App.io – Preview your app in your browser

We have all been there.

It takes you less time to develop the app, because you are using Titanium and Alloy of course, than it does to setup your provisioning profiles and get your clients UDID. Yes, you even sent them that link to the app in the app store that will send you the UDID of their device.

Trust me I get it, it’s super frustrating. I think a good portion of the alcohol I have ever consumed was probably during provisioning. Ok, enough with the rant.

App.io to the rescue.

Maybe I have been on another planet but I found App.io the other night and it made my week, maybe even my month. App.io allows you to upload your iOS application, then send the link to whoever you want to allow testing right in the browser. No provisioning, no messing around. The longest part of this process is the upload.

Now, it is in a browser and I have to assume they are using some sort of VNC client so it’s a little laggy but it’s faster than viewing the app on a 3gs (tried it).

If you can’t tell, I am extremely impressed.

Using it with Titanium.

Using it with Titanium is a bit tricky because Titanium symlinks to your resource directory when you are running in the simulator. So we have to copy the app and be a little creative.

You can check out App.io’s Titanium documentation but I found it to be a bit weird (and by weird I mean it did not work for me).

http://docs.app.io/uploading/#appcelerator-titanium

The steps below are for a Mac. If you have Windows or Linux and want to adapt these steps for your OS I would be happy to update this post with more OS steps.

First off you will need to sign up for an App.io account.

  1. Build your app for the simulator like you normally would, either with TiStudio or the CLI
  2. Open your Terminal app.
  3. Navigate to your Titanium project folder – If you don’t know how to do this, you can drag your Titanium project folder onto the terminal app in your dock and it will open a new window with the prompt already in your project directory.
  4. Type: cd build/iphone/build/Debug-iphonesimulator/ into the terminal.
  5. Type: tar -Lhcf temp.tar appname.app into the terminal – Make sure to replace appname.app with your app’s name. If you don’t know what it is delete appname.app from the command prompt and hit tab. It should autofill with the correct file name.
  6. Type: mv temp.tar ~/Desktop/ && cd ~/Desktop/ && tar -xopf temp.tar into the terminal.
  7. Type: zip -r appname.app.zip appname.app into the terminal. Again make sure to replace appname.app with your app’s name. If you don’t know what it is delete appname.app from the command prompt and hit tab. It should autofill with the correct file name.
  8. Log into App.io.
  9. Click “New App” then click “Upload App”.
  10. Select the appname.app.zip file that we just created from your desktop and click open.
  11. Watch the magic, in a moment you will be viewing your app from a web browser.

Have you used App.io before? What do you think? Did these steps work for you? If not let me know so I can update them.

Josh Jensen is the technical director and a partner at ROAR. ROAR.pro is a leading mobile app company that helps nonprofits realize their potential in the mobile space. Josh has personally developed and launched hundreds of apps and overseen the development and deployment of all of ROAR's systems.


Comments

  • Thomas Lemaitre

    Hello,
    Thanks for this tools. Do you know Testflight (https://www.testflightapp.com) ? Personally, i use it to share my application during developpement to my customer, it’s works really well.

  • Josh Jensen Post author

    Hi Thomas,

    Thanks for the note, I do use TestFlight quite often. That said I maybe switching to https://www.installrapp.com/ – It automatically registers your devices and generates Provisioning Profiles so you don’t have to mess around with UDIDs or provisioning. Definitely worth checking out.

    I did not mention either of those in this post because they are really in a different category. Maybe my next post will be on OTW distribution options.

  • Wienke Giezeman

    Nice service! Something I will definitely will be using. With regards to the installrapp.com. Looks really interesting. But do you want give this site access to all your certificates and identities?

  • Jeff Bonnes

    Hi Wienke. You don’t need to store your Apple Developer Portal (ADP) credentials in installrapp.com to get a lot of benefit from it. You have a choice:

    1) Option 1 – You can have installr do all the work. The Tester gets the app right away, and installr registers their device and updates the provisioning profile in the Apple Developer Portal. We encrypt and store your ADP login details with this option.

    2) Option 2 – You can choose to manually trigger the sync by entering your ADP password when testers register new devices. You still don’t need to go through the manual steps or creating a device and updating a provisioning profile in the ADP – installr will do it for you – but we don’t store your Apple credentials.

    I created installr for our own needs. We were doing some projects for clients and they wanted to have 20+ testers look at it before putting in the app store. With 20-30 testers, I was constantly being interrupted to register devices and update the provisioning profile.

    The testers were also getting confused. They would register for TestFlight then not understand why the app wasn’t available then and there. Our tester install process doesn’t require registration, and the tester can download the app within 60 seconds.

    Our goal is to make installr the easiest way to get Apps on people’s devices outside the App store. Easier for developers. Easier for testers.

    I hope you give it a try – and let me know what you think!

    Jeff

  • Wienke Giezeman

    Really cool service Jeff. I will definitely give it a try!

  • Naga harish

    Hi,

    App.io is really great, looks awesome. I tried with sample app it work good. But, image quality is low.
    Anyway App.io seems a great logic behind it.

    But for Ad hoc I use testflightapp.com

    -Harish

  • Lance

    Looks like app.io won’t be using emulators (or “demos,” as they call them) as of Aug 31. Is there a replacement product out there for iOS web-based emulation?

  • Roberto

    Appio is not offering support for demos anymore. Does anybody know any other provider?

    Thanks in advance!

  • John Snyder

    I was actually a user of App.io myself and when they shut down the demo pages a friend and I decided to build a replacement ourselves.

    Please let me know any feedback. We’ll continue to optimize speed and quality over time. Hopefully we can find a very reasonable business model to support server costs going forward.

    Website is https://appetize.io

    Cheers,
    John