Join Michael Lehman for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding Windows Azure, part of Building Windows Phone 8 Apps with Azure.
Before we dig in to connecting a Windows Phone 8 app to Windows Azure. Let's take a high level tour of Windows Azure and focus in on those features we'll be using in this course. So what is Windows Azure? Windows Azure is a collection of services. Computes services, network services, data services and app services. In this course we're going to be focusing specifically on data services and app services. Windows Azure Compute Services include virtual machines, websites, cloud services, and mobile services.
This includes both structured and unstructured storage which can be used both with mobile services or without using the mobile services API. Windows Azure app services include media services, notification hubs, BizTalk and Service bus, Active Directory and multi-factor authentication, and mobile services server-side scripts. We'll be looking very briefly at the mobile services server-side scripts, as they're involved in the implementation of push notifications. Windows Azure also provides network services, such as virtual networks and a traffic manager.
Again, those are more applicable to very large multi-machine, multi-virtual machine installations. And we wont be covering those in the course. I just wanted to give you a flavor of the broad capabilities of Windows Azure. The kind of things you might need if you were building your own Instagram. Where you have to have something that stores petabytes worth of information, scattered across multiple networks, geographically distributed across the world. Windows Azure storage includes both queues, which we won't be covering in this course. And structured data in the form of tables, which we will be covering. Both in terms of the native table API, as well as accessing tables via the mobile services API.
It also supports unstructured data in the form of Blobs. And there's two different kinds of blobs. A single large blob, which allows you to store things such as pictures or movies or sound files. And paged blobs which can be used for implementing virtual hard drives. Windows Azure mobile services includes backend jobs and Twillo API for voice and SMS. In this course we're going to be exploring mobile services data storage, authentication and email. And finally, Microsoft Push Notifications. It's a cloud based notification service for the REST API.
And there's also a very nice .net library which we'll be using in modifying the app we're building in this course. Push notifications work with Windows Store App, Windows Phone apps. As well as IOS and Android devices. And you can use the same push notification channel, as it's called, in all of these different kinds of devices. In this course, we're going to be hooking up push notifications to Windows Phone app. It's interesting to note we're going to be using exactly the same code, when we hook up in the companion course, push notification to a Windows stored app.
Microsoft push notifications allow you to have very sophisticated tag based message routing. They support millions of devices and billions of messages. And that's a high level overview of Microsoft Windows Azure with a focus on the services we're actually going to be using in this course to hook up to our existing app.
- What is Windows Azure?
- Creating Azure tables
- Inserting, updating, and deleting data in tables
- Uploading a blob to Windows Azure storage
- Using shared access signatures
- Implementing mobile services
- Adding push notifications