Xamarin Support Added to Azure Mobile Services Offline
The upgrade is made possible by using SQLitePCL.
Back in April, Microsoft Azure added offline functionality for Azure Mobile Services on Windows Store and Windows Phone apps. It allows apps to continue to work when connectivity is lost, and is a key feature for developers. Now that feature has been added to iOS and Android apps created with Xamarin.
The Microsoft Open Technologies group, which specializes in open source collaboration, announced the update on its blog. Olivier Bloch wrote that data on those platforms is "stored locally and synchronized with the Cloud once the connection is reestablished." (Microsoft has provided a tutorial for how to deal with database update conflicts for offline data in Visual Studio.)
The offline capability is provided through the SQLitePCL open source project. It's a relational database portable class library (PCL) developed specifically for mobile platforms. As a PCL, it works with the same code across iOS, Android, Windows Store, Windows Phone and the .NET Framework.
The SQLitePCL is available on CodePlex as a NuGet package. SQLite itself is self-contained and server-less, requiring no configuration. Bloch added that "in the future," Azure Mobile Services Offline will support native Android and iOS development. When that future might come, he didn't say.
Microsoft Open Technologies is a wholly-owned Microsoft subsidiary that got its start in April 2012. It's created or contributed to dozens of open source devices and services projects across CodePlex and GitHub.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.