Here at Microsoft's Build developer conference the company is releasing a new tool in preview and updating another one that has been in preview since last November.
Both of these tools were discussed during the keynote on Day Two and the interesting thing about these tools is they help developers create and debug apps for iOS and Android devices - and these are tools from Microsoft.
For some time now we know that Microsoft has decided to embrace other mobile platforms to make sure that the mobility of the user experience stretches across the many devices customers of Microsoft use. At many times this is a frustration point for Windows 10 users because those same apps and experiences come to the platform after their release on iOS and Android - that is if they get built in the first place.
However, Microsoft's message today on stage is that if there is a Windows device somewhere in a users stable of devices, then it is possible to improve the user experience on other devices across their ecosystem. This will happen by connecting these devices through apps and services and these new tools are meant to facilitate that process for Windows developers.
Xamarin Live Player Preview (New Release)
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 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.
Visual Studio Mobile Center (Updated)
This is a set of cloud services for building and managing 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.
-- 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.
A common theme from Microsoft this week has been that developers are at the center of everything we do and it seems they are willing to help you be successful on any platform you want to build apps for.
It initially seems a strange approach from the company that builds Windows but then again even they have put a lot of effort into building out their apps and services for those other platforms.
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