Amazon Web Services has launched an SDK (software development kit) intended to make it easier for developers to build Microsoft .Net applications for cloud computing.

The free AWS SDK for .Net includes the AWS .Net Library, featuring "developer-friendly" APIs for .Net that hide low-level plumbing associated with programming for the AWS cloud. APIs cover functions like authentication, request retries and error-handling. The downloadable SDK also includes Visual Studio project templates, C# code samples and documentation.

The SDK comes at a time when Microsoft continues to promote its own Windows Azure cloud platform, which is expected to again be in the forefront at the Microsoft PDC (Professional Developers Conference) in Los Angeles next week. An AWS representative, however, said the SDK was being offered in response to customer demand, not to Azure. 

"Using the SDK, developers will be able to build solutions for AWS infrastructure services, including Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service), Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud), and Amazon SimpleDB," Amazon said in a statement. "With the AWS SDK for .Net, developers get started in minutes with a single, downloadable package complete with Visual Studio project templates, the AWS .Net library, C# code samples, and documentation."

"The AWS SDK for .Net makes it even easier for Windows developers to build .Net applications that tap into the cost-effective, scalable, and reliable AWS cloud," Amazon said.

Amazon's SDK requires .Net Framework 2.0 or later. The SDK can be used with Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition or later, Microsoft Visual C# 2008 Express Edition or Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition.

The SDK library and sample application source code are offered under the Apache 2.0 licence.