Announcing MBaaS Service Retirement

John

Focusing App Center on DevOps

Microsoft has always been focused on enabling developers to be more productive, to achieve their ambitions, and subsequently make the world better for it. We strive to build amazing experiences so that developers can seamlessly build, test, deploy, run, and monitor their code. Earlier last year, we launched the App Center Auth and Data services in early preview. Together with App Center Push, the three services form the App Center Mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) offering, and give developers an easy entry into using Azure as a backend for mobile apps.

At the start of this journey, we prioritized a growth mindset, the creation of a simple portal and SDK experience, and a customer first roadmap that would evolve based on feedback and feature requests submitted via our App Center repo. As we’ve received feedback and our learning matured, we realized that the better long-term path is for developers to use the native Azure services, namely Azure Active Directory B2C, Azure Cosmos DB and Azure Notification Hubs.

As a result, we are discontinuing efforts in the Auth, Data, and Push services and working to retire these preview services in App Center. With this change, we will focus App Center on delivering a world-class mobile and desktop DevOps experience. We will also work together with Azure teams to help migrate developers to the native Azure services, and ensure that Azure continues to be a great platform for your mobile apps.

What This Means to You

Your apps can continue to use these services for now; we want to give you ample time to consider, and implement other options for your apps before we retire the services. The following sections outline our phased MBaaS retirement plan.

Immediate Changes

Starting today, for apps that do not have any of the retired services configured, we removed each from the App Center portal UI. For any apps configured for Auth, Data, or Push, we implemented a migration experience in the portal to walk you through the process of moving from the retired services. For these customers, we recommend the following:

In an upcoming App Center SDK release, we will remove the Auth and Data SDKs. The App Center Auth and Data services will continue to operate until May 3, 2020, to give customers time to migrate to another solution.

Since App Center Push has more sophisticated backend requirements and more complex migration steps, Push will remain available longer to give customers additional time to complete their migration to a different service.

For more information on how to migrate to a corresponding Azure service, please refer to the migration guides for Auth, Data, and Push.

May 3, 2020

After this date, the Auth and Data services will no longer be available in the App Center portal; the services may continue to operate for a short while after this date, but you will not be able to interact with either service using the App Center portal UI.

App Center Push Retirement Timeline

Microsoft is committed to providing the best notification offering possible and we think the best way to do this is to focus our efforts on a single offering in Azure Notification Hubs. We know many of you value the unique features unique to App Center Push and we want to offer similar capabilities in Azure Notification Hubs. With that in mind, we’re working to create a transition plan which causes the least disruption to our existing customers as they move to Azure Notification Hubs.

When we have more details, we’ll communicate the final plan and timeline for App Center Push retirement.

Moving Forward

Thank you for participating in all our early previews, actively engaging in calls with our team, and sharing your feedback to collectively build App Center. Over the next 6 months, we’ll be hard at work with a list of DevOps focused improvements, and can’t wait for you to see them! As you begin your journey to migration, we’ll be with you every step of the way, so feel free to ask any questions via our App Center Support or share your feedback.

57 comments

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  • Dave Ferguson

    Would like to add another voice as to how disappointing this is.

    This was very easy to set up and use and we were able to get a non-developer to take over sending the notifications.
    We have a requirement to send notifications only to users who have logged in to use certain private features of the app, and found the Audience feature very handy for this.
    We’re also logging the App center device id in our own data store with a view to being able to use that but it seems this will become useless information.
    In addition, we have a future requirement to be able to automate sending of these notifications, but if I’m reading correctly you will have to pay $200 a month to be able to do this.

    • John Wargo Microsoft employee

      The problem is that in App Center Audiences are limited to 1,000 devices and for many of our customers that limit prohibited them from using Push the way they needed to for their app. Azure Notification Hubs doesn’t have that limitation and has a lot more flexibility in how you send notifications. I don’t understand your comment about storing the device ID and that being useless information – that’s the best way to do it, store the device ID, and using your app’s internal logic to build the list of devices that need a notification then send to them via the REST API. You could easily build a UI that your non-developer could use to send different types of notifications. You can also use tags, much more flexible than Audiences in Push, to do some very interesting things with large notifications. You do not have to pay $200 to do any of this in Notification Hubs. Feel free to reach out to me first dot last at microsoft.com and I’m happy to work through this with you.

  • TikTok Rocker's

    Honestly, this sucks. We invested so much of our time in the Push service at the expense of Microsoft’s short-sighted product decisions. Now, we have to spend months migrating everything to another service. This is not the first time Microsoft has been disappointing to say the least.

    Very disappointing. The App Center Push integration did seem to make this a much better experience. The vast majority of apps require Push Notifications and it made sense they were a part of App Center.

    • John Wargo Microsoft employee

      Can you help me understand why you feel the transition will take months? We chatted with our top customers before we announced retirement and most indicated it would take a few weeks at tops. What is it about your environment that you think will drive that out? We’re interested in understanding what we can do to help make your transition easier.

  • Ivan Andonov

    Really disappointing!

    Microsoft is not providing any tools for React-Native developers that need offline data synchronisation after this decision.

    Amazon if offering
    https://aws.amazon.com/appsync/

    Can you please advise how to manage this functionality in Azure using React-Native client application?

    Thanks

    • Ela Malani

      App Center doesn’t support Storage and Offline sync for React Native apps. There is another offering from Microsoft – Azure Mobile Apps that enables offline sync capability but it doesn’t have React Native support as well. I’m afraid there is no Azure service that comes to my mind for React Native app development and offline storage.

  • Rinor Mehmeti

    This is really disappointing. App Center Push was simple to use and easy to configure. I have several apps that use App Center push notifications, and what I am supposed to do now? Go back in time and spent hundreds of hours configuring every single app with Azure?! Please consider keeping at least the push service.

  • Jenny Pettersson

    I also am a little bit disappointed about the App Center Push integration retirement 🙁 Anyway, how is the migration plan for Azure Notification Hubs going?