After pausing for few days, I have decided to write a series of tutorials in this blog. This time, I have chosen Azure Mobile Services based on the overwhelming responses I have received on Azure in my past few events. It’s better to be late than never and thus I am starting with an introduction to Azure mobile service.
In this post, we will learn about mobile service, it’s benefits followed by in-depth chapters on the same along with integration in Windows/Windows Phone apps.
Why is mobile so important?
It’s the time of mobile platform. If you are a normal user, you need mobile these days. If you are a tech savvy, you need mobile devices with feature enriched apps wherever you go to connect with the peers and social networks. Whether it is playing a high end game or music/video while you travel, you need mobile device. For a quick meeting notification to mail, enterprise apps, you need mobile device. Be it a mobile, tablet, laptop or smart watch, you need it everyday. Thus, it becoming important platform in our day-2-day life. Isn’t it?
What is Windows Azure Mobile Services?
These days, enterprises want to manage internal mobile apps and consumer facing mobile apps from the same portal as core LOB apps, small businesses require solutions that can accelerate development time and decrease development costs. In all these cases, developers shouldn’t have to constantly reinvent and reproduce the common backend functionality, be it internal, external or device oriented though consumers expect a continuous experience across all devices.
Windows Azure Mobile Services accelerates the connected client application development by streamlining common backend tasks like structuring storage, authenticating users, sending push notifications and logging the complete traces.
In short, you can perform the basic to advance level backend services for your applications; either it is targeted for desktop, web, tablet or any phones. Windows Azure Mobile Service allows you to do all these authentications (Twitter, Facebook, Google, Microsoft account, Active Directory etc.), backend server logic (using Node.js or .NET), data storage (code first or design first), diagnostics, logging, scaling and push notifications easily by just writing nominal piece of codes which you can extend further.
Key scenarios, when to use Mobile Services
There are few scenarios when you want to use Azure mobile services in your app and they are as mentioned below:
- When you want to create your app very quickly with backend services.
- When you need a secure backend service that transfers data.
- When you want to keep your audience engaging by integrating push notifications live tile notifications.
- When you want to make your users social by quickly implementing the login module for various networking sites.
- When you want to auto scale your apps to use the same backend service across all your devices.
- When you want to make your app work offline and sync automatically when it connects to the network.
- When you want to schedule a job for your apps to backup database, send a report, clean up data etc.
- When you want your services to write system and script errors to the log.
Here is a diagram that shows the basic features of using Mobile Services in your app, which you can easily understand. You need proper SDK to build such apps targeting different connected platforms, be it Windows, iOS or Android.
Using Azure Mobile Services, you can send push notifications to the devices very easily. It can be either a Windows Store app, Windows Phone app, iPhone/iPad app or an Android app.
Windows Store app uses the Windows Push Notification Service (WNS) to send push notifications to the apps subscribed for. Make sure that, you configured your mobile service to work with the WNS. Windows Phone 8 or above apps uses the Microsoft Push Notification Service (MPNS).
iPhone and iPad apps uses the Apple Push Notification Service (APNS). To send push notifications to your app, you must configure your mobile service to work with APNS.
Android apps uses the Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) service. To send push notifications to your app, you must configure your mobile service to work with the GCM.
Supported Platforms to use Mobile Services
Enough for today. I hope, this gave you basic knowledge about Azure Mobile Services, but you will better know it when we start creating our first app using the service. In the next post we will learn how to create the mobile service in Windows Azure Portal. Till then, enjoy coding!!!
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