The TechEd Europe 2014 news just keeps on coming!
Less than 2 months ago we announced the GA of version 2 of ADAL .NET, the development library that makes it easy to use Active Directory (both Azure and Windows Server) in your .NET, Windows Store and Windows Phone 8.1 applications.
Today I am excited to share with you that we are ready to give you an early preview of ADAL .NET v3. The biggest innovation in this version is that it gives you the ability to target your C# based apps to non-Microsoft platforms, most notably iOS and Android.
ADAL .NET v3 has been re-architected to take advantage of portable class library technology, which allows assemblies to be executed on multiple .NET profiles – including the iOS and Android targets offered by the Xamarin platform. ADAL .NET v3 also contains platform-specific assemblies, also leveraging Xamarin, that are transparently added to your projects and make it possible to write your authentication code once and simply share it across all your projects.
Here is a concrete scenario. Imagine that you are developing a native app that makes use of some Microsoft API (Office 365 Exchange and/or SharePoint, Directory Graph, Azure management, etc) and/or any API protected by AD. Say that you want versions of your application available for .NET desktop, iOS, Android, Windows Store and Windows Phone 8.1. With ADAL .NET v3 you will be able to write a single class library containing all the authentication code and API calls. Once you've done that, you can simply reference that class library from all your platform specific projects.
One of the most exciting new possibilities offered by this model is the ability to develop in C# and take advantage of Azure AD on a completely non-Microsoft environment. The screenshot below shows Xamarin Studio on a Mac, running an ADAL v3 project in the iPhone simulator.
One important point to keep in mind is that this new approach does not change our commitment to native libraries. As you know, we already have objective-C and Java versions of ADAL targeting iOS and Android: that is not going to change. ADAL .NET v3 is meant to help .NET developers to extract even more value from their C# skills. The native libraries are meant to help developers targeting specific platforms to make it easy to use Active Directory. And of course, all the libraries mentioned here are (and remain) open source.
The preview of ADAL .NET v3 contains very early bits: we wanted you to be able to get a taste of the new approach as early as possible, and as it is always the case with those previews you should expect significant variations in the object model before we will be able to declare GA.
As always, we'd love to hear any feedback or suggestions you have.
Alex Simons (Twitter: @Alex_A_Simons)
Director of PM
Microsoft Identity and Security Services Division