With iOS 8 mobile operating system iPhone and iPad app development became less cumbersome
"Atrocious". That is the epithet developers used to describe beta testing of iPhone and iPad apps. Due to new iOS 8 mobile operating features, the "atrocious" epithets will be finally changed to something more euphonic. This day has come and Apple has done it: iOS mobile app development has become much easier.
The new Apples TestFlight app has caused a commotion among developers and is considered to be a significant improvement for Apple in the sphere of beta app distribution. A good thing to bear in mind is that TestFlight is available only for iOS8, while initially it worked on Android. (Then, after Apple's acquisition of Burstly, Android was pulled out of the process.)
Moving on, let's specify these welcome changes. Namely, developers are allowed to test their beta apps across 1,000 user ID. Previously, the number of devices totaled to 100. This figure was a kind of an obstacle for successful mobile app development for iOS. Let us calculate some figures: 100 devices are allowed. Assuming that many American and European users have more one iOS device, we can definitely divide 100 by 2. As a result, we get the average number of approximetely 50 testers annually which seems to be catastrophically too few to test an app. We can't eliminate that tester can buy new iOS devices using more device allocations. All together, it created a hurdle for iOS app development for iPhone and iPad that has never existed on other platforms.
So, now 1,000 beta testers are allowed. Besides, iOS app developers can add 25 internal testers by creating for them an account in the iTunes Connect account.
However, there is an important stipulation regarding the number 1,000. Apps for TestFlight should be approved by Apple. Once it has been approved, one can make minor updates without a need to send the app for one more approval by Apple. Internal testers don't have to wait for the app to be approved by Apple, the developer should just upload a new build that will be valid for 30 days. However, irrespectively of the status of testers (beta/internal) there is a rule to install the latest version of a beta available. When a new build is uploaded, the previous one is marked as inactive.
TestFlight allows users to see app descriptions and testing notes. Testing notes can tell testers about operating features that need to be looked at. They can give a feedback to developers from the TestFlight app via email.
The other important point to be mentioned is that TestFlight changes the ad-hoc-distribution method (when a unique device identifier (UDID) of an iOS device is added to a developer account and in the end, the developer distributes an app to a tester).
Now, iOS mobile app development is less cumbersome regarding this scheme. No UDID is required anymore. Testers send a developer their Apple ID. Then, the developer logs into iTunes Connect. Testers get an email invitation from the developer, accept it and finally install beta apps via TestFlight app. Developers are able to manage users and see how testers are using the app.
One more significant feature is that TestFlight offers crash reporting for App Store submissions. A crash log is generated when an app crashes. Finally, iTunes Connect will have crash log symbolication. Many developers have been using 3d party solutions instead. However, Apple says that crash reporting will be available only for AppStore submissions, not betas. What is more interesting — "later next year", so Apple.
Summing it all up, no one doubts that TestFlight Beta testing meets vital testing needs for many IT companies who develop apps for iPhone and iPad. It is definitely a move in the right direction for iOS mobile app development. Waiting for more improvements from Apple.
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Technology Areas: software development, mobile application development, iOS 8