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TestFlight Owner Burstly Acquired By Apple (techcrunch.com)
107 points by coloneltcb on Feb 21, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 49 comments



Bummer...but also exciting, since Adhoc/Beta distributions and access could be massively improved by being handled first-party by Apple. Maybe now it will be!

I've long been using TF for adhoc beta distributions of my iOS apps. Looks like there are only two options left for that:

    * Hockeyapp, starting at $10/month
    * Host your own IPA on S3 or elsewhere. 
The downside with the latter is where TF added value: per-build access settings, notifications, teams, and feedback. You'll have to approximate this now by mucking with which devices are listed in your provisioning profile.

I open-sourced my iOS build script recently. It'll take care of everything for you -- downloads your provisioning profile from Apple's dev center, builds, codesigns, archives, and uploads to S3. https://github.com/splinesoft/SSBuild


Apple could massively improve Adhoc and Beta distributions any time they wanted to. They didn't need Burstly or TestFlight for this. In other words, get ready to move off of TF and onto another platform.


Shameless but relevant plug, I run a free API service to distribute apps via a short url.

If anyone is interested, you can check it out at http://ota.io


Checkout Vessel.io, Offers Beta Distribution + A/B testing for mobile apps


Very same like Test Flight Docs here http://docs.vessel.io/jenkins-plugin/

1. Free Beta distribution for Android + iOS 3. Jenkin Plugin too.


Do check out my service AppBlade https://appblade.com, convenient timing that I was about to come out with some competitive pricing for ad-hoc developers.

We're also releasing an open-source tool that uses GitHub releases as a store, gonna release it soon https://github.com/AppBlade/TestHub


This looks really neat. Thanks!

I wish I could self-host this on my own server. I also wish it did not rely on Github as I also self-host my own repos.


AppBlade itself doesn't rely on GitHub, only our open-source TestHub tool does.

We also do on-prem; though it tends to be more of an enterprise thing.


Co-founder of vessel.io - We have Android and iOS beta distribution service for free. Happy to help you setup your account.


Sounds neat! But I must be missing this free service on your pricing page? It seems to start at $150/month: https://www.vessel.io/pricing/


I'm not seeing anything lower than $150/mo either. I think the "free" service he's referring to is just the 30 day trial.


Beta distribution is a free service - For A/B testing, we have those price plans. Updating pricing page to reflect the same.


Thanks. I signed up for an account, but everything I'm seeing is about A/B testing, in which I am not interested.

Mega points to you for having a Jenkins plugin. Awesome!

Is your framework required for beta distribution? Your docs are inconclusive on this point.

If the framework is required, would you consider adding a Cocoapods podspec for it?


You don't need to integrate the framework if you just want to distribute beta builds. Check the Beta Deploy section on the site. We are also working on adding cocopods.


Not seeing where the beta distribution page is on the site - just info about A/B testing everywhere. Look forward to learning more though!


Also check out our service DeployGate, which was focused on Android but just have started a new Beta with iOS support this week. If you join for our beta program now, you are eligible to keep everything free, forever. :)

https://deplyogate.com/beta_program


https://deploygate.com/beta_program

sorry, there was typo in URL :p


There's a third option: Continue to use TestFlight. There's no indication that they are going away.


Removing Android makes it nearly worthless for me. Also Apple doesn't have a good track record when it buys companies. The same thing happened with Logic - they immediately dropped Windows. Its rude and anti-competitive.


They already have gone away for Android. On iOS, it looks like they won't allow new apps to be created but existing apps may continue to upload new builds.


I don't see how TF removing Android support has anything to do with them going away. I just this moment created a new TF app for iOS and got a new app token/etc. Where are you seeing this "won't allow new apps to be created"?


Hard to say. Sounds like you have until 2/26, at which point something(?) happens: http://help.testflightapp.com/customer/portal/articles/14527...


It says on that page what happens; they'll stop accepting builds with old SDKs, or if you haven't used the SDK before. It doesn't say at all that they will be closing their service, or not accepting builds at all. Just looks like they are deprecating their SDK.

