Windows Azure is a Microsoft platform that allows developers to create and store apps in the clouds. The Windows Azure toolkit integrates this ability with mobile platforms.
The azure toolkit allows the many mobile app developers out there to create mobile apps in the clouds and store the coding and authentication there as well. Microsoft has already released a toolkit for iOS and Windows Phone, and the toolkit for Android is expected to be released this summer.
Windows Azure was released by Microsoft about a year ago, on February 1, 2010. It is a cloud based platform that consists of Windows Azure OS, SQL Azure, and Windows Azure AppFabric. The platform provides runtime for applications and a variety of other services. It allows for the development, hosting, and management of applications off premises. Any application or program built using the Windows Azure platform is run on top of the Windows Azure operating system. The OS provides users with storage facilities and scalable computing.
Overview of the Windows Azure Toolkit
The Windows Azure Toolkit integrates Windows Azure with mobile phone applications. With the toolkit, developers can use the cloud to create their apps. As an added appeal, the toolkit allows developers to work in the library they are most comfortable with. The toolkit supports Access Control Service 2.0, which means that users can log in from Yahoo!, Google, Windows Live ID, and maybe even Facebook or their Active Directory. Users have the option of creating a new ASP.NET membership store for log in as well. The toolkit also has support for Apple and Microsoft push notifications.
Creating Mobile Phone Apps
The Windows Azure toolkit makes easier, quicker, and more convenient for developers to create mobile phone applications. With Windows Azure, requirements that are common across different mobile phone platforms can be stored in the cloud and shared amongst the platforms. Things like authentication, storage, device notifications or leaderboards can be created using Windows Azure. For the rest of the application’s programming, developers can write specific code that works with each platform.
Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 and iOS
The Windows Azure toolkit for Windows Phone 7 has already been updated to version 1.2. This upgrade added support for Windows Azure Storage Queues as well as for the Access Control Service 2.0. It also includes an updated UI/UX for the management web application. For iOS, the toolkit supports both Xcode and Objective-C apps that were developed for iOS devices. It also comes with the CSPKG and CSCFG files prebuilt, so all developers have to do is update the configuration files before using the program.
The market for mobile applications is a huge opportunity for developers. However, they are often faced with the challenge of creating apps that are viable with a large array of different platforms, including BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Android, iOS, and more. The Windows Azure toolkit uses the cloud to make it easier for developers to create applications in the cloud that will work across the many different platforms.
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