These updates never stop coming. Remarkable indeed! Latest is that Windows Azure has just added new support for a number of popular services, namely PhoneGap, Hadoop and Dropbox.
Developers can now connect both HTML5 web-client apps, along with Apache Cordova/PhoneGap and Windows Phone 7.5 clients using the Windows Azure Mobile Serves backend.
The newly updated mobile services web client library supports Internet Explorer 8 along with current versions of Chrome, Firefox and Safari, plus PhoneGap 2.3.0+, of course. The keywords here being current version of the above browsers.
The elaborate and eloquent Scott Guthrie, the corporate vice president in the Microsoft Tools and Servers group detailed the new additions in a blog post:
“Today we are adding support to enable pure HTML5/JS clients (and PhoneGap apps) as well as Windows Phone 7.5 clients to use Windows Azure Mobile Services as a backend. This comes in addition to the new Android SDK for Windows Azure Mobile Services we released two weeks ago (as well as the Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and iOS support we had earlier).”
A new service for Windows Azure by the name of HDInsight offers the ability to deploy, manage and use Hadoop clusters that run on Microsoft’s cloud platform.
Windows Azure now also supports site and app deployment from Dropbox to any website. Makes one wonder where is Microsoft SkyDrive in all of this, and when is it going to be supported.
Nevertheless, tons of details and tutorials (including video) are provided at the link above.
By the same token, a special mention for the user interface Microsoft has put on Windows Azure. Not many cloud platforms support something like this, and almost all (including the bigwig Amazon Web Services) are still almost universally programmed from the command line.
Windows Azure’s UI is quite consistent with Microsoft’s newest design philosophy, and so easy to use that it can be called a differentiator for the company in the intense battle for cloud supremacy.