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Mobile Center: An E2E tool for Mobile App Build/Test/Deploy/Distribute in Cloud


Its been a dream for the Mobile developers to have an integrated environment to build, test, deploy and distribute the app. Microsoft has effectively implemented mobile center at the right time which would considerably reduce lot many manual effort for app deliverables.As the tool supports x-platform OS, its a boon for all the developers to use the features in an isolated environment.


In this example, we will be running through a Android App sample developed in Xamarin Platform.


a. Xamarin native/form app in VSO.

b. Mobile center login.

1. Goto

2. Click “Add New” Select “Add New app” or “Add new organization”
Add new app – creates an app platform on the same account page
Add new organization – use this when you want to isolate the development for a group of stakeholders. (You can configure People/distribution to a particular group)

3. Goto “Getting Started” Page.

Copy the Code and Paste in in MainActivity.CS file of your android Solution.

Building the App

1. Goto Build. Click Add new. Select the Service where the mobile application is developed

2. Search for the VS Project and select it.

3. Select the branch from the Source. Choose the project for the build. Configure Sign builds if the generated apk to be run in the devices.

Sample Build Result

Testing the App

As like Test Cloud, You can select a device from the list and run any UI Test (Calabash/Xamarin UI/Appium etc). Goto Test.

Click on New Test Run button. Select a device from the list. And click next.

Select the Test Series and Test framework from list below.

Install Node.js in your physical machine and run add the nuget pkg through Command line.

Run the mobile-center command in your command prompt. And you can see the test status as below.

In the UI the run’s are updated and the screenshots are also taken during the run explicitly.

If a test fails, you can view Test Failures.

Distribution Group

Click on Distribute and click on New Group. Create a new group.

And upload the APK file generated with your local build.

Select a distribution group

Once the APK is distributed, users will receive an E-mail to download the APK.

You can view the Crashes as like Hockey App here below.

You can view the Analytics below where it shows the data vs App version and Date range.


  1. to use mobile center in command line, user mobile-center login, use your credentials
  2. “Unable to find the nunit.framework.dll in the assembly directory” – you may have to right-click on the nunit.framework reference and choose Local Copy for it to be included in the output directory.
  3. Invalid assembly path – always put a ” in your path if you donot have.
  4. Latest Nunit framework is not supported.  You need to downgrade the version to 2.6.4

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Mobile Center: An E2E tool for Mobile App Build/Test/Deploy/Distribute in Cloud


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