A new release of the Windows Azure SDK 1.5 and Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, and Service Management Features are now available. You can download the tools here using the Web Platform Installer. All three of these releases are aimed at simplifying development, deployment, and management on the Windows Azure platform.

The Windows Azure SDK includes the following new features:

  • Re-architected emulator enabling higher fidelity between local & cloud developments & deployments.
  • Many fundamental improvements (performance of emulator and deployment, assembly/package validation before deployment)
  • Support for uploading service certificates in csupload.exe and a new tool csencrypt.exe to help manage remote desktop encryption passwords.
  • Many enhancements and fixes to Windows Azure SDK 1.4.

Also available are several new enhancements in Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio for developing & deploying cloud applications. These enhancements include:

  • Add Windows Azure Deployment project from Web Application project.
  • Profile applications running in Windows Azure.
  • Create ASP.NET MVC3 Web Roles.
  • Manage multiple service configurations in one cloud project.
  • Improved validation of Windows Azure packages.

>> Read the full announcement on the Windows Azure team blog here.

You can start building your application on it in 3 simple and easy to do steps:

1. Download the Tools:

Get Visual Studio Express and the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio to start building and debugging applications for the Windows Azure Platform http://tinyurl.com/learnaboutazure. If you have already Visual Studio installed you can download the tools directly from http://tinyurl.com/toolsforazure.

2. Setup an Account:

Set up an account and obtain a free subscription for accessing the online portals for Windows Azure, SQL Azure and Windows Azure AppFabric. You can learn more about the accounts http://tinyurl.com/getazureaccount or you can sign up directly and get the trial http://tinyurl.com/getazurefreetrial.

3. Create your First application and Deploy it on the Windows Azure Platform:

First learn how to create a simple ASP.NET application in Visual Studio for Windows Azure on your local machine http://tinyurl.com/localazureapplication. Once successfully created, learn how to deploy this application on the Windows Azure Platform http://tinyurl.com/deployazureapplication.

When all steps are executed successfully you should have running your first application on the Windows Azure Platform!