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Azure Mobile Services Now Support Blob, Table Storage Options

Microsoft yesterday announced enhancements to its cloud-based backend for mobile apps, including new data storage options.

Windows Azure Mobile Services (WAMS), a preview announced in late August, provides data storage and other services to developers without the time, talent or inclination to wire up the server-side code themselves. Previously, data access was available through simple management-portal-created SQL Databases, or, as I detailed earlier, an existing database.

Now, WAMS also provides support for Windows Azure Blob and Table storage, Microsoft's Scott Guthrie announced yesterday. "This is supported using the existing 'azure' module within the Windows Azure SDK for Node.js," Guthrie said. He provided an example to show how easy it is to use the new support for Tables:

The below code could be used in a Mobile Service script to obtain a reference to a Windows Azure Table (after which you could query it or insert data into it):

var azure = require('azure'); var tableService =
   azure.createTableService("< account="" name="">>", "< access="" key="">>");

Guthrie pointed to the Windows Azure Node.js dev center for tutorials on using the new data storage options via the "azure" module.

Other services were also announced as Microsoft continues to flesh out its preview offering, including support for iOS apps through the use of native iOS libraries. Previously, only Windows 8 apps were officially supported, though Microsoft partner Xamarin developed an open source SDK for MonoTouch for iOS and Mono for Android, available on GitHub, which also hosts the open source WAMS SDKs and samples.)

One reader expressed surprise that iOS support was added before Windows Phone, the most obvious choice of client to use WAMS. "Holy crap," said the reader. "iOS before Windows Phone? Come on guys. The WP7/8 OS is legit. Give it first rate support with your own products."

As the iOS support reflects a nod toward the ubiquity of Apple mobile devices, other enhancements reflect the pervading need for the requisite "social" services in modern apps. These include support for Facebook, Google and Twitter authentication and the ability to send e-mails and SMS messages from WAMs apps. Also, server deployment to the West region was added (previously only the East region was available).

As WAMS continues to evolve, with Windows Phone support probably coming soon, so does the entire Windows Azure ecosystem. "We'll have even more new features and enhancements coming later this week--including .NET 4.5 support for Windows Azure Web Sites," Guthrie said. "Keep an eye out on my blog for details as new features become available."

What do you think of the new data storage options available in the do-it-yourself cloud backend for mobile apps? Comment here or drop me a line.

Posted by David Ramel on 10/17/2012 at 1:30 PM


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