new StreamReader(req.Body).ReadToEndAsync();
    var data = JsonConvert.DeserializeObject<LogMessage>(requestBody);

    var blob = blobContainer.GetAppendBlobReference("applog.txt");
    if (!blob.Exists())
    {
        blob.CreateOrReplace();
    }
    await blob.AppendTextAsync($"User:{data.User}, Message:{data.Message}");

    return new OkObjectResult($"Item added to blob");
}

We retrieve a reference to the Append Blob using the CloudBlobContainer.GetAppendBlobReference method. We then use the CloudAppendBlob.AppendTextAsync to append the data to the end of the existing blob.

The Page Blobs has a bit more story to tell, which is why we will reserve it for another post. But as you have already seen, Microsoft’s rich API makes it easy to create blobs, as it was the case with Azure Table Storage.