These ARE the Androids you’ve been looking for!

That's the title of my latest post over on Larry Franks' Silver Lining Blog. It deals with using Windows Azure Mobile Services to hook up an Android phone to an Azure back-end data store. And in some cases, to Google Cloud Messaging, in order to enable push notifications. Go check it out! There's a lot of links to tutorials that will get you started. You don't even have to own an Android phone, you can use the device emulator.

If you have read prior posts from me, you may wonder what an enterprise-oriented back end database guy like me is doing messing around with non-Microsoft phones. I have to confess to having always had kind of a technical split personality. I wound up writing the original Accounts Services pages at MSN because I was the only one in our group that knew bits of HTML. And I was very interested in Java, prior to the creation of C#, at a time when there wasn't much scope for that skill inside Microsoft.

I'm also very interested in understanding issues that arise for our open-source oriented customers who want to connect with Windows Azure. Microsoft has put an increasing focus on addressing open source issues in the last 2-3 years or so, it's been an amazing transformation to watch (I will simply confine myself to saying that way back in 1995 when I started contracting here, the attitude towards open source was not a warm one...). Basically I like to get outside the Microsoft culture I've been living in, and try to see things from other perspectives.

In particular, those of us embedded in the Microsoft ecosystem have our ways of doing things with Visual Studio and other tools and languages that don't map automatically to what happens in the open source world. In the Android tutorials, we use open source tools (Eclipse, Google api's, etc), but it is possible that I occasionally do so with a "Visual Studio flavor". We'd like this stuff to be useful to open source developers, so if you are one, and see something that makes you say "well no one I know would do it that way, that's just not how you do things in Eclipse", please let us know! We think our technology is sound, and that it successfully integrates multiple software worlds together, but if something jars you as being "too Microsoft style" or just not the best way to accomplish a task in Eclipse, let me know!

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