Note: this is a placeholder article so I can create a link for an upcoming MSDN Magazine article that will point to the real documentation for this feature. Those docs are currently in progress and will likely be available by the time the article is published. But we have to finish the galley proof for the print magazine now, hence the placeholder!

Until just recently, here in the summer of 2015, the Visual Studio Online build system didn't have support for cross-platform apps like those created with Xamarin. That support has now been added.

When you're on VSO's Build tab for a project, you'll see "Build definitions" and "XAML definitions." The latter, XAML definitions, are those that worked with the previous build system that does not have cross-platform support.


If you create a new definition with the big green +, you'll be presented with the new list of templates:


Clearly you can see the options for building Xamarin.Android and Xamarin.iOS projects, along with the Xcode option for building a straight iOS native app.

What about Xamarin for Windows? I'm told you can use the Visual Studio template for that, but I haven't tried this myself. In any case, when you use one of the Xamarin templates you'll be required to enter your Xamarin credentials to activate the necessary platform licenses:


Anyway, that's all I'll say for now because I haven't tried out all of this myself. Again, proper documentation will be appearing soon on MSDN for all the details.



  1. Colin Dabritz
    Posted October 12, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Hi Kraig,

    We're working on getting Xamarin building in Visual Studio Online right now, and there is very little documentation. I ran across your article and it's definitely a helpful boost.

    can you tell me which edition of MSDN magazine will have this artile? I've been unable to find it so far. Really looking for ward to it!


    • kraigb
      Posted October 27, 2015 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately I haven’t seen more documentation on this yet (it’s slow in coming), but the Build tab of Visual Studio Online has the new system available. You’ll also find a link at the top to a little more information about it, but those are the pages I’m still waiting to see updated. As for a future issue of MSDN Magazine, I don’t have that information myself.

      • Colin Dabritz
        Posted October 27, 2015 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Ok, thanks for the heads up, definitely short on docs right now.

        We worked our way through a mac-only build, which is how the Xamarin.iOS build step seems to expect to run. We eventually got it, and ended up with an IPA file on that machine.

        I wanted to publish a Nuget package for Octopus Deploy integration, but I wasn't able to figure out how to do that from a mac, or relay the file easily. I suspect a FTP upload, bash script or similar might have worked, but we swapped back to a windows-iOS build host setup which we had be using on site, which is mostly working so far, and gave us the Nuget package publish.

        My current challenge is where and how to get version information passed around in the system. It's been a learning experience all around.