Create a Xamarin.iOS app

Note

Visual Studio App Center is investing in new and integrated services central to mobile app development. Developers can use Build, Test and Distribute services to set up Continuous Integration and Delivery pipeline. Once the app is deployed, developers can monitor the status and usage of their app using the Analytics and Diagnostics services, and engage with users using the Push service. Developers can also leverage Auth to authenticate their users and Data service to persist and sync app data in the cloud. Check out App Center today.

Overview

This tutorial shows you how to add a cloud-based backend service to a Xamarin.iOS mobile app by using an Azure mobile app backend. You create both a new mobile app backend and a simple Todo list Xamarin.iOS app that stores app data in Azure.

Completing this tutorial is a prerequisite for all other Xamarin.iOS tutorials about using the Mobile Apps feature in Azure App Service.

Prerequisites

To complete this tutorial, you need the following prerequisites:

  • An active Azure account. If you don't have an account, sign up for an Azure trial and get up to 10 free mobile apps that you can keep using even after your trial ends. For details, see Azure Free Trial.
  • Visual Studio for Mac. See Setup and install for Visual Studio for Mac
  • A Mac with Xcode 9.0 or later.

Create an Azure Mobile App backend

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.

  2. Click Create a resource.

  3. In the search box, type Web App.

  4. In the results list, select Web App from the Marketplace.

  5. Select your Subscription and Resource Group (select an existing resource group or create a new one (using the same name as your app)).

  6. Choose a unique Name of your web app.

  7. Choose the default Publish option as Code.

  8. In the Runtime stack, you need to select a version under ASP.NET or Node. If you are building a .NET backend, select a version under ASP.NET. Otherwise if you are targeting a Node based application, select one of the version from Node.

  9. Select the right Operating System, either Linux or Windows.

  10. Select the Region where you would like this app to be deployed.

  11. Select the appropriate App Service Plan and hit Review and create.

  12. Under Resource Group, select an existing resource group or create a new one (using the same name as your app).

  13. Click Create. Wait a few minutes for the service to be deployed successfully before proceeding. Watch the Notifications (bell) icon in the portal header for status updates.

  14. Once the deployment is completed, click on the Deployment details section and then click on the Resource of Type Microsoft.Web/sites. It will navigate you to the App Service Web App that you just created.

  15. Click on the Configuration blade under Settings and in the Application settings, click on the New application setting button.

  16. In the Add/Edit application setting page, enter Name as MobileAppsManagement_EXTENSION_VERSION and Value as latest and hit OK.

You are all set to use this newly created App Service Web app as a Mobile app.

Create a database connection and configure the client and server project

  1. Download the client SDK quickstarts for the following platforms:

    iOS (Objective-C)
    iOS (Swift)
    Android (Java)
    Xamarin.iOS
    Xamarin.Android
    Xamarin.Forms
    Cordova
    Windows (C#)

    Note

    If you use the iOS project you need to download "azuresdk-iOS-*.zip" from latest GitHub release. Unzip and add the MicrosoftAzureMobile.framework file to the project's root.

  2. You will have to add a database connection or connect to an existing connection. First, determine whether you’ll create a data store or use an existing one.

    • Create a new data store: If you’re going to create a data store, use the following quickstart:

      Quickstart: Getting started with single databases in Azure SQL Database

    • Existing data source: Follow the instructions below if you want to use an existing database connection

      1. SQL Database Connection String format - Data Source=tcp:{your_SQLServer},{port};Initial Catalog={your_catalogue};User ID={your_username};Password={your_password}

        {your_SQLServer} Name of the server, this can be found in the overview page for your database and is usually in the form of “server_name.database.windows.net”. {port} usually 1433. {your_catalogue} Name of the database. {your_username} User name to access your database. {your_password} Password to access your database.

        Learn more about SQL Connection String format

      2. Add the connection string to your mobile app In App Service, you can manage connection strings for your application by using the Configuration option in the menu.

        To add a connection string:

        1. Click on the Application settings tab.

        2. Click on [+] New connection string.

        3. You will need to provide Name, Value and Type for your connection string.

        4. Type Name as MS_TableConnectionString

        5. Value should be the connecting string you formed in the step before.

        6. If you are adding a connection string to a SQL Azure database choose SQLAzure under type.

  3. Azure Mobile Apps has SDKs for .NET and Node.js backends.

    • Node.js backend

      If you’re going to use Node.js quickstart app, follow the instructions below.

      1. In the Azure portal, go to Easy Tables, you will see this screen.

        Node Easy Tables

      2. Make sure the SQL connection string is already added in the Configuration tab. Then check the box of I acknowledge that this will overwrite all site contents and click the Create TodoItem table button.

        Node Easy Tables Configuration

      3. In Easy Tables, click the + Add button.

        Node Easy Tables Add Button

      4. Create a TodoItem table with anonymous access.

        Node Easy Tables Add Table

    • .NET backend

      If you’re going to use .NET quickstart app, follow the instructions below.

      1. Download the Azure Mobile Apps .NET server project from the azure-mobile-apps-quickstarts repository.

      2. Build the .NET server project locally in Visual Studio.

      3. In Visual Studio, open Solution Explorer, right-click on ZUMOAPPNAMEService project, click Publish, you will see a Publish to App Service window. If you are working on Mac, check out other ways to deploy the app here.

        Visual studio publishing

      4. Select App Service as publish target, then click Select Existing, then click the Publish button at the bottom of the window.

      5. You will need to log into Visual Studio with your Azure subscription first. Select the Subscription, Resource Group, and then select the name of your app. When you are ready, click OK, this will deploy the .NET server project that you have locally into the App Service backend. When deployment finishes, you will be redirected to http://{zumoappname}.azurewebsites.net/ in the browser.

Run the Xamarin.iOS app

  1. Open the Xamarin.iOS project.

  2. Go to the Azure portal and navigate to the mobile app that you created. On the Overview blade, look for the URL which is the public endpoint for your mobile app. Example - the sitename for my app name "test123" will be https://test123.azurewebsites.net.

  3. Open the file QSTodoService.cs in this folder - xamarin.iOS/ZUMOAPPNAME. The application name is ZUMOAPPNAME.

  4. In QSTodoService class, replace ZUMOAPPURL variable with public endpoint above.

    const string applicationURL = @"ZUMOAPPURL";

    becomes

    const string applicationURL = @"https://test123.azurewebsites.net";

  5. Press the F5 key to deploy and run the app in an iPhone emulator.

  6. In the app, type meaningful text, such as Complete the tutorial and then click the + button.

    Data from the request is inserted into the TodoItem table. Items stored in the table are returned by the mobile app backend, and the data appears in the list.

    Note

    You can review the code that accesses your mobile app backend to query and insert data, which is found in the ToDoActivity.cs C# file.