AWS Device Farm vs Microsoft Mobile Center

Someone at worked asked if I have ever used AWS Device Farm. I have never used it, but testing mobile apps in the cloud against hundreds of device profiles on real devices sounds like the way to go. It would be hard for us to build and manage a device farm on premise.

AWS Device Farm

After reading up on AWS Device Farm, I discovered that it is a mobile app testing service. It allows you to run tests on Android and iOS devices in the cloud with automated tests against multiple devices at once. It also allows you to run a manual test on a real devices in real time (awesome!!!). You can view video, screenshots, logs, and performance data on your tests to get deep insights into your app.

Microsoft Mobile Center

I went to a Xamarin meetup and learned that Microsoft Mobile Center is basically the same thing as AWS Device Farm, but it covers the entire continuous delivery pipeline for iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices:

  • Build
  • Test
  • Dstribute to app store
  • Monitor crashes and analytics

The build part was compelling for me because it allows me to build iOS in the cloud without having to own a Mac.

It also provides integration with:

  • Git repositories on GitHub or Visual Studio Online (Bitbucket coming soon).
  • Azure Table Data Storage for online/offline data storage and sync.
  • Azure Identity for app user identity management.

Differences

The major difference between them is scope. Device Farm is concerned only with testing in the cloud. Mobile Center is concerned with hosting your entire continuous delivery pipeline in the cloud. So, this is like comparing React to Angular, two different levels of abstraction.

Device Farm doesn’t provide Windows platform testing, but I don’t think that is a deal breaker for many people right now. It also doesn’t support any other continuous delivery automation outside of the test stage. So, you will have to find other services for build, distribute, and monitor or script your own automation.

Mobile Center doesn’t have Remote Access like Device Farm, but you could always write an automated test for the manual actions you’d like to reproduce.

Disclosure

I don’t have any real world experience with either solution. This is a surface level comparison based on docs and demos. I’m a little biased towards Microsoft because I am primarily a .Net developer, so yell at me if I was too unfair to Device Farm.

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