Blockchain Development Kit Released By Microsoft

Blockchain, News | November 16, 2018 By:

Tech giant Microsoft has released an Azure-powered blockchain development kit, which seamlessly integrates blockchain with Microsoft’s and third-party Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings.

The kit, dubbed the Azure Blockchain Development Kit, improves the capabilities of Microsoft’s blockchain developer templates and Azure Blockchain Workbench, a set of tools for developers who work with distributed ledger technology (DLT). Workbench gets customers started quickly by automating infrastructure setup, so developers can focus on application logic, and business owners can focus on defining and validating their use cases.

The blockchain development kit’s initial release will focus on three key themes, such as “connecting interfaces, integrating data and systems, and deploying smart contracts and blockchain networks.” It will enable individuals, organizations, and devices to connect to the blockchain and do it from a heterogenous set of user interfaces. It includes inbound and outbound SMS, IVR, Internet of Things (IoT) Hub and IoT Central, Xamarin mobile client for iOS and Android, Dynamics integration via Common Data Service (CDS), bots and assistants (Cortana, Alexa, Google Assistant) and web UX.

In terms of integrating data and systems, Marc Mercuri, Principal Program Manager at Microcsoft’s Blockchain Engineering, said there are two areas of integration where guidance is most needed, including documents and media, and smart contract interaction. He said they’ve released a set of Logic Apps that enable the hashing of files and file related metadata. It aslo includes smart contracts for files and a file registry to store the hashes on chain.

“Logic Apps have been created to deliver this functionality for files added to the most popular sources for documents and media, including Azure Storage, OneDrive, One Drive for Business, SharePoint, Box, Adobe Creative Cloud, and FTP,” Mercuri said. “We are also announcing that we will release a set of Logic App and Flow Connectors to extend these samples to ledgers like ethereum, Corda, bitcoin, and others. Logic Apps and Flow deliver a graphical design environment with more than 200 connectors dramatically simplifying the development of end to end blockchain solutions, and Azure Functions enable the rapid integration of custom code.”

Microcsoft also released a whitepaper, titled “DevOps for Blockchain Smart Contracts,” that provides examples on how to develop blockchain applications with an eye toward CI/CD in consortium environments. Complementing the whitepaper is an implementation guide, available through the Azure Blockchain Development Kit, that shows how to implement CI/CD for smart contracts and infrastructure as code using Visual Studio Code, GitHub, Azure DevOps and OSS from Truffle.

“The Azure Blockchain Development Kit is the next step in our journey to make developing end to end blockchain applications accessible, fast, and affordable to anyone with an idea,” Mercuri said. “It is built atop our investments in blockchain and connects to the compute, data, messaging, and integration services available in both Azure and the broader Microsoft Cloud to provide a robust palette for a developer to realize their vision.”