Get started with cloud app dev in Azure App Service

How to use Azure’s PaaS tools to build cloud-hosted apps that run on your mobile devices and in your browsers

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Microsoft Azure’s mix of platform and infrastructure tools make it an interesting destination for enterprise developers, with the option of mixing development models. The ability to mix resources to take advantage of what works for your application can speed up development, support cloud migrations, and hande hybrid on- and off-premises designs. Azure’s PaaS tools can provide rapid scaling for front ends, while more complex back-end systems run on virtual machines or in containers.

With Azure, much of that PaaS front end is handled by Azure App Service, a bundle of tools and services that support mobile, web, and API integrations. It’s a quick way of building cloud-native applications, with integration points for other Azure services, supporting most common cloud design patterns. You’re not limited to one front-end technology, either: You can mix approaches, providing views that work with mobile, web, and desktop applications.

While Azure App Service counts Logic Apps as part of its portfolio, Logic Apps is best thought of as an instance of Azure’s serverless tools. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use Logic Apps as a tool for automating application workflow, but it’s worth understanding its limitations: You can’t build a complex application; it’s really just a way of constructing basic business logic that can link one API to another.

Getting started with Azure App Service is easy. In many cases, existing templates in the Azure Marketplace let you build on top of familiar open source solutions. Some, like Microsoft’s Mobile App and Notification Hub, are additional frameworks that simplify building code to run on the App Service, giving you templates and SDKs you can use with your development tools, while automatically generating code and service integrations. Similarly, you can flesh out a selection of starter web apps with your own code and your own data, building scalable model-view-controller instances.

Create mobile apps using the new MBaaS-based Mobile App framework

The most useful aspect of Azure App Service is its Mobile App option. Best thought of as Microsoft’s implementation of MBaaS (mobile back end as a service), Mobile App links code running on mobile devices to cloud data stores and services, including third-party authentication and push services. Native SDKs for most common device platforms simplify application integration. And you can hook into Azure’s SQL and NoSQL services for your data storage — as well as work with on-premises databases.

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