Migrating off App Center Push

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Ela

Retiring App Center Push

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced the retirement of the preview MBaaS services in Visual Studio App Center, which include Auth, Data, and Push services. Today we’re providing an update on the App Center Push retirement timeline and details to help you migrate to Azure Notifications Hubs.

We will retire App Center Push on December 31st, 2020 to give you sufficient time to migrate. We’re actively working on bringing the experience of App Center Push to Azure Notification Hubs as you migrate your apps. Our first step is releasing a preview of the Notification Hubs SDK, and we’ll iterate over the SDK features (described below) with your feedback before we GA.

Migrating to Azure Notification Hubs

App Center Push customers recognize that there are some differences in experience between App Center’s offering and Azure Notification Hubs. As we prepare for your migration, we’ve been looking at the top features customers use and desire the most. We are excited to announce a new preview release of the Notification Hubs SDK for Android and iOS that addresses many of those needs. With this update, we simplified the device onboarding process, and added additional features that benefit both existing Notification Hubs customers, as well as those migrating their apps from App Center Push.

SDK Highlights

Here are a few key features of the Azure Notification Hubs SDK.

Device Registration

Getting started with notifications is now much easier given our streamlined registration experience. The new SDK supports automatic device registration with Notification Hubs via Installations and now automatically handles device registration for push notifications once you add the SDK to your app and enable push.

Notification Targeting with Tags

To enable a more personalized notification experience, targeting a specific user or a set of users and devices for a given application is key. App Center Push uses audiences to help developers and marketers target application users in different ways. Notification Hubs customers have a similar capability with Tags. The benefits to using tags is that you can have richer expressions with custom tag expressions as well as near real time targeting.

Tags for Installations

You can add custom tags to a device installation, which allows for developer specified audiences potentially defined by app/OS version, language, country, device model etc.

Tags for Users

App Center Push allows you to associate users with devices, and with the new Notification Hubs SDK, you can achieve the same result by setting a custom userID property tag.

Alert/Silent Notifications

With the Azure Notification Hubs SDK, you can set up a listener and be notified whenever a push notification is received in the background (silent push notification), or an alert has been clicked by the user.

Online/Offline Sync

A background synchronization manager ensures that when a device is offline, all installation changes are tracked and once network connectivity is re-established, they are synchronized with the service.

Enabling/Disabling Push

Just like App Center Push, the Notification Hubs SDK allows applications to enable or disable push. When disabled, push tokens are not refreshed but pushes are still received until the current token expires.

Getting Started with Notification Hubs

To help you get started, we’ve created a push migration guide that walks you through how to setup and use Azure Notification Hubs and start the migration process for your application(s).

Developer Support/Feedback

We want to hear from you along every step of your migration journey and want you to try out the new Notification Hubs SDKs in your apps. We will continue to operate the App Center Push service until December 31st, 2020. We are here to help you through this migration process and encourage you to share any issues, concerns, or feedback through the Azure Notification Hubs repository.

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