• 3 min read

Essential tools and services for building mobile apps

See how Azure, Visual Studio, Xamarin, and Visual Studio App Center give you the flexible, yet robust, tools and services to build, test, deploy, and continuously improve Android and iOS apps.

This blog post was co-authored by Rajen Kishna, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Azure Marketing – App Development.

Azure, Visual Studio, Xamarin, and Visual Studio App Center give you the flexible, yet robust tools and services to build, test, deploy, and continuously improve Android and iOS apps that your users will love. Use your favorite language and tools, to tap into robust cloud services, and quickly scale to millions of users on demand.

Cloud services for mobile developers

Azure provides many services to help you build cloud-connected mobile apps, including Mobile Backend as a Service, Data, and Artificial Intelligence (outlined below), as well as services to support additional functionality, including Search, Identity, and Communication.

Mobile Backend as a Service

Azure Functions is a serverless backend for your mobile apps, where you just enter your code (whether C#, JavaScript, Python, or any other supported language) and it executes on demand, triggered by events you can define. It is a fast way to get backend code up and running.

If you need a more complete solution, the Mobile Apps feature of Azure App Service provides you with a backend that can be written in C# or Node.js, giving you features such as data storage and offline sync of that data, user authentication, and push notifications. App Service backends come with autoscaling, setting you up for success when your app grows.


Every cloud-connected app needs data storage, and Azure offers a range of solutions that fit your needs. With Azure Cosmos DB, you get extremely low latency and massively scalable database that’s easily replicated worldwide. There is also Azure SQL Database, the intelligent, fully-managed relational cloud database, and a range of Azure Storage solutions to store files, unstructured objects, queues, or NoSQL databases.

Artificial Intelligence

Azure Machine Learning brings Artificial Intelligence capabilities to every developer. You can define learning models and perform computations on a massive scale. Azure Machine Learning Studio gives you an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that enables code-free experimentation.

For more ready-to-use AI services, take a look at Cognitive Services, which offers a growing suite of services for image processing, natural language processing, speech recognition, and more.

Cross-platform mobile app development with .NET

With Visual Studio and Xamarin, you can create mobile apps for Android and iOS while sharing up to 95%+ code using C#. With Azure, you can add turn-key, scalable, and flexible cloud services to keep users coming back for more with mobile-essential capabilities, like backend services, push notifications, data storage with offline sync, artificial intelligence, and much more.​

Take your .NET skills to mobile with Visual Studio and Xamarin:

We created a one-stop guide to the most relevant cloud services that Azure has to offer to you as a mobile developer with Visual Studio and Xamarin: Mobile apps using Xamarin + Azure.

Native iOS and Android app development

Whether you build apps in Visual Studio and Xamarin or are using Objective-C, Swift, Java, or React Native, Visual Studio App Center simplifies end-to-end development, so you ship faster, get continuous feedback, work on the right problems, and deliver valuable updates to users.

Connect your code repo and set up your CI/CD pipeline in just a few clicks: build in the cloud, test on real devices, distribute apps to beta testers and app stores, and monitor real-world usage with crash and analytics data. App Center is API-first, so you choose which services work for you, and quickly integrate with Azure services – like Functions or App Insights to go deep into analytics, set up a continuous release pipeline, and more.

See how to set up your app CI/CD pipeline in minutes:

Every developer, and every development team, is unique, so we will meet you where you are and grow with you. We help you focus on building great apps and take care of how they run and scale.

Ready to start?

Get started today by downloading Visual Studio and Xamarin, creating your free Visual Studio App Center account, and exploring Azure services you can add to your apps.