All Things Mobile at Microsoft Build

Nat Friedman

We released the Xamarin SDKs as a part of Visual Studio a year ago, open sourcing them in the process. Since then, we’ve been busy improving the experience of mobile developers using Visual Studio, launching iOS simulator remoting, Workbooks, Inspector, the Xamarin.Forms Previewer, and support for iOS 10 and Android N.

In the last year, we’ve also created two new products—Visual Studio for Mac, which Scott Guthrie announced as generally available to all Visual Studio customers yesterday, and Visual Studio Mobile Center (Preview), for which we’re releasing major new updates today.

Today we’ve also released the preview of Xamarin Live Player, a live coding environment to make development and debugging faster.

The IDE loved by millions, now on the Mac: Visual Studio for Mac

Since we released the first Visual Studio for Mac preview six months ago, we’ve been working hard to create a new IDE experience that feels right at home on macOS. Visual Studio for Mac is a full-featured IDE to help you build anything, from mobile and web apps to games.

Whether you use C#, F#, .NET Core, ASP.NET Core, Xamarin, or Unity, you’ll get an amazing experience to create apps, from integrated designers to the packaging and publishing tools. You can publish web apps directly to Azure using the new Publish to Azure wizard, without having to leave the IDE. Solutions and projects work in both Visual Studio for Mac and Visual Studio, making it easy for you to collaborate with anyone on your team on the same projects, across operating systems.

To learn more about what’s new, including preview support for Docker and Azure Functions, read this post by Miguel on the Visual Studio blog. Head over to to download Visual Studio for Mac today.

Develop and debug Android and iOS apps instantly: Xamarin Live Player Preview

Xamarin Live Player enables any developer to get started with Android and iOS development in minutes, with nothing more than just a physical iOS or Android device and Visual Studio. There’s no need to install gigabytes of SDKs and emulators to get started; just download an app and you are ready to go.

Simply pair your device with Visual Studio by scanning a QR code, and hit debug like you normally would. The application is deployed in seconds to the Live Player app, enabling you to quickly develop and test your changes without having to recompile and redeploy your application. And you can set break points and debug your application, on device and over the air.

Live Run is the the second benefit. When you are working on a single screen, view, or segment of code, enter Live Run Current View mode by selecting it from the menu.  Then, simply modify your C# or XAML, and the current view is redeployed as you develop.

The Live Player extensions for both Visual Studio 2017 and Visual Studio for Mac are available today, and the Xamarin Live Player apps can be found in both Google Play and iOS App Store.

For more details, read Miguel’s post on the Xamarin blog.

Build high quality apps, faster with Visual Studio Mobile Center

Last November, we introduced Visual Studio Mobile Center Preview, a set of cloud services for building and managing your mobile apps. Mobile Center is designed for apps targeting iOS and Android, including apps written in Swift, Objective-C, Java, Xamarin, and React Native. It is the next generation of Xamarin Insights, Xamarin Test Cloud, and HockeyApp. Today, we announced several new features for Mobile Center:

  • Windows support: You can now automate builds and distribution, collect user analytics, and deliver push notifications to your UWP users. We’ll have a preview of the Crashes and Test services for UWP applications later this year.

Automate Builds And Distribution

  • You can now use the Build service with your repository from Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS), Bitbucket, and GitHub. It’s never been easier to set up Continuous Integration and Delivery for your app.
  • In addition to Appium and Xamarin.UITest, Mobile Center now supports the platform-specific test frameworks for iOS and Android – XCUITest and Espresso – enabling you to write test scripts in your preferred framework.
  • With the Distribute service, you can promote your successful builds directly to the app stores or your Intune company portal.
  • The new Mobile Center Push service allows you to segment and target users based on analytics data, like geography, network provider, or activity.

Read Keith Ballinger’s post for more details about new services and improvements.

A home run with customers

The Minnesota Twins are early adopters of our latest mobile tools, including Visual Studio for Mac and Mobile Center. They’re recently released an app for scouts to track players and stats. The Twins’ development team is just getting started, with many new features on the roadmap.

According to John Avenson, Vice President, Technology at Minnesota Twins, “Our productivity is key to concentrating on delivering value to the business. Our developers are more efficient because they work in their favorite environments, whether on the PC or Mac. Automated builds and distribution to beta testers and internal stakeholders cuts down our feedback loop, so we can get apps out to users more quickly. With Microsoft’s mobile technology, we support our users today and continuously release new game-changing features.”

We’ve done a lot in the last year, but we’re just getting started. Developers are at the center of everything we do, and we’ll continue to develop and release new tools, technology, and services to help you deliver the best, cloud-connected apps for any platform.

Get started with Visual Studio for Mac, available for download immediately.

Sign up for Visual Studio Mobile Center to start building better apps, faster.


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