Microsoft has launched the Azure App Service, a cloud-based offering that allows developers to build apps for mobile and web deployment.
Bill Staples, corporate vice president of app platforms at Microsoft Azure, said in a Microsoft blog post that the service is effectively a combination of multiple standalone Azure services.
"This solution integrates the Microsoft Azure Websites [now known as Web Apps], Mobile Services and BizTalk Services into a single service with a common app hosting, runtime and extensibility model, enabling simplified integration with popular consumer and commercial services and on-premises systems," he said.
Azure App Service will allow apps to be deployed on Windows Phone, Android and iOS. BlackBerry's mobile platforms are not supported.
The service limits developers to creating Azure-based apps, but will allow data to be integrated into apps from other clouds, such as Amazon Web Services, along with existing apps. The service can also extract data from on-premise servers.
The goal is to give developers the ability to create one app based on the Azure cloud platform which can be rolled out to a variety of platforms.
This bypasses the need for developers to create new versions of an app for different devices and operating systems, and lowers the costs of app development for consumer and commercial use, according to Microsoft.
Four tools make up the Azure App Service. Web Apps provides support for app creation using popular development languages including, .Net, Java, PHP and Python.
Mobile Apps offers a range of back-end capabilities that support app deployment on mobile platforms as well as multi-platform environments like Xamarin and Cordova. The tool also allows apps to provide push notifications, authentication and cloud storage.
Logic Apps helps developers create apps that can automate business processes across cloud and on-premise environments.
API Apps provides the ability to use publically available application programming interfaces to connect well-known database and software apps from the likes of Salesforce, SAP, Oracle and Office 365.
This package is part of Microsoft's new strategy of providing more integrated products that empower business users through the use of cloud and data access.
The strategy was kicked off with the release of Microsoft's Azure IoT Suite, which bundles multiple cloud-based tools to help businesses create software fuelled by Internet of Things data.
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