Introducing App Center: Build, Test, Distribute and Monitor Apps in the Cloud


Today, we launched Visual Studio App Center1, and it is now generally available for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows apps. App Center has everything you need to manage the lifecycle of your apps, including automated builds, testing on real devices in the cloud, distribution to beta testers and app stores, and monitoring of real-world usage through crash and analytics data. Apps written in Objective-C, Swift, Java, C#, Xamarin, and React Native are supported across all features.

Use App Center to release more frequently, with higher quality, and have more time to spend on coding features instead of managing overhead.

Visual Studio App Center overview gif

Easy Steps to Shorter Release Cycles, Better Apps, and More Time

To start, just log in with your GitHub or Microsoft account. Our web-based portal makes shipping high quality apps easy and fun. Additionally, we offer a CLI and a robust REST API to provide you with control and flexibility. Each service in App Center covers a specific area of the app development lifecycle, which can be used separately or together.

Build

App Center’s Build service lets you build Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows apps in the cloud, without maintaining your own server. Just connect to your GitHub, Visual Studio Team Services, or Bitbucket repo, configure a few fields, and queue your build. That’s it—really. You can run a “launch test” to verify your build on real world iOS and Android devices, and customize your build with post-clone, pre-build, and post-build scripts.

Build screenshot for Visual Studio App Center

To learn more, check out Andy Zhang’s deep dive video on Channel 9.

Test

It’s always better to catch bugs before your users do. The Test service lets you perform automated UI tests of your iOS and Android apps on hundreds of configurations and thousands of real devices, from the most modern and popular to older, harder-to-find device setups.

Create tests in a variety of frameworks, including XCUITest, Espresso, Appium, and Xamarin UITest. Run those tests with every commit or on demand. Identify failures quickly with screenshots and videos of every test step, along with CPU and memory usage, stacktraces, and logs.

For more info, watch Glenn Wester’s deep dive video on Channel 9.

Distribute

You need to get the right builds in the right hands at the right time. Building on the power of HockeyApp, you can release your apps to internal users, public beta testers, and App Stores.

App Center supports distribution to:

  • Beta testers or other explicit groups
  • Google Play and Apple's App Store
  • Microsoft Intune

To learn more, watch Garrett Knoll’s deep dive video on Channel 9.

Analytics

Understanding your audience is critical to an app’s success and drives your future development efforts. The Analytics dashboard renders a world map with insights on your audience, including active users, popular device models, and activity. Dive deeper with custom events and associated data. Monitor real-time usage through Log Flow. Automatically export your data to Azure Application Insights and Azure Blob storage for more detailed reporting and historical analysis.

Watch Blanca Delgado’s deep dive video on Channel 9 for more information.

Crashes

Get crash reports throughout the lifecycle of your app, from early prototype to all production stages. Crash reporting lets you monitor the health of your app, with full symbolication for faster debugging, grouped by severity to help you triage. You can even automatically create tickets in your bug tracker from crash reports.

For more info, check out Keerthana Kumar’s deep dive video on Channel 9.

Push

Engage your customers with timely notifications using the Push service. By leveraging analytics data, you can create audiences based on a combination of geography, language, carrier, and device properties, and then send relevant push notifications to these audiences.

Watch Ela Malani’s deep dive video on Channel 9 to learn how.

Help Us Help You

We’re committed to delivering everything you need to ship great apps, in any language, and on any platform. For a list of what’s coming soon, check out our public roadmap. To give us your feedback, just click the chat icon in your Visual Studio App Center portal.

Pricing

Distribute, Analytics, and Crashes are completely free and you can get started with Test on a 30-day free trial. Build and Push offer generous free tiers that should be sufficient for many developers, and there are no surprises beyond those tiers—you only pay for what you use.

So get started today and let us know what you think!
 
 
1At last year's Connect(); 2016 event, we launched the Public Preview of Visual Studio Mobile Center. Listening to your feedback, Mobile Center has been renamed to Visual Studio App Center and extended to support apps across mobile and desktop platforms.


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