TestFlight Spreads Its Wings

You catch the latest TestFlight news just now? This looks pretty interesting:

What’s New in TestFlight

TestFlight in iTunes Connect now provides multiple build support, enhanced group capabilities, and improved tester management—making it even easier to test your apps.

Multiple Builds

TestFlight now lets you distribute and test multiple builds at the same time, so testers can choose from a number of builds to test.

Groups

TestFlight groups have changed. You can now do more with them, like create groups of TestFlight users, and each group can test a different build. To get you started, we’ve added all of your existing external testers to the group “External Testers,” which you can edit at any time.

Tester Management

Testers can continue testing a build when it goes live on the App Store, minimizing disruptions. iTunes Connect users can also access all active builds, letting them seamlessly compare different builds and you can easily resend invitations to testers who have not yet accepted their invitation.

Learn more about TestFlight.

Well doesn’t that just sort a whole lot of issues we routinely run into amirite? Sure we can play games with app IDs and icon tagging and whatever, not even going to bother linking to our various posts on tips and tricks for that kind of thing, but this looks waaay easier.

Mind you, we haven’t actually distributed an app using Apple’s incarnation of TestFlight yet, next one’ll be the first. When they first acquired it the no iOS 7 thing was a flat out dealbreaker, and by the time that wasn’t well we’d settled into a Crashlytics centred flow nicely so eh whatever dudes.

First time it crossed our mind hmmm maybe we could rethink that was this post last fall

How Not to Crash #1

Interestingly, these crashes did not appear in our usual crash reporting service, HockeyApp, so it actually took us a while to realize that we had a problem. To be aware of all crashes, developers need to check for crash reports through iTunes Connect or Xcode too…

Well, if we have to check them there, why bother checking other places too? Always like to streamline our process, being awesome DevOps dudes and all. But that wasn’t enough to seriously consider going all in, until a few weeks ago Google gobbled as Google gobbles and we were a tad miffed you might recall

Clearly this is great if you’ve already bought into the Firebase platform, but if you haven’t there’s a bit of thinking to do now, especially for those of us in businesses that Google actively competes with so have a smidgen of trepidation about handing over our collective user profiles and activity. Paranoid, yes yes, but hey paranoids have enemies too.

So that was enough to prod us into actively researching alternatives. In our considered opinion Bugsee is the best out there right now by a spectacular margin, oooh network logs would rock! but oh come on dudes we’re an indie place here (OK, actually these days we’re DevOps at Agoda.com because BANGKOK! come join us we need lots of everything especially iOS, but speaking as Trollwerks here) you actually think we can pay? Heh, that’s cute. And yes yes Dear Reader your favourite is very nice too, but nothing else really struck us as worth the effort to switch to.

But this. This here, this actively solves recurring problems! And far as we’re aware — please correct us if we’re wrong — the only actual downside from a dev perspective remaining with TestFlight is that users can opt out of reporting, and then no doubt those that choose to are the exact ones that would get that one weird crash we’d get grumpies 1-starring us with no way to figure out wtf they’re going on about, which would be … suboptimal. But, oh wait, that problem’s sorted now too, so … what’s left as a practical objection to going all in on TestFlight for your iOS platform needs? Why, nothing we can see!

If there’s anything we’ve still overlooked, please comment, but at first glance our verdict is yep, next project, no Google libs, all in Apple. We’ll update here if any flaws arise in that cunning plan!

Alex | April 11, 2017
  • howard katz April 12, 2017 at 7:43 am
    long time, alex. i didn't realize you were living and working in thailand. cool -;)! thanks for the thougthts on testflight. i used it briefly 3 or 4 years ago before apple acquired it, and it was a bit of a pain to use, if i remember aright. i'm just finishing up a small personal "vanity" project, and you've convinced me: i'm going to try it again. just as soon as we're back gallivanting around italy, in a few more weeks. thanks for the blog thoughts; i enjoy reading them. howard

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