What are Windows Azure Mobile Services?
Microsoft is making the developer pain go away one step at a time. This time around, they have announced Windows Azure Mobile Services – which allows developers to easy connect their mobile applications to a Windows Azure based backend.
By focusing on making it easier for developers to store data, manage user authentication and notifications, Windows Azure Mobile Services reduces the time it takes to build mobile applications with the scalability that the cloud brings.
Windows Azure Mobile Services are still in preview mode, and the current support only extends to Windows 8 applications, but the plan is to extend support to iOS, Android and Windows Phone (all major phone platforms).
How Do I Sign up for Windows Azure Mobile Services?
To sign up for Windows Azure mobile Services, you need a Windows Azure account. If you don’t have a Windows Azure account, you can sign up for a free trial at http://resources.developer.com/MS/Developer-Cloud/Link/47043/Windows-Azure-Free-Trial
The 90 day free trial for Windows Azure support 10 shared Mobile services.
Once you have signed up for Windows Azure, navigate to https://account.windowsazure.com/ and sign in using your credentials.
Click on "Preview Features".
You will be automatically navigated to the available Preview features currently being offered by Microsoft.
Click the "try it now" button next to "Mobile Services".
You will be promoted to select the Windows Azure subscription
Even though the text mentions a Submit button, you are supposed to click on the "tick" icon to submit the request to join the Mobile Services Preview.
Once the application is submitted, it might take a few days to get approval from Microsoft and access to this feature.
In my case, the approval was immediate. Upon approval, the "Preview Features" screen below is displayed.
You can click on the Manage link to begin using Mobile services.
Specify the database settings.
Once you click on the "tick", it takes a few minutes to completely configure your mobile services. Once the configuration is completed successfully, the status will change to "Ready".
You can click on the URL to see if the mobile service is running or not.
On my case, the URL was https://windows-azure-mobile-services-demo.azure-mobile.net/ and when I navigated to the URL, I saw the following message
We can see that we created a mobile service and it was up and running in a matter of few minutes. It does not do a lot at the moment, and we will have a follow-up article where we will create a working Windows 8 mobile application backed by Windows Azure backend.
In this article, we learned about Windows Azure Mobile services and how one can sign up for the feature. We also briefly saw how to create a mobile service.
About the author
Vipul Patel is a Program Manager currently working at Amazon Corporation. He has formerly worked at Microsoft in the Lync team and in the .NET team (in the Base Class libraries and the Debugging and Profiling team). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org