Microsoft Taps Azure for Custom Dynamics CRM Apps

For CRM professionals using mobile apps, the inability to work offline can prove more than inconvenient: data that can't be entered when there's no network connection can increase the risk of unhappy customers or even lost sales. So Microsoft has introduced a new SDK that enables developers to build apps that can work offline and sync data with Dynamics CRM Online.

Developed by Microsoft's Azure and Dynamics CRM teams, the Azure Mobile Connector SDK for Dynamics CRM Online lets developers build native and cross-platform apps for iOS, Windows and Android. In addition to enabling apps that allow users to save and access data offline, the new SDK also supports Dynamics CRM Online integration with Office 365 and Skype.

The SDK also supports the development of apps that work with Azure App Service and Azure Active Directory. This ensures that apps can handle conflicts, send push notifications, authenticate users and handle multiple data stores.

Many Business Apps 'Lack Offline Sync'

"Smartphone users have come to expect that their most critical apps will work offline, even when it's mostly a matter of convenience," Donna Malayeri, program manager for Azure Mobile Services, noted in a recent blog post. "We've seen that many business apps lack this critical offline sync functionality, mainly because it's a fundamentally harder problem than the kinds of sync we see in consumer apps."

Azure Mobile provides a lightweight and customizable feature for offline syncing that works not only in iOS, Windows and Android but with cross-platform frameworks like Xamarin, Malayeri added. The new release is actually two SDKs: one for Azure Mobile Services and one for the Mobile Apps feature of App Service.

The Mobile Services Connector SDK is designed for apps expected to go to production over the next three to six months, Malayeri said. The Azure Mobile Apps...

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