Visual Studio Mobile Center, all in one!
If you are looking for the technical post about Visual Studio Mobile Center, this is not the correct one. However I am writing another in which I show you how to configure each section. It will be online very soon 🙂
As I mentioned in the previous post about Visual Studio Mobile Center, nowadays mobile developers should have a complete process until, during and after development. I know the DevOps word is ringing in recent times for all the places, but this is not only a fashion way of work. I am sure we not only need it on the developer side but also from the app side. Some people called it “culture”, others “methodology” but I prefer calling it “DevOps Mobile process” which defines phases into this process like Builds, Testing and Distribution in automated cycles but also Monitoring and Analytics to have a complete tracking of the app on production.
The Visual Studio Mobile Center is the new generation of HockeyApp and Xamarin Test Cloud to implement our DevOps process. We will be able to have a complete automated lifecycle of your apps in one place. Some time ago I invested a lot of time using Visual Studio Team Services where I had to create Build and Release definitions, link a HockeyApp account, etc…but it was not so good. What is more, if we wanted to use the Xamarin Test Cloud or Xamarin Insight we should access to another webapp to check that. Today we can enjoy working with MC which provide us all the mentioned tools and more. This is a portal purely focused on the App development excluding the backend or services which your app consumes. For now it supports Xamarin, UWP, React Native, Objective-C, Swift for iOS and Java for Android.
- Fast configuration. You can get all the tools working with a few clicks
- Minimalist UI
- We can add any email account for distribution (no needed to be part of Active Directory)
- Git repositories connection available: GitHub, BitBucket and VS Team Services.
- Currently Mobile Center is free (there is not a price yet and they are collecting feedback).
- Does not support Unit tests.
- Not allow to connect an external Pool Agent as we can do in VSTS for Build step. It means we are tied to the Azure Virtual Machines.
- Xamarin.mac apps can not be distributed.
- Does not exist a mobile app for distribution as HockeyApp has and neither a QR code to get the distribution url.
If you remember in the Preview version there were Tables and Identity sections but they are not there anymore. Anyway If we are using tables and their endpoints, we can access them by the Azure Portal.
All the projects in HockeyApp and Xamarin Test Cloud are migrating to MC very soon and we will can login using those credentials. Unlike Xamarin Insight projects where they recommend to move them to HockeyApp as soon as you can to be automatically migrated later.
You can find some tips which maybe help you at the begginig.
- GitHub connection – If you are connecting a personal repo you would not have disadvantages. But maybe if you are into an Organization you won’t see the repo. In that case you should request permission to the Organization admin: Your Settings > Autorized OAuth > Mobile Center > Request permissions.
- Distribution – If the email is not sent, be sure the Build version number is automatically changed in the Build options, I the number does not change, you won’t get the next notifications by email.
- Distribution link – You can create a public group in order to get a static link where your last build will be hosted and ready to be downloaded.
Below I list the most important things for all the sections:
- Apps & data from HockeyApp visible in Visual Studio Mobile Center
- Apps & data from Xamarin Test Cloud visible in Mobile Center
- macOS and tvOS SDK support for Analytics and Crashes services
- Support for customizing your build definitions: secret variables
- Support for release to Apple Store and Testflight
You can check the Roadmap here.
Mobile Center is on testing phase and there is not price at the moment so they are working to define a competitive pricing in the short term. Also they are thinking to have a MC with free services for low-scale Apps.
We haven’t settled on a pricing model yet. However, we’re committed to making it both (a) affordable for independent developers and (b) scalable for large enterprises. During the preview period the service is free. Our top priority is collecting user feedback so that we can deliver a suite of services that are valuable to your development workflow and business.
When we announce pricing, you can be sure it will include a free tier that enables anyone to try our core services free-of-charge. Also, developers of modest needs to use our core services within reasonable limits in perpetuity.
If you want to implement a very complete DevOps workflow in a few minutes and without complex processes you should try Visual Studio Mobile Center. It will give you a valuable platform in which you can find all you need during and after your mobile project development. For now we are able to use almost all the platform for free, so try this!