Microsoft Q&A with SitePoint: Azure Mobile Services

Hey! That was what I was going to ask!

My history, cut my teeth on BASICA, fast forward to VisualBasic6.0 then ASPNET about 3 years ago.

But only more as a fun “hobby” and not in any professional sense.

A lot has changed.

So Azure is more Cloud / Mobile than OS ?

EDIT
OOPS Ladies before Age

4 Likes

Azure is a lot of things :smile:

Azure Mobile Services (which is what we’re concentrating on today) is a Platform as a Service that is focussed on taking care of the common back-end requirements for mobile applications.

Azure more generally provides lots more than just this including IaaS (virtual machines and networks in the cloud) and PaaS (pre-built and maintained platforms in the cloud)

2 Likes

@AndrewCoates, so @Jasmine tells us you are quite busy creating apps, I assume several of which interact with Azure Mobile Services? Care to name a few and give a brief description of how they use Azure Mobile Services?

3 Likes

I confess that I never thought that SAP could be used with Azure… but then it may be because my vision of SAP is very corporate-like… I tried to go through the documentation to be able to ask an intelligent question… but it is a bit overwhelming…

Is it really as hard as it looks?

3 Likes

That’s a great question @molona, @AndrewCoates can you link us to the technical stuff?

Not bashing, but a lot of what I see at


seems rather common nowadays

With the exception of “Push”

I’d like to hear some about that when you get to it, I’ll take a number now.

Lots of my apps are in the Windows Phone store (search for publisher “coatsy”).

I’ve also written apps for large organisations (the Ticketek apps in the Windows and Windows Phone stores are [at least mostly] mine, for example).

The AMS apps I’ve written are actually all corporate (inside the firewall) apps, so harder to point you at.

Would you say AMS is the easiest way to write apps for Windows Phone? Seeing as they both fall under the Microsoft umbrella, just wondering if they have integrations that others may not…

Like pretty much any new thing, I think the best way to get your head around it initially is to have a project to do. You can start with the pre-baked tutorial at http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/services/mobile-services/

Choose a platform (from iOS, Android, Windows, Windows Phone, Xamarain.iOS, Xamarin.Android, PhoneGap, Sencha, Appcellerator, and HTML) and a back-end (I like .NET) and go from there.

1 Like

@Mittineague Don’t show off :stuck_out_tongue:

The thing is that when I think of mobile applications, I think about HTML5 and web pages that can work on any mobile… With the amount of technologies we have to learn today, learning specific programming to do a small mobile app is a bit too much…

So I’ll throw another question to @AndrewCoates ( that should go on the list, of course)

How can Azure help me? How much more do I have to learn to do an app that works on any mobile?

And how different is it from creating a web app that works on mobile devices?

And, from the performance point of view, is it much better than a web app? Or the same?

edit: I know. I said one question but… *tries to look innocent

8 Likes

Push is one of my favs :smile:
The framework allows you to send messages through a common interface to the three main notification services (Apple, Google and Windows) and to scale to literally millions of simultaneous notifications.

3 Likes

Can you elaborate on that? What is required to scale, let’s say you finally reach the peak of “free”, what steps would you take to get to the next “level”?

1 Like

AMS is a great way to write back-ends for apps for Windows Phone, but it’s also a great way to write back-ends for apps for iOS, Android, HTML etc. The “integrations” are not specifically Windows.

So, a completely noob question, could someone wanting to build themselves an app (with little or no background in such things) jump on this service and get walked through the process, or is it really an extra tool for experienced app developers to use to take the next step?

4 Likes

I’d really like to know this as well, scaling to that extent sounds fantastic.

I think the thing that Azure (which includes Azure Mobile Services as one of its offerings) does to help you is that it takes care of the busy work. Whether that’s the infrastructure side of things with networking, storage and operating systems, or the app platform side of things with frameworks and so on, I don’t want to have to do the stuff that someone else can do better, cheaper and faster than me. This is generically true for pretty much any cloud service though.

Azure Mobile Services allows you to create back ends that can be surfaces in native mobile front-ends, so from a performance point of view, you’re taking advantage of the mobile OS’s native controls and rendering. Almost always a better end-user experience.

2 Likes

I’ve seen the pricing but I find hard to calculate how much I would need to spend… I tried the pricing calculator but…

@AndrewCoates Can you share some of the companies or apps that are currently using Azure?

1 Like

The scaling stuff in Notification is phenomenal. We use it for our news notifications, for example, to literally millions of users simultaneously.

Pricing is here: http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/mobile-services/

Moving from one level to the next is simply a matter of flipping a switch in the portal (and agreeing to pay if you haven’t already)

Thanks (re Push)

And interesting about pricing. I’ve seen many many posts where scaling / pricing were a main concern,

I noticed this too

Connect to on-premises data

so that answers my OS question as I’m sure it’s possible to tie in with other intranet apps.

I’m finding my “two finger hunt and peck” typing a bit slow.
Years ago I experimented with voice-to-text and installed text-to-voice on my Windows98
v->t was a horrible experience with a bad mic in a noisy room, but t->v was fun and the little wizard was cute.

Maybe a bit off-topic, but as phones were mentioned, any progress been made over the years?