Microsoft this week unveiled Azure App Service, a collection of backend web and mobile application creation services that bundle existing services like Azure Websites (now dubbed Web Apps), Azure Mobile Services and Azure BizTalk. Also included are additional features such as logic apps and a service for building APIs.
The bundle of Azure app services will cost the same as the standalone Azure Website Service.
This is Microsoft's bid to entice developers with a goal of becoming the platform for the new breed of apps. By bundling existing app development services, it allows a developer to build applications that support scale and multiple platforms and connect to other data feeds.
"App Service is a new, one-of-a kind cloud service that enables developers to build web and mobile apps for any platform and any device," wrote Bill Staples, corporate vice president, App Platform, Microsoft Azure. "App Service is an integrated solution that streamlines development while enabling easy integration with on-premises and SaaS systems while providing the ability to quickly automate business processes."
The service is specifically for writing apps on Azure, despite capabilities to hook in and consume data and services from other clouds and applications with public APIs.
Web Apps allows hosting websites, web apps, and APIs in the cloud and supports multiple languages and frameworks. It features enterprise capabilities like hybrid connectivity and Active Directory integration.
Mobile Apps is a mobile application development platform that provides a comprehensive set of SDKs for developing on multiple phone platforms and makes it easy to build mobile app-type functionality such as push notifications.
The newest addition, Logic apps, is a service that uses a visual designer to build complicated and automated business processes and workflows. Apps can then plug into publicly available programming interfaces. Microsoft has built in dozens of connectors to SaaS applications like Dropbox, Twitter, and Office 365.
API Apps provides versioning capabilities for APIs and easily manages new versions and updates in real time.
Those currently using one of the formerly separate services will migrate over to the new suite. Azure App Service is backed by a common development, management and billing model.
Backing the new service is the Azure cloud. Azure runs in 19 data center regions around the world with multiple copies of apps running simultaneously.
The company also announced Azure services for a student development program which provides high school students with free access to Azure.