One of the more challenging things in creating iOS applications is the whole provisioning and deployment process. This becomes especially true during beta testing of your application using Ad-Hoc distribution.
The process is something like this:
- Gather all the UDIDs from your test subjects
- Enter these into the iOS Provisioning Portal
- Create a distribution certificate (if you haven’t already)
- Create an Ad-Hoc provisioning profile
- Download the profile and certificate
- Configure and build your app signing with these credentials
Then, your testers need to get the application and install it. Generally like this:
- Email the testers the provisioning profile and app bundle
- The tester need to drag both to iTunes (or Organizer) and then tether and sync
This makes it a little cumbersome for most testers and difficult for non-tech savvy users. One could post the app bundle to a website with a manifest and then create a launch page (like an internal app store) and then notify the users. This is where Test Flight (www.testflightapp.com) comes in … managing the web-delivery of your application in a really easy-to-use process.
Remembering the above, now I do this:
- (optional) Ask your test users to register their devices
- (optional) Create a team out of these testers and download their device IDs
- (optional) Upload all of these device IDs at one time to the Provisioning Portal
- Follow the same process as above to create a provisioning profile and build
- Now upload the IPA bundle to Test Flight and I am done
At this point, the testers can receive a notification of the new build (and subsequent builds) and simply visit Test Flight on their device. They will be able to install your beta app straight from the browser. Further, I can report on who has installed the app and who has not.
All this and the website has a nice easy to use design on top of that!