Inside the Azure API Tools for Visual Studio 2013

Azure API Tools for Visual Studio 2013 gives developers a quick path to connecting to third-party REST APIs.

The Visual Studio Team followed the release of the Azure App Service with news that hits closer to the heart of developers: release of the Azure API Tools for Visual Studio 2013. The tools, which are a component of the Azure App Service, provide a way for developers to spit out C# code from within Visual Studio 2013 that is specifically targeted at consuming REST APIs.

"We've added Azure API Apps as a publishing target for the ASP.NET developer, so you can make use of concepts like Resource Groups and App Hosting Plans in the new Azure portal, right within Visual Studio," blogs Brady Gaster, Microsoft's Program Manager with the Web Tools Extensions Team.

Azure API Tools contains a new API App template "that provides dynamic Swagger generation from ASP.NET Web API controllers," said Gaster (Swagger is a popular API framework for interfacing with RESTful APIs.) "Additionally, there is a new consumption system in Visual Studio that provides one-click C# code generation features to make it easier than ever to consume REST APIs without needing to write repetitive HTTP calls or JSON or XML parsing." 

Gaster writes that code generated through Azure API Tools is supported by Portable Class Libraries, which means any PCL-enabled platform -- Windows Phone 8.1, U niversal Apps, and Android and iOS (via Xamarin) -- can take advantage of them.

The Azure API Tools will also simplify the process of connecting to APIs. Gaster shows a sample approach to consuming an Azure API app in his blog.

The Microsoft Azure site has a blog that describes how API Apps fit into the scheme of the rest of the Azure App Service tools.

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