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New Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8, Windows Azure SDK 1.5, Geo-Replication for Windows Azure Storage, and More

  Today from the BUILD Conference in Anaheim, California, Server and Tools President, Satya Nadella outlined a changing world of application development, connected devices, and continuous services, and articulated how Microsoft’s investments in these areas will enable developers to create a wealth of new opportunities by leading this transformation. Nadella went on to highlight the opportunity for developers to build the next generation of applications by architecting new types of front-end client applications that are connected to back-end clouds using the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8, which was released today at BUILD.
     Details on the toolkit as well as other Windows Azure-related announcements Nadella made can be found below. Additional details on today’s announcements will be posted throughout the week, so check back often!
Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8
Earlier this year, Microsoft announced the Windows Azure Toolkits for Devices, consisting of assets for Windows PhoneiOS, and Android. Using the toolkits, developers can use the cloud to accelerate the creation of applications on the major mobile platforms. Today, we are extending many of those back-end capabilities so developers can take advantage of a scalable cloud platform to power Metro style applications on Windows 8. 
The Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8 is designed to make it easier for developers to create Windows Metro Style applications that harness the power of Windows Azure Compute and Storage. The toolkit provides developers with the following:
  • Guidance in the forms of code samples, documentation and best practices
  • Tooling support with Visual Studio project templates
  • Code in the shape of reusable services and libraries
This toolkit supports JavaScript and HTML5, as well as .NET, C#, C++, VB so any developer can work in their preferred languages to take advantage of sign-on identities and notifications on Windows 8.
In today’s multi-device world, the cloud becomes a strategic hub for applications, experiences, and data.  These toolkits leverage the cloud to simplify the complexity of supporting multiple devices while exploiting each device.  Developers can use Windows Azure to support common requirements like device notifications, authentication, storage, and even higher-level services like leaderboards for gaming. At the same time, the toolkit helps developers take full advantage of each device by writing client code for each platform. 
For more technical details on the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8, please check back later this morning for a technical post by Microsoft Technical Evangelist, Nick Harris.
Windows Azure SDK 1.5
Windows Azure SDK 1.5 is now available.  This new version offers a number of updates:
  • Re-architected emulator, which enables higher fidelity between local and cloud developments.
  • Support for uploading service certificates in csupload.exe.
  • A new csencrypt.exe tool to manage remote desktop encryption passwords.
  • Enhancements in the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio for developing and deploying cloud applications.
  • The ability to create ASP.NET MVC3 Web Roles and manage multiple service configurations in one cloud project.
  • Improved validation of Windows Azure packages to catch common errors like missing .NET assemblies and invalid connection strings.
Windows Azure Marketplace
  • The Windows Azure Marketplace will be available in 25 new markets internationally starting next month.  Markets include: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Singapore.  Partners can submit their applications and datasets to publish on the marketplace now. (Learn how to get started here.)
  • Microsoft Translator APIs are now available through the Windows Azure Marketplace, along with a fast-growing collection of data sets and applications. These APIs allow developers and webmasters to provide translation and language services in more than 35 languages, as part of their applications, websites or services. Starting today, Microsoft is offering customers a three-month promotional period, during which the higher throughput versions of the APIs will be available free of charge.
Windows Azure Storage
New Windows Azure Storage features include geo-replication to help with disaster recovery and a new version of the REST API to enable some functionality improvements for Windows Azure Blobs, Tables, and Queues.  Geo-replication replicates your Windows Azure Blob and Table data between two locations that are hundreds of miles apart and within the same region. Geo-replication is now turned on for all Windows Azure Storage accounts for Blobs and Tables.  There is no change in existing performance, as updates are asynchronously geo-replicated.  
Service Bus September Release
This new release introduces enhancements to the Service Bus that improve pub/sub messaging by introducing features such as Queues, Topics and Subscriptions, and Rules. It also enables new scenarios on the Windows Azure platform, such as:
  • Asynchronous Cloud Eventing – Distribute event notifications to occasionally connected clients (for example, phones, remote workers, kiosks, and so on)
  • Event-driven Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) – Building loosely coupled systems that can easily evolve over time
  • Advanced Intra-App Messaging – Load leveling and load balancing for building highly scalable and resilient applications
Windows Azure Service Management API
Key improvements to the Windows Azure Service Management API include the ability to rollback in-progress configuration updates and service upgrades, and the ability to invoke multiple “write” operations on an ongoing deployment.  Other enhancements include more descriptive status for role instances and a new API method: Get Subscription.
For more information about the announcements made today or to watch the keynotes, please visit the BUILD Virtual Press Room.  And follow @WindowsAzure and @STBNewsBytes for the latest news and real-time talk about BUILD.

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