Quick look at azure app services

For a good period of time, azure has been offering azure websites and mobile services among others like biztalk services. Recently as part of the Azure SDK 2.5.1 release they have used a new term “App services”. As I tried to understand what this means, I was abit confused but found that its not a completely new term, its a combination what we know, with added features and advancements

App services basically is a collection of the things we already know and new additions that will help you with new integrations, building of rich, engaging and intelligent applications to help you scale as your business grows.

In the application services azure websites are termed “Web apps” while mobile services are termed “mobile apps”. If you visit your azure account you should be able to see these changes. Basically the current websites can easily be converted to web apps and therefore you are not going to rewrite your websites.

App services therefore contains

  1. Web apps
  2. Mobile apps
  3. Logical apps
  4. API apps.
  5. BizTalk API Apps

API apps

This new feature add on top of the ASP.NET Web API extending it with swagger metadata and an easy way to manage on the azure portal. It helps you easily build and consume API in the cloud The API Apps are behind a gateway which manages various add-on functionalities like authentication and update policies.

The gateways are created when you create a new API  App and they live in stardand resource groups. Just like we generate the WSDL information with svcutil, you can easily the swagger metadata on your Azure API Apps on visual studion by adding “/swagger/docs/v1” to your browser address.

Another functionality is that you can package your Azure API App and upload it to azure market place for other consumers to use it.

As we will see in future posts, you can easily generate your Azure API App sdk in a few click. Existing ASP.NET Web API can be converted to Azure Web API without any complexity by simply adding Azure App API SDK.

With  API Apps, you can easily on the azure portal define the access levels for you API App. There are three access levels namely

  • Public (Anonymous) -Meaning does not require any form of authentication to access
  • Internal -Only apps in your subscription can access and not available for public access
  • Public (Authenticated) -Publicly available but you require authentication for access.

With API Apps, from azure portal you choose, by a click how you intend to update in case the API App is updated. You can choose from Off (You dont need update), Inherit  and On meaning it will auto-update.

Something to note is that when you get an API app from the market place, you get an independent instance of that API App in your subscription, and there it runs in “isolation” from others, hence the reason to update when major or minor updates are done to the source package in the market place. 🙂

Web Apps

As mentioned earlier this were the formerly known as Websites. Some of the known feature includes

  • They run .Net, node.js, Java,php and even python
  • Web jobs for long running tasks, scheduled tasks
  • Integrated VS publish and remote debugging
  • Continous Intengrations with github, bitbucket, and Visual Studio Online
  • Auto-load balance and auto scale
  • Virtual networking and hybrid connections
  • Site slots for staged deployments

In azure portal all of your existing websites instances are now web apps in app service. Web hosting plan is now app service plan, and an app service plan can host any app type of app service e.g Web, Mobile, Logic or API Apps.

Mobile Apps

Formerly mobile services, and mobile services continue to be available as a stand alone service and remain fully supported as of this writing. Mobile app intengrates all of the functionality of Mobile Services and they include the following features.

  • Web jobs for long running tasks
  • CI with github, bitbucket, VSO
  • Auto-load balance auto scale GEO DR
  • Virtual networking and hybrid connections
  • Site slots for staged deployments
  • Supports single sign-On from various identity providers like facebook, google, microsoft account, twitter Azure AD
  • Offline sync which helps improve app responsiveness by caching server data locally on the device, make the app more resilient against network issues and syncing data across multiple devices helping solve any conflicts on the same record from different devices.
  • Push notifications via scalable push notitication engine, you can send personalized push notification however you want it addressed.
  • Easy connection to SaaS APIs.

Logic Apps.

This brings automation as a service by bringing new application for easy automation both with cloud and on premises systems. Some of its features includes:

  • Visually create business processes and workflows
  • There are a number of  pre-built templates to get started
  • Out of box support for popular SaaS and on premise applications
  • You can create you custom logic apps
  • There are biztalk APIs for expert integration scenario

That was just for introduction there is more information to come on the same.

As always happy coding 🙂


About Piusn

Enthusiastic Software Developer

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