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UI Testing in App Center


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
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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



One of the major benefits of testing in the App Center is the ability to test your application on multiple physical devices, without the need to buy the actual devices themselves. App Center provides the ability to create something called a device set. A device set is a set of device configurations grouped together by different options, such as OS version, manufacturer, and device tier. A device here is a value of 1, 2 or 3, with the lower numbers representing the most current hardware released. You can also filter the device list by other options, such as CPU, memory, and form factor.

You can add these device sets to a test series. A test series can be a way to organize different types of tests like smoke test or UI test. You can also use it as a way to group multiple device sets to run them together. There's no limit to the number of device sets or test series you can have.

You can use one of a number of testing frameworks in App Center. The current testing frameworks include Appium, XCUITest, Espresso and Xamarin.UITest. To utilize a testing framework, you simply add one of the chosen frameworks to your solution as you normally would, then create a test run in App Center that is configured to use your testing framework.

App Center takes the unit test framework and utilizes it to run your test on each of the devices in the device set. It takes a screenshot of the test results and creates a test report and adds them to the App Center. 

You can run your tests in App Center by using one of three options. You can use the App Center CLI, the App Center REST API, or you can use an Azure DevOps pipeline task. In a later demo, we will walk through running our tests from the App Center CLI and from an Azure DevOps pipeline. If you'd like to know more information on the App Center API, you can find it at the following URL.

Now that we have a basic understanding of what testing entails in App Center, let's check out the 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.