25.Mar.15

Milan Nankov

Milan Nankov

Azure App Service - What's New Compared To Azure Mobile Services

Microsoft has just anounced a new service called Azure App Service. It integrates already existing services like Azure Mobiles Services and Azure Websites into a new package which makes a lot of sense. It also introduces some new concepts like Logic Apps and API Apps that will be quite helpful in creating robus business apps.

If you have missed the announcements make sure to check out ScottGu's Announcing the new Azure App Service article and also the recorded annoucement on Channel 9.

Meet Azure App Service Mobile Apps

Azure App Service is not a single service but rather a suite of services that can work together to facilitate app development. One of those services is called Azure App Service Mobile Apps and it is pretty much the Azure Mobile Services that we know and love but better. If you are currently using Azure Mobile Services you are probably wondering how this is going to affect you.

How does this affect Azure Mobile Services?

  • Mobile Apps will replace Azure Mobile Services sometime in the future
  • There is currently no indication that Azure Mobile services will be phased out soon so no worries here - it will just simply continue to work.
  • Future enhancements will probably be only available to Mobile Apps

How is Azure App Service Mobile Apps Better than Azure Mobile Services?

The new service offers several advantages over Azure Mobile Services:

  •  You can easily add staging environments which will make your release process a lot more streamlined. Previously you had to create an aditional Azure Mobile Services instance to use as staging and had to manually push changes to production. Now you can do this with a click of a button.
  • You can use your custom domain name for your APIs
  • More choices of compute resources. Previously you could only scale your mobile service with Small VMs but now you can choose from a richer set of options. More power!
  • Backend code of your choice including Java, PHP, Python, Node.JS, .NET (at the moment only .NET is supported)
  • No dependency conflicts. If you have used Azure Mobile Sevices you know that updating libraries was a pain. You had to be careful to use the versions that are supported by the service. Not anymore!
  • Better real-time monitoring

  These are the top advantages on my list. You can check out the full list here.

Migrating existing service to Azure App Service Mobile Apps

Migrating from Azure Mobile Services to Azure App Service Mobile Apps should be relatively easy - most of your server code will not change.  Azure App Service Mobile Apps uses a new SDK (Mobile App Server SDK) but the new API is pretty much no different then its predecessor. Still migrating an existing production Azure Mobile Services is a process that cannot be completed with a flick of a switch. You can find more details about the migration process here.

Meet the new guys - API Apps and Logic Apps

As I have mentioned Azure App Service is a set of services that work together. API Apps and Logic Apps are two new services that should be of great help when building rich business applications.

The best way to think about API Apps is to think about microservices. They encapsulate some well-defined business process or a service. For example, you can create a service that sends SMS messages. Your app can use API Apps services that you have created or ones that have been created by a third party.

Logic apps allow you to orchestrate business processes. They do that by allowing you to combine various API Apps into a coherent workflow. For example, you can create a Logic App that runs every day, reads all outstanding tasks from your SQL database(using an existing 3rd party SQL API App) and sends SMS messages to the people that should handle the tasks (using the SMS API App) which you have created.

More information about API Apps and Logic Apps can be found here.

What do you think about Azure App Service?

Are you excited about Azure App Service? What are your impressions so far? Personally, I can't wait to start experimenting with API Apps and try to extract some code into a separate service that would have been too expensive in the past.  

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