The prototype of our latest mobile App has flown the nest with the help of the very useful iOS beta testing software TestFlight which is proving to be a great tool during our distribution, testing and UAT cycles.
Patrick discovered TestFlight during the end of our phase 1 development of a mobile betting application for one of our clients ABETA International. As we’ve mentioned before, we build mobile web applications and native mobile applications using the SenchaTouch Framework; enabling us to produce intuitive mobile user experiences (UX) and user interfaces (UI) with the expertise and technology we have gained over years designing and building websites. Not wishing to repeat myself too much (it’s all here) we then package this up using PhoneGap for delivery to iPhone, iPad or Android devices.
One of the hurdles once the App is ready for client testing, bug testing or user acceptance testing (UAT) and the subsequent rounds of incremental version releases is how to achieve this in the most efficient way possible: obviously with website and web applications it’s a matter of setting up a staging or testing environment and providing a link, following that can be several rounds of testing – bug fixing – testing (I have paraphrased this process for illustration purposes only) but with Apps it’s a bit harder as we have to be able to distribute the App to the devices that our developers, clients and testers are using and in the case of our clients they are not in our office.
TestFlight is brilliant for this; from a single entry point you can distribute to predefined groups, set up new users within a group and create custom distribution lists to send new builds over the ‘air’. In simple terms, we can release a new iteration of an App and it gets distributed to the group who are alerted to the new version. Users can send feedback directly through the app (with in-app questions using their new SDK) or by replying directly to TestFlight automated emails, and this feedback is distributed to the developers assigned.
Its early days and we have only scratched the surface of what TestFlight can do but I thought I’d give my first impressions as it might be of use to others.