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Episode 100 - Introduction to the Windows Azure Service Bus Notification Hubs

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Recently we announced a new preview feature Windows Azure Service Bus Notification Hubs.  In this episode Nick Harris and Nate Totten are joined by Elio Damaggio Program Manager II on Windows Azure Service Bus who provides a great overview, and demo of, Notification Hubs and their use from Windows Store and iOS applications.

Service Bus Notification Hubs are an intrinsic feature of Windows Azure Service Bus and are different from other push notification services in four key areas:

  • Complete client registration management. Your backend application does not need to worry at all about device-ids or channels or other particulars of push notifications and doesn't need to cooperate in management. It doesn't even have to be a web app that's publicly accessible.  
  • Platform independence. Service Bus Notification Hubs allow cross-platform push notifications so that iOS Alerts and Windows Live Tiles can be targeted with a single event message. 
  • Broadcast and tag-based Multicast - Service Bus Notification Hubs are optimized around automatic notification broadcast to many thousand devices with low latency. One message in, thousands of notifications out.
  • Mass customization - Notification Hub notification templates allow for customization of notification delivery for each individual registration, allowing each instance of a client App to choose how it wants to receive events.

In this preview, Notification Hubs are able to push notifications to Windows Store apps and iOS apps from .NET back-ends. Support for Android and Windows Phone, along with additional back-end technologies (including Windows Azure Mobile Services) will be added soon.

And here are all the key links

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  • Mike H.Reperion ..Location..​is..​Everything!

    Congratulations on the 100th episode !

    ..and thanks a bunch for WASBNH  Tongue Out

  • Not sure if I count as "several".

    When will pricing details be released?

  • Thanks for the 100th episode - can't believe you did 100 already.

    The Windows Azure Service Bus Notification Hub feature looks really interesting, but following the walkthrough of the APIs, I can't help but wonder about the naming of the API operators. What's up with the extremely long method names? I know you're reaching for a broad developer base here but there's really no reason to materialize all combinations of permissions as concrete methods.

    I'm sure the developers of the WASBNH APIs are capable of shorter names / more elegant namings than the following (combined with a set of enums, and associated overloads).

    • CreateUsingSharedSecret()
    • CreateUsingSharedAccessSecret()
    • CreateUsingSharedAccessSecretWithListenAccess()
    • CreateUsingSharedAccessSecretWithFullAccess()

    It feels like the API was designed to be used with simple one-liners, perhaps leaving the impression of simplicity but at the cost of elegance, and future evolution of the APIs. Am I the only one asking for more consistent API designs in the Windows Azure APIs in general?!

    Smiley

  • Elio DamaggioElio Damaggio

    Hi Borum.NET,

    It is always hard to strike a balance between elegance and practicality for the common case.

    Regarding the specific example, the ConnectionString class was a particularly hard one as at the moment it is used in both mainstream and advanced scenarios.
    This is a point in time situation as in the (not so distant!) future the Portal will generate connections strings, this will make the above a very advanced scenario where we can support more elegant (albeit more complex) APIs.

    On a side note, the preview is also a time when we gladly welcome feedback of this kind on the APIs. We are already planning to improve the current APIs in many ways. So keep it coming!

  • Eliob DamaggioEliob Damaggio

    @hornygoatweed

    We are working hard to release pricing details soon.
    The current information I can share are on the pricing page of windowsazure.com: https://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/details/#header-7.

    "The price during General Availability will be based on the number of users (active registrations) receiving push notifications, and will be priced competitively to provide high-volume, multi-platform push notifications at a low monthly fee."

    Stay tuned for updates!

  • Guy's,

    I Iove your program. Given how fast Azure is innovating, you save so much time in keeping us up to date & making us aware of what we can do. 

    While the jovial aspect is good, as are the little sound bites & graphics. I'd encourage you to stay on message & tighten up your intro. Most folks I know are very busy & charge a lot per hour. The 5-10 mins of personal junk at the start & they've turned you off before they get to the really worthwhile content.

    Thanks guys & happy 100th

    PS: Azure NH is a definite winner.

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