The Ship List: Mobile Center October Update
Visual Studio Mobile Center is now Visual Studio App Center. Learn more here.
The Mobile Center team has been hard at work adding new functionality and improving existing services. If you attended or watched the Microsoft Ignite live stream, you’ve heard about some of our exciting updates including build scripts, export of analytics data to Azure Application Insights, UI testing support for Android Oreo and iOS 11, better in-app notifications for new releases, and code signing for React Native apps. If you missed it or got too caught up in the excitement, this post will cover some of the coolest features we shipped over the summer.
Whether you are using Mobile Center to build, test, and distribute your app, to learn from your users, or to ship live updates to them, we have something new for you!
Build better, stronger, faster!
For some users, the basic build configuration options are not enough. With build scripts, you can include additional logic to the build process to run at three pre-defined places: right after the repository is cloned and before and after the build itself. All you have is to place to build script files in your repository, as explained here. If you need a bit of inspiration for what build scripts can be used for, check out this previous blogpost.
Regardless of how we easy or complicated our build configuration is, we all want our builds to finish quickly. By caching the most commonly used dependencies, we improved build performance across the board, for all operating systems and authoring choices.
Store and Explore Your Analytics Data
If you’d like to perform more extensive analysis of your raw Analytics data, now you can export it into Application Insights and use the powerful query language Log Analytics to dig deeper. Application Insights also brings new reports such as funnels and retention, allows you to build custom dashboards, and lets you filter your charts based on analytics data and custom events. You can also perform continuous export to Azure Blob storage, providing safe, accessible long-term storage, which you can then process with your preferred warehousing solution.
Ship Five-Star Apps on Android Oreo and iOS 11
Android Oreo and iOS are the cool new kids on the block, and we’re here to help you make friends with them. We want to make sure that your app quality doesn’t suffer, so we have added Android Oreo and iOS 11 devices to our Mobile Center Test device centers. The Mobile Center SDKs also support iOS 11 and Android Oreo, so you can learn about your user’s behavior and find out where and why your app might be crashing, even for apps targeting the latest operating systems. You can continue testing and releasing with confidence without any gaps in understanding what’s happening for your users.
Automate UI testing with existing named device sets
We’ve also noticed that between OS upgrades, many of our users test against the same devices with every run. If that sounds familiar, you can now save your favorite device combinations into named device sets to reuse them at a later time, or simply reference them via the CLI.
In-App Dialog: Ship Updates and Notify Your Users
The easiest way to notify users of an app update is within the app itself. Using the Mobile Center SDK, you easily include an in-app dialog, letting your beta testers and users know when there’s a new update. If your users prefer to get notifications when a new version is released via another application, you can now configure a webhook and notify them via your preferred app, such as Microsoft Teams or Slack.
Even better, you can now customize your release notes in Markdown, so your beta group users can quickly scan what’s new.
Code Sign Support for React Native Apps
Trust is everything, and you want to know that the code you shipped is the code you wrote. In response to popular demand, CodePush now supports Code Signing, so you can push digital signatures for bundles to be validated on the client-side prior to installation.
Fix Critical Bugs as Soon as They Appear
Once your app is instrumented and tracking events, every crash report links to the events that led to the crash. This way, you can more easily investigate why a crash happened. Additionally, when your app is crashing and new crash groups are created, you can choose to automatically create a bug in Visual Studio Team Services. We’re actively working on supporting more integrations with other bug tracking solutions. If you want to be notified when a new crash group is created, you can also set up a webhook and you will get notifications through your application of choice.