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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

imageI’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:

What’s New in Authentication

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:

And these tutorials walk through authenticating against Mobile Services:

What’s New in Mobile Service Scripts

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.

Expanded Data Center Availability

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

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More Stories By Clint Edmonson

Clint Edmonson is an Architect Evangelist for Microsoft focused on Windows Azure and Cloud Computing. He has been developing software with Microsoft technologies for the last 20 years, working on everything from custom shrink-wrapped software at small startups to enterprise architecture and methodology adoption at fortune 500 companies. He spends his days helping companies understand Microsoft’s latest developer cloud offerings and developing strategic roadmaps for their adoption. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri and is the host of www.notsotrivial.net. You can follow Clint on twitter at @clinted.

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