Visual Studio App Center: A New But Familiar Upgrade for HockeyApp Customers

Visual Studio App Center

You’re a HockeyApp user and you’re using the service for beta distribution, crash reporting, and analytics for your Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows apps. You may also use the service’s powerful workflow integrations to help you better make better apps. It’s likely you’ve also heard of Visual Studio App Center and know that it’s somehow related to HockeyApp.

In this post, I compare the two services, filling in the blanks for those customers who haven’t spent time with App Center. If you know the details about App Center, great! If you don’t, then I’m going to tell you why App Center is better than HockeyApp and explain why, even as a happy HockeyApp customer, you should start looking at App Center today. I’ll also show you how to get started with App Center, highlighting the special features designed to help the HockeyApp customer feel at home in App Center.

Stronger, Faster, Ready for Action.

With App Center, we knew we wanted to enhance HockeyApp’s existing capabilities, rather than bolt new capabilities on to an existing product. So we decided to build App Center from the ground up as a complete set of DevOps services for app developers, housing Build, Test, Deploy, Analytics, Diagnostics, Push, and more, in a complete, integrated solution. App Center is the upgrade to HockeyApp you’ve been waiting for, and we think you’ll love it.

More Services Under One Roof

App Center delivers more services than HockeyApp, all in one place. You’re already building your apps and executing a range of tests on devices, let App Center manage those processes for you as well. Many customers complain about the pain of managing an Apple Macintosh for iOS and macOS builds. Let us manage your builds for you in our secure cloud build service. Keeping all of the popular devices (across multiple OS versions) is painful and expensive as well, use our cloud test lab and focus on your tests, not maintaining devices.

Distribute to App Stores

Streamline your distribution workflow even further by submitting a release to app stores (Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Microsoft Intune) extending your distribution pipeline beyond what HockeyApp can do today. QA and your Alpha and Beta testers validate that a build is stable, once you’re ready, submit for review to the public app stores: all without leaving App Center. App Center’s Build integration even makes it possible to automatically submit to stores on successful builds.

Automated iOS Profile Management

For iOS apps, managing your provisioning profiles is painful. Testers can’t install releases until their device is added to your app’s provisioning profile. Adding devices to the profile requires multiple steps, and they must be completed every time a new tester is added to your pool. With App Center’s auto-provisioning, we take the hassle out of the iOS tester device management. When a tester hits “Install”, App Center handles everything in the background and delivers a new app binary ready for that tester auto-magically. No email sent out to all testers, and no work required by you. With App Center, iOS developers spend less time managing device provisioning, and more time creating and shipping great apps.

Better Crashes and Analytics

App Center delivers the next generation capabilities for Analytics, Crashes, Distribution, and Error reporting. This includes improved analytics capabilities, integration with build for symbol upload, support for Handled Exceptions (Xamarin Apps) and Crash event breadcrumbs.

We’ve improved analytics a lot from HockeyApp: not only making them more useful and rich, but also more easily digestible with a beautiful dashboard. App Center helps you answer the questions you care about.

Enterprise Integration

App Center integrates with Azure Active Directory (AAD) and Intune so that you are in control of who receives the latest update and your app gets securely delivered. It has never been as easy and secure to deploy your line of business apps as now with App Center’s Intune integration. In one flow it is now possible to make your app Intune Application Protection Policies (APP) compliant and deploy it to your Intune company portal for safe distribution.

Integration with Intune APP is a preview feature, but you can request access here.

Get More Work Done

As you can see, there’s a lot more in App Center than you have today with HockeyApp and we’re investing in new services and capabilities for App Center every day! Have ideas for features? We’d love to hear how we can make your experience in App Center even better!

Get Started With App Center

HockeyApp customers should get started App Center today. As a HockeyApp user, we’ve already migrated your apps to App Center. All you need to do is sign-in to App Center with your existing HockeyApp credentials, and you’ll find your HockeyApp apps ready to go. You can get your work done in App Center through the side-by-side experience, or continue using HockeyApp as you normally would.

As I’ve shown here, App Center is the next generation of HockeyApp, and there’s a lot of reasons to start using App Center today. All your existing HockeyApp data and configurations are already available to you in App Center, so you can start exploring today. Eventually we’ll ask you to migrate, but we’ll do what we can to make the migration as seamless as possible. In the meantime, continue to enjoy HockeyApp as you give App Center a whirl!


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