Leveraging App Center for your Mobile DevOps Strategy
Visual Studio App Center is a comprehensive mobile DevOps and Mobile Backend platform offered by Microsoft. App Center is unique among mobile platforms in that it provides all the key components needed to support a modern mobile development process in a single, one-stop-shopping platform.
The services App Center provides can be divided into two broad segments: Mobile DevOps and Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS).
Over the last 10 years the idea of providing an operational layer to support agile software development & deployment has become mainstream and is now the de-facto approach for web development projects. Mobile DevOps has many features in common with Web DevOps, and additional components unique to native mobile application deployment.
Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaas)
Most mobile applications leverage backend services to support push notifications, user identity, content management and app data storage. Given the complexity of implementing these services for distributed mobile platforms, using pre-integrated SaaS services provides significant leverage for mobile projects.
Azure Platform Integration
App Center is packaged and deployed as a distinct set of services focused on mobile product development, but its services are built on top of Microsoft's Azure platform. A benefit of being designed as a capstone service over the broader Azure platform is the opportunity to seamlessly integrate underlying and Azure PaaS and SaaS services wherever needed.
Mobile app deployments often start small and grow. App Center offers a generous free tier, making it a good fit for projects that field MVP versions, and then scale as their scope and userbase grows.
App Center Modules
App Center ships as a set of modules that support mobile development and deployment all the way from source code management to post-deployment analytics.
- Build: Build agents to automatically compile and package test or release app binaries.
- Test: Works together with the Build module, automatically executing and reporting on automated unit and UI tests within a build pipeline.
- Distribute: Quickly and automatically release alpha, beta and production code to testers and app stores on each successful build/test cycle.
- Analytics: Collect rich behavioral analytics and provide insights into deployed app quality and user adoption.
- Auth: Pre-integrated user authentication and identity management.
- Data: Provides a cross-platform app database with both online and offline support
- Push: cross-platform push notification delivery and device management services
- Diagnostics: collect application crash events with reporting and issue management.
By integrating all its modules under a single deployment and management platform, App Center provides a streamlined experience for developers, QA and program management team members.
Client Platform Support
Today's mobile applications are often deployed to at least two platforms, with iOS and Android being the most common. Development tools for these platforms are even more varied, so finding a DevOps platform that can build and accurately report on your chosen development platform is critical.
Microsoft supports most of the major mobile development platforms:
- iOS (including tvOS)
- React Native
Want to learn more?
Cuvenx has experience helping clients select the right DevOps and MBaaS platforms. We've implemented App Center--as well as other DevOps platforms, and can help make the right choice and create a DevOps program implementing industry best practices. Get in touch for a free initial consultation to learn more!