Incorporating the SDK has always been optional.


we built our own. and was really worth the effort. happy not to depend on anyone for this :)


This could be great if Apple really improves distribution of adhoc builds but I wouldn't hold my breath. After 5 years iTunes Connect still sucks. The dropping of Android support is annoying as I use TestFlight to distribute iOS and Android apps and it made things so much smoother, especially when working with non-technical people.


First time I've heard about it too...and I found Testflight invaluable for sending betas to customers, the experience for both developers and end users was second to none.

Damn, I really hope Apple doesn't screw it up. But if they can integrate it into their iTunes connect platform, I'll be a happy developer.


So that explains why they dropped android support.


Android now has first party testing support via the Play Store. I'd imagine it's hard to compete with that.


It's great for distributing to wider group of external beta users but sucks for internal testing, especially if you want an API that can be used by a CI system.

At my workplace we use TestFlight integrated with Jenkins. We commit to the repo, Jenkins builds the APK, and submits to TestFlight. Then our QA team can pull the latest build onto their device and test, and we get crash reports if things go south. That tight loop is not as easy with the Play beta testing.


My workplace is _exactly_ the same.

Bummer about Android Support. But on the flip side, installing apks outside of PlayStore is actually very easy on Android. Compared to the provisioning-profile stuff involved with iOS.

I guess I'm about to write a small in-house nightly web-server that just has APK urls for download & install.


Again shameless plug for our service - Vessel.io We have a Jenkins plugin, which enables you to exactly achieve this use case.


Android support is dropped? My CI is uploading APKs just fine, and I can still upload APKs through their web interface.


Also resolves the FAQ question about how they expected to make any money when not charging anyone for such a useful service.


If anyone happens to be interested, I have a PoC OTA deployment solution I built when I got tired of being asked for regular app builds. It's a Web service designed to run on a Mac and pull from a GitHub repository, run xcodebuild, package the IPA, and let you install it on your device.

I abandoded this because I longer have access to a Mac since I stopped iOS development a while ago, but ping me if you're interested and you want to try to get it to work. It doesn't come close to the features of something like TestFlight, but was designed for in-house use by a team who needs access to bleeding edge builds without developer intervention.


Can you email me. I can't find any info of yours online. Would love to use your solution.


Odd. I'm the only person with my name who comes up when I search on Google and my email address is on several of the links on the first page, including my GitHub profile.


OK, my main question to Apple is still, please get rid of the 100 device limit, such a pain that Testflight or any other service didn't have a workaround for. Enterprise licenses is still an uncertain thing to do


Agreed, and you can't even revoke them, they need to be active for a year.


Wow, interesting news--hopefully for the better. Testflight really made adhoc distribution not completely insane. Excited to see if the partnership with Apple will make it even smoother.


Wow, if these comments have taught me anything, it's that there are more OTA installer services than people who will miss TestFlight. Maybe I should even open source mine.


I wrote my own simple set of shell and ruby scripts (based around xcodebuild) that have helped me automate deployment back since the iOS 3 or 4 days. With some upgrades, they still work perfectly well with iOS 7.

I remember trying TestFlight when they first launched, and going back to my own deploy script instead. Hopefully, this acquisition means an integrated "Deploy" Xcode Action (or maybe even a Bot now?) and easier device registration / removal.


Funny that I tweeted @ the author this morning since they've written about TestFlight before, wondering if they knew what was up. One way to get an answer when the company isn't talking!

I hope Apple keeps the essentials here, and integrates it with iTunes Connect. They seem to be more interested lately in making it useful!


Somehow I don't really see Apple integrating TestFlight into the iTunes Connect mess of an ecosystem.


maybe they'll integrate itc into testflight instead. :)


It could also be that apple wanted the other part of Burstly which did advertising, to help support their iAd platform.


I sometimes wonder if all these acquisitions are done out of paranoia rather than business shrewdness.


Ok fine. Just don't buy PhoneGap.


Non-native apps? I think that's about the last thing Apple would do right now. I'd bet they'd acquire Tesla and shut the company down only keeping their battery technology before they bought PhoneGap.


You know its already open source by the name of Cordova right?




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