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Adding Mobile Devices to Your Azure DevOps Strategy


Course Introduction
Mobile Build Services
Distribution Groups
Analytics and Diagnostics

The course is part of this learning path

Course Introduction
1h 6m

This course dives into creating a DevOps strategy for mobile applications using the Visual Studio App Center. The App Center gives us a centralized location where we can implement build services, carry out mobile UI testing with multiple devices sets, create public and private distribution groups, and perform release management for our distribution groups.

Build services include tvOS, iOS, Android, Xamarin, and more. UI testing includes UI testing across many popular flagship devices and uses a tier system to gradually cycle out older devices as newer ones become available. Distribution groups allow for deploying new releases to multiple types of users and can be utilized across multiple applications or projects. This course explains many of the options and services available in the App Center and provides guided demonstrations with a mobile app to show how each of these available services works.

By the end of this course, you should know how to utilize App Center to implement a DevOps strategy for integrating and deploying a mobile application. If you have any feedback relating to this course, please contact us at support@cloudacademy.com.

Learning Objectives

  • Create an App Center account and build a new application
  • Perform UI tests in both the App Center CLI and Azure DevOps pipeline
  • Create public and private distribution groups and release apps to them
  • Understand and use the analytics and diagnostics provided by App Center

Intended Audience

This course is intended for DevOps and IT professionals who are looking to implement a DevOps strategy for mobile applications using Visual Studio App Center to build, test, distribute, and deploy their mobile applications. This course is also useful for those preparing to take Microsoft's AZ-400 exam.


To get the most out of this course, you should know how to build and upload mobile applications if you are not using the build tools provided by the App Center. You should know how to work with Node package manager and have NPM installed or know how to install it. You should also be fairly comfortable with using command-line interface tools.


You can find the project files for a sample mobile application in the following GitHub repository: https://github.com/kelsosharp/MobileDevOps



Hi, my name is Kelso Sharp, I have been writing web applications for the past 20 years. I'm also a Microsoft Certified Professional and an Azure Cloud Architect. I've been working with the Microsoft web development stack since 1996. Welcome to my course on implementing mobile DevOps strategy.

In this course, we will be discussing and demonstrating how to implement a mobile DevOps strategy. If you run into any issues during the course, please feel free to email support@cloudacademy.com and the team here at Cloud Academy we'll do our best to help you get your issues sorted out as quickly as possible. As always, please remember to rate my course and provide feedback as I'm always looking to improve my courses.

Visual Studio App Center is a collection of common services and integrated tools that are part of Microsoft Azure. It allows you to create a mobile DevOps strategy for building, testing, and releasing your mobile applications. With App Center, you can perform build and automated UI testing for iOS, Android, Universal Windows Platform, and tvOS, using different native and web-based testing frameworks.

Just like Azure DevOps pipelines, App Center can trigger builds and distribute your releases. It also provides you with a way to test your mobile applications on real devices. You can group devices together into a set and create a test series that has one or more device sets. In a future module, we'll talk about device sets, device series, and device tiers.

Although compared to Azure DevOps, App Center is a little bit more streamlined and build and release functionality is not quite as robust. However, it makes up for this with the ability to do testing on real devices and with its integration with Azure DevOps pipelines. We will go through a demo on how to integrate apps in our UI testing and distribution into an Azure DevOps pipeline in a future module. If you'd like to know more about Azure DevOps pipelines, you can check out one of my other courses here on Cloud Academy called Implementing and Managing Azure Build Infrastructure.

Implementing a mobile DevOps strategy can involve a number of tasks such as continuous integration, continuous delivery, and user interface testing. One of the greatest challenges to mobile development is the ability to run the same application across hundreds of different devices and still achieve the same user experience.

This necessitates the need to do testing that spans multiple device tiers, multiple operating systems, and multiple device manufacturers. This could be a truly expensive and daunting task. Lucky for us, this is where App Center comes to the rescue.

As I mentioned, App Center has a number of services and tools for creating a strategy for building and releasing our mobile applications. These tools are build services which uses built-in agents or custom scripts to perform built functions, Test Runs, which is an automated UI testing tool that runs our unit tests on a real device or set of devices.

App center supports iOS, Android, Universal Windows Platform, and tvOS. Your mobile applications can also utilize App Center's analytic and diagnostic services to collect data about your application and how it's being used. This can give valuable insights and how to improve your application, what new features to add, and to find undiagnosed issues that will surely show up from time to time.

App Center allows you to automate your release process and distribute your application to testers prior to releasing it to the various app stores. This can reduce the possibility of missed tests and rejected app store approvals, which can be time-consuming and costly.

This course is intended for IT and DevOps professionals that need to implement a DevOps strategy for mobile applications, IT professionals that wanna learn more about mobile DevOps options in Azure, and anyone looking to increase their knowledge on how to deploy mobile applications using Visual Studio App Center.

For this course, you should have an understanding of DevOps processes, you should be able to set up your IDE or integrated development environment for mobile application development. You should be able to install Node Package Manager and other command-line tools if you intend on following along in the demos. You should have a good understanding of Azure Pipelines, and how to work with YAML files and service connections in Azure DevOps.

In our first module, we'll look at the Visual Studio App Center, what it is, and how it plays into our mobile DevOps strategy. In our second module, we will look at build services and iterate on the build service options available there. Then we'll go through a demonstration of creating an App Center account, creating an organization, connecting to our code repository, and building our application.

From there, we'll have a look at UI testing for multiple device sets and go through a demo of setting up a test series and creating a device set that will allow us to run our UI tests on actual devices. We will do this using both App Center CLI, and Azure DevOps pipelines. Then we'll have a look at distribution groups and how to release our application to these groups. Finally, we will discuss implementing analytics and diagnostics, and demonstrate how to build this functionality into our application.

By the end of this course, you should be comfortable with creating an App Center account, creating an organization, and adding a new application. You should be able to create public and private distribution groups, build your applications, run UI testing across multiple device sets using both App Center Command Line Interface, and Azure DevOps pipelines. Finally, you should be able to understand and use analytics and diagnostics provided by App Center.

Now that we have a plan, let's get started.

About the Author

As well being the owner and CTO of Sharp Solutions Group, a software development and IT staffing company based in the Philippines, Kelso is a Microsoft Certified professional and an avid knowledge seeker. His belief is that you need to learn something new each day to stay on top of the constantly changing IT world. He is an avid gamer (both video games and board games) and lives in the Philippines with his wife and soon-to-be-delivered son.