Windows Phone 7 and Azure, sitting in a tree... The Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone
- Posted: Sep 16, 2011 at 6:00AM
Fun is focusing on building your app and not getting lost in infrastructure hell. Fun is building awesome apps that bring your data to your devices no matter where they are. Fun is letting Microsoft do some of the heavy lifting, while you code, code, code.
Fun is getting started with the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone...
Okay, I think it's fun anyway. I mean the team behind this has made using Azure with your Windows Phone 7 apps pretty darn easy. You get focus on programming and less on "how can I add push notifications, SQL Azure, Azure Storage, Azure Queues, etc," questions.
Windows Phones provide many opportunities for developers to build great applications. Nevertheless, in some cases a developer is limited by the attributes specific to any mobile device – constrained processing, battery life, limited storage, and intermittent connectivity. Consequently, it’s important to tie into services off of the device, ideally in a location with scalable processing, plenty of power, elastic storage, and ubiquitous connectivity. Enter cloud computing with Windows Azure.
In many ways, cloud computing levels the playing field. Any developer can tap into a larger – and virtually limitless – pool of resources from which to pull. For developers, Windows Azure – Microsoft’s cloud-computing platform – is a great compliment to mobile application development. Simply put, Windows Azure allows you to focus on your application. You don’t have to worry about managing or monitoring the operating system, just as you don’t have to worry about the hardware our network. As a managed service, Windows Azure takes care of things items for you.
To make it easier for Windows Phone developers to use Windows Azure, we have created the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone. This toolkit provides a set of Visual Studio project templates that give you an advanced starting point for building Windows Phone applications tied into services running in Windows Azure. The toolkit also includes libraries, sample applications, and documentation.
Today we’ve released version 1.3 which includes some great updates, including:
- Support for SQL Azure as a membership provider.
- Support for SQL Azure as a data source through using OData.
- Updates for the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 1.4 and the Windows Phone Developer Tools 7.1 RC.
- Upgraded the web application ASP.NET MVC 3.
- Shipped the full source code to BabelCam, which is now available in the Windows Phone Marketplace.'
To get started, visit the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone on CodePlex. While you can review the source code online, I recommend you download the self-extracting executable. This tool not only gives you all the source code, but also a Visual Studio extension that includes the project templates and a dependency checker that ensures you have all the required prerequisites.
Once you’ve logged in you can start to try out the various aspects of the toolkit. There are five areas to explore:
- Push Notifications
- Windows Azure tables
- Windows Azure blobs
- Windows Azure queues
- SQL Azure
To make it really simple to try out and test the push notifications – as well as provide you a demonstration of how to go about registering a notification channel, storing it in Windows Azure tables, and then sending a message to the phone – we have also included a simple web application that you can use to send notifications to the phone. First, enable push notifications on the client …
Included in the toolkit is a sample app too (so you can see it all working)
One of the more recent updates to the toolkit includes the sample application BabelCam. BabelCam started as a proof-of-concept application I built for my MIX11 talked Building Windows Phone 7 Applications with the Windows Azure Platform. Since then we’ve not only cleaned up and included the source code, but we’ve also published to the Windows Phone marketplace – download BabelCam and try it out!
If you're building a Windows Phone 7 app that needs to be cloud connected and don't have your own backend infrastructure to support it, if you're interested or need to meld Azure into your app, then this Toolkit was written just for you...