Introducing Mobile DevOps with Visual Studio Team Services and HockeyApp


Today, we are introducing our new Mobile DevOps process by combining two Microsoft products: Visual Studio Team Services and HockeyApp. Together these tools automate the DevOps lifecycle for iOS, Android and Windows device apps. Every code commit can trigger a build, and deploy the app to test users. Crash data and user feedback with screenshots are directly collected when running the app, and fed back into work items for the next cycle.

The complexity of mobile app development increases steadily with new devices, new form factors, and new operating system versions. Android runs on over 10,000 device models and even iOS developers now have to consider 5 different device types and 10 screen resolutions when developing universal apps for iOS, tvOS, and watchOS. To succeed in this environment, your project must automate the whole lifecycle: not only build and deployment, but also management of versions and test users, as well as the collection of feedback and telemetry.

Visual Studio Team Services offers source code management, agile planning, continuous integration, release management, and other tools for agile teams. Its cloud-based builds now can stream directly to HockeyApp, which deploys them to your testers. Once your app is installed on a test user’s device, HockeySDK collects usage data, crash reports, and user feedback with screenshots, and will show an alert when the next build is available. Closing the loop, HockeyApp can automatically create work items for a new crash group or feedback thread and keep the status in sync.

Getting Started

Getting started is really easy. Sign in with your Microsoft account and sign up for a new Visual Studio Team Services instance. Up to 5 developers are free with unlimited private code repositories, unlimited agile planning boards, and 4 hours of build time. Once your instance is up and running, you can install the new HockeyApp extension directly from the new Visual Studio Marketplace. The extension enables the following components:

  • A build task to deploy your iOS, Android, or Windows app to HockeyApp.
  • A dashboard widget to quickly jump to your overview, download, or crashes page.
  • A service endpoint for HockeyApp to store your API token.

On HockeyApp, we have added a new Visual Studio Team Services menu item to the Manage App view. With a few clicks, you can connect your account, select your instance & project, set an area path, and configure the automatic push of crash groups and feedback. HockeyApp will also set a web hook from Visual Studio Team Services back to itself, so the work item status can be synced.

When your first build from the continuous integration pipeline arrives on HockeyApp, you will notice two new tabs on the version’s overview page. Commits shows you all source revisions and log messages for this build. Work Items lists the related tasks and bugs. Together with the build’s release notes, you will always have the full overview of the Mobile DevOps cycle.

Our team and many others here at Microsoft are working hard and are very excited about what’s coming next as part of our mobile-first, cloud-first strategy. To share our excitement, HockeyApp now offers a free plan for all developers. Your first two apps are free, with all features enabled, no size or tester limits, and of course the most accurate crash reports. Sign up today for HockeyApp and Visual Studio Team Services!