Three new features have been added to the developer preview of Windows Azure Active Directory.
Developers using the Windows Azure Active Directory preview now have access to new features. The three improvements are the ability to create a standalone Windows Azure AD tenant; a preview of the Directory Management User Interface; and write support in the GraphAPI. The additions bring Windows Azure Active Directory more into the realm of a full standalone cloud directory supported by a strong set of developer APIs.
The ability to create a new Windows Azure AD tenant means you can create an organizational domain and user accounts without needing to sign up for Office 365, Intune or any other Microsoft service. AD tenants created in this way are free of charge for the duration of the preview.
The second improvement is a preview of the Windows Azure Active Directory Management UI. The new interface means administrators of any service that uses Windows Azure AD as its directory (Windows Azure Online Backup, Windows Azure, Office 365, Dynamics CRM Online and Windows InTune) can use the Windows Azure Active Directory preview portal to manage the users, groups, and domains used in their Windows Azure Active Directory, and to integrate their on-premises Active Directory with their Windows Azure Active Directory.
It’s worth noting that if you log in using your existing Windows Azure AD account from Office 365 or another Microsoft service, you’ll be working with live data, so any changes made through this UI will affect live data in the directory and will be available in all the Microsoft services your company subscribes to. The suggestion is that during the preview you might want to create a new tenant and new set of users rather than experimenting with live data.
The addition of write access for the Windows Azure Active Directory Graph API means that your apps can write data to the directory. This update includes support for create, delete and update operations for users, groups and group membership; contact management; returning the thumbnail photo property for users; and setting JSON as the default data format.
There’s an updated Visual Studio sample application and a Java version.