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Microsoft Gives Up on Visual Studio App Center MBaaS, Riling Developers

Microsoft is giving up on making its Visual Studio App Center a Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (MBaaS) to concentrate on DevOps functionality, and many developers aren't happy about it.

The volley of complaints echoes past criticisms of the company for introducing a technology that gets adopted by developers only to symbolically pull the rug out from under them by discontinuing the project. One of many complaints read as follows:

"Great… we developed now for over 6 months our app app that is based on appcenter… push and so on… NOW that we have finished it and put it into the stores… microsoft turns everything off…? How shall small companies afford another XXXXX€ or $ to let them have their apps reprogrammed….?"

Microsoft describes the open source App Center as "mission control for apps," helping developers automatically build an app, test it on real devices, distribute it to beta testers, collect crash reports and user analytics and so on. It originally targeted mobile developers but desktop app support was added last year.

Last May, the company announced "the start of the App Center Mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) offering" with the addition of previews of Auth, and Data -- which joined Push -- for authentication, data processing and push notifications.

Last week, the company announced they were all going away.

"We are discontinuing efforts in the Auth, Data, and Push services and working to retire these preview services in App Center," said John Wargo, principal program manager for Visual Studio App Center. "With this change, we will focus App Center on delivering a world-class mobile and desktop DevOps experience. We will also work together with Azure teams to help migrate developers to the native Azure services, and ensure that Azure continues to be a great platform for your mobile apps."

Comments on the post are still rolling in today, and many are on the negative side, like these:

  • "This is Horrible news. These features were the entire reason I went with app center. I'm just starting out as a business and this actually may even sink me. Shame in you Microsoft."
  • "Honestly, this sucks. We invested so much of our time in the Push service at the expense of Microsoft's short-sighted product decisions. Now, we have to spend months migrating everything to another service. This is not the first time Microsoft has been disappointing to say the least."
  • "Very disappointing. The App Center Push integration did seem to make this a much better experience. The vast majority of apps require Push Notifications and it made sense they were a part of App Center."
  • "This is a real bummer…"
  • "VSAC is a great product and the fact that it has stalled for over a year now, and you are now removing features from it, is cause for great concern. I wonder how long before VSAC itself gets mothballed. If you drop services like this, while other services like Firebase still have them and add to them daily, where do you think your customers will go?"
  • "SERIOUSLY, MICROSOFT, this is very disappointing."
  • "Pfffff, honestly you just don't care about your clients at ALL. Microsoft is not reliable anymore."
  • "I was so happy to see Push services ready to go, but happiness was not long.."
  • "Truly disappointing to learn it today when I was about to start new app."

While the MBaaS services are being discontinued, Microsoft has proposed native Azure alternatives for developers to adopt before the May 3, 2020, cut-off date, after which Auth and Data services will no longer be available in the App Center portal (Push will work for an as-yet-undetermined while longer):

"Thank you for participating in all our early previews, actively engaging in calls with our team, and sharing your feedback to collectively build App Center," Wargo concluded. "Over the next 6 months, we'll be hard at work with a list of DevOps focused improvements, and can't wait for you to see them!"

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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