This Toolkit is now deprecated and is now

superseded by Windows Azure Mobile Services

The Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone provided developers with the first iteration of support for building backend services for Windows Phone apps using Windows Azure.  The main areas of feedback we received from mobile developers was that they wanted a turn-key set of services for common functionality such as notifications, auth, and data.   Windows Azure Mobile Services directly reflects this feedback by enabling developers to simply provision, configure, and consume scalable backend services. The downloads for this toolkit will be removed on the week of Feb 1st 2013 and all future improvements will be channeled into Windows Azure Mobile Services rather than this toolkit. 

To get started with Mobile Services, sign up for a Windows Azure account and receive 10 free Mobile Services.


WAT Windows Phone

To watch a screencast on how to get started using ACS, please visit Getting Started with ACS and the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 on Channel 9.

The Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone project template for Visual Studio can implement two different access control strategies: it can generate and include in the project a classic ASP.NET membership store, or it can outsource authentication to the Windows Azure Access Control Service. Here there is a brief comparison of the two options.

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Create a new ASP.NET membership store in Windows Azure Tables

If you choose this option, the template will generate an ASP.NET membership store and place it in Windows Azure storage. The Windows Phone application will include UI elements for registering and logging in users via username and password, which will be stored in the membership database.

This option implements a very well known approach, and has the least amount of requirements: the project can be entirely self-contained. It can be very convenient when you are using the toolkit as a learning tool, or if you foresee that your application will have to include its own account store.

On the other hand, managing a user store may become a burden; and one application relying on its own user store cannot be easily integrated with other solutions.

Use the Windows Azure Access Control Service

If you choose this option, the template will configure your application to outsource authentication to the Windows Azure Access Control Service. This means that the Windows Phone application will enable users to register and log in by reusing their existing accounts from identity providers such as Windows Live ID, Google, Yahoo and possibly from their Active Directory or Facebook.

In order to take advantage of this option you need to have a namespace with the Windows Azure Access Control Service, and an active internet connection for communicating with ACS itself and the configured identity providers. You can obtain ACS namespaces for free thanks to a promotion that will run until at least the end of 2011.

The template gathers some info about your namespace and generates an application that is fully integrated with ACS with some basic settings.

The ACS approach gives you the most reach, as it can authenticate users from well known identity providers on the web; it also allows you to reuse in your mobile application accounts from your local directory.

Last edited Jan 21, 2013 at 8:25 PM by nharris, version 14

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