Introducing the App Center Slack App


Visual Studio Mobile Center is now Visual Studio App Center. Learn more here.
 
I’m Amanda, and I’m passionate about optimization, making processes more efficient, and building apps that improve the world. I'm always looking for ways to save time, whether it’s in personal projects or in my work as a App Center Program Manager, where I spend my days building technology that helps developers deliver better apps faster. My favorite recent project and ultimate time-saver is the App Center Slack App.

Our goal at App Center is to empower developers, bringing our tools to you in ways that fit into the way you work so you can focus on building rock-star apps. We know that many developer teams span multiple continents and time zones, using Slack, Microsoft Teams in Office 365, and other real-time messaging apps as part of their day-to-day workflows.

After evaluating the most popular App Center activities, our latest project gives you yet another way to surface your App Center information and take action directly from your team messaging services, starting with Slack.

Access App Center’s Services in Slack, No Toggling Required

The App Center Slack App allows developers to access and invoke App Center services, including Build, Distribute, Crashes and Analytics, directly from your chat and channel windows. For those times when you need (or want) to pull information into a Slack message, we’ve made key app actions and metrics easily accessible so you and your team can quickly follow up with next steps.

Simply put, the App Center Slack App enables you to easily schedule your next build, or automatically pull in and share your apps’ analytics and crash data in specific Slack channels and direct messages using slash commands.

Build

Continuous cloud builds are central to CI/CD, and App Center makes triggering builds as automatic as possible. Now, we’re bringing that same functionality to Slack.

Run the slash command `/appcenter build ` to trigger a build of a branch in App Center. Once the build successfully executes, you’ll receive an email notification (based on your preferences). To access and , run `/appcenter build`. You’ll see a list of your apps; use the interactive UI buttons to select which app and branch you’d like to schedule a build for.

After kicking off your build, @ mention critical team members to give them immediate visibility.

Crash

You need to know about and respond to crashes as quickly as possible, and App Center helps you continuously monitor your app data and find ways to improve your users’ experience. With our Slack App, you can pull your latest data straight into conversations with your team.

Run the slash command `/appcenter crashes ` to view crash information in Slack.

Quickly share with your team, either directly @ mentioning people after invoking the Crash command in a public channel, or run the Crash command in a direct or group message. This gives you another way to make sure the most appropriate (or available) team members are assigned the next steps and take immediate action.

Help

When in doubt, use slash command `/appcenter help` to see a full list of commands and actions.

Get Started

Ready to spend more time shipping and say ‘no’ to toggling? Get up and running with the App Center Slack App in less time than it takes to read your hacker news!

  1. Download the App Center Slack App, and follow the step-by-step documentation on how to get started.
  2. To get your unique token, navigate to https://mobile.azure.com/settings/apitokens and create a new Full Access API token (requires that you’re logged into App Center).
  3. Run the slash command `/appcenter login ` command to authorize the app.
  4. Rejoice, you’re all set!

 

Here's a list of all of the current App Center Slack App commands:

  • /appcenter login : One time setup, allowing App Center access via Slack
  • /appcenter logout : Clean up authorization info
  • /appcenter build : Trigger a new app build
  • /appcenter analytics : View Analytics information
  • /appcenter invite : Invite a new app tester
  • /appcenter crashes : View Crash information
  • /appcenter help : View all App Center commands

Pro tip: Pin a specific App Center app to a Slack channel or message to invoke slash commands for that app and keep everyone on the same page.

Run the slash command `/appcenter`
Click on “set current app” to choose the default app.
To remove the default app, run the slash command `/appcenter` and click on “clear current app.”

 

App Center Slack App Tips for Super Users

One of my favorite App Center Slack App commands is `/appcenter analytics `. This slash command makes it easy to check the health of your apps, pulling the number of daily, weekly, and monthly active users, as well as the daily sessions per user (and the respective deltas) for a specific app into direct messages or group channels.

Run `/appcenter analytics` to see a list of apps that you own or have permissions for.
To select specific apps, either include your app name in the command `/appcenter analytics `, or enter`/appcenter` to view all available commands and use the interactive UI buttons to select analytics for the desired app.

If you notice daily and weekly active users declining, engage a Product Manager (@ mentioning or sharing to another channel) to brainstorm reasons, collect user feedback, determine if feature updates are required, and reverse the trend. Ideally, your usage is up, and you’re giving emoji-filled kudos to the team and recognizing their work.

Another must-have command is `/appcenter invite`. You likely chat with teammates about your apps and you might decide that you’d like to invite them to test them and provide feedback, or to help you recreate a scenario.

Now, with one line of text and the App Center Slack App, you can add beta testers to your App Center Distribution groups without leaving your conversation window. High speed efficiency, FTW! 😊

Get started and send us your feedback!

We’re building App Center to make it easier to bring CI/CD into your existing workflows, providing you with a better developer experience and a faster, interactive way to access data and ship better apps.

With the App Center Slack App, we’re bringing critical App Center services to yet another part of your day, so taking action is always at your fingertips.

Our team’s mantra is API-first, which enables great integrations. We’ll continue to add more capabilities to the app Center Slack App (such as invoking push notifications, test runs, and more), bring the same capabilities to Microsoft Teams, and integrate with additional tools and services.

To check out the App Center Slack App, log in to App Center (or create your free account today) and download the App Center Slack App to get started.

We’re keen to hear what you’d like to see next!


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