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Microsoft Updates Azure Mobile Apps, Ponders Future

Microsoft announced several updates to its Azure Mobile Apps service and is conducting a survey to solicit feedback on its future.

Azure Mobile Apps includes various kinds of functionality, including creating cloud-based back-ends for mobile apps that provide data storage, online and offline sync, authentication, push notifications and more.

A recent upgrade (to v4.2) to the service's client libraries updated core platforms and moved to support .NET Standard, so it now works for:

  • Android 6.0 (API level 23 or higher)
  • iOS 10 or higher
  • UAP 10.0.16299.0 or higher
  • WPF (.NET Framework 4.6.1 and .NET Core 3.0 or higher)

The team also updated dependencies and allowed for the use of Xamarin.Essentials for the in-built authentication support within Xamarin environments.

Azure Mobile Apps
[Click on image for larger view.] Azure Mobile Apps (source: Microsoft).

However, the future of the service, which was in preview back in 2015, appears to be in doubt as the mobile app development scene has evolved greatly since its inception.

"Since writing the Azure Mobile Apps libraries, the development world has changed, especially as it pertains to the area that Azure Mobile Apps covers," Microsoft said. "New protocols like gRPC and GraphQL have entered the mix. The mobile Internet is speedier and more reliable. New use cases for mobile apps require support for different database types like NoSQL and Graph databases. It’s time to look at the future, and we need your help for that."

That help comes in participating in a "Azure Mobile Apps Future Plans Survey" to solicit feedback from developers.

"We will continue to support and evolve our Azure Mobile Apps libraries, so stay tuned for more samples, blogs, and updates in this space!"

The "continue to ... evolve" part of that last statement seems to be at odds with the project's client libraries GitHub site, though, as it states:

"Microsoft is committed to fully supporting Azure Mobile Apps, including support for the latest OS release, bug fixes, documentation improvements, and community PR reviews. Please note that the product team is not currently investing in any new feature work for Azure Mobile Apps. We highly appreciate community contributions to all areas of Azure Mobile Apps."

A reader brought up that seeming contradiction ("We can use Azure Mobile Apps and ignore previous post where team says no more features and development for this product?") and was answered thusly by Microsoft: "Our current plan is to bring the libraries up to date and to investigate future investments, so your response to the survey is appreciated!"

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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