Testing · Mobile

How do you handle pre-release for your mobile app?

Dhruv Vasishtha Product Management at Medidata Solutions

August 26th, 2014

I'm in the B2B space and before pushing a new version of our iOS app to the app store, I usually allow some current customers to play around with it for a few weeks of beta. 
I was using App.io to let customers emulate the app on web, but they are shutting down that service. Testflight is too clunky (can't ask customers to send me their UDID) and Hockeyapp isn't scalable. I looked into using the Apple Enterprise Account certificate but "technically" you can only share apps internally using that.
I was wondering if others had found solutions for such an issue or what they did for pre-release with corporate customers? 
Thanks!
Dhruv

Roopnath Grandhi

August 26th, 2014

With ios 8 apple is moving testflight to accept apple ids instead of udids. Not sure when that feature will be exactly live.

http://www.imore.com/testflight-ios-8-explained


Ben Sweat Director, Product at Idealab

August 26th, 2014

Just use the enterprise account. It is how everyone does it. I talked to one founder who used it to deploy his beta. He had thousands of people in the beta. He was told by an Apple employee that there was really no way to police it. It's also super easy to distribute: just a link.

Mounir Benchemled

August 26th, 2014

With Apple Enterprise Account, you can share the app with everyone. We use it for production, our partners can download the app from our website.

Clynton Caines SharePoint Developer at Discover Technologies

August 26th, 2014

I'm not sure if you aim to avoid asking for UDIDs - but you definitely need them for development builds. You can obtain them through email or via a dedicated web form... whatever works for you/your clients.

You can use these options to host the ipa - among others...
1. https://thebetafamily.com/supersend
2. your own website (needs ssl)
3. dropbox (has ssl)

It's relatively easy to host and then share adhoc/dev ipa files. When you're done with beta, simply create a final prod build and send that to itunes. 

Feel free to PM me if something's unclear.

Good luck

Ryan Park CPA, CA

August 29th, 2014

I assume this is an iOS question specifically? I don't see how that is because the title doesn't really say it is iOS specific.

So I'll chime in for Android. Android appears to be MUCH simpler than this scheme from Apple. I am an Android expert, I know very little about iOS.

With the Android app store it's ridiculously easy. I mean, I have my APK (app) uploaded to the Play server, there's three versions of it at all times. I have a Production version, which I upload to the production area, I have a beta version which I upload to the Beta area, and of course an Alpha which gets uploaded to the alpha area.

It's literally 3 different uploads for testing, that's it. You invite who you want to participate in Alpha/Beta through a Play list of email addresses you add, OR you can set up a Google+ group, one for Alpha, one for Beta, and public users can EASILY join in on the testing.

I don't mean to hijack this thread, I just wanted to share the Android perspective, which is really dead simple. I will note my APK's are all signed with the same key, there is nothing special I have to do to the APK's except have a unique version number for each one of course.

Cheers, very happy to be a part of this group.

Michael Brill Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products

August 26th, 2014

Just switched from TestFlight (yes, clunky) to Crashlytics Beta... the beta user experience is pretty similar but way simpler to manage on the development side.  It has the same requirement for UDIDs but this isn't put into people's faces and I'd hazard very few would know or even care.

Dhruv Vasishtha Product Management at Medidata Solutions

August 27th, 2014

Thanks for the comments guys,

Michael, I think your second suggestion could work for me in the sense that we push the beta for a new version on the app store, give our users the activation code, and once beta is over we could remove the app from sale and delete it from the app store (so it's not accessible in the future).

Michael Brill Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products

August 27th, 2014

Or once the "beta" is over, just remove the requirement to enter a code... and you have a seamless transition from beta to GA.

Wayne Rowlands Co-Founder, President

August 29th, 2014

We use http://www.diawi.com/. This works great for many applications. Here is our webapp: http://facereflect.com/. Our mobile apps are on their way shortly and being tested with diawi.

Candice Hughes, PhD, MBA

August 27th, 2014

Great discussion! I am about to face the same problem but my customers are consumers. I would love to find an alternative to asking for UDID/TestFlight. I am planning to ask for UDID then we have to input them for a fairly large number of beta testers. This is very awkward and the consumers may balk so also would love to find an alternative. Will try some of the suggested options.