As we enter 2017 the Google Play Store will have over 2.6 million apps and the iTunes App Store following with roughly 2 million. Your customers demand apps that are equipped with cutting edge features and flat out fast. Your competitors like Facebook and Uber are releasing updates almost every week
Mobile products need a continuous delivery (CD) pipeline so your development team can focus on building features, and less time figuring out how to release faster.
Continuous Delivery is not a new concept. CD has been adopted by web applications for a long time. Martin Fowler published his seminal CD post in 2013.
CD requires your team to stop building source code manually, and relying on complete automation to deliver builds to QA, beta testers and ultimately the App Stores.
Continuous Delivery Challenges on Mobile
Mobile is an entirely different beast when it comes to application deployment. Web apps don’t require approval processes, and you can even roll out new features to small batches of your customers so you can test if a feature is working before your entire user base gets it. This level of experimentation and sophistication is near impossible to achieve on mobile with out-of-the-box functionality in XCode and Android Studio, but is absolutely necessary if you want your business to run completely agile. Remember, customers suffer from app of the week fatigue. You are hot one week only to be replaced by the next best thing a week later. You need to iterate on features, design, user experience and feedback at a rapid pace to keep up with changing consumer behavior.
Mobile apps need to be developed, tested, compiled, packaged, signed and then manually submitted into the App Store which requires you to fill out forms before you go live. If your app’s cycle time from being developed to going live takes longer than 10 minutes, you are not shipping fast enough. Customers simply will not wait for new features to come out. The average user deletes an app from the homescreen after a day if you are not compelling.
Luckily, the open source community has forged a tool called Fastlane that helps you automate many of the deployment & configuration tasks required to truly ship an app in a continuous fashion. Fastlane allows you to grab developer profiles, sign applications, and link with your test suite so you can run an automated test anytime a developer checks in new code. Fastlane requires a dedicated server, setup and configuration, but the investment is well worth increased developer productivity.
Tappforce is able to ship apps for customers at light speed because we’ve already built our fastlane CD pipeline. We’re able to focus on cutting edge features and running A/B tests so we nail the user experience and not worry about deployment.
Setting up Fastlane, Jenkins, and a dedicated server is a tedious process. If your team is small or just doesn’t have time to invest in continuous delivery right now, we’ve built a fully functioning stack that runs on AWS or Docker so you can start using Fastlane with the push of a button, no manual setup necessary. Sign up for access.