Visual Studio Mobile Center is now Visual Studio App Center. Learn more here.
The first step in the life of a mobile app is build automation, which builds the app and runs required tests to make sure the app follows required rules. Build automation is also the first step towards shipping high quality, five-star mobile apps. When building iOS and Android mobile applications, one of the main challenges is getting all the required tools and SDKs installed properly to successfully build the app and run the tests.

Imagine having a build machine that would build your Xamarin mobile apps irrespective of the platform, version, development technology, or form-factor targeted. Then, imagine running tests on that build using hundreds of unique, physical devices. Visual Studio App Center does just that, allowing you to set up a virtual machine for build automation.

Visual Studio App Center lets you collaborate on different steps in your mobile app’s lifecycle, be it build, test, distribute, analyze, or finding app crashes after the app is already in app stores. Here are a few of the features in Visual Studio App Center that give you this functionality:

  • Create organization: Collaborate with colleagues or guests to manage different tasks in your app’s lifecycle. Members of the organization can have different roles and permissions, such as administrator or collaborator.
  • Support for code-repositories: Visual Studio App Center can pull code hosted in Visual Studio Team Services, GitHub, or BitBucket.
  • Signing builds: Upload your certificates to sign the builds, so they can be tested and distributed automatically after every push.
  • Test Automation: Using different frameworks, builds can be automatically be tested on multiple physical devices.

For the animation shown in this blog post, I used the TranslateIT app, a Xamarin.Forms app that uses Microsoft Cognitive Services for text translation. The code repository for this app is stored on Visual Studio Team Services. The app with code is available on GitHub