This tutorial shows you how to add a cloud-based backend service to a Xamarin.iOS app using Azure Mobile Services. In this tutorial, you will create both a new mobile service and a simple To do list app that stores app data in the new mobile service.
If you prefer to watch a video, the clip below follows the same steps as this tutorial.
Video: "Getting Started with Xamarin and Azure Mobile Services" with Craig Dunn, developer evangelist for Xamarin (duration: 10:05 min)
A screenshot from the completed app is below:
Completing this tutorial requires XCode and Xamarin Studio for OS X or the Xamarin Visual Studio plug-in for Visual Studio on Windows. The sample will run on iOS 5.0 and newer.
To complete this tutorial, you need an Azure account. If you don't have an account, you can sign up for an Azure trial and get up to 10 free mobile services that you can keep using even after your trial ends. For details, see Azure Free Trial.
Follow these steps to create a new mobile service.
Log into the Management Portal. At the bottom of the navigation pane, click +NEW. Expand Compute and Mobile Service, then click Create.
This displays the Create a Mobile Service dialog.
This displays the Specify database settings page.
As part of this tutorial, you create a new SQL Database instance and server. You can reuse this new database and administer it as you would any other SQL Database instance. If you already have a database in the same region as the new mobile service, you can instead choose Use existing Database and then select that database. The use of a database in a different region is not recommended because of additional bandwidth costs and higher latencies.
In Name, type the name of the new database, then type Login name, which is the administrator login name for the new SQL Database server, type and confirm the password, and click the check button to complete the process.
You have now created a new mobile service that can be used by your mobile apps.
Once you have created your mobile service, you can follow an easy quickstart in the Management Portal to either create a new app or modify an existing app to connect to your mobile service.
In this section you will create a new Xamarin.iOS app that is connected to your mobile service.
In the Management Portal, click Mobile Services, and then click the mobile service that you just created.
In the quickstart tab, click Xamarin.iOS under Choose platform and expand Create a new Xamarin.iOS app.
This displays the three easy steps to create a Xamarin.iOS app connected to your mobile service.
If you haven't already done so, download and install Xcode (we recommend the latest version, Xcode 6.0, or newer) and Xamarin Studio.
Click Create TodoItems table to create a table to store app data.
Under Download and run app, click Download.
This downloads the project for the sample To do list application that is connected to your mobile service and references the Azure Mobile Services component for Xamarin.iOS. Save the compressed project file to your local computer, and make a note of where you saved it.
The final stage of this tutorial is to build and run your new app.
Browse to the location where you saved the compressed project files, expand the files on your computer, and open the XamarinTodoQuickStart.iOS.sln solution file using Xamarin Studio or Visual Studio.
Press the Run button to build the project and start the app in the iPhone emulator, which is the default for this project.
In the app, type meaningful text, such as Complete the tutorial and then click the plus (+) icon.
This sends a POST request to the new mobile service hosted in Azure. Data from the request is inserted into the TodoItem table. Items stored in the table are returned by the mobile service, and the data is displayed in the list.
Back in the Management Portal, click the Data tab and then click the TodoItems table.
This lets you browse the data inserted by the app into the table.
Now that you have completed the quickstart, learn how to perform additional important tasks in Mobile Services:
Get started with offline data sync
Learn how the quickstart uses offline data sync to make the app responsive and robust.
Get started with authentication
Learn how to authenticate users of your app with an identity provider.
Get started with push notifications
Learn how to send a very basic push notification to your app.