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Release Annotations with Application Insights


In this course, we have covered continuous integration, continuous delivery and continuous deployment. It is time that we set ourselves up in a position where we can gauge what is happening in production.

Microsoft Visual Studio Application Insights (App Insights) is an extensible analytics service that helps you understand the performance and usage of your live web application. It’s designed for developers, to help you continuously improve the performance and usability of your app. What we’re going to explore in this learning step is Release Annotations with Application Insights (AppInsights).

Application Insights

AppInsights works with web apps on .NET or J2EE, hosted on-premises or in the cloud.

AppInsights is aimed at the development team. It can:

  • Detect, triage, and diagnose performance issues and fix them before most of your users are aware
  • Send alerts on performance changes or crashes
  • Gather metrics to help diagnose performance issues, such as response times, CPU usage, and dependency tracking
  • Perform availability tests for web apps
  • Provide exception reports and alerts
  • Provide powerful diagnostic log search (including log traces from your favourite logging frameworks).

It analyses usage patterns to understand your users better and continuously improve your app. The output provides you with:

  • Page view counts, new and returning users, geolocation, platforms, and other core usage statistics.
  • Trace usage paths to assess the success of each feature.

App Insights focuses on web apps and services. It stopped accepting new apps for mobile in April 2016 and stopped showing data in June 2016.

For more information on Application Insights, see


HockeyApp is a mobile DevOps solution for building apps across platforms like iOS, Android, OS X, Microsoft Windows, Xamarin, Cordova, and Unity. It can also be applied to Windows background services and desktop apps.

  • HockeyApp creates debug symbols and groups similar crashes to help you understand their frequency and prioritise your backlog. It allows integration of crash reports with application lifecycle management (ALM) tooling to manage all of the work items in one place.

  • Helps in understanding customer behaviour to improve apps. It tracks usage through daily and monthly active customers. HockeyApp monitors crash-affected customers and measures engagement through session count.

  • Customer opinions are critical. HockeyApp can collect feedback in the app itself and channels it to development teams. Also, because the feedback is handled as discussions, it allows engagement with customers to get a deeper understanding of what they really want from apps.

  • Think of HockeyApp as an in-house app store for testing. Offer all apps in one place for beta testers and customers to install, and require customers to update to a specific version if needed. Integrate HockeyApp into a continuous build process to make uploads and distribution automatic, while ensuring that the latest version is available immediately.

  • HockeyApp scales and integrates with environments to achieve the best mobile DevOps experience. It exposes webhooks and an open API to use the toolchain to its maximum potential and adds work items to ALM tools. When using continuous integration, HockeyApp helps automate the build and distribution of mobile apps by using the HockeyApp extension for Visual Studio Team Services.

For more information on HockeyApp, see

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Microsoft Future Ready: Continuous Integration Implementation

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