Windows 8 is a new take on an Operating System by Microsoft and as it ties all of it’s devices together though the cloud there clearly has to be a backend for it all to tie together. Today we’re getting a sneak peak at what developers are going to be able to use for it with the announcement that Windows Azure Mobile Services Preview has been launched. Any developer looking to create software that will work across all mobile devices including future Windows 8 full installs may just want to look at this as their backend solution to future application development.
What exactly is Windows Azure Mobile Services?
Azure is Microsoft’s new backend-as-a-service solution that will allow developers to speed up how their software development is done. It is meant to save time on the behind the scenes code (and is able to be run across multiple applications) so that they can primarily worry about how the front end is going to be coded. Any time a developer is able to cut down on development time for an area of their software such as this is a huge time saver.
Its goal is to allow developers to create apps more easily that can be accessible over the Windows 8 Platform and mobile platforms such as Windows Phone, Android, and iOS. The platform itself will allow developers to store data in Microsoft’s cloud, setup authentication for users, and send out push notifications to clients which is the notification system RIM made popular and a variation is now used by nearly everyone in the mobile playing field. Previously Microsoft has released iOS and Android specific versions of the service though they are now changing tactics with the launch of Windows 8 with one platform that will work across all 3 operating systems when the final edition is released.
While this will eventually make Microsoft’s solution a competitor to other backend-as-a-service providers such as Parse, Urban Airship and Kinvey, none of the services will have to immediately be worried. That being said, they all have a few moments of reprieve before having to compete with Microsoft as it is only temporarily just a backend for Microsoft 8 applications and will soon be expanding into the entire mobile market.
Applications using Azure will have their data stored on the Windows Azure cloud and is all setup through SQL databases which can be securely accessed without writing any custom code. For those who want a slightly more hands on view – developers will be able to create tables, browse data, set indexes and control access to the databases themselves as well.
As Azure is a pre-existing Microsoft product the features from it will also be available including one key one that is being touted – an analytics function to allow for usages and other metrics within the applications that developers create. The access for this is straight forward through a dashboard that will be very similar to anyone who has used the original Azure application in the past.
Developers using this will be required to download and install Visual Studio 2012 express and a SDK for it. Once they do this they are good to go.
Currently there is a preview of Azure Mobile Services that can be installed and used for free for the first ten Windows 8 applications that you create with it running on a shared instance. To request access to it you can click here to go through the easy application process.
Related Links: Weblogs.Asp.Net