CI/CD has become an essential part of software development flows and it is even more important for mobile app projects due to their complicated nature and the fenced worlds of iOS and Android.
This article is the third in our CI/CD article series, where we answer the following questions:
- What is CI/CD and why do you need CI/CD in mobile app projects?
- What are the operational and business benefits of CI/CD?
- How does Appcircle solve the common problems in mobile app lifecycle? (This article)
After assessing the reasons and the benefits of embracing mobile CI/CD, we will now focus on the importance of using the right tool to realize these benefits to its fullest by solving the common problems in the mobile app projects.
1. Mobile app projects have unique needs
There are plethora of CI/CD tools, but most of them are designed to handle generic CI/CD flows. However, mobile app projects have their own set of limitations and issues and adapting such a tool for mobile app projects may require significant integration efforts.
Appcircle is specifically designed for the dynamic world of mobility with the mobile CI/CD best practices. You do not need any other solution for your mobile app lifecycle from code to the release distribution.
2. Manual operations in the mobile app lifecycle are inefficient and error-prone
Mobile app lifecycle has several handoff points, which are to be handled manually in the absence of a mobile CI/CD flow. This is not just inefficient but also highly error-prone due to the high volume of human intervention.
Appcircle fully automates the mobile CI/CD process end-to-end, increasing productivity and reducing dependency on the human factor for higher quality output.
3. Establishing separate CI/CD flows for iOS and Android is challenging
Establishing and maintaining a complete mobile CI/CD flow is complicated with different requirements of iOS and Android.
Appcircle handles all these complexities for you with a platform that is simple to start, easy to use and requires minimal maintenance. You just connect your repository, set your build configuration and that is it. No need to worry about automating tasks, integrating the repositories with the build agents, keeping the build agents up to date and more.
4. Traditional CI/CD tools mandate a tradeoff between simplicity and flexibility
When selecting a CI/CD tool, there has been a tradeoff between simplicity and flexibility. You either have full control with scripts and config files with no graphical interfaces or limited access with oversimplified user interfaces.
Appcircle provides a best-of-both-worlds solution with high extensibility and flexibility thanks to the powerful workflows, where you can start quickly with the intuitive user interface and then enhance and shape your CI/CD process as you wish with the workflows.
5. Local management of signing identities and environment variables is troubling
Another point that is specific to the mobile app projects is the common code signing identities and environment variables such as keys or configurations that are required to be incorporated during the build. These commonly used files and values, which are expected to be kept secure, are dispersed across local machines and it is not possible to track their consumption properly.
With Appcircle, you can manage all your variables and signing identities for all projects from one place as a single source of truth with detailed logs. They are stored securely and cannot be viewed while being able to be incorporated to the build.
6. Testing mobile apps on multiple mobile devices is involuntarily neglected
Mobile apps require testing on a wide variety of mobile devices due to the differences in operating systems, operating system versions and form factors. However, it is not easy to access so many different devices for operational or budgetary reasons.
Appcircle provides the innovative in-browser device emulators and simulators with a wide selection of form factors and OS versions, reducing the need for actual devices for manual mobile app testing.
7. Manual management of mobile app lifecycle has limited visibility
When the lifecycle of a mobile app is managed manually, it is a challenge to measure the performance of each step and each team member. This causes the identification of problem areas to be a difficult task, limiting the improvement opportunities, thus the performance of the process and the quality of the output.
Appcircle comes with detailed reporting and logging features for all of the steps in the mobile CI/CD process. Better visibility enables better quality output.
8. Team management is an indispensable requirement in mobile development
CI/CD provides much better visibility on previously manually conducted operations, but not all CI/CD tools are equal in providing the same level of visibility and accountability for larger teams. Especially in mobile development, where teams working in different disciplines is a more common occurrence, team management capabilities are more crucial.
Appcircle is suitable for teams of any size from indie developers to large enterprises with role management and team-based reporting. Fine-grained role management enables segregation of duties and prevent “rouge releases” and unauthorized use of secrets and signing identities.
9. Mobile CI/CD is difficult to set up as an on-premise or a private cloud solution
With the unique requirements of the mobile operating systems, setting up an in-house mobile CI/CD flow is not an easy task for enterprises.
Appcircle is a cloud-native, Kubernetes-based solution with OpenShift support. It can be easily deployed in any compatible private cloud or any compatible datacenter with high availability and scalability along with the option for local single-machine deployment.
10. Enterprise-grade CI/CD is not easy to achieve without considerable effort
Enterprises have specific needs to establish a well-structured, trackable, collaborative, customizable, extensible, secure and high-performing mobile CI/CD process that should be able to handle large teams and high-volume development pipelines.
Appcircle is built for enterprises with enterprises and its novel approach to mobile CI/CD enables enterprise-grade CI/CD with best practices accessible for everyone.
This was the last article in our three-article series about mobile CI/CD.
CI/CD has become an essential part of software development flows and it is even more important for mobile app projects due to their complicated nature and the fenced world of iOS and Android.
There are so many benefits of mobile CI/CD and you can start realizing these benefits on day one. The question is not whether you should use a mobile CI/CD platform or not, but rather which mobile CI/CD platform you can use.
Especially for mobile app development, some of the most important points are simplicity, flexibility and coverage of the full app lifecycle.
With Appcircle, it is very simple and quick to set up an end-to-end CI/CD flow for your mobile projects. Configure once with a few clicks and then let it work in a fully automated manner.