On Tuesday night, I presented to the Baltimore Mobile Developers group a talk discussing tips for beta testing your iphone apps. I’ve included the presentation in this post but I thought I would highlight some of the key points as well in a post.
Getting a UDID
First a tip about getting an end user’s UDID so that you can add it to your provisioning profile. There is an app in the store called “Ad Hoc Helper“, end users can install this app (it’s free) and when they launch it, it will prompt them where to email the UDID. They just have to put in your address and voila! Much easier than using the super secret button in iTunes (click “serial number” on the Summary page).
A warning about adding devices to your provisioning portal, you can only add 100 devices per year. Take note, even if you delete devices, they still count towards your 100 limit. So pick your testers carefully.
Beta App Distribution
One of the best ways to distribute apps to users is using a project called Hockey. Hockey allows you to distribute apps to your end users by having them visit a web page in mobile safari and then they can download and install the app on their phone. It consist of a server component that requires a PHP5 web server (no database required though) and an optional client framework that can be installed in your apps. The nice thing about implementing the client framework is that it can automatically check for updates on the webserver when your app launches and prompt the user to download the new version.
One of the resources that I have used to find testers has been iBetaTest.com. Some tips about using this site:
- Betas of 10-15 users
- Try to reuse testers or invite testers with high ratings
- a $10 iTunes gift card and free version of app is good compensation for testers, require feedback and help marketing (iTunes review, tweet, facebook post, etc) to receive the gift card.
- Even with compensation, only expect to receive feedback from 30% of your test group.
With such small testing capabilities (100 users max/year), your results will vary depending on how well your testers represent your end user. Choose wisely.