For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I am very interested in the nexus of data services and mobile device apps, and especially OData Services and Windows Phone and Windows (8) Store apps. In most of the apps that I have written, I have been able to use some existing, public (and free) data, mostly OData feeds. Since your next “killer app” probably won’t leverage some pool of both free and useful data (we don’t need more than one Netflix app), it’s likely that either your customers will use your app to generate and store their own data, or you will be providing data to them.
I’ve been a fan of cloud-based data storage for apps, especially because in the app world, you have no idea of how many users will be using your app and services (usually only a limited number at first) and cloud services provide a simple way to scale, with adding or removing instances as needed. Of course, I the like Windows Azure offering, as I have written about Windows Azure and OData and Windows Phone. Today, there is a new service offering from Microsoft that I’ve been able to play around with for some time. This new Windows Azure service helps to solve the problem for mobile app developers of where to store their user’s data.
I am excited to be able to finally talk about a cool new Windows Azure service service offering from Microsoft…
The vision for this new Windows Azure service offering is what one might call (unofficially) “Backend as a Service.” The goal of this new service is to make it as easy as possible to create a backend service to store data generated by your customers when using your apps, and to more easily integrate things like authentication and push notifications. Cloud storage enables your customers to access their own app data from any device on which your app runs, and only multiple devices at once.
This service is envisioned as a REST-based set of HTTP APIs that bring together the correct pieces of Windows Azure to provide data storage, authentication, and notifications, and business logic to help you write apps, without having to be an expert in the Windows Azure platform (which I can appreciate after publishing several OData services on Windows Azure).
I encourage you to at least try Mobile Services, even if you are a newbie on the Windows Azure platform. If you already have an active Windows Azure account, you will need to apply for access to the preview. There are instructions on how to do this linked from the Get started with Mobile Services tutorial.
If you’ve never has an account before, you are in luck because there is currently a 90-day “free trial” that includes the SQL Database required by Mobile Services.
Considering the fairly grand vision of what Mobile Services is going to be, there are limits to what you get in this initial preview release:
Finally, for those of you who don’t even pay attention to our new stuff unless ScottGu talks about it first…..