Recently at the Meet Windows Azure event in San Francisco we unveiled some significant upgrades to the Windows Azure feature set. One major feature is we added new support for deploying to and managing Windows Azure from other platforms such as Mac and Linux.

We’ve shipped both a new HTML 5 portal as well as a set of cross-platform command line tools. Using either the portal or the tools you can create Windows Azure sites/Virtual Machines and deploy to the cloud using Git or FTP. Additionally, our partner Cloud9 shipped support for Windows Azure Web Sites from within Cloud9 IDE.

The Portal

The new portal provides a really streamlined experience for managing your Windows Azure Web Sites, Virtual Machines or even your SQL Database instances.  Best of all, you can access it from any browser, including running on a mobile device like an IOS device/Android device or a Windows Phone. Below you can see the same portal running in the iPad simulator.

 

Creating a Site

In the portal you can easily create a new Windows Azure Web Site. Below you can see creating a new site that I am going to publish a node.js application to.

Git Support!

Once you’ve created a Windows Azure Web Site in the portal, you can then enable Git publishing in the portal which will create a Git endpoint for your site.

Create a local Git repo and add a remote using the supplied url and you are ready to publish to Windows Azure. We even include the Git commands which you can copy/paste. Then go create a node or PHP application and easily deploy it using your friendly “git push” command. Below you can see that I have deployed a simple node.js application to Windows Azure in seconds, you can also see this in this video. 

The Command Line Tool

The portal is a great experience however some folks really prefer working with command tools. That’s a good thing because In addition to the portal we also published a new command line interface (cli) for Mac and Linux. The tool is available via npm (the node.js package manager), a mac installer, or via a source download. You can watch this video that describes how to use it.

 

Using the tool offers similar functionality to the portal only in a nice command shell friendly manner. Below you can see a screenshot of the cli help including the awesome ANSI art which as I am sure you know is a must have for any cli tool J

Below you can see using the tool on a Mac to create a new PHP web site. It will work equally well on Linux or any other platform that supports node.

Because I specified the --git option, it automatically created a local git repo for me and added the remote. Additionally it has added a .gitignore file for me. Now I am ready to go push!

Deploying Node.js Applications and npm Support

For node.js applications the git deployment also supports automatically downloading your node modules from npm if you send a package.json. The tool will automatically generate a .gitignore file for you so that your modules are ignored. Below you can see where npm modules for an Express application are automatically being downloaded on the server.

Cloud9

In addition to using our portal and CLI you can now also use Cloud9 IDE from any platform to deploy node.js applications to Windows Azure Web Sites!  Within Cloud9 you can create a node.js application and deploy it to Windows Azure with a single click, or using Git commands directly.

Below you can see a screenshot of deploying a node app to Cloud9.

Windows Azure Anywhere!

Microsoft wants you to have a home in Windows Azure whether you are developing in Windows, Mac or Linux. In this post you’ve seen how we’re making this a reality through delivery of a cross platform portal experience and our new CLI tools, and through working with partners like Cloud9.

It’s a great time to use Windows Azure!

Additional References:

- by Glenn Block, Sr. Program Manager, Windows Azure