Update: 3-4-2016: If you're finding this blog and looking for information related to Azure Mobile Services, I'd strongly recommend checking out Azure Mobile Apps. Azure Mobile Apps is a new version (consider it a v2) of Azure's mobile backend support. All of the same features of Azure Mobile Services are there, with a lot of other very cool features to go along. You can read more about Azure Mobile Apps, and how to transition from Azure Mobile Services, here.

After several weeks waiting for review and being away from my computer, I’m happy to announce today that you can now install LensRocket directly onto your Android and iOS devices from the App Store and Google Play.  LensRocket is meant to showcase how you can build a photo and video sharing app powered by Microsoft Azure.  I’ve published the app so it’s easier for developers and other people to install it to their devices and test it out.  Now you aren’t required to follow the (not very complicated) steps to set up your own backend and deploy your own version of LensRocket if you don’t want to.  You can install the app to your device and walk through how it works with just a few taps on your phone!  Once you’ve installed it and created your own account, go to the friends list and add “MorlockPrime” and you can send me photos as well.

Getting the code

While the purpose of this post is to let you know you don’t need to get the code and follow the steps to set up your own backend to play with LensRocket, I definitely want to remind everyone that the complete source code is available.  You can check out the Android, iOS, and server source code (i.e. Azure Mobile Service scripts) as well as the steps necessary to reproduce everything at the following URLs:

Deleting the Data

One aspect of LensRocket that has been overlooked so far is the part that actually deletes the data.  When sending photos or videos to other users, you can select how long they have to view it.  Once that time is up, the file should be deleted forever, both off the device and out of cloud storage.  There isn’t really any reason for my backend to keep around pictures or videos that belong to you (and that’s the proper thing to do).  In the next week or two I’ll publish how I plan to handle this so the data is correctly deleted.  In addition, since this is a demo app, I’ll most likely enforce a daily or weekly deletion policy to ensure things aren’t being taken advantage of.

A Reminder

As I mentioned when I published the source code for LensRocket, not everything about this application is perfect.  One specific issue you may notice after installing and playing with the app is that pictures are downsized in an odd manner.  This was done to get the application working quickly and across platforms.  Ensuring that higher quality (and larger) photos and videos would be handled correctly is one area I would certainly spend more time on if I this was a “real” application.  There are other areas and features that aren’t there yet or could be added and maybe they will in time.  Lastly, I’m aware of the camera display not looking correct on some iOS devices.  I’m hoping to get that addresses in a future update.

Feedback and Pull Requests

I’d be happy to hear, via email, comments, or reviews, any feedback you might have on the application.  In addition, as the source code is all in GitHub, I’d also be happy to accept community contributions in the form of Pull Requests and Issues.  I hope you all have the chance to play around with LensRocket and are inspired to build something of your own!

Chris Risner

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