Introducing the Azure Mobile Services .NET Backend

Posted by Filip Ekberg on 05 Nov 2014

Azure Mobile Services As We Know It

If you, as many others, look for an easy way to create a scalable and reliable backend, Azure Mobile Services is a viable option. Up until today, we have had the capabilities of defining the backend in Mobile Services using NodeJS. Even if you have used Mobile Services though, you might not have had to bother with the NodeJS parts because out of the box you have a dynamic data schema that adapts with the models you define.

On-top of allowing you to easily define what the data looks like, you have been able to use NodeJS when inserting, updating or deleting data to for instance make sure that a user is authenticated. The word "mobile" comes nicely into play as developers of Mobile applications we do not want to focus too much on where we store data and how it is done; we want as low friction as possible! Thus having an extremely easy way to define, extend and scale a backend is highly valuable. However, the scalability, reliability and having an easily changeable backend is not all that Azure Mobile Services provides us. We also get out of the box support for introducing push notifications, authentication and authorization in our mobile applications. All of these are commonly faced problems and Mobile Services makes it easier for us to work with. The authentication and authorization allows us to login to our applications using providers we all love: Twitter, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Active Directory. I would like to emphasise active directory, you can use your on-premises AD and hook that up to Azure so that your users can login to your application using their corporate AD account.

Moving forward we have many interesting changes that have been introduced to allow for a more flexible backend. NodeJS is great, but in Azure Mobile Services it may feel a bit limiting and hard (in terms of debugging) to work with.

I am very happy to be able to introduce the .NET powered backend in Azure Mobile Services by using WebAPI!

Exploring Mobile Services .NET Backends, Offline Data support and alternative data stores

I was invited to speak on this topic at TechEd Australia 2014 and the recording, and slides, are now available on Channel 9. As always, I hope you will enjoy the content and if you are left with any questions or have any feedback about Azure Mobile Services, please feel free to leave me a comment.

Download the resources

In the demos in the above talk, I show how you can change the backend data store to MongoDB from SQL Server. What I forget to highlight and change in the TodoItem is that it needs to inherit from DocumentData instead of EntityData. Without making this change, certain operations like update (PATCH) will fail.

Please do leave a comment letting me know if you find this useful, if you use something similar in your work or if you have suggestions on how this can be improved.

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