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Mobile Build Services


Course Introduction
Mobile Build Services
Distribution Groups
Analytics and Diagnostics

The course is part of this learning path

AZ-400 Exam Prep: Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions
Mobile Build Services
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



In this module, we will be discussing App Center Build services. Build services allow you to connect to your code repository and trigger a build when code is committed. This is an optional service, and it's up to you to decide if App Center build services will work for your application or not. You also have the option to use Azure DevOps Pipelines or you can also simply upload pre-built application files for testing and release. To help you determine if build services will be appropriate for your application or not, let's talk about the capabilities of the build service.

Build services can build mobile applications for iOS, Android, Windows Platforms, and tvOS respectively. For iOS, App Center supports the Swift and Objective C programming languages, and for platforms, it supports React Native, Xamarin, and Cordova is currently in preview. For Android, the supported languages are Java and Kotlin, and supported platforms are React Native, Xamarin, and again Cordova in preview. Windows Operating system platforms are Universal Windows Platform, Windows Presentation Foundation, WinForms, and Unity. tvOS currently only supports Objective C and swift.

The currently supported code repositories are GitHub, GitLab, BitBucket, and Azure Repos, but this service offering will likely continue to grow as App Center expands and improves. You are able to connect by giving app center third party access to your code repositories. When you build your application, you can perform a one-time configuration that allows you to sign any of your builds so that you can distribute your application to groups of users such as testers or to the respective app stores. Unsigned builds can only be run on an emulator, so if you plan to distribute your mobile application, signing your build is mandatory. Build signing is a way to ensure that no one other than you can update your application.

Your mobile applications are built using single-use VMs that are expressly spun up to build your application, after which they are immediately torn down to ensure that you have a clean environment and to maintain the security of your application.

Builds for iOS and Android by default use a macOS VM with common development and runtime software installed. You can find the list of software installed here at this URL.

Windows mobile applications are built using a Microsoft hosted agent running windows and visual studio. You also have the option to build your Android applications using this configuration although it's not the default setting. You can find the relevant information for the VM and software installed here at this URL.

Now that we know what's included in the build services, let's go take a look at our build services demo.

About the Author
Kelso Sharp

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.