Azure for Building React-Native to iOS

Hello all.

I have been researching left-right-and-centre for a way to build an app on Windows 10 for my iPhone. It is an app just for personal use, so I do not want any paid methods. I have looked into running a macOS VM, and searched far and wide for cloud-based builds.

I just came upon the uses for Azure. Specifically, the use of the Azure App Center to build apps in the cloud. Obviously, there are many fancy quantitative and qualitative features I have no need of that are the main focus of using Azure, but I cannot find any immediate reason why this would not be a potential method for me to build a RN app in the cloud for personal use.

I am wanting to know if anyone has any insight into using Azure, and if you can recommend I go through this process?

I am unfamiliar with apps, and even more unfamiliar with the iOS ecosystem, so I am struggling to understand this section of the documentation:

The settings in your Xcode project must be compatible with the files you’re uploading. Read more about App Center’s iOS code signing and the Apple Developer documentation.

Obviously, I do not have an Xcode project (seeing as I cannot have Xcode), but is it simple for me to imitate the settings?

Any insight would be appreciated.

For React Native, I think you’re going to have an issue with IOS even with Appcenter. Appcenter is pretty good – we used it at work. Just switching to Fastlane/Circleci atm, but it generally did the job very well with only a few hiccups (oh so hilariously, the Appcenter dependencies themself were normally the thing that caused IOS builds to fail on Appcenter, hence the switch).

However, as far as I know, there has to be some XCode setup (someone else may be able to confirm/deny this?). On my builds. I needed to configure them within XCode to build locally, and these generated the files necessary to allow Appcenter to build the project in the cloud.

Your best bet is to use Expo, which doesn’t require XCode (or Android Studio). With Expo, you use Expo’s servers to build your apps (you can eject in the same way as create react app, which generates the seperate iOS/Android directories and allows you to use your own chosen build system, but that puts you back in the position of needing XCode afaik). The downside is that you cannot use any native extensions that are not included in the custom RN build Expo relies on – this isn’t normally an issue, but Bluetooth is the key one that isn’t part of Expo, so if you need that your out of luck without access to a Mac (similar story for Mapbox, or Intercom, or, heh, Appcenter – if there is a proprietary module that needs native code, it probably isn’t included)

Thank you, for this. I do not know how I missed the use of Expo to deploy apps, especially seeing as I have used it for testing. I am not worried about the lack of extensions, unless I need to need to find a new way to play audio on an iOS device…


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