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Windows Azure Extends their MBaaS with Custom APIs and Git Support

| by Abel Avram on Jun 14, 2013. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

Shortly after Google announced their Mobile Backend Starter for Android applications, Microsoft has announced the extension of their Azure mobile services adding support for Custom APIs, Git, NPM, Android Push Notifications, and a free SQL DB.

Custom API. Users can now create, publish and use their own APIs written in JavaScript for Node.js, including support for NPM packages. Microsoft intends to allow developers to use C#/.NET in the future to create such APIs.

The APIs can be made available to everyone or just to authenticated users, the access being controlled individually for each of the REST verbs. These APIs can be accessed by mobile applications running on Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android, but also by Windows 8 and desktop HTML/JavaScript applications.

According to Scott Guthrie, Microsoft Corporate VP, Custom APIs do not have to be associated with a data table:

This capability enables a whole set of new scenarios – including the ability to work with data sources other than SQL Databases (for example: Table Services or MongoDB), broker calls to 3rd party APIs, integrate with Windows Azure Queues or Service Bus, work with custom non-JSON payloads (e.g. Windows Periodic Notifications), route client requests to services back on-premises (e.g. with the new Windows Azure BizTalk Services), or simply implement functionality that doesn’t correspond to a database operation. 

Git. Mobile services are integrated now with Git for storing the scripts and permissions associated with those services. It is possible to clone the repository locally, edit the files then push them back to Azure. This lets developers use the IDE of their choice without being restricted to the much simpler editor provided by Azure’s management portal. Using Git is not mandatory, but rather a handy feature.

Node Package Module. Developers can write rich Custom APIs by having the possibility to access any NPM package they like. Such packages are added to the local Git repository then pushed to Azure.

Client SDK 1.0.0. The Mobile Services Client SDK 1.0.0 is now generally available and is provided as a NuGet package. The SDK enables developers to access Azure mobile services from Windows Store and Windows Phone 7.x applications.

Android Push Notifications. Azure Notification Hubs have been enhanced to support pushing notifications to Android devices. Windows Phone and iOS devices have already been supported. Notifications can be sent from any type of application or web service, and they are delivered to Android devices via Google Cloud Messaging.

20MB Free DB. Any Azure customer now has available a 20MB SQL database for free for one year. The database can be used for development or in production.

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