Microsoft announced on Oct. 24 the general availability of an Azure storage client library for Xamarin, allowing developers to better integrate the company's cloud storage into their apps.
"Xamarin is a leading mobile app development platform that allows developers to use a shared C# codebase to create iOS, Android, and Windows Store apps with native user interfaces," wrote Dinesh Murthy, principal program manager at Microsoft Azure Storage, in a blog post. "We believe the Azure Storage library for Xamarin will be instrumental in helping provide delightful developer experiences and enabling an end-to-end mobile-first, cloud-first experience."
Microsoft acquired mobile development toolmaker Xamarin in February. A month later, during the Build 2016 conference, the software giant announced it was adding the popular toolset to Visual Studio at no additional cost. Further causing a stir, Microsoft revealed plans to open source the Xamarin software development kit (SDK), libraries, runtime and command line tools.
On GitHub, developers can access sample code for a photo uploader (Android, iOS and Windows) that transfers images to Azure storage. Microsoft is working on more code samples, and it soliciting ideas for specific scenarios that can benefit from the new client library.
Also on Oct. 24, Microsoft revealed that Azure had attained Security, Trust and Assurance Registry (STAR) certification from the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA). Azure received the Gold Award in the maturity capability assessment, a first among major public cloud providers, according to Alice Rison, senior director of Microsoft Azure.
"With CSA STAR Certification, customers can gain confidence that Microsoft Azure is meeting customer needs and relevant regulatory requirements, as well as actively monitoring, measuring, and continually improving the effectiveness of our management system," said Rison in an Oct. 24 announcement. "In addition, Microsoft Azure has proved its diligence and effective methods around corrective actions, addressing customer complaints, and implementing a systematic process to remediate issues."
On the blockchain-as-a-service front, Microsoft recently announced several new enhancements to Project Bletchley, the company's rapid Ethereum-based consortium blockchain deployment and management technology. Bletchley v1 was released a month ago, and now an Azure QuickStart Template update provides users with a more streamlined setup experience and improved configurability.
Bletchley now supports smaller blockchain networks, allowing developers to start out with more modest deployments, then scale as they grow. "You can spin up a network as small as three nodes, using fewer Azure resources in your free trial subscription," said Christine Avanessians, a senior program manager at Microsoft Azure, in a blog post. "We have reduced the number of public IP addresses required to one."
Bletchley is now more resilient in the face of virtual machine reboots. When a virtual machine recovers from planned or unplanned reboots, nodes can re-establish their network connections automatically, added Avanessians. Administrators and developers can also get more visibility into their virtual machines now that Microsoft has enabled diagnostics.
Speedier admin page refreshes and other enhancements allow users to easily customize Azure Resource Manager templates and scripts used with the service. Finally, the Azure QuickStart Template update now automatically generates a private key based on a user's password, eliminating the need to create one ahead of time.