Microsoft is making available for download a near-final version of its Windows Azure toolkit for Android device developers as of today, August 31.
This is the toolkit Microsoft officials said would be available in preview form as of June. The download site describes the release out today as version 0.8.
Why would a phone/device developers want Azure cloud access? Technical Evangelist Wade Wegner explained the case for Windows Phones this way in a blog post:
"In many ways, cloud computing levels the playing field. Any developer can tap into a larger – and virtually limitless – pool of resources from which to pull. For developers, Windows Azure – Microsoft’s cloud-computing platform – is a great compliment to mobile application development. Simply put, Windows Azure allows you to focus on your application. You don’t have to worry about managing or monitoring the operating system, just as you don’t have to worry about the hardware our network. As a managed service, Windows Azure takes care of things items for you."
Everything in the newly release Azure toolkit for Android is built in Eclipse and uses the Android software development kit (SDK), Microsoft officials said. The library itself fully covers the Windows Azure storage application programming interfaces.
"The numbering sequence (0.8) is not consequential at the moment," a spokesperson told me. "The only reason the toolkit is v0.8 is because 1) we haven’t yet built out the documentation for the API, and 2) the sample application (while fully functional) is still an extremely basic application and not as functional as the iOS/WP equivalents."
Microsoft also delivered on August 31 updated versions of the Azure toolkits for Windows Phone and iOS. The Windows Phone update (version 1.3) includes support for SQL Azure as a membership provider and data source using OData; support for the Windows Phone Developer Tools 7.1 Release Candidate and more. The updated iOS toolkit (version 1. 2.1) can be used for both iPhone and iPad applications developed using Objective-C and XCode.
These Azure toolkits include native libraries, templates, sample applications and unit tests.
Microsoft also delivered late last week version 1.0 of its Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games.