Microsoft Windows Azure Updates for Mobile Backend Development Go Live
In addition, the new source control support in Mobile Services provides developers with a Git repository as part of their Mobile Service, and it includes all of their existing Mobile Service scripts and permissions. The new Mobile Services source control support also allows developers to add any Node.js module they need in the scripts beyond the fixed set provided by Mobile Services. For example, developers can easily switch to use MongoDB instead of a Windows Azure table, Guthrie said. They can set up MongoDB by either purchasing a MongoLab subscription, which provides MongoDB as a Service, via the Windows Azure Store or set it up on their own on a virtual machine—either Windows or Linux, he added. A few months ago, Microsoft announced a new prerelease version of the Mobile Services client SDK based on portable class libraries (PCL), according to Guthrie. Now that library is a stable .NET client SDK for mobile services and is no longer a prerelease package. The update includes full support for Windows Store, Windows Phone 7.x and .NET 4.5, which allows developers to use Mobile Services from ASP.NET or WPF applications. Earlier this year, Microsoft introduced a new capability in Windows Azure for sending broadcast push notifications at high scale: Notification Hubs, Guthrie said."Push notifications are a vital component of mobile applications," Guthrie said. "They are critical not only in consumer apps, where they are used to increase app engagement and usage, but also in enterprise apps where up-to-date information increases employee responsiveness to business events. You can use Notification Hubs to send push notifications to devices from any type of app—a Mobile Service, Web Site, Cloud Service or Virtual Machine." At its TechEd 2013 conference earlier this month in New Orleans, Microsoft introduced a series of new development and test capabilities for Windows Azure, as well as offers and rate reductions to make it easier for developers to use the Microsoft cloud. "I think that this is really for a lot of people [who] aren't really using the cloud today. This is going to be an unbeatable offer, where if you're an MSDN customer or a Visual Studio .NET customer, you kind of can't afford not to be using Windows Azure once this comes out," Guthrie told eWEEK.
In the initial preview of Notification Hubs, developers could use this support with both iOS and Windows devices. Since then, Microsoft has announced new Notification Hubs support for sending push notifications to Android devices as well.