Microsoft unveils iOS support to mobile cloud services

Access Azure from your iPhone app

Microsoft has launched new support options for developers to connect iPhone apps to Windows Azure cloud services on the backend.

The new options allow developers to connect iOS based devices (including iPhones and iPads) to Windows Azure Mobile Services.

The company launched its Mobile Services in august as a means to allow developers to deploy back end services for apps on the Windows Azure platform via a simple web interface without the need to write server-side code.

At the time of release, it only supported Windows Store apps for Windows 8. The changes mean that developers can connect to this Mobile Service with iOS apps.

In a blog post, Microsoft developer vice president Scott Guthrie said that the new feature would mean it took less than five minutes to add  Mobile Services support to an iOS project using the firm’s software development kit.

“Like the rest of our Windows Azure SDK, we are delivering the native iOS libraries to enable this under an open source (Apache 2.0) license on GitHub,” he said.

The new version also allows Facebook, Twitter, and Google authentication support. These, said Guthrie, are now supported with both Windows 8 apps as well as iOS apps. He added that a single app can support multiple forms of identity simultaneously – so developer can offer users a choice of how to login.

There are also additional communications options that enable developers to have apps send email or SMS text messages through Microsoft's partners. The email service was added in collaboration with SendGrid, while Twilio’s REST allows SMS messages to be sent from an app through the combination of Twilio and Windows Azure.

The updates to the service are now live production and available to start using immediately, said Guthrie.