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New GitHub 'Checks API' Boosts CI for Visual Studio Mobile Center, More

GitHub, the popular development platform and source code repository service, this week announced a new Checks API for better continuous integration (CI) functionality and more.

GitHub said the new public beta of its Checks API lets developers build sophisticated tools for CI, linting and acceptance testing on GitHub. Currently working with the GitHub REST API, support for working with GraphQL is said to be coming soon.

One of the major partners involved with the new effort is Microsoft, which is integrating Visual Studio App Center, its cloud-based lifecycle management service for mobile and other apps, with the GitHub functionality.

App Center provides CI, building, testing, deployment and other automated services for iOS, Android and other apps, including Windows and macOS. By connecting such apps to project repositories, developers can build in the Azure cloud, test on real devices, distribute apps to testers and app stores and so on.

Leveraging the new GitHub Checks API, that will be even easier for those developers using the GitHub platform, known for housing hundreds of thousands of open source and other code repositories.

GitHub said its new API provides much more information beyond simple binary pass/fail build status reports, such as integrated rich status data, annotated lines of code providing more detailed information and more.

For App Center developers, this functionality is streamlined via the new Visual Studio App Center app available in the GitHub Marketplace.

The new integration between App Center and GitHub means Visual Studio developers building apps for iOS, Android, Xamarin and React Native that use mobile repositories on GitHub can install the App Center GitHub app and take advantage of the new Checks API. "Connect your GitHub account to App Center with just a few clicks and start building your code," Microsoft said in a blog post. "GitHub will notify you when it detects you have a mobile project, so you can enable CI on the repository and start automating your process."

The GitHub Checks API also integrates with other continuous integration tools, such as Travis CI, CircleCI and even Microsoft's Outlook.

For its part, Microsoft said, "We designed App Center to simplify and automate the tricky, manual steps of mobile development. After connecting a GitHub repo to App Center, developers can configure apps to build on commit, test automatically on thousands of real devices, distribute to beta testers, collect analytics and crash reports, and even upload to app stores when ready for release.

"All of this is orchestrated within GitHub via the new Checks API, displaying App Center activity on pull requests so developers can keep their entire workflow within GitHub, staying focused on code and automating the rest."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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