These ARE the Androids you’ve been looking for!

On Monday Scott Guthrie announced Windows Azure Mobile Services support for the Android platform. You now have a choice of 4 client platforms that can use Mobile Services to make use of Windows Azure as a cloud data store:

  • Windows Store
  • Windows Phone 8
  • IOS
  • and now, Android

I and Glenn Gailey wrote the Android tutorials and the reference documentation on the gcm object, which encapsulates Google Cloud Messaging for use in Android push notification scenarios. We’re already getting some feedback, keep it coming! When you go through a tutorial, if something isn’t clear, or is confusing, let us know! You probably aren’t the only one! And your questions and feedback will help us make things clearer for people down the line.

The architecture involved has three interacting components:

  • the client platform, Android phone in this case
  • the Windows Azure backend data store
  • the Google Cloud Messaging service, when push notification is used

Windows Azure Mobile Services is the “glue” that integrates these components together.

 Here are links that describe this release and the different technologies that make it up. Following the links, I provide a personal testimonial of how easy it was to get up to speed (punch line for the impatient: pretty easy!). Providing testimonials goes against my usual hard-boiled engineer persona, but I was impressed!

Announcement URLs

Scott Guthrie’s announcement of the Windows Azure Updates

Windows Azure Mobile Services adds Android support and extends availability to East Asia

Microsoft Adds Android Support To Windows Azure Mobile Services

GitHub Mobile Services Project

This is the official repo where Microsoft does all its Mobile Services development.

Windows Azure Mobile Services GitHub repo

Mobile Services Android Tutorials

Get Started with Mobile Services

Get Started with Data

Validate and modify data in Mobile Services by using server scripts

Refine Mobile Services queries with paging

Get started with authentication in Mobile Services

Use scripts to authorize users in Mobile Services

Get started with push notifications in Mobile Services

Mobile Services server script reference

VIDEO: Android Support in Windows Azure Mobile Services

Video: Overview of the Mobile Services HTTP API

Blog posts  

Yavor Georgiev, a Microsoft Program Manager working on Mobile Services, has published the first two of a series of posts that illustrate different features of the Mobile Services api. The first one helped me out: I was trying to figure out how to give the table used by my mobile service a different name, and the answer was right there!

Episode I: Working with typed and untyped data

Episode II: Customizing serialization using the gson library


Here are some more useful blog posts: 

Building your app version defense strategy – Part I

Common Scenarios with Windows Azure Mobile Services

Mobile Services Community Forum

Mobile Services Community Forum


My own experience with the product

For myself, I had no background at all in the following areas:

  • phone hardware
  • phone software
  • GCM api
  • The Java language
  • The Eclipse development environment

Usually it takes me a few days to get up to speed with any new technology. And integrating multiple technologies together usually costs some time. I was able to complete my work on this in two weeks. To me that is a tribute to the design clarity of the Mobile Services product team. There are a lot of moving parts, and Mobile Services integrates them together nicely.

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