Using Windows Azure with Windows Phone 7, HTML5 and iPhone

Since the launch of Windows Phone 7 and while I was down at the iDev conference in Christchurch I am coming across more and more people that are looking for ways to create scalable backend services and sync solutions across a number of different client platforms. This got me thinking about what Windows Azure can potentially deliver to the solution.

62916f07-85ed-45e0-b27d-2ed363dcf80dThe first area that perked my interest is the CTP of sync framework 4. This framework enables synchronization of data stored in SQL Azure to a range of different clients including Silverlight, Windows Phone 7, HTML5, iPhone and Android. Check out the videos Introduction to SQL Azure Data Sync and Building Offline Applications using Sync Framework and SQL Azure.

In addition to this Steve Marx presented a session at PDC titled Building Windows Phone 7 Applications with the Windows Azure Platform. He has written a blog post that shares his code to DoodleJoy, a Windows Azure application that hosts an OData service and a Windows Phone 7 application that consumes it.

Since having my Windows Phone 7 I have particularly enjoyed applications like AlphaJax that take advantage of the notification service on the device to let you know when your friends have played their turn. In order to leverage this functionality you require to deploy and host your own backend services. Windows Azure can be a good solution to hosting these kinds of services. Check out this article Windows Phone 7 – Toast Notification Using Windows Azure Cloud Service to find out more on how to do this.

It is great to see people starting to put all these pieces together. Jason Hunter from Gen-i took the challenge of scoping building and deploying an application for WP7 using Windows Azure over the holiday break. He writes about his experiences on his blog.

How can you get on Windows Azure?

Do you have a registered company that is:

  • Developing a software product or service?
  • Privately held?
  • Less than three years old?
  • Making less than US $1M annually?

If so, you may like to sign-up for Microsoft BizSpark (it’s free!)

If you are already an MSDN subscriber (either personally or through your companies partner benefits) you can activate your Windows Azure platform benefits valued at an estimated $1,800 USD per year per developer.

If you are not an MSDN subscriber there is a free introduction offer to try Windows Azure to dip your toes in.

Update - Mary Jo Foley wrote:

Microsoft Research has made available for download a developer preview of its Windows Phone 7 + Cloud Services Software Development Kit (SDK) .

The new SDK is related to Project Hawaii, a mobile research initiative which I’ve blogged about before. Hawaii is about using the cloud to enhance mobile devices. The “building blocks” for Hawaii applications/services include computation (Windows Azure); storage (Windows Azure); authentication (Windows Live ID); notification; client-back-up; client-code distribution and location (Orion).

The SDK is “for the creation of Windows Phone 7 (WP7) applications that leverage research services not yet available to the general public,”   read more…