Windows Azure Mobile Services Updates Keep Coming
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Some exciting new Windows Azure Mobile Services features were delivered to production this week. The highlights include:
- iPhone and iPad connectivity support via a new iOS SDK
- Integrated Authentication so developers can configure user authentication via Microsoft Account, Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
- New server-side Mobile Service script modules
- Access to Structured Storage, Windows Azure Blob, Table, Queues, and ServiceBus
- Email services through partnership with SendGrid
- SMS & voice services through partnership with Twilio
- Mobile Services hosting expanded to west coast US
The iOS SDK
I’m excited to share that we've announced the release of an under-development iOS client SDK for Windows Azure Mobile Services. The iOS SDK joins the Windows 8 SDK launched with Windows Azure Mobile Services as well as client SDKs released by Xamarin for MonoTouch and MonoDroid.
The native iOS SDK is for developers programming in Objective-C on the iPhone and iPad platforms. The SDK gives developers the same level of access to data storage using dynamic schematization that is available for Windows 8. Also, iOS applications can use the same authentication options available in Mobile Services. While full iOS support is still in development, the libraries are currently available on GitHub.
There’s a great getting started tutorial to walk you through building a simple iOS “Todo List” app that stores data in Windows Azure. These additional tutorials explore how to use the iOS client libraries to store data and authenticate users:
- Get Started with data in Mobile Services for iOS
- Get Started with authentication in Mobile Services for iOS
Available to both iOS and Windows 8 developers, Mobile Services has expanded its authentication options. Developers can now use Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and Google authentication. Similar to using Microsoft accounts for authentication, developers must sign up and through Facebook, Twitter, or Google's developer portal in order to authenticate through them.
These tutorials walk through how to register your Mobile Service with an identity provider:
- How to register your app with Microsoft Account
- How to register your app with Facebook
- How to register your app with Twitter
- How to register your app with Google
And these tutorials walk through authenticating against Mobile Services:
- Get started with authentication in Mobile Services for Windows Store (C#)
- Get started with authentication in Mobile Services for iOS
Some great new functionality is now available in the Mobile Service script layer. These server side scripts are triggered off of any CRUD operation on a Mobile Service's table and can already handle doing data and query validation, filtering, web requests and more.
Today, the Azure SDK module is now available to these scripts giving them access to blob storage, service bus, table storage. Check out the new tutorials on the Windows Azure Node.js developer center to learn more about working with Blob, Tables, Queues and Service Bus using the azure module.
In addition, SendGrid and Twilio are now available via modules that can be called from the scripts as well. This gives developers the ability to send emails (SendGrid) or SMS text messages (Twilio) whenever a script is fired. Windows Azure customers receive a special offer of 25,000 free emails per month from SendGrid and 1000 free text messages from Twilio.
In addition to Mobile Services being available in our US East data center, they can now be spun up in US West.
The above features are all now live in production and are available to use immediately. If you don’t already have a Windows Azure account, you can sign-up for a free trial and start using Mobile Services today. The Windows Azure Mobile Developer Center has been updated with new tutorials that cover these new features in detail.
And don’t forget - Windows Azure Mobile Services are still free for your first ten applications running on shared compute instances.
Stay tuned to my twitter feed for Windows Azure announcements, updates, and links: @clinted