New Azure SDK Includes Support for Visual Studio 2013
Remote debugging is another welcome update.
The Windows Azure Software Development Kit (SDK) 2.2 is out, and includes a number of features for .NET developers, including support for the latest version of Visual Studio.
Scott Guthrie, Corporate Vice President, Windows Azure, blogged about the update on his blog. The SDK goes far beyond just supporting Visual Studio 2013, released last week, with changes to sign-in support, remote debugging and virtual machine images among the lineup.
Guthrie mentioned that "Version 2.2 of the Window Azure SDK is the first official version of the SDK to support the final RTM release of Visual Studio 2013." The new SDK also supports Visual Studio 2012, but not its predecessor, Visual Studio 2010.
Integrated Windows Azure Sign-in support is a "big improvement," Guthrie wrote. One reason is that Azure resources can be managed within Visual Studio without a need for management certificates. Rick-clicking on the Windows Azure icon within Visual Studio's Server Explorer brings up a menu with a "Connect to Windows Azure" option. At that point, it's just a matter of signing in with either a Windows Live or Organizational account (i.e., Active Directory) email address.
After sign in, Azure populates Server Explorer with the Azure resources to which a developer has access. Authentication is handled through the Windows Azure Active Directory tied to the developer's account.
One developer chore that gets easier with the 2.2 SDK is debugging cloud resources. Live, remote debugging is supported within Visual Studio. Guthrie gave an example of code living on both a local machine and in Azure. After attaching the application to the right Cloud Service and enabling remote debugging, it's as simple as setting a breakpoint in the local source code and using Visual Studio to debug the cloud instance in real time. Guthrie said that similar support for debugging Web sites is on deck to be released soon.
For MSDN subscribers, the SDK provides Visual Studio 2013 virtual machine images. "This enables you to create a VM in the cloud with VS 2013 pre-installed on it in with only a few clicks," Guthrie blogged.
The SDK also provides a preview version of Windows Azure Management Libraries for .NET. The libraries facilitate the automation of cloud-based activities like creating, deploying and tearing down resources. Previously, that type of functionality was only available through the Windows Azure PowerShell Cmdlets or through the often-painstaking process of writing wrappers for the Windows Azure Service Management REST API. The Management Libraries can be downloaded via NuGet, and will need the --IncludePrelease switch, since they're still in preview.
The Azure 2.2 SDK is available on GitHub, and released under the Apache 2 open source license.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.