The Windows Azure Mobile Services added full support for iOS developers with a number of improvements to the native, iOS Objective C SDK and perhaps most significantly, support for Push Notifications via APNS (Apple Push Notification Services).
"This makes it incredibly easy to fire push notifications to your iOS users from Windows Azure Mobile Service scripts," blogged Scott Guthrie.
"Once you've configured your application in the Apple iOS provisioning portal and uploaded the APNS push certificate to the Apple provisioning portal, it's just a matter of uploading your APNS push certificate to Mobile Services using the Windows Azure admin portal," Guthrie added.
Feedback Scripts is now added in a new screen in the portal that allows you to optionally provide a script to process your APNS feedback - and it will be executed by Mobile Services on an ongoing basis.
iOS Client SDK improvements "many of those are behind the scenes to improve performance and memory usage. However, one of the biggest improvements to the iOS Client API is the addition of an even easier login method."
The iOS SDK is being developed under an open source license (Apache 2.0) and is available on github.
For more information on setting up APNS with Mobile Services, check out our tutorials at:
- Get started with push notifications in Mobile Services
- Push notifications to users by using Mobile Services
To try mobile services for free, sign up for the Free Trial and www.windowsazure.com - you'll get 10 mobile services for free.
Windows Azure Management portal is now integrated with Windows Azure AD and supports federation with a customers on-premise Windows Server AD.
"This integration means that the millions of Office 365 customers can use the same tenants and identities they use for Office 365 to manage sign-on and access to Windows Azure," Microsoft stated.
Benefits for IT professionals include:
- "Subscription management for Windows Azure can now be tied to an employees' status at your company. If an employee leaves your company, their federated access to the Windows Azure Management Portal can be turned off by deactivating them or removing them from your on-premises Windows Server Active Directory.
- Your corporate administrator can control credential policy for the Windows Azure Management portal through Windows Server Active Directory, including setting password policies, workstation restrictions, two factor authentication requirements and lock-out controls.
- Users no longer have to remember a different set of credentials for Windows Azure. Instead by using SSO and Federation, the same set of credentials are used across their PC, your work network and Windows Azure, lowering the chance of employees forgetting their credentials and making central management and reset of passwords easier and lower cost.
- User passwords never leave your on-premise Windows Server AD: Users login using your on-premise Windows Server AD Federation Server so their identities and credentials are mastered and validated on-premise. Their passwords are never moved to the cloud.
- You can require multifactor authentication, such as a smartcard & pin or RSA SecureID in addition to standard username and password authentications," the Azure team wrote.
For developers and operators:
- "When you log into your domain joined Windows PC you will be seamlessly authenticated with the Windows Azure Management Portal.
- If you are logging in from a non-domain-joined machine, such as personal device at home, you can use the same corporate credentials you use on your work PC.
- You will receive Windows Azure service notification emails via your corporate email address."
And, Windows Azure Active Directory making it easier to establish Identity Management in the cloud with the two new key features of Windows Azure Active Directory are available at no charge:
- "Access control provides centralized authentication and authorization by integrating with consumer identity providers, such as Facebook, or using on-premises Windows Server Active Directory. By having Access Control available you can create a single application that can allow users to login with both their Organizational Credentials stored in Windows Azure AD or Windows Server AD, or to login in using popular consumer service identity services like Microsoft Account, Facebook, Google, or Twitter. Historically, Access Control has been priced based on the number of transactions. We are now making it free.
- Core Directory & Authentication enables capabilities such as single sign-on, user and group management, directory synchronization and directory federation. These features are currently free in the Windows Azure AD Developer Preview and will remain free after it reaches general availability," the Azure team blogged.