September 20, 2012

Xamarin Partners with Microsoft to Support Windows Azure Mobile Services on Android and iOS

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Our friends at Microsoft recently introduced Windows Azure Mobile Services, a cloud platform that provides a scalable backend for mobile applications. It’s an easy way to add login capabilities and remote data storage to your application without building your own backend.

We are really pleased to announce that we have partnered with Microsoft to bring Mobile Services to iOS and Android developers, enabling them to easily use Microsoft’s cloud service from a common C# code base. While we have long enjoyed a productive relationship with Microsoft, we are excited to collaborating with Microsoft at a new level and to help Windows Azure Mobile Services and Microsoft reach additional platforms.

We are making a preview of our cross-platform Azure Mobile Services client framework available today on GitHub under a permissive open source software license. The framework, which is a port of Microsoft’s own Mobile Services client library, will make it easy for developers to use Microsoft’s hosted backend in their Xamarin-powered Android and iOS applications. You can start using it today in your own projects.

Azure Mobile Services offers elastic scalability, allowing you to get the capacity that you need as the popularity of your application grows. The client framework takes advantage of your favorite C# features to simplify data storage and retrieval. For example, you can access your remote data with LINQ queries instead of crafting your own REST API calls. Instead of dealing with a schema and parsing database output, you use attributes to associate remote data fields with class properties.

The following code snippet from a simple todo list application demonstrates how to retrieve database entries that match a specific condition:

public class TodoItem
{
		public int Id { get; set; }
		[DataMember (Name = "text")]
		public string Text { get; set; }
		[DataMember (Name = "complete")]
		public bool Complete { get; set; }
}
...
this.table = MobileService.GetTable<TodoItem>();
this.table.Where (ti => !ti.Complete).ToListAsync()
			.ContinueWith (t => { this.items = t.Result; }, scheduler);

With Xamarin and Azure Mobile Services, you can write your database logic once and use it across platforms. The code above will work seamlessly across iOS, Android, and Windows.

In addition to data storage and retrieval, Azure Mobile Services also supports simple account management. It allows you to authenticate your users against their Windows Live identity, sparing you the trouble of having to build and maintain your own account system.

Mobile Services for Xamarin gives you cross-platform support for the data storage and authentication features. We welcome code contributions from the community and would love to hear about the apps you’re building that leverage Windows Azure Mobile Services.

To learn more about the framework and how you can put it to use in your own applications, check out code samples. For more information about Mobile Services, you can visit the official Windows Azure blog or dev center.

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