There are many times when testing Apps locally through a USB isn’t enough. Clients want to know what they’ve been spending money on and test out the App for themselves before shipping it out. Luckily, there are few ways to distribute the App so that those from far away can load the App into their own device for testing without going through the App or the Google Play store. Depending on whether or not the App is for an Android or iOS device makes a big difference in the approach but there are also several distributing methods for both devices.
Android App Deployment
The remote tester will have to configure their device to allow for testing before they can run the app. This can be done by going into settings…
These settings will allow the user to install Apps to the device that are not from the Google Market through a USB cable.
After that, it is all about finding a way to transfer the apk file from the build to the client/tester. Emailing the file is an easy way to do it, however, they need to make sure to open the file on their device and not a pc. There are other popular ways of over the air distributing such as Dropbox and also services you can use such TestFlight App and Hockeykit. These services are helpful because they can be used to gather statistics, user feedback and allow the App to be distributed by a remote server that the testers can access. This is convient for the developer because they do not have to upload the file each time an update has been made, the service on the client side can automatically detect and notify the users to upgrade.
iPhone App Deployment
To test on iOS device takes considerably more work than Android.
Register with Apple’s Developer program
Obtain a developer’s certificate
A developers certificate essentially associates the developer to the App its self. This will allow that one person to build a tester version of the App.
Register your test devices
Each of the devices you and your client plan to use, must be registered in the Provisioning Portal. You are limited to 100 devices per year on each App and cannot remove a device once it has been defined. A device is registered using their UDID (Unique Device ID), which can be found using iTunes Xcode.
Create an App ID
App ID is a way to identify the App using the Bundle Seed ID and the Bundle Identifier. The Bundle Seed ID is a 10-character identifier that is made by the Provisioning Portal. The Bundle Identifier can be any name that you can you can remember.
Create and install a development provisioning profile
A provisioning profile associates developers and devices to an authorized iPhone Development Team and permits a device to be used for testing. A provisioning profile requires the App ID, the list of devices, and your certificate. A Development Provisioning Profile must be installed on each device on which you wish to run your application code.
Build your app, embedding the profile within the app’s bundle
Building the app is the easy part, especially with Titanium Studio. Titanium Studio guides your through the build by making sure you completed all the necessary previous requirements and installs the provisioning file into the xcode so the App is ready to be installed on the device.
Distributing the App for a remote tester is similar to the Android, but when sending the App through an Email or putting it on the web you must always make sure that the mobile provision file is included. Every device needs to be accounted for when it comes to testing on iOS, all of them need to be registered and have their UDID’s included in the provisioning file. The security may seem frustrating at times but it does prevent unwanted downloads if you are hosting the files online. iOS apps are also able to use many of the same over the air distribution methods as Android, such as HockeyKit and TestFlight App.
At Shockoe we use a variety of the distribution methods to better serve clients with different needs. Contact us today about information on how we can help get your App ready to test and ship out!