Yesterday, Microsoft announced a few new updates for Windows Azure. This included a new Windows Azure feature, Windows Azure Mobile Services, as well as a few updates to the preview management portal.
- Scott Guthrie – “Announcing Windows Azure Mobile Services”
- Windows Azure Team Blog – “Introducing Windows Azure Mobile Services: A Backend for Your Connected Client Apps”
The biggest feature is the new Windows Azure Mobile Services. This new PREVIEW feature provides a “backend-as-a-service” for common tasks related to mobile applications. The initial release is being targeted at Windows 8 applications, with support for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone coming soon. Windows Azure Mobile Services should allow Windows 8 developers to quickly and easily add storage, user authentication, and push notifications to their application. Mobile Services are free for the first 10 Windows 8 applications. More details, including links to a tutorial, can be found at https://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/home/scenarios/mobile-services/. Note – you will need to request access to the preview service (just like is necessary for Media Services, Web Sites, and Virtual Machines).
The Windows Azure preview management portal also received a few welcome updates. First, there is a new sub-navigation menu on the left-side navigation pane. Selecting a service, for instance a specific Web Site, will show all the Web Sites in one navigation pane, and then all available Windows Azure services in a secondary pane (to the far left).
Also, the columns in the portal are resizable and sortable – which should make it easier to see and find the data you’re looking for.
Finally, management certificates can now be uploaded and deleted from the preview portal.