Microsoft Q&A with SitePoint: Azure Mobile Services

Team SitePoint is proud to announce we have 4 Microsoft Q&A sessions being hosted on this very forum. Each 30 minute session focuses on a specific aspect of Microsoft products, the first of which is this Tuesday, 24th March at 9am AEST (click here to find your timezone) on Azure Mobile Services.

Our first session will be facilitated by myself and all questions answered by Microsoft Evangelist Andrew Coates (linkedin | twitter | blog). Andrew Coates has been a Developer Evangelist at Microsoft for over ten years. During that time he’s focused on .Net development on the desktop, in the cloud, on the web and, most recently, on mobile devices. Andrew has a number of apps in various stores and generally has far too much fun doing his job to honestly be able to call it work.

Because they are only 30 minutes each, we’re assembling questions before hand as well as on the day. To ensure your question is answered, please submit it using this form or reply to this thread.

What is Azure? Writing a back end for disparate front-end clients including iOS, Android, Windows and HTML has never been easier with Microsoft Azure Mobile Services (MAMS), but the RESTful WebAPI pieces are only a small part of the story. MAMS provides a rich suite of common services including Authentication against corporate and social identity providers, Notifications that scale to the millions across Apple, Google and Microsoft notifications services and an offline data sync framework that works across all the major mobile platforms.

Some questions we are answering:

  • What back-end data stores can I talk to with Mobile Services?
  • How easy is it to add authentication to a Mobile Services app?
  • Can mobile services scale automatically?
  • How much does it cost to use Mobile Services? How can I trial AMS?
  • In a short paragraph, what is Azure Mobile Systems?
  • Why use a cloud-based service with so much competition?
  • What limitations (if any), should a developer be aware of before jumping in?
  • As someone who has yet to use Azure in any capacity, what are some of the things you learn after jumping in for the first time? (Examples: Having to closely monitor performance which may impact billing of services, setting it up in a way that wouldn’t scale well, so you had to set it up again, etc.)
  • How does a service like this compare with using iOS Dev Tools, PhoneGap etc. to build apps?
  • Can this service be used by non-developers, or does it require programming chops? If the latter, what languages are involved?
  • For apps that need online storage, must they use Azure, or is that optional?
  • Where can I go for more technical info?

We’ll be giving away 8 Power Packs over the course of all 4 Q&A sessions for the ‘best question asked’ and ‘most engaged user in a Q&A session.’ To be in the running, don’t forget to fill out the survey with your questions.

Contest Rules:

  1. See our full Terms & Conditions.
  2. There are a total of 8 PowerBanks as described in the image above. Each session will contain two winners.
  3. A judging panel consisting of SitePoint staff will judge SitePoint Forum members, 2 in each Microsoft session, based on the quality of questions asked and the quality of their participation in the session. The judges decision is final.
  4. The winners will be contacted via Private Message and in the event they do not respond, will be contacted via email where there email is known. Winners will need to provide a valid mailing address.
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Other than this time zone converter, are there others that do a better job of helping to figure out your local time for such meetings?
http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html

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I’m really looking forward to this! I’ve been reading up on Azure and what it offers in terms of mobile, but sometimes it’s much easier to get your head around a subject when you can ask someone directly.

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The first session is 24 March, 9am AEST which is 23 March, 10pm GMT and 23 March, 5pm US-Central if that helps :slight_smile:

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Welcome everyone. We’ll be starting our live Q&A with @AndrewCoates in 10 minutes. See you all soon :slight_smile:

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Will it be in this thread?

Yep

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w00t @AndrewCoates is already in the house! :smile:

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Be nice - I’m a n00b :wink:

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Every new member goes through hazing.

Fair enough - at least I’ll be prepared :wink:

Hi AndrewCoates, Welcome!

I usually address members by their username, so nothing impersonal.intended.

Mind if I start with a newbie question myself now?

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I’m ready to go, but I think Jasmine want’s to do an intro first. She may also be waiting until the top of the hour.

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Welcome everyone! Let’s rock and roll.

The great @AndrewCoates, Microsoft Evangelist and newbie to our forums, is here to answer all our questions on Azure Mobile Services.

Andrew has been a Developer Evangelist at Microsoft for over ten years. During that time he’s focused on .Net development on the desktop, in the cloud, on the web and, most recently, on mobile devices. Andrew has a number of apps in various stores and generally has far too much fun doing his job to honestly be able to call it work.

So there’s a lot to learn from him :slight_smile:

We fielded some questions beforehand, this one comes from our survey: In a short paragraph, what is Azure Mobile Systems?

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I’ve been called a lot worse, so no problem :smile:

Welcome Andrew.

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Thanks Jasmine.

  • Azure Mobile Services is a set of PaaS services that allow you to build engaging mobile applications on iOS, Android and Windows including the ability to:
    ○ Broadcast Push w/ customer segmentation
    ○ Social Integration w/ Facebook, Twitter, Google
    ○ Make your app work offline and sync
    ○ Enterprise Single Sign-On w/ Active Directory
    ○ Connect to on-premises data
    ○ Gain insights with mobile analytics
    ○ Integrate with SQL, Oracle, SAP, MongoDB
    ○ Auto-Scale to millions of devices

(Much) more info here http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/mobile-services/

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Thanks Andrew! Azure sounds like it can handle a lot. If anyone has questions, feel free to jump in.

Another question comes from Alfonso: What aspects of Microsoft Cloud Azure can you stand out that make it a better platform respect to Amazon and Google cloud offerings? What makes the Microsoft option a good candidate?

Now works :slight_smile: